Vid R.K.Padmanabha and Pandith Nagaraja Rao Hawaldar presented a vocal jugalbandi at the 65th year celebrations of the Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira. The vocal support was provided by Omkarnath Hawaldar, mridangam by C. Cheluvaraju, and tabla by Kedarnath Hawaldar, violin support to both was rendered by C.N.Chandrashekar and on harmonium was Sameer Hawaldar.
When veteran musicians like R K Padmanabha and Nagaraja Rao Hawaldar -- who are renowned as a long standing jugalbandi team of thirty five years -- the connection becomes seamlessly beautiful and evocative.
After the customary invocatory slokam, they began with an invigorating composition by Vijayadasa, a 18th century saint from Haridasa tradition - Sadaa enna hrudayadalli vaasa maado Srihari, followed by Purandara dasas Narayana yanniro - both created a devout mood, preparing the audience for the next musical offering, an extensive elaboration of Kamavardhini popularly known as Panthuvarali.
RK Padmanabha explained that Shubha Panthuvarali came to be called as Shiva Panthuvarali and finally Panthuvarali in which raga the trinity composed few fine compositions , he also sang out few bits of them for example. Hawaldar explained that this raga from the Poorvi Thaat, is known as a Sandhiprakasha raga as it is sung during the sunset twilight and moonrise time and has Komal rishabh, pratimadhayam and komal dhaivat. With that introduction both of them launched unto a masterpiece rendition, soulful and sublime, powerful and impacting. Breathtaking alapana, soulful taanam rendered by both the musicians created a mood of complete felicity and unity.
R.K. Padmanabha who is an adept singer of ten taanams, explained about Mayur taanam, Ghanta taanam, Ashwa taanam etc with hand gestures and facial expressions also, which was eagerly grasped and enjoyed by the enthusiastic audience.
Tyagarajas Lalithe Sripruvruddhe in Kamavardhini was the main item, rendered with reverential feelings and musical authority. An image of Lalitha Devi could be visualized vividly in ones mind with the enchanting rendition, nifty neraval and splendid swaraprastara resulting in heartfelt ganam. There were sections which were soothing, some sections were electrifying - their creative energy level was at its best.
Ample literary and artistic flair is required to render such compositions withcommand and ease. The sahityam, the word content of the compositions was clearly enunciated by both the musicians in their voices filled with pervasive vitality and vigour. All through, the individual signature style of the musicians was evident
No domination, no competition, it was a sacred confluence of two streams of music flowing with rhythm and melody. Their ingenious and engaging variations in alaapana and taanam filled the auditorium with pristine sounds.
As is deemed as one of the highlights of music concerts, the Thani avartanam by Cheluvaraju on Mridagam and Kedarnath on tabla proved to be rhythmically powerful and perfectly timed vigour and energy leaving the audience satiated with that thrilling experience.
The next delightful rendition by the musician duo was a Dasara pada, Govinda Gopala Gopika vallabha which they started by offering an ode to Lord Hayavadana Ninna dhyanada Sakthiya kodo Krishna&Hayavadana. In their individual style, they scintillatingly sang the refrain and the Pada was filled with bhakti rasa, as an affective agent in enhancing the musical appeal.
Senior violinist C.N.Chandrasekhar could easily conform to both the styles and rendered excellent suppor.t
From both the angles of technique and aesthetics, entertainment and enlightenment, the jugalbandi by the maestros was par excellence and will be remembered for a very long time by rasikas and as a right template for future jugalbandi performances by musicians.