Vocal : Vasudevan R
Violin : Shankar Rajan
Mrudangam : Vadiraj Bhat
01. SLOkam ( Apadamapa hataram) – kalyANi ( O )
vanajaksh0 ( varNam ) – kalyANi – Pallavi Gopala iyer?
02. shakti gaNapatim bhajEham – nAta – Muthaiah Bhagavathar ( S )
03. manavi chekonavayya – sarasAngi – Ramanathapuram Srinivas Iyengar
04. kalyANa rAma – hamsanAdam – Oothukadu Venkata Kavi ( A )
05. appa rAma bhakti – pantuvarALi – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )
neraval & swara @ trippaTalanu dIrchi kaNTi reppavalEnu gAchu mA
06. guruvAyUrappanE appan – rItigauLa – Ambujam Krishna ( A )
07. giripriyam gangAdharam – kadanakutUhalam – Muthaiah Bhagavathar
08. ambA nIlAmbari – nIlAmbari – Ponnayya Pillai
09. Azhi mazhai kaNNA – varALi – Andal thiruppavai
10. sarOja dalanEtri – shankarAbharaNam – Shyama Shastri ( A,t,S,T )
11. ayyanE vA appanE vA – sindhubhairavi – TNS’ mother ( short sketch )
12. pavitra gangE pAvana tungE – sindhubhairavi – Sudha Bhai
13. thillAna – basant – T N Seshagopalan
14. jaya mangaLam nitya shubha mangaLam – Vijaya Gopala Dasa
Last time I heard him was almost 8 year ago. But I did attend a couple of the programs he organised under ‘Nadaloka’ – the morning concerts sans accompaniment called ‘prabhata sangeetham’ and recently a concert of his guru Sri Palakkad K S Narayanaswamy. That coupled with the invitation from Sri Thiagarajan who successfully conducts monthly concerts under Pranava Fine Arts since January this year, guided me towards Haralur road, instead of the inaugural concert of Gokulashtami Series at Unnati. While I do not know what was the impact there, I for one was very very pleased with the evening at Pranava Fine Arts. Sri Vasudevan presented a full three hour concert of very high standard along with his accompanying artists.
Starting bang on time at 4:00 ( and stopping as the clock strikes 7:00 – a feat worthy of emulation) with a fabulously sung slokam, the artists made their intention clear for the evening. Kalyani ata tala varnam followed with Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s kriti in Nata. Few rounds of fast paced kalpana swaras got every one in the groove. A short kriti in sarasangi came in before the first detailed alapana in hamsanadam. Shankar Raman echoed the main artist and hinted the pallavi line of the more popular kriti of Thyagaraja in his turn. However, to my pleasure, Vasudevan decided to sing kalyAnarama, a fabulous Oothukad kriti, and I had the TNS’ singing in mind.
Pantuvarali was grand. Beautifully orchestrated alapana with some brilliant ‘drutakala sancharas’ progressing brilliantly through out, made it memorable. Shankar Rajan was equally eloquent in his return. Appa rama bhakti came in its grandeur. I always like a pantuvarali or purvikalyani in the middle of the concert with a powerful neraval and kalpana swaras. So, it was. Neraval was very well constructed and the kalpana swara was structured around some interesting laya patterns to start with and ending with a TNS-style ( which I mentioned to him later), long rendering pivoting around the same swara phrase, making it very attractive. Shankar Raman was given a chance after the vocal effort to show his mettle which was done splendidly by the violinist. There was a mention of a short tani, and Vadiraj Bhat made the most of it, playing a spirited tani avartanam.
The next phase was filled with a flurry of short kritis, probably a short dampner on the build up. Ritigaula ( with a short noce alapana ) and a tricky and ultra fast giripriyam, an super slow neelambari in quick succession probably could have managed better. He had to add a varali to sort of nullify the effect, which was also not anything to worth mentioning.
The team quickly covered the lost ground with a grand shankarabharanam. Starting a bit patchy, the alapana grew from there in stature to a brilliant affair. His strong point of those ‘akara’ fast phrases were very impressive through out. Some breath taking passages at the higher octave added to the overall impact to the alapana. Shankar Raman did justice to the main artist with another classy alapana from his side. Vasudevan, clarifying it as not a ragam tanam pallavi, sang few rounds of tanam, starting at madhyama kala, and increasing the speed as it progressed. A Dikshitar kriti or Shyama Shastri kriti was my expectation seeing the list, and Saroja Dalanetri it was. Kriti handled to its merits was pleasing to listen. Few sangati’s around ‘sAma gAna vinOdini’ gave me a hope for a neraval, but that wasn’t to come. The team played some marvelous kalpana swaras, this time converging at the Mani Iyer-popularised phrase, brilliantly executed. There was one more tani avartanam for Vadiraj Bhat, who accompanied brilliantly for the kritis.
Two sindhubhairavi pieces contributed to the post main affair. TNS’s thillana in basant ( I was thinking hamsanandi all the while) concluded the memorable evening before the mangalam. Very good concert, well supported by the accompanying artists( Shankar Raman was very good) through out and a great ambiance made it a good experience.