Rahul Vellal: A Carnatic prodigy in Sydney

Rahul Vellal picks masterpieces as well as crowd pleasers as he introduces himself to his Sydney fans

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How would I describe the recent concert by Master Rahul Vellal in Sydney?

Classical? Yes, but not too classical.

Light? Yes, but not too light.

Rahul’s recital at the Pioneer Theatre, Castle Hill on March 30, in aid of Sri Venkata Krishna Brindavana, was the last of the concerts he performed during his recent Australian tour.

Rahul Vellal
Perfect enunciation (Image: Vadiraj Rao)

Child prodigies emerge from time to time in the world of music. I had the privilege of watching U Srinivas (mandolin player) and Shashank Subramanyam (flautist) in action in Sydney when they were each less than ten years of age. Now it is Rahul’s turn.

Born in 2007, the young vocalist’s talents were discovered when he was only four years of age. Thanks to his parents for nurturing his skills, today he stands as one of most watched performers in the industry, with about 18 awards to his credit and international acclaim.

Rahul’s Sydney concert started after a Veda Ghosha and a lengthy introduction. True to the spirit of Sri Venkata Krishna Brindavana, Rahul first rendered Govardana Girisham in Raga Hindola. What stood out immediately was the wonderfully clear enunciation – pleasingly, this would continue throughout the recital. Also observed was a strict adherence to ragas. The violin by Vaibhav Ramani was perfect in accompaniment.

Violinist Vaibhav Ramani (Image: Vadiraj Rao)

The masterpiece Brochevarevarura followed.

The concert picked up momentum with the next item in Raga Ranjani. After an Alapane Rahul rendered a rare Kannada composition:

Kadiruvenu nanu shree Rama kapaduva daiva ninendu thilidu.

He was able to build up an atmosphere swiftly, with a sense of despair in the Neruval for the line PadambujagaLa poojeya madi followed by an entertaining Swraprasthara and Chitte Swara as well. It was a rare beauty indeed.

The imaginative flights of Raga Karnaranjani in Vanchatoluna were marvelously entertaining.

Nagumomu in Abheri is an all-time favourite in Carnatic music. That was performed with a good Alapana, which included a small Griha Bheda exercise as well. Gusts of swaras during Swaraprastara were delightful.

It was clear that Rahul Vellal had in mind an average concert goer, with no knowledge of intricacies of music. Rest of the items were crowd pleasers – Pibare Ramarasam, Jagadodharana, Adigo Bhadradi, Ramanai Bhajital and Bho Shambho.

All ears (Image: Vadiraj Rao)

The audience responded with standing ovation and frequent applause, sometimes at the wrong spots.

The mridangist Anoor Vinod Shyam rendered an impressive Thaniavartanam, so much so that the audience decided to accompany him! He wisely slowed down and encouraged them to join him. Later, he begged their permission to go on his own! His accompaniment during the item Bho Shambho when he rendered Shiva’s drumbeats became a highlight for many.

Mridangist Anoor Vinod Shyam (Image: Vadiraj Rao)

An impressive concert, Rahul, with which to introduce yourself to the Sydney audience – we look forward to more in coming years.

Learn more about the Sri Venkata Krishna Vrindavana Sydney here



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