Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Debuting duo – or seasoned artistes?

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This performing duo put up a surprising show, reports CHITRA SUDARSHAN

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The Kalakruthi School of Indian classical music presented another Geetaarpanam on July 22 at the Alexander Theatre.  It was a scintillating debut Veena duet of Vikram Kanagaraj and Vaidehi Naganur, who have been learning from the school’s founder Shobha Shekhar for nine years now. Veena arangetrams are few and far between, and this marvellous performance by the talented young duo left everyone in awe.  The two unleashed a nonstop cascade of ragas for over four hours, keeping the audience entertained with an alapana now, a kriti then, some swaras in-between.  There were no gimmicks but just solid, quality classical music that not once compromised on quality – a testament to the dedication and achievement of both  guru Smt Shekar and her pupils.

They began with the difficult ada tala varnam ‘viriboni’ in bhairavi, and by the time they were playing the pallavi in the second speed, it became apparent to everyone that this was no usual debut concert.  It had a spark, a flair – seen only from seasoned artistes.  In their next item in Hamsadhvani – the popular Vatapi ganapatim – the duo showed how good they were in bringing out the ‘bhava’ – the emotion – inherent in the kritis, a knowledge that they must have imbibed from their grasp of vocal music, in which both of them were clearly proficient.  Vaidehi’s vocal abilities were of the highest order and in her rendition of the viruttam in Yamuna Kalyani – prelude to their presentation of the popular Vyasaraya kriti Krishna Nee Begane – she demonstrated her multifaceted musical abilities. Their reetigowla was also a memorable piece, embellished as it was with alapana and kalpana swaras.  The piece de resistance was the marathon item in Dharmavati wherein they impressed the audience with their execution of tanams in ragamalika, their niravals and kalpana swaras. Vikram and Vaidehi didn’t let their guard down in the final short items either; they were presented with equal care and attention to detail.

The orchestra consisted of young home-grown artistes, all of whom acquitted themselves admirably. Bala Sankar on the mrudangam; Sai Nivaeithan Ravichandhira on kanjira; Keshav Yoganathan on the tabla, all provided excellent percussion support like veteran accompanists on the Chennai music circuit!

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