December 26, 2009

Sreevalson Menon : The Calm after the Storm !!

.............................. by Sivapriya Krishnan

What happens after a storm ? There is a certain calm !! ; sudden silence, stray mater strewn here and there , everything seems shaken up till fresh life begins.

This is exactly what happened in the Music Academy today. Aruna Sairam created the storm and the calm thereafter, taking away groups and groups of people from the hall, thus creating rows and rows of empty chairs. The entire Academy, with all of 30- 40 odd people including me, decided to sit and listen to Sreevalson Menon.

It was worth the effort, as the mind and ears both needed to come back to normalcy and Sreevalson right from the word go aided the limited audience strewn here and there to get back into that state.

Sreevalson has a voice that is supple and yet mature and can traverse well . There is what is called "sowkhyam" in his voice ; however he may need to steady a few brighas a little more with some practice .

Starting with the Todi pada varnam, Dani Samjendra by Swati tirunal, an intelligent compostion , Sreevalson went on to the ekaika raga kriti Varasikhivahana of Tyagaraja in the rraga Supradeepam.

The MDR composition in Kedaram , Tyagaraja Gurum, was a scintillatingly divine experience , as the master composers music . So much of Kedaram beauty, poise, grandeur all at once.

Sreevalson excelled in his raga alaapana of Purvi Kalyani. The gandhara madhyama rishaba, aligned beautifully and he went on to sing Ekkalathilum Unai Maravene, a brilliant composition of Tiruvaru Ramaswami Pillai. This kriti stands out for its descriptive passages about surrender to Goddess Minakshi , with a chitta swara, that is "chittai" , as in short and succinct, with swarakshara sahitya bringing out the meaning intelligently.

Sreevalson made a creditable description of the neraval in the highly meaningful line " Taye, vedapurishwari, taruvai nidamodam" and the swaras that followed. Govardhana Gireesham of Dikshitar sang in Madhyama sruti lifted the overall mood of the concert.Bhairavi and an exhaustive Sarievvaramma of Syama Sastri in Khanda Jhampa, was given a great place of honour , deserved by the masterpiece.

Hamirkalynai for the RTP was where Sreevalson showed his capacity to use brighas and the range he could traverse with his voice. The MIsra Chapu pallavi after three beats, "ganalola, dheenapala,nandapala,madhava murali " was handled with trikaalam precisely and ragamalika swaras in saveri, sahana, dhanyasi and a Hindustani raga I could not make out. The Sahana , Dhanyasi and Saveri was enough for this listener, as the Sahana took the place of the icing on the cake!
An emotive Sakhi prana in Chenchuruti and a Kathakali padam in Purneermai, wth a lilting tune and beat brought the curtains down !

C N Chandrasekharan on the violin, played with gusto and Trichur Narendran on the mridangam and Pudukottai Ramachandran on the ghatam played a tani avartanam in Misra Chapu, with nice intricate kanakkus and korvais.

The entire team's spirit was commendable, as they sang undaunted, unfazed by the empty seats, with a sense of purpose and surrender to the select audience and God up there, and honoured the stage given to them with authentic classicism of the best variety.

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