Sweet sounds of the night

Sweet sounds of the night

Yamini

There could not have been a better cultural spread on the eve of Republic Day.

The beautiful synthesis of dance and music at Yamini 2012, the dusk-to-dawn festival, conducted at the sprawling open air theatre of IIMB, had the young and the old and those in between lap up the feast for the eyes and ears.

What was heartwarming was that  plenty of children too had turned up at the event. Organised by Spicmacay, the ninth edition of Yamini, had the audience braving the chill to promote the country’s rich cultural traditions. And it is not every day that one get to see  great artistes from the Indian classical music and dance fraternity at close quarters.

The curtains went up with Padma Bhushan Alarmel Valli’s bharatanatyam recital.The leading proponent of the Pandanallur tradition in Bharatanatyam, Valli’s recitals, though rooted in tradition, has a contemporary interpretation to it. The petite danseuse, who has taken bharatanatyam to an international level, uses the art form as an evocative language.

She began her recital with the composition Rathi Sukha Saare, wherein she brought forth the Shringaara rasa in all its myriad colours. Her expressions, discipline and effortless footwork enlivened the stage.

At one point, it seemed as if the spring had set in. She performed to verses from Kalidasa’s Ritu Samharam, Shakuntalam and Bhoja’s Shringaara Prakashanam. Her spontaneity and depth has always been hailed and this was one occasion that only reinforced that.

A few technical glitches in the audio did not deter her. “In case the mike fails, watch the visual music as my body also sings,’’ she informed.

Her second piece was a composition on Lord Krishna. One could see her living the different facets of lord Krishna, the romantic as well as the mischievous side of his. Her next piece was based on verses from the Tamil Sangam poetry. Valli who has been doing research on Sangam poetry for quite a long time now explained the piece in a  great narrative style and went on to perform it. Her recital drew to a close with yet another piece to loud applause by the audience.

After a short recess, the doyen of Hindustani vocal Ashwini Bhide Deshpande took the podium. Hailing from the Jaipur-Atrauli tradition of Khayal (classical) singing, there were many longing to hear her voice. The  ease at which she sang, left the night air rich.
While the audience settled in the tranquility, the festival was only warming up.

The rest of the night saw Carnatic vocal recital by T N Sheshagopalan, Carnatic flute recital by Shashank Subramanyam and Hindustani violin recital by Kala Ramnath. Kala Ramnath, who is one of the most outstanding instrumental musicians of the country, filled the early morning hours with strains that touched the soul. As the festival drew to a close, there were many who were pining for more, nevertheless describing it as a perfect retreat.

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