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Music reviews

Flights of fantasy

Instrumental music, discourse and dance programmes were held as part of this year’s “Flights of Fantasy” festival of Ganjam.

Vishaka Hari, who gave a discourse here on Saturday, is well versed both in music and discourse and is a crowd puller wherever she performs. As she chose the story of Lord Hanuman for the day’s programme, devotion filled compositions flowed throughout. The story was developed by presenting songs in different languages, including Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Sanskrit and of course, Kannada.

Instead of narrating the story step by step, she highlighted the salient features through well known compositions. Though it was a Harikatha, all the elements of a regular ‘Sangeetha Kacheri’ was incorporated – Raga, Thaana, Krithi, Nerval and Swara Prasthara – were there in a suitable proportion. Especially, rendering of Thaana, during the jumping of the sea by Hanuman was appropriate and attractive.

Though Vishaka Hari chose from Valmiki Sloka, Ugabhoga of Gopala Dasa, Meera Bhajan, compositions of Saint Tyagaraja were mainly elaborated.  Audience also enjoyed the well woven Pallavi (Seethajanaka Sutham), Nerval and Swara Prasthara. A Bhajan (Tulasidas) and the sacred ‘Mamava Pattabhirama’ brought the curtain down on the well received Harikatha. Charulatha Ramanujan on violin, H S Sudhindra on Mridanga and Sukanya Ramgopal on Ghata – suited the needs of the occasion.

Kala Nadam

The Nadam conducted the annual ‘Kala Nadam,’ in association with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. In the two-day classical music festival, Karnatic vocal, Hindustani vocal, percussion ensemble were also held.

Manorama Mehta, was a known figure in the music circle of Bangalore, few decades back. A post graduate (Music) from the first batch of the Dance, Drama and Music Department of Bangalore University, Manorama was also known for her good repertoire.

After a gap of several years, she performed at the Kala Nadam, of course this time with her daughter Chandrika K Mehta. She presented several compositions that were in practice few decades back, to bring back nostalgic memories of a bygone era.

Her methodical approach to the raga (Bhairavi) with an aesthetic touch brought a composite picture of the melody.

The ‘Balagopala’ stood out for its improvisatory nerval and Swara Prastara. Though her voice occasionally reminding her age, she deployed her concert craft convincingly. Co-singer Chandrika, also a post graduate in music, revealed ample flashes of her talent.

But she must gain confidence to sing and perform independently. ‘Yochana’, Hari Kunida, Jinjoti Thillana, Meera Bhajan – were the other important compositions – they presented. Charumathi Ramanujan (violin), V S Rajagopal (Mridanga) and T N Ramesh (Ghata) – supported the vocalists.

Memorial programme

L Raja Rao Memorial Foundation presented ‘Veena Raja Rao National Award’ to Dr Kadri Gopalnath, renowned saxophone player, on Friday. It was followed by a Veena recital by Dr Suma Sudhindra, a popular Veena player. She was supported by M M Ganesh on violin, C Cheluvaraj on Mridanga and on Ghata by S N Narayana Murthy. It was a bright start, with the Kalyani varna in five speeds.

There was good clarity even in high speed. The invocatory piece in the raga Bouli, was a composition of L Raja Rao. Her alap for Shanmukhapriya was a treat, meandering over the pivotal swara’s alluringly. Thana was brisk and dignified.

The popular keerthane ‘Marivere’ with crisp swara was delineated with aplomb. With melodious ‘Naada’ and impressive presentation, Suma concluded her recital with a thillana and devarnama (Bha gyada Lakshmi Baramma). Earlier, Vidushi Veena Kinhal, paid tributes to her father and guru through a Veena recital. She played few selected compositions of L Raja Rao in a befitting manner.

Pleasing sans sparkles

There was a Hindustani vocal recital also in the ‘Kala Nadam’ festival. Pandith Amarendra Dhaneswar, Mumbai, a disciple of Smt Neela Bhagawat, who belongs to the Gwalior Gharana sang, in a simple way. He has produced few music related programmes for television and All India Radio and written a number of articles.

Pandith Amarendra Dhaneshwar opened his vocal recital with rag Behag. His alap was absorbing. Gradually developing the raga, touching the pivotal swaras, he gave a detailed picture of the raga, which was pleasing sans sparks.

He also presented Jaijaivanti (Madhya Lay), a thumri and a Bhajan, though short of emotion.

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