U Rajesh – Rama Seva Mandali – April 26, 2015

U. Rajesh’s Mandolin concert at Rama Seva Mandali was a tribute to his brother, Padma Shri, (Mandolin) U Shrinivas, who passed away in Sept., 2014. The concert was OK and happened with all compositions requested by the audience.

Rajesh was accompanied by Delhi Sunderrajan on Violin, Padma Vibhushan Dr. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman on Mridangam and Amrit on Khanjira.

  1. Sree Raga Varnam
  2. Vatapi Ganapathim Bhaje – Hamsadhwani
  3. Seetamma Maayamma – Vasantha
  4. Maru Balka – Sriranjani
  5. Makelara Vicharamu – Ravichandrika
  6. Endaro Mahanubhavulu – Sree Ragam
  7. Swara Raga Sudha – Sankarabharanam
  8. Nagumomu Ganaleni – Abheri
  9. Entha muddo – BinduMalini
  10. Jagadodharana – Kapi
  11. Raghuvamsa Sudha – Kadana Kutuhalam
  12. Some Bhajan in Revathi
  13. Alaipayuthe – Kanada

The concert started with a Sree Raga Varnam in 3 speeds and few Kalpana Swaras. One of the favorite U Shrinivas’ ragas, Hamsadhwani followed, which took off well initially. He played Kalpana Swaras with very high speed on “karambuja paasa beeja poorvam” phrase which was OK almost throughout, but surprisingly ended the rendition with them and didn’t finish charanam.

Endaro Mahanubhavulu was rushed through so fast, perhaps with an intention to cover all the compositions requested by the audience. This programme didn’t go in a traditional Carnatic instrumental concert way with an elaborate composition and RTP, as Rajesh chose to play all/most of the compositions requested by audience. Swara Raga Sudha in Sankarabharanam was again ran through when we were all expecting a detailed elaboration of ragam.

Nagumomu can be considered close to the “main” composition of the night, with a (relatively) short aalapana by Mandolin and Violin (and this was the first moment I could hear Violin substantially – till then the presence was not felt). At the end, Rajesh signalled Sivaraman to start Tani Avarthanam but the latter declared that he didn’t want to play (as he wants to “just accompany” Rajesh in this concert), while reminiscing the past moments with U Shrinivas and Rajesh. Abheri aalapana was very well presented on both melody instruments, while the kalpana swaras went a little fashionable way.

Kapi aalapana and Jagadodharana was again soulful on Mandolin, as he started rushing through compositions. When organizers requested Sivaraman again for Tani Avarthanam, he played a short one after Alaipayuthe in Kanada. I left after then, as it was getting a little late.

In total, the concert was more of galata (if I can say that, a popular term used in Bengaluru/Karnataka, to refer to a little too extravagant demonstration on stage) and fashionable way of playing in high speeds. I must say, there were obviously a few moments when it was actually amazing, especially in raaga aalapanas. Mridangam was a little louder throughout. A few moments in Endaro Mahanubhavulu and Raghuvamsa Sudha showed the U. Shrinivas’ flavour but otherwise, I felt the concert could have been planned and executed well in a more traditional way.