Saturday, March 26, 2011


Veenavaadhini recently hosted a fabulous chamber concert by Veena Vidwan Sri P Vasanth Kumar, accompanied by Sri Umayalpuram Mali on the mridangam. The first word that came to mind after listening to that concert was “soukhyam”, for lack of an appropriate word in the English language that could perhaps convey the same meaning. A spellbound audience was treated with two-and-a-half hours of very high quality carnatic classical music.

Beginning with a varnam in raga Hindolam composed by the great GNB, Vasanth Kumar went on to present Gajavadana Paliso of Vittala Dasa, preceded by a brief but chaste Begada raga alapana. This was followed by a Sourashtram ragam assay which gave proof of the sincerity with which the vidwan approaches his music. Suryamurthe created an atmosphere of serenity. Umayalpuram Mali’s accompaniment here was particularly noteworthy for his soft beats. Atana alapana came next with all its classical phrases as a prelude to Sakalagraha Balanine of Purandaradasa.

The detailed exposition of Kharaharapriya was madi sangeetham at its best, eschewing the Salakabhairavi pidis. The popular Samanam Evaru was played with both expertise and gnanam, where the sangatis flowed perfectly, neraval was executed with adherence to sahitya, and the swara appendages were played with enough mathematical calculations.

The main item of the concert was a very enjoyable Ragam Thanam Pallavi in the raga Hamsadhwani. The ragam delineation was elaborate, step by step grafting of a classically structured alapana, presenting an expansive picture of the raga. The thanam was methodically played. The way in which the Pallavi was executed and the ragamalika swaras in ragas Hamsanadam and Hamsanandi (carrying the prefix “Hamsa”) was demonstrative of the artist’s musical intelligence.

Umayalpuram Mali’s thani not only exhibited his laya vidwath, it carried all the ingredients of the traditional structure of a thani avarthanam.

Even the post main items were steeped in classical fervor, and included Dikshitar kritis like Sri Varalakshmi (Sri ragam) . All in all, the concert reiterated the fact that vidwath and depth of understanding of classicism per se, which comes with years of learning and listening experience is an essential prerequisite to make it a satisfying musical experience for both the connoisseur and the layman.

No comments: