Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ragas in the Air- G. Jayakumar

The following review of a concert performed by Shri. Kudamaloor Janardanan at Vyloppilli Sanskriti Bhavan in Trivandrum appeared on the leading newspaper, 'The Hindu' on Friday, Jan 27, 2006. The original version could be accessed online at the following url:

With flautist Kudamaloor Janardanan it seems to be something of a mission to give the ragas their right place in music concerts.

That was clear as he played such superb ragas as Nattakurinji, Mohanam, Chenchurutti, Sarasangi, and Sankarabharanam.

Kudamaloor Janardanan began his flute concert with the raga Nattakurinji set to Rupaka talam. Without the usual lyrics, Janardanan, after a short alaap, began playing the raga as such with madhyamakala swara sancharam. As it progressed shades of Nilambari could also be felt.
The raga Mohanam wafted in the air carrying the audience to a sublime level. Set to Adi talam, resembling the varnam `Ninnu kori,' the raga was accompanied by laya jathi by Kishore. Laya jathi is the oral recital of the syllables like tha dhim tha ka dhim played on the mridangam. This added colour to the raga.

Janardanan mesmerised the listeners, mostly foreigners, with his rendition of the raga Chenchurutti. The raga, which evolved from folk tradition, was presented in its pristine form. Janardanan played the pleasing raga without any accompaniment. The raga Sarasangi set to Misrachappu talam was followed by some percussion solo on the mridangam by Vypeen Satheesh and on the ghatam by Unnikrishnan, and laya jathi. Quite distinct from the usual thaniavarthanams in Carnatic music, which lasts for less than 25 minutes and is often monotonous, here it was interspersed with the playing of the flute.

Emphasis on Melody

Janardanan started with an alaap and gradually brought forth the softness of the raga, embellishing each swara. The emphasis was on melody.

The concluding raga of the evening was Sankarabharanam based on the very familiar composition of Harikeshanalloor Muthiah Bhagavathar modelled on the Western notes Ga Ma Ga Ri Ga Sa .

True to the flautist's unconventional style, there was a near total absence of kritis, varnams and tillanas in the concert, enabling the listeners to enjoy the ragas in their pure form.

The 90-minute concert was organised by Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum.