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Kalyana Krishna Dance & Music Festival 2014

A Report

View Photos - 2014 Photo Gallery >>

Kalyana Krishna Dance & Music Festival 2014
Dec 18th, 19th & 20th
Changampuzha Park, Edappally, Kochi.

Kalyana Krishna Dance and Music Festival in Kochi featured performances by veteran musicians, dancers and artistes, writes Harish Bal

Master artistes displayed their virtuosity and creativity, all in 90-minute slots each at a cultural fete at Changampuzha Park, Edappally, Kochi. The first day of the Kalyana Krishna Dance and Music Festival opened with a riveting performance of ‘Kuchelavritham’ Kathakali in which Kesavan Kundalayar portrayed the playfulness and mirth of Krishna. A master performer of Chuvanna thadi roles, Nelliyodu Vasudevan Namboothiri brought to life the weary and haggard Kuchela, and Chambakkara Vijayan essayed the role of Rukmini.

On the first day 2014 Kalyana Krishna Endowment Award presented to Late Sri. Vaikom Chandran ( Carnatic Music ) and 2014 KKF Changarapally Aniyan Memorial Award presented to Sri. Kalamandalam Vijaikumar. N

On the second day of the festival, Mathangi Sathyamurthy served a musical feast. Her Carnatic music recital had an old world charm, which preserved the immaculateness of the art. ‘Sidhivinayakam anisham’ in Shanmukhapriya raga had niraval and swaras, which spoke highly of her command over laya. Jayakrishnan on the mridangam got the swara patterns right in the short cycles. His efforts to maintain the verve throughout the concert were laudable. Mathangi's sonorous voice gave full expression to an alapana of Kharaharapriya . In the progression in the upper sancharas, she skilfully wove similar patterns. She sang ‘Pakkala Nilabadi’ of Tyagaraja as the main composition. The second speed of niraval of ‘Tanuvuche vandana’ had the vocalist soaring the scales effortlessly.

Margi Sathi in her Nangiarkoothu performance delineated the story of Kannaki. Her expressions were striking and mudras precise and to the point. However, the word by word commentary by a co-artiste was distracting though it certainly was an attempt to decipher the art for the common man. The third day of the festival featured a Kuchipudi duet by Vyjayanthi Kashi and Prateeksha Kashi, who performed traditional pieces as well as some new pieces from their repertoire. Their performance opened with an invocatory piece to abhinaya and its deities, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Shiva. In the next item, the dancers gave expression to the five elements, starting with a prayer from the Rig Veda. With chanting of beeja mantras for each of the five elements, they represented Agni [fire] in three ways – in sacrifice, in anger and in lust. These were interspersed with beautiful nritta passages.

The audience applauded heartily at different points in the abhinaya of ‘Trivakra’ by Vyjayanthi, who portrayed the plight of a hunchback waiting for Krishna at the palace of Kamsa. With great devotion, she smears sandal paste on Krishna and with his blessings transforms into a beautiful maiden. Prateeksha displayed immense grace as Krishna. Trivakra's sufferings and, ultimately, her fulfilment were enacted brilliantly by Vyjayanthi.

Prateeksha displayed her flawless technique in the execution of tharangam, in which the duo presented ‘Pahi pahi jaganmohana krishna’ by Narayana Theertha.

The highlights of Smitha Rajan’s performance were ‘Ramasagaram’ and ‘Dasavatharam’. In the former, she depicted Tyagaraja who is visited by Rama, Sita and Hanuman, in the guise of a Brahmin couple and their servant. The danseuse projected her immense command over abhinaya by focussing on each of the characters in turn. Drama rose to the acme in her portrayal of Narasimha and Varaha. Percussion support heightened the effect of the body kinetics in showing the boar elevating the earth. The pure dance segments in between were well choreographed and executed. The festival was organised by Kalyana Krishna Foundation in memory of gurus Kalamandalam Krishnan Nair and Kalyanikutty Amma.

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