Contemporary. And classical

It takes a ‘guitar’ Prasanna to pull in many young people to a Carnatic concert. It was unusual audience in shorts and with funky hairstyles. Howls and whistles after every piece. But what Prasanna presented was a classical Carnatic music this evening.

A traditional concert that began with a varnam in Andolika; three kritis, each composed by one of the trinity, which included a rare kriti of Dikshitar – Neelayadakshi in Paras; main piece in Madhyamavathi and the thani avarthanam; yet the concert had the youngsters enjoying and appreciating all through the two hours. Many students from Marg Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (where Prasanna teaches music) were present and there was a song dedicated to them too apart from one for Prasanna’s four year old daughter.

Senior mridangam vidwan Mannargudi Easwaran was game to add interesting ‘arithis’ and enhanced the experience for the youngsters. Karthik on the Ghatam, who has been part of many fusion and jazz concerts added brilliant sparks.

Easwaran and Karthik had stories to share. Of Prasanna inviting them to the universities abroad for lectures and demonstrations. Prasanna said he invited them to interact with the international students since they are among the best of the artistes and commended Easwaran for encouraging young percussionists. In this concert, it was C.S. Venkataramanan on the kanjira.

For the senior rasikas, the sruti bedham in Madhyamavathi, flowing to Mohanam and getting back gracefully was a treat. But it was strange for them when Prasanna introduced the percussionists after the tani and invited appreciation from them as in the jazz concerts.

The  modest Dakshinamurthy auditorium is not the best hall for such concerts. The audio-man just smiled whenever he couldn’t get the right output levels and nothing better could be done. The experience was subdued except that one got the natural air in on this breezy evening.


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