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Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

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bilahari
Posts: 2581
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 09:02

Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by bilahari » 04 Apr 2017, 04:27

Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna - vocal
H.N. Bhaskar - violin
Thanjavur Murugaboopathi - mrudangam
Shreesundar Kumar - khanjira

Morrisville, NC
02.04.2017
About 2 h 45 m?

Approximate Songlist:
[snatches of intaparAka with sound test]
vanajAkSi - kalyANi - aTa - Pallavi Gopala Iyer
dEva dEva - mAyAmALavagowLa - rUpakam - ST (N @ jATarUpa, S)
anupama guNAmbudi - aTANA - k cApu - T (O, S @ pallavi)
mA ramaNanan - hindOLam - rUpakam - PS (O)
nAdOpAsana - bEgaDa - Adi - T (R, N @ tantrilaya, S, T)
pacchai mA malai (viruttam) - kApi, mAND
muralIdhara gOpAla - mAND- Adi - Periyasami Thooran
...had to leave at this juncture

Scintillating concert. Haven't heard KBMK in several years now; I distinctly remember listening to him for the first time in San Diego and being awestruck by the verve and azhuttam in his music reminiscent of the greats like SSI. Last evening, KBMK unleashed all those memories with three hours of spirited madhyama-durita kAla singing with a pliant voice easily expressing complicated brigha sangatis. There was not a sagging moment in this concert. The kalyANi ragam had beautiful tAnam-style second speed in the first half. dEva dEva was delivered with great intensity with one of the most compelling neravals I have heard in person; it was elaborate with a beautiful transition in the upper octave to the second speed after a long kArvai. There were some beautiful sa-pa omitting phrases. Anupama continued the intensity with crisp, fast swara passages. The bEgaDa alapanai was comprehensive, with some especially beautiful phrases in the upper gandharam and madhyamam. I was overjoyed to hear the rare (on the concert platform these days anyway) nAdOpAsana. The neraval at tantrilaya was again elaborate in two speeds, as were the swarams. The attention paid to kIzh kAla swarams here was especially noteworthy in an age where many rush to up the ante. The kApi portion of the vruttam was moving. Unfortunately, I had to leave while he was starting muralIdhara.

KBMK impressed me with the sheer intensity of his singing last night. His madhyama-durita kala singing reminded me both of SSI in its energy and ARI in its sort of overwhelming and sweeping element. His brighas were generally spot on yesterday and his sense of shruti was good. Of course, the intrinsic rhythmic element of his music shone through especially in his neraval and swarams. That said, I do think that KBMK had a tendency last evening to overdo the brighas especially in the upper octave where his voice broke into falsetto. The more racy the music got, the more noisy it became as well. I'd also have loved to have heard a pallavi or a second alapanai in the concert, but I was tremendously impressed and pleased by the weight of both his neravals. He would also do well to enunciate lyrics better.

HNB is one of my favourite violinists. His sense of aesthetics, his technical mastery of the instrument, and his pakka vAdhya dharma (in RKSK's words) are all highly admirable qualities. He knows just when to turn to the lower octave, he can match brigha for brigha (with that placid smile I haven't seen since the late MSG was on stage), and he never tries to outperform the main artiste. His MMG neraval returns were spot on yesterday. His bEgaDa ragam was crisp. And his kApi sketch just stole the show.

The percussion department was very vigorous in its play yesterday. I enjoy Tanjavur Murugaboopathi's play; he has intricate strokes and uses the left side of the instrument beautifully. In particular, there was a passage in the tani yesterday where he played only with the left side, and it was very absorbing. His sense of anticipation with the kritis, especially in transitioning into the anupallavi and caraNam, was top notch. Sreesundar Kumar played with astounding azhuttam yesterday. I particularly enjoyed his careful modulation of the khanjira's sound and his use of its varied surfaces to produce complex accompaniment. His volleys in the tani were beautiful. I do think the volume was turned a little high for the percussionists last night, which marred my appreciation of their work a little.

The SIFAA of the RTP area has to be congratulated for putting on weighty concerts by the likes of KBMK, Vijay Siva, and Kalyani Ganesan this past year that I've been here. There is no pomp or circumstance about their productions; the introductions are very concise, there are no elaborate benedictions, and the audience is very attentive and well-mannered. I am so fortunate and grateful, time and again, to chance upon serious CM communities in America.

It was a great evening.
Last edited by bilahari on 04 Apr 2017, 09:21, edited 1 time in total.

rshankar
Posts: 12630
Joined: 02 Feb 2010, 22:26

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by rshankar » 04 Apr 2017, 05:34

Hi Bilahari:
Great review! Thanks for sharing. How long have you been in NC?

bilahari
Posts: 2581
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 09:02

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by bilahari » 04 Apr 2017, 05:47

Hi Ravi. Been here since Jul 2016; doing my surgical residency at Duke. Hope you're doing well and coping with the empty nest! :)

arasi
Posts: 15079
Joined: 22 Jun 2006, 09:30

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by arasi » 04 Apr 2017, 07:29

Bilahari,
Delighted to read your top notch review. I saw your post in the SK thread and wondered how you were faring. Residency, already? How time flies! As always, we here at Rasikas.org are rooting for you :)

How well you speak my own thoughts as it were about young BMK! Of course, you do it with all the intricacies that I am incapable of noticing and describing. The same about the fellow artistes on stage. Med school grind, and yet you keep your musical self alive and alert!

I am very impressed with his singing. Enjoy listening to him. Yet, the speedy passages in his concerts make me giddy somewhat. That has been the general trend for a while, and I am not blaming him in particular. Some years ago when I heard Abhishek on a giddy ride as it were (for me) thinking, oh, and how good he is all along! So, I was mighty happy to hear him early February in Bengaluru, after several years. How satisfying a concert it was!

nAdOpAsanA, one of my favorites would have been delivered in slow tempo?? I have heard Sanjay
sing it a few times in recent times.

In my humble opinion, more speed bumps are needed in BMK the Younger's concerts :)

bilahari
Posts: 2581
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 09:02

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by bilahari » 04 Apr 2017, 09:27

Arasi,
I agree with your assessment. nAdOpAsanA was delivered in madhyama kalam and was a little fast for my taste; for that matter, so was mA ramaNan. There is no denying the aesthetics of KBMK's music, but I would enjoy his singing more if it were slower and had more pauses. Unlike KVN and TSK, his voice also doesn't effortlessly produce brighas, and I find it a little stressful - for lack of a better word - to anticipate the success of efforts by singers like him to produce brighas with clarity. None of this detracted from what was ultimately a captivating concert.

sureshvv
Posts: 3587
Joined: 05 Jul 2007, 18:17

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by sureshvv » 07 Apr 2017, 15:02

Nice review bilahari. Keep them coming!

Your joy attending this concert is readily palpable. Reminding me of this proverb about
"Kaanja maadu" and "kambu" :D

hamirkalyani123
Posts: 197
Joined: 09 May 2009, 22:29

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by hamirkalyani123 » 12 Apr 2017, 01:50

bilahari,
let me fill the next two songs.

- KrishnAnI bEgane, rAga: yamunA kalyAni, vyAsarAya
- sApashyat kausalyA. rAgA: jOnpuri. Adi tALA. Composer: Panchapakesha Shastri
- Mangalam

Excellent review. Hope we can meet next time around. You should come to nadavipanchi programs. nadavipanchi.org has two interesting programs coming up Jalatarangini on May 12th, and RTP in RTP on May 27th. Stay tuned in this space for details.

Sachi_R
Posts: 333
Joined: 31 Jan 2017, 20:20

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by Sachi_R » 12 Apr 2017, 07:29

KBMK is one of the most impressive performers today.
However, as Bilahari observed, many times in a concert, he seems to be overdoing improvisation at great cost to melody and saukhyam. I have also noticed a couple of times that sruti/swara shuddham deserts him.

The performer will serve his own cause with rasikas by leaving a positive impression of melody and saukhyam always. That should be the lasting impression after any concert.

bilahari
Posts: 2581
Joined: 03 Feb 2010, 09:02

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by bilahari » 12 Apr 2017, 10:08

Hamirkalyani123, thank you for filling in the songlist and telling me about Nadavipanchi. I will lap up all the music I can get, schedule permitting.

hamirkalyani123
Posts: 197
Joined: 09 May 2009, 22:29

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by hamirkalyani123 » 12 Apr 2017, 22:18

Sachi_R wrote:
12 Apr 2017, 07:29
KBMK is one of the most impressive performers today.
However, as Bilahari observed, many times in a concert, he seems to be overdoing improvisation at great cost to melody and saukhyam. I have also noticed a couple of times that sruti/swara shuddham deserts him.

The performer will serve his own cause with rasikas by leaving a positive impression of melody and saukhyam always. That should be the lasting impression after any concert.
Agree fully. I also felt that the sahityam aspects also need attention. Especially I could not make out what he is saying for anu-pallavi "vedoddharulu". There has to be that stress on "ddha" otherwise the meaning changes. If he has sung in chouka kalam as bilahari was saying, atleast it would have been audible.

rshankar
Posts: 12630
Joined: 02 Feb 2010, 22:26

Re: Kunnakudi BMK - North Carolina - 02.04.2017

Post by rshankar » 12 Apr 2017, 22:45

hamirkalyani123 wrote:
12 Apr 2017, 22:18
There has to be that stress on "ddha" otherwise the meaning changes.
Unless the artist takes the trouble to learn the sAhitya from experts, or can read the script in the original, most musicians from Tamil Nadu (including Sri Vijaya Siva) do not pronounce consonants like kha, gha, tha, dha etc. appropriately, or consistently. On the other hand, several will very forcefully utter bhrahmA for brahmA! :)
Suresh - I did try to restrain myself... ;)

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