Music reviews

Music reviews

Glory of Agra Gharana

Lalith J Rao,  is known in the field not only as a senior vocalist, but also an able teacher. She was felicitated last week, on the eve of her 70th birthday at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. A documentary film on her, directed by Mayachandra, was also screened. It was followed by a musical feature on Agra Gharana, which gave a different experience than a usual vocal concert.

Agra Gharana is one of the important styles of Hindustani music. Lalith J Rao traced the history of the Gharana right from Nayak Gopal, contemporary of Ameer Khusru. Saras Rang (Dayam Khan), who moved to Agra, is considered the founder of Agra Gharana. Lalitha Rao explained the salient features of the school and her ten students sang in unison ragas like Bheempalas, Bhairav, Pharz, Purya, Meghmalhar and a few others.

Another interesting part was recordings of stalwarts of yesteryears. It was a great opportunity to hear the recordings of Zohar Bai, Faiyyaz Khan (Ramkali), Vilayat Husain (Shivamat Bhairav) and many others. Vyasamurti Katti (Harmonium), Gurumurthy Vaidya (Pakhawaj) and Shashibhushan Gurjar (Tabla) – gave good support on their respective instruments. It was an interesting and educative programme.

Belied expectations

Veena Seshanna (1852-1926) was a Veena player par excellence, an able teacher and a prominent composer of the post-Tyagaraja period. His compositions were discussed in detail last week, at a special seminar. It was part of the Veena Seshanna Memorial Music Festival, held under the aegis of the Swaramurthy V N Rao Memorial Trust in collaboration with Tumkur University and Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

Senior vocalist Nagamani Srinath spoke on the swarajathies of Veena Seshanna and Uma Kumar and Tejaswini sang Bhairavi, Maanavathi and Karnatak Kaapi swarajathies, neatly. Veteran musician R Vedavalli said Seshanna’s varnas are like guiding lamp to music students.

Sumathi Krishnan and K Dharini presented Purvi Kalyani, Saveri, Kedara and Bhegade varna – all of them infrequent compositions. With some more home work they will be able to render them in a better way. But Geetha Ramanand played on Veena, thillanas in the ragas Kamatch, Hindustani Kaapi, Jinjoti etc. It was melodious and was assisted by V Gopal (Veena) and R Adamya (Mridanga). Dr R K Srikantan presided over the seminar and Rajalakshmi Tirunarayanan compered the programme.

Good vocal

Well known vocalist Nagamani Srinath opened her concert with a swarajathi of Veena Seshanna in Kamatch. After the familiar ‘Manasuloni’ raga Rishabhapriya was refreshing. Her feel for the composition “Neepadame” added lilt to her singing. Thus Devamanohari was equally touching.
She concluded with a devaranama and excellent thillana (Jinjoti). Nalina Mohan (violin), H S Sudhindra (mridanga), S N Swamy (Khanjari) and Uma Kumar (vocal support) –gave lively support.

A touch of class

The celebrated Bhairavi varna ‘Viriboni’ in two speeds helped Hyderabad Brothers (Seshachari and Raghavachari) to create a bright musical ambience on last Monday. While ‘Yela nee dayaradu’ was a pleasing krithi, the ‘Rama ninnu’ is a infrequent composition. Sunadavinodini is a pleasing and ‘rakthi’ raga. Hyderabad brothers moulded the raga into an essay of aesthetic finesse.

The composition ‘Devadi deva’ attracted with lyrical charm. Their chiseled style surfaced in the ‘Dinamani Vamsha’ also. Their vocal with good ‘Bhava’ and unhustled grace, earned the appreciation of the house. Even the concluding jawadi was a memorable one.

Accompanists H K Venkatram, Harikumar and Sukanya Ramgopal shared the honours with the main artistes.

Bright Chitra Veena

Curtains came down on this year’s music festival with an excellent chitra veena of N Ravikiran. A child prodigy Ravikiran’s name is synonymous with Gotuvadya and he is acclaimed as a composer and performer all over the world.

Purvi Kalyani varna of Seshanna gave him a rollicking start. Dhenuka is an emotion laden raga and Ravikiran played it with lilting flavor for the keertane “Ramabi Rama.” Vaachaspati, a popular raga post Trinity period, with spacious alapana bristled with bright – striking phrases. It was a dignified soulful melody and Ravikiran lived up to his reputation. Akkarai Subbalakshmi, B C Manjunath, N Amrith and Ullur Giridhar Udupa – gave lively support.

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