The month of August is a festive season, marked by Gokulashtami celebrations in various parts of the country. Gokulashtami reminds us of image of Lord Balakrishna, playing the flute and exalting the gopis to a state of melodic bliss. Our literary heritage has volumes of brilliant poetry that extols the melody of Lord Krishna’s flute. Sri Narayana Bhattatiripad, in the famous Narayaneeyam, describes the flute as the blessed instrument, which was fortunate enough to taste the ambrosia of Lord’s lips. As a fitting tribute to this festive occasion, RFA organized a brilliant flute recital by Vidwan Mysore Chandan Kumar and party.
Chandan Kumar, started off the concert, with the Sahana varnam in right traditional style. Right from the start, Chandan Kumar was able the audience captive, as he effortlessly poured out the delicate nuances of Sahaana. The famous Dikshitar kriti, Mahaaganapathim, followed. The majestic kriti was brought out in all its grandeur, in a compact and methodical rendition. The neraval and kalpanaswarams demonstrated his virtuosity in good measure, as he brought the various subtle nuances of Nattai. The brisk Revagupti kriti, Gopalaka Pahimam Anisham, was the next one. The brisk phrases of the kriti, elevated the mood and energy level of the audience. A brief prelude to the brilliance that was to follow!
The first detailed rendition was the famous kriti Govardhana Giridhari in Hindolam, a fitting choice for the occasion. The audience was immersed in the various melodic glides and nuances of Hindolam, as Chandan Kumar let his delicate fingers create the magic. Chandan Kumar, traversed the higher and lower octaves with equal ease, choosing the most appropriate flute. Vidushi H M Smitha was equally brilliant in her violin return, as she reproduced the patterns gracefully. The famous Narayana theertha kriti followed, with a detailed neraval and swarakalpana. The swara phrases were chosen very judiciously, with a good balance between mastery and Carnatic purity. Vidwan K V Prasad, completed the melodic duo, with his gentle strokes and brilliant laya patterns. The overall soothing effect produced by the trio, left the audience spellbound. The melodic Hindolam was complemented with a fast paced piece in Ravichandrika, with the Tyagaraja composition Niravadhi Sukhada. It was a feast, where different flavoured delicacies are served one after another!
The stage was set for the main piece of the concert. A brilliant Kalyani alapana ensued, where Chandan Kumar explored the profound raga, at a leisurely pace. The various aspects of Kalyani – melodic, majestic, emotive, energetic – all were delineated in the 20 minute long alapana. Smitha did a brilliant violin return, adding some more delicate nuances and subtle glides, to complete a half an hour tour of Kalyani raga! The popular Swati Thirunal composition, Pankacha Lochana, in Misra Chapu was the kriti chosen. The neraval and kalpana swarams were very elaborate, demonstrating the virtuosity and creativity of the ensemble. As a fitting finale, Vidwan K.V. Prasad did a brilliant taniavarttanam. His dexterity and mastery over laya, was presented to the audience in a capsule form. The audience was rooted to the spot, as Prasad weaved wonderful laya patterns. A one-and-a-half hour bliss, to put it briefly!
The tukkadas section started off with the famous Oothukadu song, Alaipayuthe. The lyrics of the song epitomized the concert, in fact. The melody produced by Chandan Kumar and party transformed the audience to gopis listening to Krishna’s flute. As the audience were still soaked in the melodic Kanada, Chandan Kumar started the Sindhubhairavi piece Venkatachala Nilayam. The final piece was the Lalgudi tillana, in Revathi. The rasikas, young and old alike, were left craving for more!
One of the highlights of the concert was that all the three artistes complemented one another equally well. It was not a concert of main artiste and accompanists, but an ensemble of three brilliant artists.
- Santosh Narayanan
Date: 9th Aug 2014, 5pm
Venue: Sobha Lake View Club
Flute: Vidwan Mysore A Chandan Kumar
Violin: Vidushi H M Smita
Mridanga: Vidwan K V Prasad