Mesmerizing Veena Recital
Lakshmi and Venkat, as they are fondly known to New Englanders who have contributed tremendously to the Boston are music scene for many years before they moved to California, returned to the Srilakshmi Temple with a great present for New England area Rasikas - A concert by their sons Guhan who played the Veena accompanied by his brother Vignesh on the Mridangam.
While their resume qualifies them as seasoned artists, they are only high-schoolers , Guhan being a 9th grader and Vignesh in the 11th grade.
Guhan is a disciple of Smt. Ranganayaki Rajagopalan who is a direct disciple of the legendary Karaikudi Sri. Sambasiva Iyer. Vignesh is a disciple of the Mridangam Maestro Shri Umayalpuram Shivaraman. They have won many prestigious awards.
Listening to the concert was a blissful experience. Congratulations Lakshmi and Venkat! Your children did you proud!
Guhan started the concert with Viriboni in the right kala pramanam. Playing in different octaves made one think it was a duo concert-innovative. The rendering was ‘kacchidam’ with 'yeduvana' accompaniment by Vignesh Bhavam (ga -ri, ri-sa, sa-ni, da-pa for example) was soothing. ‘Siddhivinayakam’ was quick and energetic; being a devout fan of MDR, would have preferred a slower tempo. Guhan did not elaborate on sankathi; instead
demonstrated a flavor of various aspects of a composition (alapana, sankathi, swara prastara)
‘Shadanane’ in kamAs was short and crisp; padandaram was in a different style. i was missing the jathis “'jam taka naka deem tajanu...” Guhan was very comfortable and mellifluous while playing in durita kalam. Neelambari's 'kuzaivu' was very well brought up in 'Amba Neelayadakshi'. Chittaswaram was very pleasant, melodious to the ears, and emotive. Would like to recommend listening to Semmangudi's rendering (http://www.filestube.com/658c5b7c59555b5d03e9/go.html) as well as Gurcharan's to embellish it further. Vignesh sang along with him on his mridangam.
Brisk handling of the kriti 'Ninnu Cheppaka’ in Mandari. Playing the octaves alternatively was cleverly handled, followed by simple but apt swara prastara. Here is Lalgudi's rendering http://www.mediafire.com/?wornknmmnxj Ninnu cheppaka - Mandari. - please note the muthaippu, something Guhan may want to add to his style. ‘Raguvamsa’ followed. Guhan's comfort level in rendering at fast speed once again was demonstrated. Vignesh accompanied unobtrusively but following Guhan's nadai.
With very first 'meetu' Guhan brought the flavor of Todi. Traditionally played, Guhan was able to bring out the pathos of Todi with 'kuzaivu and appropriate ezuppu gamakam. Guhan covered across the octaves, employed spuritha gamakam aptly without exaggeration. Ragam-Tanam (in raga malika) followed the alapana. Amazing to watch young Guhan playing it with such ease, confidence, and above all enjoying himself thoroughly.
Choosing the ‘pancha ratna’ ragas was congenial and soothing and fitting to the mood of the listener. Moving from one raga to another seamlessly was an achievement by itself indeed. Especially in Varali, the tanam was rendered with such pathos. Who would not like to listen to the majestic, appealing, pleading, dignified Sriragam? Guhan did more than justice to it. Many a raga followed - sama, riti gowla, sindu bhairavi , sivarnjani, behag. Another laudable feature to note about young Guhan’s expertise - having breadth of ragas under his control. Liked very much his prayoga of gamaka suitable to the raga. His Behag and Sindubhairavi were my favorites.
While rendering the kriti ‘Emi jEsitE’, Guhan maintained the traditional approach. His niraval muthaippu was so very comforting. As we know, The 'ni' and 'ga' In Todi can be rendered differently according to the mood. In particular, Guhan brought out the intonations of 'ni' and 'ga' quite superbly. Vignesh's tani avartanam was like the feather in the cap to the already great delivery by Guhan. Very traditionally played, Could hear in Vignesh's, his guru's 'kai' (who else but Sri Umaiyalpuram Sivaraman). Gentle gallop with majestic bounces, and, that without losing melody. The 'nadais' were very brisk and clean. Guhan completed with few more small pieces including thillanna, needless to say to a standing ovation.
As I was listening to the MP3' s of the recordings in the early hours, when all was quiet and calm around, I felt energized and equally felt at peace. Thanks Lakshmi & Venkat for giving me an opportunity to relive the musical experience via the recordings and write this review!
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Vignesh and Guhan