A concert series that provided a glimpse of the abilities of new-age vocalists

A striking transformation is witnessed when the sweetness of a young voice matures into a robust timber, signifying the potential for an open-throated singing style that often accompanies a musician’s formative years. Proof of this evolution and the promise it holds was recently showcased at the Youth Concert Series hosted by Kedaram, where age-old traditions of Carnatic music seemed to blend seamlessly with youthful verve. Over a course of melodious offerings, the festival not only unveiled the advanced capabilities of budding vocalists but also their preparedness to tackle the daunting complexities of a ragam tanam pallavi.

For music aficionados gathered at Raga Sudha Hall, the event served as an affirmation that with assiduous practice and a passion for the craft, the younger generation is well on their path to mastery. Five vocalists who graced the stage included Dhanush Anantharaman, Vignesh Krishnamurthy, K. Ranga, Ranjani Radha, and Parvathi Subramaniam. They stood as testaments to the discipline and dedication that Carnatic music demands.

Dhanush Anantharaman indeed made an impactful statement with his vibrant exposition of raga Kamboji. His voice, described as chirpy, complimented the inherently exuberant melody of the raga. Amidst the serene setting, with a retuned tanpura and the subtle engagements of accompaniments by Madan Mohan on the violin and Nikshith Puttur on the mridangam, Dhanush wove through the raga’s tapestry with dexterity. Though occasional slips were evident, his voice’s natural inclination to throw added to the raga’s effect. The distinct animations of his upper registry paired with the Semmangudi-style tanam showcased an allegiance to teachings from his guru, Amritha Murali. Following the imaginative swaraprastara incorporating Malayamarutam, Bahudari, and Nattai, the performance of ‘Ambhojanaba mamava’ in two-kalai adi-talam outlined a 50-minute aural delight.

Vignesh Krishnamurthy also opted for Kamboji, albeit choosing ‘Lambodaram avalambe’ by Mysore Vasudevachar, before delving into Kiravani. Despite some initial struggles with the alapana, the guidance of his mentor T.M. Krishna was perceptible, especially in the kriti ‘Kaligiyunte’ by Tyagaraja. Proficient support came from violinist M. Shrikanth and mridangam artist S. Kavichelvan, who delivered a commendable tani avartanam.

K. Ranga’s musical selections illuminated the hues of his distinct husky voice, often reminiscent of Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s linguistic flair as evidenced in his rendition of ‘Venkataramana’ in raga Latangi. Hindolam’s swift-paced ‘Nambi kettavar’ offered a striking contrast before the mainstay Karaharapriya arched into a contemplative alapana.

The peppiness that Ranjani Radha brought to her Thodi was undeniable, an attribute she shares with her teacher Vignesh Ishwar. After a detailed alapana, ‘Koluvamare gada’ emerged with remarkable niraval and swaraprastara, earning impressive backing by Parur M.K. Ananthalakshmi on the violin and Kaushik Sridhar on mridangam.

Lastly, Parvathi Subramaniam, the youngest musician, displayed a marked sharpness in her execution of raga Kiravani. Microtonal nuances sparkled through her rendition, though not without occasional missteps, suggesting that further experience on stage could hone her evident talent.

As the festival concluded, it was apparent that the future of Carnatic music is in capable hands. The Youth Concert Series offered valuable insights into the journey of young musicians, emphasizing that like a fine wine, music too becomes more exquisite with age and persistence. The event also highlighted areas that could benefit from refined focus, proving that the pursuit of musical excellence is an ever-evolving process. While the vocalists shone with potential, it is conceivable that their accompanists could reach their peak even sooner, providing an anchoring support that elevates the entire ensemble.

And so, as the echoes of the raga recede, we’re reminded that while these young vocalists are still shaping their artistic contours, their profound understanding and dedication to Carnatic music reverberate far beyond the concert hall, heralding a bright and resonant future.

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