Adhering to tradition

  • By Hindu
  • | Thursday | 14th September, 2017

It was heartening to behold a musician performing with tambura sruthi when electronic gadgets have become the order of the day. A bhava-rich Swathi Thirunal compositon — Kripaya Paalaya — was suffixed with smooth flowing Sarvalaghu swaras. The artiste was vocalist S. Poorna Pragna Rao, who presented an elegant vocal recital at Palghat Fine Arts Society, Tharekkad. Tambura sruthi was provided by Poorna Pragna’s wife, Bharathi. Chinnanaatena, a rare piece in Kalanidhi, was followed by Meevalla Gunadosha in Kapi; a melodious exposition of the raga preceded the kriti.

It was heartening to behold a musician performing with tambura sruthi when electronic gadgets have become the order of the day. The artiste was vocalist S. Poorna Pragna Rao, who presented an elegant vocal recital at Palghat Fine Arts Society, Tharekkad. Son of musician and musicologist Sandhayvandanam Srinivasa Rao, he offered sowkhyam to the listeners with chaste classical music. Treading the traditional route, he revealed his acute sense of sahitya, flair for aesthetics, and sruthi sudha abundantly.

Beginning with the Abhogi raga varnam Evaribodha, he invoked Lord Ganesha with a less familiar kriti of Neelakanta Sivan, Gajanana Ganeshwarane in Pantuvarali. He showcased his respect for Tyagaraja by rendering four of his compositions in succession. After Yochana Kamala Lochana in Darbar, he picked up Manavyalakim in Nalinakanthi, prefixing it with a brief sketch of the raga. Chinnanaatena, a rare piece in Kalanidhi, was followed by Meevalla Gunadosha in Kapi; a melodious exposition of the raga preceded the kriti.

Soulful rendition of Thyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam in Ananada Bhairavi, a Muthuswamy Dikshitar kriti, brought memories of maestro K.V. Narayanaswamy, one of Poorna Pragna’s gurus.

The alapana of Charukesi, beautified with melodious sancharas, depicted the quintessential character of the raga. A bhava-rich Swathi Thirunal compositon — Kripaya Paalaya — was suffixed with smooth flowing Sarvalaghu swaras. Choosing related ragas such as Darbar and Nayaaki in one concert did not appear to be prudent. But the latter raga was brilliant, with the lakshanas emerging distinctly. Dikshitar’s Ranganayakam was an apt choice; Poorna Pragna unfolded the devotional content of the song completely. Taking up the Mayamalavagowla raga kriti Deva Deva, composed by Swathi Thirunal, at this juncture was rather strange, as this raga is generally sung in the opening session of a concert.

The main raga Keeraavaani received exhaustive treatment and the artiste did full justice to the alapana, with pleasing gamakas and akaaras. The kriti was Tyagaraja’s popular Kaligiyunde. The vocalist presented a brief niraval at Bhakthi Jesina in the charanam. Incidentally, this was the only niraval in the concert and it seemed he was a little out of his comfort zone in this essential component. However, the imaginative swara patterns were well rendered. He concluded the concert with Swathi Thirunal’s evergreen ragamalika composition Bhavayami Raghuramam, popularised by the legend M.S. Subbulakshmi.

Providing splendid accompaniment, Madurai Balasubramanyan made his presence felt with his raga essays and vivacious swara phrasings. K.R. Ganesh, son of vidwan and guru Kumbakonam Rajappa Iyer, was outstanding on the mridangam, with his soft and subtle beats. Nanganallur Swaminathan on the ghatam showed his mettle with his energetic display. Their tani in Adi tala was crisp and precise. Tambura sruthi was provided by Poorna Pragna’s wife, Bharathi.

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