Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Murali Ghanam !

Murali Ghanam!

Don't know If I can call this a write-up, leave alone a "review"! Is there anyone out there who is competent to review a concert by Dr. Mangalampally Balamuralikrishna? I doubt.

Simply put – it is my verbal ( verbose too! ) expression of an aural experience and a list of songs - hopefully with the right Raga names! 

Dr. Balamurali Krishna @Chowdiah hall! There was no parking space available in and around the hall and a packed auditorium.

That explains our toe-stepping entry with an embarrassed grin, much to the chagrin of those seated already. Sigh. And missing the first few minutes of his Amma ananda daayini !in Gambheera nattai .

Loved his rendition ..and felt lucky to hear a composer rendering his composition as intended.
At 84 how does he manage to sing like this? Amazes me. Honey and cream tone at all octaves.  Not a single dull moment during the whole concert.

Then the Thyagayyar feast started with Bhagayanayya nee maya nentho koni yaada tharama in Chandra Jyothi.

Followed by his Sarasaangi composition Hanumaa Anuma , oh Manama! Wherever the krithi has the syllable’ma', it also has the swara ‘ma'! Such a well constructed swaraksharam and Such a beautiful krithi on Lord Hanuman. 

Sri Ramya Chitaa alankara Swaroopa .. sounded like a familiar Raga but in disguise. To my untrained ears .. Believe,  it is Sriranjani with Jaya Manohari phrases.

The sea is so large, and my boat is so small. I have a long way to go from my delusions about Abhogi, Sriranjani and now Jaya Manohari.

Then came Inthanuchu varnimpa tharama in Gundakriya .. Heard it for the first time, and it was instant love! 

Hindolam alaap.. Interspersed with his signature-"Hari". At 84, he can hold on to his "Hari" for a full minute. What breath control!

After this lovely alaap, I heard only ‘sa’ while “maja” got completely drowned in thunderous applause ..He had to stop briefly to take in the adulation with his usual charismatic smile and " I- knew- this- was- coming " look, then continue! 

Balu Raghuram on the violin and Tumkur Ravi Shankar on the Mridangam did a commendable job as accompanists to such a veteran artist. The violin output was very low .. Sad that these things still happen in prestigious halls like this. Tumkur RaviShankar’s Mridangam was very pleasing indeed.

He then rendered Pavana Thanaya paalayamam - my favorite too – in Raga Rasikapriya. Love the way he talks in between the krithi with the drone of the sruthi - "Ragam -Rasikapriya " ! and continues from where he left, effortlessly. As if time stood still briefly.

He also had this advice for students of music while talking about Rasikapriya -“ I urge all music students to learn all the 72 Mela ragas. The basis of all/ any music lies in these 72 ragas”. 
It  makes  sense to have the 72 Ragas as  beginners lessons in Carnatic Music like our times tables in Mathematics.

Time for the evergreen Jagadodhaarana .. he explained his lack of  memory due to his age  these days .. And hence asked his Senior student to complete it for him saying “ nee paadu . Naa kekaren “! 

He followed it up with a composition authored and tuned by his maternal grandfather Prayaga Ranga Dasa, a lilting folksy melody – Rama Rama ena rada. Nothing to beat a Telugu knowing musician rendering a Telugu krithi. I  understand what the epic poet Bharathi  meant when he said " Sundara Telungu ".

All good things come to an end. Na na na Thillana na dridhim followed by  the mangalam Ramachandraya janaka , only to herald better beginnings I guess!


durga said...

Is there anyone out there who is competent to review a concert by Dr Mangalampally Balamuralikrishna ? I doubt .

And my son also doubts always about any concert review :)

But let me tell you, what paper writes i do not know, but a true rasika's feeling give a beautiful and worthy write up. Every word you wrote speaks your inner happiness, what else an artist needs. He evoked blissful experience to a rasika. Who cares whether he forgot a line here or there or sang todi first or varnam last. I thoroughly enjoyed reading and imaging if i were in Chowdaiyya hall, how i would have felt.

Viji Ganesh said...

Thank you Durgaji, for reading and commenting. You sure know how a fellow rasika feels!