R.Vedavalli @ Naada Inbam, Chennai

Venue: Raga Sudha Hall, 85/2, Luz Avenue, Mylapore, Chennai

Date: 16 Apr 2007

Organizer: Naada Inbam (Sri SVK’s birthday concert)

Vocal: Vid. R. Vedavalli

Vocal Support: Vid. Sumitra Vasudev

Vocal Support & Tambura: Vid. Sumathi Krishnan

Violin: Vid. Embar S. Kannan

Mrudangam: Vid. Manoj Siva

Ghatam: Vid. S. Karthick

List of songs:

1) nEra nammiti (varnam) – kAnaDA – kanDa aTa – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (O)

2) chintayE mahAlinga mUrtim – paras – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)

3) nijamukha rAmA – kIravANi – Adi – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (ANS)

4) charaNam charaNam – asAvEri – misra chApu – aruNAchala kavi

5) mAmava satatam raghunAtha – jaganmOhini – Adi – thyAgarAja

6) eTula brOtuvO – chakravAham – misra chApu – thyAgarAja (S)

7) rAgam tAnam pallavi – Adi (2 kaLai)

rAgam – shankarAbharaNam

tAnam – shankarAbharaNam, rItigowLa, srI & back to shankarAbharaNam

pallavi – shankarAbharaNam, wordings: “manda hAsa vadanA, harE krishnA”

8 ) kalyANOllAsa sImA (slOkam) – sAvEri, varALi, nIlAmbari, sindhubhairavi

9) dAsara nindisabEda – tilang – Adi – purandaradAsa

10) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

11) swasti prajAbhyah paripAlayantAm (slOkam) – madyamAvati

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Smt. R. Vedavalli presented an impressive concert in memory of Sri S.V. Krishnan on the occasion of his birthday. Sri Embar S. Kannan is one of my personal favorites when it comes to violin accompaniment and so is Sri S. Karthick when it comes to playing the ghatam. They teamed up with Sri Manoj Siva to provide some fantastic, soothing accompaniment that only served to beautify the concert even more. To describe it in Sri S. Karthick’s own words, they were playing a defensive game (heard him tell this to someone outside the hall in response to her statement that his playing was like lightning and thunder).

The first alapana of the concert was of kIravANi and lasted for about 9 minutes. Every second of the alapana was enjoyable. I was sitting on the edge of my seat anticipating some very good and rare sancharams to come out and mami kept rewarding me from time to time. The portion I liked a lot was the one where mami sang a pattern to end in rishabham of the upper octave and immediately came to rishabham of the normal octave to begin another pattern. She did this a couple of times. There was an extended lower octave elaboration towards the end of the alapana which was also very enjoyable. The 6 minute alapana from Sri Embar S. Kannan in response was a gem as well.

I have been hearing rare compostions in every concert of mami’s that I have attended till now. Today it was the turn of “charaNam charaNam” and “mAmava satatam raghunAtha“. During the kalpanA swarams in “eTula brOtuvO“, Sri Embar Kannan, in response to a 2nd kAlam set of swara patterns, played his turn punctuated by sets of lightning fast patterns. When her turn came, Vedavalli mami got inspired and sang a few patterns similar to what Sri Kannan played earning “sabhash”/”balE”s from the audience.

shankarAbharaNam was the main raga for the day. Mami elaborated it quite well despite a bad throat that seemed to be imposing constraints in addition to those imposed by her old age. It is amazing how veterans like mami manage to give a great concert even if they have a bad throat, without letting the audience get a feel of their throat problems. Sri Embar Kannan’s shankarAbharaNam alapana was spot on and got applause from Vedavalli mami also. A ragamalika tanam came next followed by the pallavi in shankarAbharaNam. The pallavi was on Sri S.V. Krishnan (mami pointed to his framed photograph as she sang the pallavi line the first time). It was structured as follows (B=beat, 1 Avartanam of Adi tALam 2 kaLai = 16 beats) (starts 1.5B after samam): man (1B) da (1B) hA (1B) sa (2B) va (0.75B) da (0.75B) nA (+ gap = 3.5B) ha (0.5B) rE (2.5B) kri (1.5B) shnA (1.5B).

Taniavartanam comprised the chatusra and tisra naDais, a kuraippu in tisra naDai and then in chatusra naDai which was followed by mOrA and kOrvai.

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