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A memorable concert by Sikkil Gurucharan at the Music Circle in Bengaluru
BENGALURU, October 29: Young musician Sikkil Gurucharan is the fastest rising star in the firmament of Carnatic Music. Last Saturday evening (October 25, 2008), he did not disappoint rasikas of the Music Circle in Bengaluru's Chandra Layout. He established great rapport with a small but selective audience and treated them to a delightful evening of quality music.

From the word go, he was in top form. Displaying the confidence that comes with encomiums received, including the recent Yuva Puraskar Award this year from the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Gurucharan enthralled listeners with music that enchants.

This young man with a pleasing demeanour skillfully combined his music with wholesome blend of tradition and modernity. His youthful exuberance made for a refreshing touch when exploring rare ragas. But emphasis was always on tradition as an integral part of our classical system.

Gurucharan is, in fact, blessed. He has a trained, rich and cultured voice, which he can mould at will, and, above all, a spirit of adventure in music. All this augurs well for him and promises a great future in music.

Beginning his concert with a brisk Kalyani raga varnam "Vanajakshi", he moved on to dwell with assurance on the Thyagaraja kriti "Nada loludai bramha-anandame" in raga Kalyanavasantham. It was a delightful but brief exposition.

He then sang a scintillating Nalinakanthi raga alapanai. This was sung with a creative spark, highlighting its innate beauty and romance. Its cadence and mood were further enhanced with brisk sangathis in the Thanjavur Sankara Iyer composition "Natha jana palini nalinakanti," culminating in highly engrossing swara patterns.

This was followed by another Thyagaraja kriti "Nannu vidachi kadaga bhoda" in raga Reetigowla. Soaked as it was in bhava and bakhti rasa, this piece marked a fine contrast to the ebullience seen in the earlier Nalinakanti kriti.

He surprised many with a thought-provoking rendition of raga Natakapriya and also by singing another Thanjavur Sankara Iyer composition, "Keertha vadya natana Natakapriya rasike". Both the raga and the kriti had a marked resemblance to Thodi in places, but were also different in character. It was a distinctive melakarta melody on its own, bringing in the mood of great emotional appeal. Swaras were colourful and brisk.

A fast-paced Tamil composition "Sevika Vendum Ayya" in raga Antholika took us on a quick tour to the Chidamabram temple and the devotion attested to the Dancing Lord of Thillai by the poet Muthu Thandavar.

Gurucharan then sang a superb Kambhoji raga with delightful nuances and effective brigha-laden sangathis in the 'dhuritha kala' phase. But what marked it as a fine rendition was the great poise and depth he displayed while singing in the 'mandhara sthayi'. Simply put, it was melodious and resonant. The fine effort was capped by a brilliant exposition of Muthuswami Dikshitar's memorable kriti "Maragatha valli", capturing well the spirit of this timeless ode to Goddess Kamakshi.

Towards the end, the concert had a memorable rendition of Kavi Subramaniya Bharatiyar's immortal ragamalika piece "Chinnajchiru kiliye kannamma". A fast-moving Tamil Composition "Maname kanamum maravade" in the lively Abheri raga, a rousing thillana in Madhuvanti, and a brisk Thirupugazh in Hamsanandi marked the end of a fine evening of sheer musical joy.

Vidushi Smt. Nalina Mohan, a topgrade AIR artiste from Bangalore, provided excellent support in violin accompaniment thereby significantly enriching the concert. Her portrayal of the raga alapanais of Nalinakanti, Natakapriya, and Kambhoji, were laced with a fine feel for the ragas and their innate melody and beauty. Veteran mridangist from Karnataka Vidwan H.S. Suchindra accompanied with aplomb providing superb percussion support throughout and a rousing thani which was enjoyed by everyone.