Pleasing vocal duets

Music and dance reviews

Pleasing vocal duets

Pleasing vocal duet

Bangalore Brothers presented a vocal duet concert on Friday at Shankar Mutt in Shankarapura. It was a part of the cultural programmes held in connection with “Vijaya Yathre” of H H Sri Bharathi Teertha Swamiji and H H Sri Vidhushekhara Bharathi Swamiji of Shringeri Shankaracharya, Sharada Peetha.

M B Hariharan and S Ashok, who are known as Bangalore Brothers, have passed proficiency (vidwath) examination with distinction and recipients of scholarships. They have also edited a few music books like “Ugabhoga Darpana” and “Mundiges of Haridasaru.” They are continuing their training with P Sundareshan and H S Sudhindra and they have performed in leading Sabhas of the State and recipients of several prizes also.

Bangalore Brothers opened their current concert with “Jaya Jaya Swamin” in the raga Naata and added swara briefly for the “Parvathee Pathim” in Hamsadwani. It was followed by “Mahadeva Shiva Shambho” of Tanjore Shankara Iyer and “Shankaracharyam Bhaktha” of Subbarama Deekshithar in the raga Shankarabharana. Both have good and resonant voices that blend admirably. Then a popular devaranama of Purandara Dasa “Kodubega Divyamathi Saraswathi.” The raga alapana of Vasantha was brief but pleasing. The choice of raga Devagandhari itself is appreciable and a infrequent kruthi “Thulasamma Mayinta” was a welcome change.

A piece from Chamundamba Astothara “Aparajithe Amarendranuthe” in raga Kannada. Audience also enjoyed a small Notu swara of Dikshitar “Jagadeesha Guruguha.” The duo capped their efforts with an evocative exposition of the Shanmukhapriya raga and the rendition of “Parvathi Nayakane Sharanum” with nerval and swara, was delightful.

Good training and acquiring an authentic identity is a necessary condition for the success of a vocal duet. It is also true, there have been only a few successful vocal duos in Karnatic music history. Therefore, it was a refreshing experience to listen to the vocal duet by the Bangalore Brothers. Both of them come with different musical background, but moulded into a single unity by senior mridangist H S Sudhindra.

No doubt they are yet to reach the level of the legendary duos, but they have the required potential to make progress. Satya Kumar on violin, Anirudh Bhat on mridanga and Raghunandan on ghata – accompanied the vocalists.

Vintage recital elevates

Dr Vyjayanthimala Bali is an internationally acclaimed veteran dancer and everyone remembers her as a very popular cine actor also. But she impressed as a musician – a vocalist, on Saturday as part of the Ammanni Iyengar Memorial Endowment, held under the auspices of MES Kalavedi.

Dr Vyjayanthimala opened her concert with a dignified kruthi “Sri Parthasarathe” of Dikshitar in the raga Suddadhanyasi. In this keertana the chitte swaras has a beauty of its own that highlight the raga flavour. “Sujana Jeevana” was a popular and common composition during yesteryears.

Then she chose a varna “Suma Sayaka” as the fifth item. She sprang a surprise at that juncture. A lyric of well-known Kannada poet Dr P T Narasimhachar “Ako Shama Avale.…” Apart from these, she also chose compositions of great composers like Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Shyama Sastry, Gopalakrishna Bharathi, Narayana Teertha and Tanjore Shankara Iyer that too in four different languages – Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada. She rightly called the programme as “Naa­dan­ubhavam” but not a kutcheri! There was a vintage touch in every composition. Of course she did not attempt for a detailed alapana or swara prasthara. Though age (80) has affected her voice a bit, the intuitive feeling for ragabhava that compensated for the lack of modernist flourishes was equally noteworthy in her singing.

The Govindamiha Gopika, Kanakashyla Viharini - both are favourites of connoisseurs always. In the final stage, Divya Prabhanda in ragamalike, a bhajan, thillana and mangala. It brought out her musical flowering under stalwarts like D K Pattammal and she sang with a deep feeling, enjoying herself. It was more like an “offering” to God than a mere concert.

She was well supported by Girija Shankar as co-singer and accompanied by Sruthi Sagar on the flute and Srivanchiyam Sree Ram on the mridanga.

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