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Duality in music and life
CHENNAI, March 25: This is the first time that these two leading vocalists from different Carnatic styles have chosen to share platform that too at Music Academy. Aikya 2011 saw singers Sudha Ragunathan and T.M. Krishna come together to present yet one more edition of musi-cultural journey, put together jointly by Global Adjustments and NAPC Properties on the evening of March 18.

It was surely a premium concert, a full house show at that. Though it was an innovative exercise, the concert stayed within the realm of tradition. Krishna and Sudha did combine well to present a music that was novel and yet pristine. The entire concert revolved around the theme duality. The focus was on understanding the duality around us and accepting it. Given the theme, the selection of songs was apt. And, the entire concert was enjoyable for its exuberant presentation. These kinds of jugalbandis during off- season serve assorted purposes. For one, they prove a useful tool to entice newer audience to Carnatic music. For another, they also help artistes to articulate their innovation. More than anything else, these jugalbandis help the practitioners of this great art form to stamp their relevance in these dynamic days.

The two have huge fan following. On this evening, they charmed their way to win appreciative nods. Their music had indeed a tranquilizing effect on a largely secular audience. To start with, Krishna and Sudha sang an invocation sloka from Abhigyana Shakuntham of Poet Kalidasa. This was followed by Saint Thyagaraja’s “Shobillu Sapthaswara” (Jaganmohini). Their alap in Kumadakriya was arresting. The beauty of Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s “Ardhanarishwaram” was brought out splendidly. There was dedication in their effort and their music merged into one. Lord Shiva is inseparable from Goddess Parvathi or Shakthi. And, this kriti goes on to explain the concept of physical duality. The all-encompassing duality was again brought out by the duo when Krishna and Sudha alternately sang Patanjali Stotra and Poet Subramanya Bharathi’s “Yadhumagi Ninrai Kali”, respectively. “Raga Medley” was a surprise. It started with the early sunrise ragas such as Bhupalam, Neelambari, Amirthavarshini and the like. The insertion of Swaravali and the basics of Carnatic music as a concert component took the audience off guard. The Swaravali rendition by two senior artistes, however, did manage to make an impression on the audience. They finished off Raga Medley in style with a Madhyamavathy and a few lines of Papanasam Sivan composition “Sharavana Bhava Guhane”.

Taniavarthanam saw the three percussion artistes - Sundarkumar on Kanjira, Giridhar Udupa on Ghatam and Thiruvaroor Vaidyanathan on Mridangam - exhibit their skill with gusto. Embar Kannan and Shriramkumar on violin did an admirable job and, in large measure, were responsible to make the concert a wholesome treat. The varied emotions in Kabir’s poetry were brought to the fore in a telling way by the artistes. This was followed by the famous Sangam poetry from the Silapadikaram “Vadavarayai Mathaaki” in ragamalika. “Bhare Panduranga”, an Abhang in Maand raga, made Sudha devotion- personified. The wonderful evening came to a finish with a sloka from the 12th chapter of Srimad Bhagwad Gita. “Bhaja Govindam” of Adi Sankara in Ragamalika was rendered with utmost dedication. The Sudha-Krishna jugalbandi in a way also underscored the conundrum, nay duality, facing the practitioners of Carnatic music in the modern day.

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