Music & dance reviews

Music & dance reviews

Colourful festival

The Artist’s Introspective Movement (AIM) conducted the Bengaluru International Arts Festival (BIAF). It had arranged a number of programmes – music (Carnatic, Hindustani, jugalbandi), dance and drama.

Well-known dancer Prathiba Prahlad, opened her Bharathanatya recital with a neat Devi stuthi. The stately varna (Kamach), was executed with a variety of theermanas, lending it a dignified air. Enjoying the dance herself, she displayed the varying moods in a matured way. The Radha recounting her first love with Krishna, the Ashtapadi was also charming. The background vocal of Sudha Raghuraman was also inspiring.

A different jugalbandhi

It was a different kind of music – a jugalbandi – said to be for the first time in Bangalore. A Carnatic vocal and piano by Unnikrishnan and Anil Srinivasan, respectively. The invocatory piece was on Ganesha followed by a composition of Bharathiyar.  A brief alapana of Saramathi and saint Tyagaraja’s immortal composition ‘Mokshamugalada’.

There was no bouncy or mind boggling swaraprasthara. The vocalist sang with good feeling sans excitement. It was mellow and smooth, without any attempt at display of thrills and gimmicks. The soft sound of piano so well matched with the vocal and together, it was another aural luxury. There was no percussion instruments in the first half, but Khanjari by B S Purushotam was added in the second half.

Tributes to Tyagaraja

The organisers had organised a variety of programmes in different, venues spread all over the city.

At the ‘Mangala Mantapa’ there were dance recitals by two experienced artistes.
Padmashree Anand Shankar Jayanth performed select episodes from Ramayana, based on the compositions of Tyagaraja. She portrayed Rama Janana, Seetha Kalyana, Paaduka Sweekara, Ravana Vadha and Surpanaki-Shabari incidents and were performed with aplomb, changing the roles in quick succession and dramatising the sequences (sometimes over drama also). Anand Shankar performed evocatively. Venu Madhav (vocal) and Renuka Prasad (mridanga) gave good support from the wings.

Accomplished dancer

Padmashree Geetha Chandran is not only a seasoned dancer but also an accomplished vocalist. Even as Geetha started her dance the opening ‘Shiva Panchakshara’, one could get a glimpse of the abandon with which she performs. 

Verses from the Rithusamhara of Kalidasa, was another fine selection in which her thorough grounding was unmistakable. Revealing a spontaneity and subtly expressive, she showed her prowess in Devi Stuthi (Alagiri nandini) and concluded with “Jaganmohana Radha Ramana”. While Geetha’s daughter Sharanya was in charge of Natuvanga, Sudha Raghuram accompanied as a vocalist.

A fitting finale

The Jugalbandi of T M Krishna and Rashid Khan was a fitting finale for this year’s festival. Though it was a Carnatic and Hindustani music jugalbandi, it was different from the routine ones. Padmashri Rashid Khan is an experienced senior vocalist and T M Krishna, a crowd puller, is a sought-after vocalist of Carnatic music.  First it was Hindustani music by Ustad Rashid Khan. He chose Purya Dhanashree, touching the pivotal swaras, gave a dignified picture of the raga. Krishna selected “Pahisri Girirajasuthe” with crisp swara. It was followed by another fine krithi ‘Swararagasudha’ with nerval and swara, rendered methodically. Then both sat together and sang in their own styles; suruti, desh, keeravani and bhairavi. In the leisurely delineations and methodical unfolding of the ragas with their characteristic features it was sparkling and exciting finale.

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