Srirangam R. Venkatanagarajan could do well with some gentle, emotive singing

Mudhra’s 27th Fine Arts Festival featured a virtual concert by vocalist Srirangam R. Venkatanagarajan. . The singer made good use of a voice that traverses the full range to render some unusual songs. He began with the Ata tala Muthiah Bhagavatar varnam in Mohana, ‘Mana Mohana’, in which musicians do not usually sing swarakalpanas, but Venkatanagarajan did.

‘Sriramam Ravikulapthi’ in raga Narayanagowla was sedate while the Varali raga exposition carried the conventional phrases with the kriti chosen being Tyagaraja’s ‘Ne pogada kunte’. The swaras were at ‘Neeraja nayana Tyagaraja’. Venkatanagarajan sang alapana for Ritigowla, Purvikalyani and Karaharapriya, which was the centre piece. The Ritigowla kriti ‘Manjanamaada nee vaarai kanna’ by Oothukadu Venkatakavi came with two catchy madhyama kala segments. He also rendered ‘Paraloka sadhaname’ by Tyagaraja in Purvikalyani with brisk swaras in the pallavi.

Swara matrices

For Karaharapriya , Venkatanagarajan chose Swati Tirunal’s ‘Satatam tavaka’. The niraval and swara matrices were at ‘Mamahruti vasanisam’. Thayumanavar’s verse ‘Kanthukak kariyaiyum’ was presented as virutham in ragas such as Kamboji, Dhanyasi, Begada, Bhimplas, Behag and Kurinji. The concluding kriti was Sivan’s ‘Engum nirainthirukkum en deivam’ in Kurinji.

There is a thin dividing line between open-throated and loud singing. Venkatanagarajan needs to keep this difference in mind in the raga alapana and swaraprastara segments. Ragas like Ritigowla and Varali demand gentle, sruti-aligned karvais instead of fast flashy brigas. Internalisation of ragas and sahitya is crucial to expressive and emotive singing. Musicians should pay more attention to raga bhava.

Mantha Sriramya on the violin played with composure. Her raga essays and swara repartees were marked by poise and perfection. R. Rohit on the mridangam and N. Rajaraman on the ghatam were enthusiastic accompanists. Their thani had verve and control.

The Chennai-based writer reviews Carnatic music.



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