DATE : 23rd NOV 2018
VENUE : RAVINDRA BHARATI, HYDERABAD
Bombay Jayashri (vocals)
Abhishek Raghuram (vocals)
Ravichandra Kulur (flute)
Murad Ali (sarangi)
Praveen D Rao (keys/harmonium)
Anantha R Krishnan (mridangam)
Ojas Adhiya (tabla)
Yatra - The jounrey within conceptualised by Carnatic vocalists Bombay Jayashri (my Goddess) and Abhishek Raghuram , travelled through my city of Hyderabad and I was blessed to be witnessing their journey. It was a concert par excellence, I have Bombay Jayashri's concert in 2013 but this was beyond words. I can never find any words to explain how good I felt while at the concert and even now as I write this blog.
Nonchalant notes on Sarangi began the flow in an enchanting manner. I always thought of Sarangi as a melancholy instrument that set pensive tone but the blend it brought was pitch perfect and Murad Ali was too good with the Sarangi to begin with.
The first song of the concert was Subramania Bharati’s provocative ‘Enda Neramum Nin Maiyal’ in Shuddh Sarang and I suppose that the raag had something to do with Sarangi. The lift was beautiful and it set the mood for what was to come through for next hour or so.
The song was followed by Marathi bhajan, ‘Tejonidhi Lohagol’, composed by the late Jitendra Abhisheki. The raag was Lalit. Although I heard the bhajan few years back, this rendition was beautiful and brought the might of the sun to the stage on a full moon night (Yes it was Karthika Pournima)
Next came a medley of a trinity - excerpts from familiar padams Ososi (raag Mukhari), Panimati (raag Ahiri), Aligite (raag Huseni). The rendition just took the flow to a beautiful place where, I wished, this recital could go on like this. The notes chosen were slow and they highlighted the highs and lows of the compositions perfectly.
Then came the biggest surprise, the most beautiful surprise I ever heard. Before the surprise was the mellifluous prelude of the flute that set the mood for the joy that would follow. The suprise was
‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ composed in a new bottle with raag Nand. It was full of life, bubbling and cheerful. I have heard the composition many a time before but never with such jest and adulation. I felt blessed to have heard this rendition live. Abhishek Raghuram flirted with the notes beautifully and it felt like a composer was making love with the composition he was flirtfully yet meticlulously rendering notes with all the passion expressed in his voice.
The suprise continued with the blend of spring raag Bahar and monsoon raag Malhar, for the composition of ‘Kamala Vadane’. Although a Carnatic composition, this piece was rendered more in the Hindustani in familiar Adi talam. The flute and the sarangi followed, with the interlued of the harmonium adding it's flavor too.
This rendition was followed by the paddhati of 'Tani Avartanam', the conquest between the percussionist for a good 10 minutes without any break or pause. Both the percussionists Anantha R Krishnan (mridangam), Ojas Adhiya (tabla) were relentless and also breathtaking sans pause.
To close the concert, 'Krishna nee Begane’ was knitted with Lalgudi Jayaraman’s tillana. and Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s ‘Vande Mataram’ closed the concert.
And then, came the applause that had been heard many a times all through this great concert and I stood there bowing my head in salutation to the God and Goddess and to the heaven, the stage that has given me divine pleasure. It's a night that I shall never forget.
What struck you throughout the concert was the singers’ brilliant sruti management, a Herculean effort for performers, especially when one is a male and the other, a female voice. This not only involved vocal adjustments here and there, but also at times, for one to sing in the lower octave in long stretches as the other used the regular pitch. Bombay Jayashri dared to sing long spells in the lower register, with power and control. The effect was almost one of harmonising. Not everything worked as well of course, like the attempt at simultaneous singing and sollukattu. Also, a brief introduction to each piece would have added production values.