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Music reviews
HN memorial festival

Padmabhushan Dr H Narasimhaiah (HN) was a highly respected educationist and a social reformer with scientific aptitude.

Though he was the vice-chancellor of the Bangalore University, HN’s distinguished services to National College is memorable. To commemorate his birthday (June 6), the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat conducts, “Dr H Narasimhaiah Memorial Cultural Festival,” every year in collaboration with the Ramasudha Charitable Trust.

In this year’s festival held last week, music (Karnatic classical, fusion and sugam sangeeth), dance (Bharathanatya) and drama were held at the HN Kalakshetra, Jayanagar.

Talented musician, Gayathri Venkataraghavan, who gave a vocal recital in the festival, is a student of Choodamani and is presently being guided by veteran P S Narayanaswamy.
She has won several prizes from different organisations like the Music Academy, the Narada Gana Sabha, CNANA and AIR. She has sung in leading sabhas of the country and abroad, including USA, Canada, and Australia. It is heartening to note that Gayathri is reaching great heights of Karnatic music very quickly.

In the current concert, Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s rendition of the “Gajamukha Namisuve” of Vadirajaru, set the pace for a tuneful fare. The known kruthi “Jalandhara” was pleasing and after the spacious alapana of Kalyani, when listeners were anticipating a popular composition of Tyagaraja, Gayathri sprang a pleasant surprise by choosing a fine devaranama of Purandara Dasa “Kallu Sakkare Kolliro.”

The “Akhilandeswari” and “Makelara Vicharamu” glowed with some interesting swara phrases. The majestic composition “Ramakatha Sudha” was greatly impressive.
She wove the beautiful keerthana with a spacious alapana, nerval and swara to bring a classic imagery of the raga.

The final composition – a devaranama – “Neenyako Ranga Ninna Hangyako” was a nindastuthi. Nalina Mohan on violin, H S Sudheendra on mridanga and A S N Swamy on khanjari – shared the honours with the main artiste.

Hawaiian Guitar concert
Dr Prakash Sontakki is a multifarious talented artiste of Bangalore. He is the son of Dr R B Sontakki and Dr Mani Sontakki and has travelled many parts of the world playing Hawaiian Guitar and is a co-composer in the Grammy award album.

Dr Prakash Sontakki presented a number of ragas and compositions on his Hawaiian Guitar. In the beginning, he chose a piece based on Kalyani raga, moved from classical to fusion music, gradually.

It was followed by the Misra Kaapi, Charukeshi, Misra Shivaranjini, Maand, etc. It was tuneful, but could not scale the emotional heights as the Ragas were too brief to savour and enjoy. But everyone knows that Sontakki is talented and is capable of! A piece of 9 mathras and popular devotionals like – Sada Enna Hridayadalli, Ondu Baari Smaranne Saalade, Krishna Nee Begane Baaro – were welcomed by the listeners.

But it was melodious throughout and he also played a few pieces exploring the various possibilities of the instrument Hawaiian Guitar. Udayraj Karpoor, Nagabhushana Udupa and Nagendra Prasad – accompanied on the tabala, keyboard and khanjari, respectively.

Graceful movements

P Praveen Kumar, one of the young talented dancers of Karnataka, presented a Bharathanatya recital on Tuesday, along with his six students. Praveen had an intensified training under late Narmada and is now receiving guidance from C V Chandrasekhar, a veteran dancer.

A recipient of Ustad Bismillah Khan award from the Sangeeth Natak Akademi, Praveen is also the director of Chithkala School of Dance.

“Devi” is a favourite theme for all the dancers, in all the forms. Praveen had also chosen “Mahamaya,” development, progress of Devi in her different ages. As Praveen opened his programme with the well-known lyrics “Chinanjiru Kiliye Kannamma” to portray a child “Devi”, a lively presence emerged, enhancing his dancerly potential.

It was followed by another majestic keerthana “Kanjadalayathakshi” to present a young “Devi.” The familiar “Maathe Malaya Dwaja” stood out for their good training. All the six young students – Hemlatha, Divya Hosakere, Raksha Manohar, Nidhi Seshadri, Navyashree and Shreema Upadhyaya – performed with ease and graceful movements and appealingly.

Of course, Praveen Kumar was the main attraction and his abhinaya revealed a depth and maturity of a senior dancer, naturally. They concluded their good performance with a thillana.

The dancers were well supported by Srivatsa (vocal), D V Prasanna Kumar (natuvanga), Lingaraju (mridanga) and Mahesh Swamy (flute).

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