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There was never a dull moment

B. RAMADEVI

Manoranjitham's Gokulashtami Navaratri Music Festival began with an impressive recital of T.V.Ramprasadh.

PHOTO: S. SIVA SARAVANAN

MELTING MELODY: Parur M.S. Anantharaman (centre) flanked by his sons M.A.Sundareswaran and M.A.Krishnaswamy.

This year's Gokulashtami Navaratri Music Festival, organised by Manoranjitham (the cultural wing of Sri Ayyappa Puja Sangam, Coimbatore), began with the impressive vocal concert of T.V.Ramprasadh, well-known singer from Karnataka, at its spacious, new hall. Groomed by P.S.Narayanaswamy, S. Rajam and T.V. Gopalakrishnan, Ramprasadh has established his individuality by evolving a style of his own. The number of songs he sang were limited, but were rendered with care.

During the alapanas, he commanded admiration with his ability to linger at the higher octave. He sang a few Tamil songs, with proper respect to the lyrics. While `Mere Janam Maran Ke Saathi Re' (Meera bhajan) was moving, `Tamboori Meetidava' (Purandaradasa) had a foot-tapping rhythm. He concluded his concert with the tillana by Balamurali, `Niriniri Gamagarisa'. The tempo was maintained throughout and there was not a minute of boredom.

V.V.Ravi on the violin, Umayalpuram Murali on the mridangam and Kovai Suresh on the ghatam gave an excellent display of their skill.

Chaste music

Suguna Purushothaman, musician, musicologist and composer of repute, sang to a limited crowd that enjoyed listening to chaste music. The importance she gave to the preference of the audience while choosing ragas and kritis was flattering while her humility was touching.

Suguna began with `Gana Nayakane Thunai Varuvai,' a navaragamalika varnam of her own composition. After an elaborate alapana of Todi she sang Tyagaraja's `Kadhanuvariki.' She could not get her rich imagination across during the raga delineation as her voice could not reach the higher octaves. There were a considerable number of lighter songs and a kilikkanni on Ayyappa. She pleased the audience with the song, `Lakshmisametha' set to Lakshmisam-talam. V.V.Srinivasa Rao on the violin, Thanjavur Kumar on the mridangam and Tiruchi Murali on the ghatam gave her excellent support.

Astounding ability

The octogenarian Parur M.S. Anantharaman's very presence on the stage was an inspiration while his ability to set the mood for each song and earn accolades with his music was astounding. He was leading the violin trio along with his two equally famous sons, M.A. Sundareswaran and M.A.Krishnaswamy.

The navaragamalika, `Valachi Vachi' made the beginning for a three-hour-long flow of melting melody. During raga delineations Krishnaswamy was soft and sophisticated while Sundareswaran was powerful and impressive.

The popular and pleasing kritis, `Raamaa, Ninne Namminanu' (Huseni) and `Ranjani, Mrudu Pankaja Lochani' were delectable.

Kovai Prakash (mridangam) and Kovai Suresh (ghatam) formed a sprightly team and earned frequent applause.

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