It was 3rd September 2009 when I got the chance to attend a classical vocal recital in Carnatic Style. Once again, the show was in Epicentre, Gurgaon. This was first time I was listening to pure classical in Carnatic style apart from the fact that I have heard a lot of Bhajans and even semi-classical creations from students and artists performing in the divine presence of Bhagwan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. So, yes, this was a unique opportunity and it was quite enjoyable too.
The lead artist of that evening was Mrs. Jayanthy Aiyar–a vocalist who lives in New Delhi and also runs a school there. She was accompanied by Anupama with vocal, Giridhar on Mridungam and Sridhar on Violin.
The concert was special for me because of many reasons–I had to listen to it carefully because language barriers and also because of the totally different style from Hindustani Classical style. The accompanying instruments follow a sort of totally different pattern in Carnatic style. The percussion instruments are more confusing for a person who comes from North India and has been listening to Hindustani style a lot.
But due to some sort of read knowledge and listening to some songs in Puttaparti, I could concentrate on the beauty part of it, leaving aside the fact that I could not pick up the words that were sung. However, I did manage to recognize a song rendered by Saint Tyagraja where he inquires that is it worthy to be among the riches rather than being in the company of Rama…students in Puttaparti used this song (Hindi Version of this song) in one of the plays and therefore I could decipher it.
The artist later confirmed about the song: it was Nidhi chaala sukama, Raamuni sannidhi chaala sukama and was set to Misra Chapu Tal of 7 counts. The Raga of this song was Kalyani which stands equal to Yaman of Hindhustani style. She first rendered Alap and then the song, where she elaborated on one particular line.
The recital itself went for around 1:45 minutes and was pretty nice. The violist was playing meticulously and seemed enjoying while elaborating the Alaap part of the rendering. He matched pretty beautifully with the vocalist. She developed a lot of Alap before rendering songs and Bhajans and it was very unique opportunity to listen Alap in Carnatic style.
I would like to mention the young Mridungam player, who I was told by him and his parents, is a student of 12th grade only. This was surprisingly revealing as he played on that percussion beauty like a veteran. Interestingly, he was booked on spot by another artist who happened to attend that program for her own show in October–this sort of gives a clear picture how much he was liked.