Under the auspices of Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle (KHMC), Kum. Sahana Venkatesh, disciple of Smt. Durga Krishnan gave a stellar veena recital this past weekend at Nashua, New Hampshire. She was ably accompanied on the mridangam by Śri Krishna Gopal Saikripa.
After an introduction to the artistes by Smt. Jeyanti Gaddaraju, Sahana began the concert with a brisk pada varnam in Shanmukhapriya, 'Omkara Pranava Nada', composed by Sangeeta Kalanidhi Dr M. Balamuralikrishna. This was followed by the popular 'Janani Ninnuvina' in raga Reetigowla, composed by Śri. Subbaraya Sastri. The elegance of the ghana raga was evident in the crystal clear lower sthayi notes issuing from Sahana's veena, especially rendering the swara sahityam ''Niravadhika sukha dayaki...". The swara prastharam was done at the phrase “Thamasamu Seyagave” was seamless and Sahana transitioned between the first and second speeds with ease.
This was followed with a short, sweet and fast-paced performance of Saint Thyagaraja’s Ananda Sagara and then to a crisp rendering of Śri Muthuswami Dikshitar's 'Śri Kalahastisha', one of the Pancha bhoota kritis in raaga Huseni. In Anada Sagara Sahana effortlessly played several sangati variations in the anupallavi and charanam adding a feeling of exhilaration to the concert.
The centerpiece was the Kamboji composition of Śri Muthuswami Dikshitar’s 'Śri Subramanyaya Namaste'. Sahana's tutelage under guru Smt. Durga Krishnan was evident with an elaborate raga alapana followed by a tanam. Swara prastharam of increasing length and sophistication indicated Sahana's mastery of the ragam and composition. A thani avarthanam by Śri Krishna Gopal ended the centerpiece.
Next came crowd favorites 'Naaraayana Ninna Namade' of Śri Purandaradasa, and raaga malika 'Maalai Pozuthinile' of Śri Kalki Krishnamurthy. The concert concluded with Violin Maestro Padma Bhushan Śri Lalgudi Jayaraman's Tillana 'Kaliya Narthanam' evoking Krishna's dance on the naga Kaliya.
Sahana's performance was flawless and possessed of tala- and swara-shuddham. All facets of a classic Carnatic concert - alapana, tanam, swara prastharam - were in evidence throughout. Sahana is well on her way to fulfilling her promise of an excellent Carnatic music artist. Śri Krishna Gopal's accompaniment on the mridangam was both complementary and supportive of the veena. It was overall a very fulfilling experience.