Dr Priyashri Rao, Veena C Seshadri and Dr Dwaritha Viswanatha -students of Kalakshetra-jointly paid homage to Dr Rukmini Devi Arundale, the doyen. Apart from performances, there were few demonstrations which were very useful and educative. Husband and wife Shajith Nambiar and Parvathy Menon, alumni of Kalakshetra and recipients of Bismillah Khan Award from the Sangeeth Natak Akademi and directors of Samradhya (Chennai), gave a Bharathanatya recital in collaboration with ICCR.
The popular "Natanam Aadinar" gave them a pleasant start. The Kalyani jathi swara was performed neatly on firm feet. With clean-cut rhythm and crisp footwork, it was a pleasure to see the duo handling the varna "Vanajaksha" in the raga Behag with such understanding and aesthetic sense. Abhinaya, especially in the Pada (Shankarabharana) and the composition on Subramanya, was pleasing. They concluded with a Thillana in the raga Jinjoti and impressed with graceful movements. In total it was a pleasant experience.
A talented team of musicians supported the dancers from the wing - Venkatakrishnan on Natuvanga, Bina Venugopal on vocal, Kartikeyan Ramanathan on mridanga and Ritesh Gopalakrishnan on violin.
Melodious string instruments
The Tarangini Arts Foundation is serving the music field for the last 45 years, in teaching and organising music and allied arts programmes. It had organised a seminar last week on "The present and future of instrumental music in Karnatic music."
In the evening there were two instrumental music concerts - one Carnatic and the other in Hindustani. Popular Veena player Dr Suma Sudhindra started off in style with a varna. The Durbar varna in five speeds gave Suma a rollicking start. Purvi Kalyani was dignified in its portrayal, the keerthane "Meenakshi Me Madam" anchored with a flurry of glowing "Sangathies". The Jawali in Kaapi and thillana in Revathi - were also pleasing. Y G Srilatha on Veena, N N Ganesh Kumar on violin, B C Manjunath on mridanga and S N Narayana Murthy on ghata - gave good support.
Sriram Parasuram is one of the very few musicians graded as an 'A grade' artiste over the All India Radio in both Karnatic and Hindustani violin. A recipient of several prizes and awards including a gold medal from AIR in both the systems and Firestone fellowship, M S Subbulakshmi Memorial Award, Surmani etc. etc.
It was actually a 'One man Jugalbandi' violin concert. Hamsadwani gave Sriram a serene start. After presenting Hamsadwani in Karnatic style customarily, he took Hindustani in Madhya lay and Drut in Teen thal. He chose Madhuvanti against Dharmavathi. "Though it is not the counterpart, it sounds almost similar" - Dr Sriram said. Though Dharmavathi is a 'Sampurna' Raga in Karnatic music, Madhuvanti is a 'Oudava Sampurna' and was marked for its good imagination accounting for an elegant coherence. Ravichandrike in Karnatic music is not the counterpart of Ragesri.
But it gives almost the same experience. He presented a popular composition (Ma Kelara) of yesteryear in Karnatic music and a beautiful Tharana in Rageshri. With his command over the instrument, Sriram proved once again his expertise in both the systems. It was melodious and lively throughout. C Cheluvaraj and Dr Udayaraj Karpur gave percussion support with aplomb.
Gotuvadya is just the Veena minus the frets and the waxy ledge. Though Veena is a popular instrument, comparatively, there are not many Gotuvadya players. Among the current Gotuvadya players of Karnataka, Dr Gayathri Rajapur Kassebaum is a senior artiste serving the music field for 5 decades. She is a disciple of Budulur Krishnamurthy and Musiri Subramanya Iyer and has well versed in both vocal and Gotuvadya. She is an ethnomusicologist and recipient of PhD from the University of Washington.
Dr Gayathri Rajapur Kassebaum gave a Gotuvadya recital on Saturday under the aegis of the Sri Sharada Samskruthika Sangha, Sharada Colony. She presented a number of compositions which were most popular during yesteryears.
In the beginning, she saluted to the invocatory God through the "Siddivinayakam" in the raga Shanmukhapriya. "Saraseeruha" is a fine composition and the Neelambari krithi brought nostalgic memories in the old-timers.
Varali is an ever favourite raga for both musicians and connoisseurs. Dr Gayathri elaborated Varali for the dignified Kruthi "Mamava Meenakshi".
It was tuneful, traditional and pleasing. Sri Varalakshmi, Sakalagrahabala, an old Jawadi (Samayamide) and a thillana in Durbari Kaanada followed. Without overdoing anything and sans gimmicks Dr Gayathri Rajapure pleased the gathering with her neat presentation. M Vasudeva Rao and Phanindra Bhaskar accompanied on mridanga and ghata, respectively.