The audience’s jaws dropped in wonder as the much-awaited Chitravina concert of Sri Ganesh at Ranjani Fine Arts started with a varnam in Todi- Era Napai. Todi is said to be a ragam sung with lots of gamakas (oscillations) and we could so clearly see the movement of that little "Teflon". Next presented was Sharanu Siddhi in ragam Sourashtra. The concert’s pace then became a little faster with Sarasiruhasana priye in ragam Nattai, composed by Puliyur Doraiswamy Iyer.
A Kedaragowlai alapana started, and the audience could just say 'sabash!' or 'besh!'. This alapana was handled with utmost ease. Tyagaraja's composition Venugana Loluni followed, and beautiful swara sancharas and different patterns were used to brighten the composition during the kalpana swaras. A 'pacy' song in Vasanta - Ramachandram Bhavayami - showed that even an instrument like the Chitravina could play very fast sancharas.
Sri Ganesh then spoke about the Chitravina/Gottuvadya a little and told us that his father was the one to bring several changes to the instrument like the addition of strings, usage of the teflon instead of wood etc. His grandfather, Sri Narayana Iyengar and his cousin Sri Chitravina Ravikiran also hold music in their veins. Sri Ganesh then asked the audience whether they wanted the main piece in Keeravani or Simhendramadhyamam, and everyone said Keeravani! That amazing alapana of Keeravani took a place in our minds permanently. There was so much of technicality yet hidden amongst the melodic phrases. Well, it is still a type of Veena and how could one continue without playing some tanam? Brisk and rhythmic patterns were played but the kalapramanam was super tight! Tyagaraja's composition Kaligiyunte was presented with some neraval and lots of swarams. To see him play about 20 to 25 one avartanam swaras was very interesting. Aditi Krishnaprakash provided very good support on the violin. A Ranjani- mala followed the swara kalpana. It started with Ranjani, Sriranjani, Janaranjani, Manoranjani, Shivaranjani and came back to Ranjani in the reverse order. Then, it was time for Sri KV Prasad on the mridangam to rock the stage! Cleverly, he took a sollu which was played during the kalpana swaram and built that one pattern almost until the end of the tani. All his experience and knowledge could be seen so clearly in his wonderful tani.
A javali in Khamas followed the tani to mellow the concert down to raga and bhava. Lalgudi Jayaraman’s tillana in Mohanakalyani- Mohana roopam Vandita in Adi talam was presented in a very fast pace. No words to describe how beautifully that mridangam was handled with soft and gripping touches! Well, like any other concert, it ended with Pavamana in Sourashtra. A few Madhyamavati phrases followed the mangalam. It was fantastic to see Sri Ganesh handle the beautiful instrument so gently, yet with that pure classical touch. Overall, his technique looked very difficult to master, and truly I could say that the Gottuvadyam sang to praise the gods and the audience!
-- Vibha Arvind
Date &Time: October 10th, 5pm
Chitravina: Vidwan Chitravina P Ganesh
Violin : Vidushi Aditi Krishnaprakash
Mridanga : Vidwan K V Prasad