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Grand violin concert at Hindu Temple

May 16
22:26 2011

CHICAGO: The Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago (HTGC) recently hosted a violin concert by Ganesh-Kumaresh brothers and the consensus among those attending it was that it was “spectacular, original and unique”

The concert started off on an in-depth purely classical note with the unique multihued bowing techniques and almost vocal-like handling of the violin that sent the rasikas on a delightful journey to musical paradise.

A music-lover’s treat, Raaga Naasikaabhushini was given excellent treatment at the hands of Ganesh and Kumaresh with the subtle nuances of the raaga brought forth beautifully through swara prasthaara.

The duo presented Saragunapalimpa, the grand stately krithi in Kedaragowla raga with all its royal bearings – embellishing with alapana and swara prasthaara. Ganesh surprised the audience by picking up the mike and singing kalpana swaras. The audience was very appreciative of that!

The piece de resistance of the evening came in the form of Ragam Tanam Pallavi in tri-raaga-maalika: Ranjani, Janaranjani and Shreeranjani. When asking the audience to pick a raga for RTP, some voted Ranjani, some voted Shreeranjani: so Kumaresh quipped: “buy one get two free (ragas)!!” and they played the Pallavi in all three ragas.

The presentation of the pallavi seemed meticulously planned: they played alapana in Ranjani, tanam in Janaranjani and pallavi in Shriranjani!! Tanam in Janaranjani was exquisitely ornamented with bowing and plucking techniques on western music-like notes in the lower octaves.

In addition to the conventional playing in three kalams, Ganesh-Kumaresh included a fourth kalam – which was was at an incomprehensibly blistering speed!

They did neraval in Janaranjani and Ranjani followed by kalpana swaras again in Janaranjani, Ranjani but now adding a whole other dimension with ragamalika swaras in Kaapi, Vasantha, Revathi, Varaali, Naatakurunji, Hamsaanandi, Abheri, Malayamaarutha, Swarasamyojini. Subsequently they started playing swaras in the second speed of tisra nadai and in the fourth speed, leaving for tani avarthanam.

The tani avarthanam was a real treat to the rasikas: where would you have heard the kind of Mridangam playing that is as handsome as thunder and rain yet gentle and soft as a flowing mountain brook? Thanjavur Govindarajan on the thavil delighted the audience with his playing techniques. Where there were improvisations involved, what was interesting was the co-ordination between Mridangam Patri Satish Kumar and the Thavil Thanjavur Govinda Rajan.

It seemed like Patri Satish Kumar could feel the pulse of the main artist and play in such perfect sync that it was temptingly – almost dangerously pleasing: the rasika felt like throwing their shoes up and dancing! Imagine over 200 people tapping feet…yes, it could be dangerous!

Patri Satish and Govindarajan interspersed their Tani with different nadais and korvais. The speed and unique handling of the left side of the Mridangam by Patri Satish seemed to emanate sounds not quite heard of before, presenting the rasikas with a delightful ‘laya madhuryam’.

The evening concluded with popular ‘tukkadas’ like ‘Tamburimeetidava’, Bhagayadalakshmi baaramma’, nagumomu galavani, interspersed with singing songs ‘Aazhi Mazhai Kanna’ in Behag composed by Kavi Kannan- which again was a treat to the discerning ear!

The HTGC fine arts committee chair Raghu Baddi and Smt Renuka Reddy proposed a vote of thanks to conclude the program.

Saraswathi Ranganathan

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