Chitraveena Concert by Chitraveena Ravikiran
Date: Jan 15 2011
Venue : Allen
This concert came up as an unexpected bonus on my calendar or events. The innovative “Chitraveena” Ravikiran was featured in the maestro series concert conducted by “Sa re ga ma” in association with the Kikkeri family in the Dallas area. In the maestro’s introduction it was told that he was the one who brought into limelight the “Oothukadu Saptaratna”. He was accompanied by Trichy Sankaran on the “mridangam” and Sivaramakrishnan ( chip of the old block) on the violin who is the son of violin maestro TN Krishna.
When I felt the “Jhenkara” of the “chitraveena”, It stirred up my senses. A very traditional and pure sound, is what I could feel.
The concert began with the “Varna Chalamelara” in “Raaga NataKurunji”. The fast rendition of the “Varna” created a wonderful momentum.
“Chitraveena” Ravikiran explained the magical instrument that he carried. It was made of 20 strings. It is played with a small tool called a slide, which is made of Teflon. “Chitraveena” is also called as the singing instrument, as it can recreate the nuances of vocal singing. It is said that if you close your eyes and listen to it, you can picturize a beautiful lady singing.
The next composition was in “Raaga Natai”, and “Adi Taala” – “Chinta Kalallu”. This was the composition of “Oothukadu Venkatakavi”.
The next piece began with “Raaga” expansion of “Raaga Kamavardhini”. I love this “Raaga” and its rendition by the “Chitraveena” maestro and on the violin by “Sriram” was very moving. The Raaga seems to evokes “Karuna Rasa” in the higher notes. The “Ta-Da-Ri-Na-Na” on the “Chitraveena” did sound like a lady singing to me.
The compostion was “Ninne Nera Nammina” by “Tyagaraja” in “Roopaka Taala”. The “Neraval” for the like “Veda Shastra Purana” was superbly executed. “Mridangam” matched up so well with the artists moods.
The next composition was the maestro’s choice – “Enneramum” in “Raaga Devagandhari”.
The next one was the “Swara Jati Ambu Kamakshi” in “chapu taala”. The maestro explained that since it was a “swara jati” there is no need to have the “Raaga” expansion, so most of the “Raaga” patterns were already covered in the “Swara Jati” itself.
The next was a main piece of the concert – “Ragam Taanam Pallavi”. “Chitraveena” Ravikiran asked the audience which Raaga they would like for this. Audience came up with many Raagas and one of them was Charukeshi. His brows went up when he heard that, probably at the depth of audience interest. And so the Raagam chosen was Charukeshi. Well then he of course went on to other Raagas – Vijayashree, Bilahari, Behaag. Violin switched from Behaag to Kaanada Raaga.
Now the storyline behind Pallavi was very interesting. He said that whenver he used to play /(or sing ) not sure ) in front of his Guru Semmamgudi, his Guru used to say – “Hey..sing it like Charukeshi and not like Shankarabharam Raaga”. So when someone in the audience mentioned Charukeshi he remembered this incident, and as the violin was being played , he composed the Pallavi just then – “Charukeshi Raga Idi Shankari Todi allade” (which means this is Raaga Charukeshi , neither Shankarabharanam nor Todi )…so that was the story behind Pallavi. And Maestro guaranteed us that it was the world’s latest composition.
Innovation and execution right in the middle of the concert and that too with so much style and perfection..to add to that Violin and “Mridangam” also picked up so quickly..that is the genius carnatic music. This ended with a very rich climax.
The next piece was “Srinivasa Venkatiki” in “Raaga Hamsanandi” by Papanasam Sivam.
The next piece was the devotional song Jagadhodharana and finally a Tillana in “Raaga Kalyana Vasantham” in “Khanda Chapu Taala”.
The accompanists were simply superb. Trichy Sankaran is a great maestro in mridangam and Sivaramakrishnan proved his mettle beautifully.
He is a great “Chitraveena” artist and a great musician as well. He is gifted with a great voice and the “Chitraveena” sings for him as well. His pure devotion to music is so evident. Thanks to him I know today who is “Oothukadu Venkatakavi” and also this great melodious instrument called “Chitraveena”. Thank you and wish you all the very best!