Vocal : Saketharaman
Violin : Mysore M Nagaraj
Mrudangam : Umayalpuram Sivaraman
Ganjira : Guruprasanna
01. intha chAlau jEsi (varNam) – bEgaDa – Veena Kuppaiyer ( O )
02. dhariNi telusukoNTi – suddha sAvEri – Thyagaraja ( short alapana , S )
03. nambi kettavar evarayya – hindOLam – Papanasam Sivan ( S )
04. nIdu mahima pogaDa – hamsAnandi – Muthaiah Bhagavathar ( A,S )
05. eppaDi manam tuNindadO – husEni – Arunachala Kavi
06. rAma rAma rAma rAma , rAmA ennirO – vasanta – Purandara Dasa
07. SrI subrahmaNyAya namastE – kAmbOji – Dikshitar ( A,N,S,T )
neraval & swara @ ‘ vAsavAdi sakala dEva vandidAya varENyAya’
08. pArukkuLLE nalla nADu – bhImpLAs – Subramanya Bharati
09. jagadOdhAraNa – kApi – Purandara Dasa
10. thillAna ( dhIm tana dhIm dhiraNa) – behAg – Lalgudi Jayaraman
11. mangaLam – saurAshtram / madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja
I haven’t listen to Saketaraman live for over two years. The accompanying artists are the best in their respective fields. And the location is nearer to my place. These three reasons weighed it against traveling to IIM, Bangalore and attending L Subramanyam followed with Hyderabad Brothers. The decision wasn’t wrong and was rightly rewarded. The initial feedback from the other venue wasn’t all that encouraging.
Saketharaman presented a fantastic concert. An outstanding hamsanandi and a classy kamboji main marked the evening with the stalwarts in accompaniment. Concert started with the begada varnam and the master percussionist was immediately made his difference felt. A short alapana of sudhasaveri ( one hoped for a longer one) did not have any violin return. UKS was phenomenal at the pallavi line, varying his ‘play’ for every sangatis Saketaraman sang. The fast paced hindolam had a matching fireworks of kalpana swaras.
Hamsanandi was the first detailed alapana. Both Saketaraman and Nagaraj excelled in their respective turns and the Muthaiah Bhagavathar’s master piece was an eloquent exposition. There was a hope for neraval , but he moved to an elaborate, mesmerising, kalpana swaras. What a treat ! Two quick fillers husEni and vasanta came in before the main. Somehow, husEni had too many mAnji shades ( notwithstanding the similarities), apart from the pallavi line, the rest had more manji touch than huseni, to me.
Kamboji alapana was befitting to a main. Very sedative and slow and short phrases to begin, with some interesting patterns in the middle, the longish alapana was top class. Nagaraj was even better in his turn. There was a hint of ‘Sri Subramanyaya namaste’ in the violin alapana and we were right. A fantastic neraval , and equally brilliant swaras made the main worth its status. UKS, played ‘tani’ avartanam which had many many ‘aha’ moments as one expect from the master. Guruprasanna, largely donned the role of the non-striker ( no pun intended ! ) during the evening, giving as much strike as possible to the master. His part of the taniavartanam was also short compared what UKS played.
Post main had a patriotic song ( being the eve of the republic day) and a Lalgudi thillana, apart from a beautifully rendered jagadodharana ( reminded me of KVN). He sought the permission of the elders to wind up the concert with the traditional mangalam.
The concert was top class, and I have no second opinion on that. However, for a two and half hour of uninterrupted concert, it had only two alapana and only one neraval. Personally, I would have preferred another alapana and the sub main with a short neraval. But that’s me, a sucker for neravals…
Earlier in the evening Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman was honoured with the ‘Purandara Award’ by Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha, in the presence of the World Wide Head of Chinmaya Mission ( pardon me for this use, one cant escape the corporate jargon, as I came in late and did not gather his holiness’s name) and legendary R K Srikantan. Congratulations to the ‘Master Percussionist’ and pray for his health and wish him many more awards and recognitions.