Song of Surrender

Friday, 11 May 2012

A fine Begada by Sangeetha

By TT Narendran

OLI Chamber Concert 7

Oli continued its mission of providing mikeless listening pleasure to Carnatic music buffs with a vocal recital by Sangeetha Sivakumar. Sangeetha has a husky voice that sounds audible even in the bass register. Her scholarship was on abundant display at this programme, which commenced with Vidulaku mrokeda of Tyagaraja in Mayamalavagowla. The brief sketch of raga that she sang at the opening was enough to confirm her gnana. The niraval at Kamala Gowri was executed well. Gopanandana (Bhushavali, Swati Tirunal) failed to make any impact. Sangeetha’s elaboration of Ritigowla had some breathtaking moments when her imagination was fertile. Again, Paripalaya (Swati Tirunal) was ordinary. Dhanyasi followed – a decent alapana but the kriti, Talachina varu of Subbaraya Sastri was intrinsically limited in its scope and came across accordingly. Sangeetha’s voice had warmed up by now and when she embarked on the alapana of Begada as the central piece of the day, she was in full flow and sang very effectively, especially in the mandra sthayi. Tyagaraja’s Nadopasana had niraval and swaras sung only in the slow tempo, followed by the tani avartanam. Mane mayile, the Tamil padam was, perhaps the best piece that evening. It was rich in raga bhavam and sung evocatively. The Kanada javali, Vani bondu, helped Sangeetha show her vocal skills.

Sangeetha’s voice did not always align with the sruti, with just a traditional wooden tambura whose strings were as susceptible to shrinking and increasing in pitch in the A/C room as the mridanga was. While her competence was convincing, the execution did suffer at a few places owing to tonal lapses. The string of ragas she chose were good but her choice of compositions could have been classier. VVS Murari (violin) displayed abundant raga gnana in the opening few phrases of every raga he essayed and strayed away as he ventured into quantitative and fast exposition. While accompanying for alapana, he needs to provide anticipatory tonal clues with a long bow, a role that his father, VVS, played to perfection in his heyday. Melakaveri Balaji had to manage with a recalcitrant mridanga that took the cool draft from the air-conditioner and merrily overshot the sruti. He was conscious of the sober ambience and ensured that he did not bang his way to glory.

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