Music lovers in the capital were enthralled by an evening devoted to the ancient south Indian Carnatic music that brought together maestros of the vocal and instrumental styles.
Organised by Banyan Tree Events, the festival, 'Dakshinayan', boasted of an impressive line-up of renowned artists - vocalist Bombay Jayashri, Mandolin artists U Srinivas and U Rajesh and Ghatam aficionado Vikku Vinayakaram - at the FICCI Auditorium Saturday.
'Dakshinayan', in its second year, is the brainchild of Mahesh Babu, director of Banyan Tree Events. The festival aims to celebrate, promote and popularise Carnatic music in India and abroad.
The musical evening was kicked off by Bombay Jayashri, groomed under the guidance of maestro Lalgudi G Jayaraman and TR Balamani and a recipient of the Sangeetha Choodamani and Nadabhooshanam awards.
She began with an invocation to Lord Vishnu - Deva Deva Jagadeeswara - set in the Poorvi Kalyani raga. A melodious ode to the supreme goddess in the Dwijawanti raga - "Akhilandeswari" and the rendition of a composition in the lilting Nilambari raga were the high points of her concert. She ended with the popular Meera bhajan Hari tum haro jan ki peer.
However, the limited time provided to her was a disadvantage, as the audience were left wanting for more.
The festival was co-sponsored by BG India and its director of policy affairs of the group Rajiv Khanna felicitated Jayashri.
The audience was then transported into the vibrant world of percussion with Vinayakaram and his ensemble.
The Padmashri awardee started off as an accompanist to music legends like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, MS Subbulakshmi and Maharajapuram Santhanam.
He has performed extensively in India and abroad and has experimented with fusion music.
Vinayakaram presented a special composition titled "Panchabhoota", which had spiritual overtones, as it comprised the rhythmic recitation of Sanskrit shlokas, or verses, as well. He was accompanied by his son Mahesh (vocal) and his grandson Swaminathan Ganesh (Ganjira). It was indeed a pleasure seeing the three generations share the stage.
As Vinayakram's troupe built up a crescendo, the audience joined in by clapping and tapping their feet to the rhythmic beats and cycles. The artists were felicitated by Union Minister of Panchayati Raj, Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar.
Renowned Mandolin artists U Srinivas and U Rajesh provided a true grand finale to the evening as they glided across the four octaves with subtlety. They played the popular composition "Maha Ganapate" in Nata Narayani raga.
Considered the child prodigy of the 1970s and honoured with the Padmashri in 1998, Srinivas has carved a niche for himself in the international music scenario as well, having performed with several acclaimed jazz artists.
The brothers displayed their deftness and musical prowess while playing "Ragam Thanam Pallavi" in Sarasanu raga. The intricate nuances brought out by the duo left the audience in raptures.
However, three hours could not do justice to the musical greats that Banyan Tree had put together for connoisseurs of Carnatic music. Such a fest should ideally be spread over two days, giving each artist enough space and time.