For the last few seasons I stayed anchored at the Music Academy for the annual music season. This year I decided to do the sabha hopping that many rasikas experience during the season. I attended about 50 plus concerts across seven venues including the Music Academy.
There were some very good concerts, some good, and a few not so good. But some parts of a concert linger in your mind long after the season is over and I share a few of them here. The Varali raga alapana of Sandeep Narayan at Narada Gana Sabha, the ragam-tanam-pallavi in Dwijavanti by Malladi Brothers at Mylapore Fine Arts, the tri-raga ragam-tanam-pallavi in Sree, Neelambari and Bindumalini by Ranjani-Gayatri at Brahma Gana Sabha and a long and detailed raga alapana in Kedaragaula by Sanjay Subrahmanyan at Brahma Gana Sabha on 1 January 2018. Four-hour concerts can allow the performer to dig deep and come out with gems. This Kedaragaula sounded even more beautiful in the mid-morning – the raga assumed a different hue from when you listened to it in the evening, though I know the concept of morning and evening ragas is alien to Carnatic music.
Some singers were adventurous in picking ragas like Vachaspati and Varamu not usually chosen for ragam-tanam-pallavi and pulled it off very nicely. I also got to hear some ragas not often heard these days in the kutcheri circuit, for example, Balahamsa, Phalamanjari and Takka. They sounded so beautiful that I wondered why these ragas were not taken up more frequently for singing. Also it may be just a coincidence but I heard Paramatmudu in the vivadi raga Vagadeeswari in several concerts, while Kambhoji seemed to be the flavour of the season… read more