K. Bharat Sundar’s concert in the company of L. Ramakrishnan, Sumesh Narayanan and Anirudh Athreya, for Kartik Fine Arts, was a dynamic and excellent presentation by the young brigade.
Bharat, this year’s ‘Isai Peroli’ awardee of Kartik Fine Arts, has had a steady and remarkable rise, because of his diligence and robust vocal prowess. His understanding of the Carnatic music expression, with its sobriety and vitality, is laudable.
Bharat initiated his concert with a rather unusual slow-paced kriti, Syama Sastri’s ‘Neelayadakshi’ in Paras. This did not hamper what followed — a raga essay of Hamsanadam, where he nurtured its melody through imaginative phrases. Bharatiyar’s ‘Vellai kamalaththile’ was his selection. There was a fairly lengthy niraval and swarakalpana on ‘Vaaniyai saran pugunthen’, where he invested substantial energy and rapid swaras centred on nishadam. It was a long, bouncing conversation with the violin, mridangam and ghatam.
The soothing ‘Nike dayaraka’ in Nilambari and the slightly peppy ‘Chinna nadena’ in Kalanidhi, both by Tyagaraja, came as fillers.
Bharat’s main offering was in raga Khamas. Short and long phrases embellished with brigas at the right junctures came in, structuring the raga alapana fascinatingly. The selection here was Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Brochevarevarura’.
The song came with captivating chittaswaram. Bharat Sundar dwelt on the line ‘Athura mukha kari rajuni’ for the niraval, but shifted the swara section to the pallavi. Several combinations of swaras came rolling with great energy and beauty, and concluded with daivatam-centered ones.
This was followed by Sumesh Narayanan and Anirudh Athreya’s remarkable tani avartanam.
The stage turned into an arena of sharp rhythmic arsenals exchanged between the two, drawing a thunderous applause.
The concert then entered a sober zone with a virutham, the Azhwar paasuram ‘Pachchai mamalai pol meni’ as ragamalika in Atana, Kapi and Maund, leading to writer Kalki’s verse ‘Kuyilgale muhil vannan varak kooviro’ in Tamil. ‘Bhajat murali murari,’ a Swati Tirunal bhajan in raga Patdeep, and the singer’s own thillana in raga Varali were the signing off numbers.
L. Ramakrishnan (violin), with his raga responses and swara repartees, was brilliant.
A friendly word of caution: A singer has to be careful about open-throated singing.
But, there is always a slender line separating this from slipping into loudness. Bharat is an intelligent vocalist, he should know where to draw the line.