The concert bridged the many genres of Indian classical music while touching lightly upon the West and its music — jazz, pop and blues
“The Percussion Fantasy lived up to its name. Led by Dr. ‘Ghatam’ S. Karthick, the drum-percussion-string ensemble thrilled audience with renditions and improvisations of famous Carnatic and Hindustani raagas. Part of the Hydourite festival celebrating the spirit of Hyderabad, the concert bridged the many spaces of Indian classical music while touching lightly upon the West and its influences — jazz, pop and blues.
Accompanying Dr. Karthick were Prakash Sontakke on Hawaiin guitars, Karthik Mani on world percussion, U.P Raju with the mandolin, Amrit N on kanjira and mridangam, N. Sundar with tabla and moorsing, Manjunath on drums and Harsha Vardhan Raj on the keyboard.
Their invocations to the elephant god with the energetic Hamsadhwani raaga marked the beginning of the concert. With a light framework of mandolin and Hawaiin guitars, supplemented by keyboard synth, their rendition of the famous kriti was intricate and joyous. Following this was a Hindustani-blues version of the Kalyani raaga, played by Prakash Sontakke whose soundscape, clean mandolin tones were keenly backed by chimes, darbuka and djembe by Karthik Mani.
What stood out most prominently from their setlist was their version of Pariyachakama an ancient kriti by saint Thyagaraja that swept the audience back into the golden era of temple town Tanjavur. Not forgetting the Rajasthani folk-jam-song or the fast paced Raghuvamsa Sudha, which Dr. Karthick remarked as a “metaphor for the fast paced city life. “
Taking the audience by surprise was an impromptu jam session that saw Dr. Karthick, Karthik Mani and Manjunath on konnakol, djemebe, cajon and drums. Konnakol is the art of vocal percussion and Dr. Ghatam Karthick treated his audience to an extravagant affair of rhythm and vocals. Prakash Sontakke and N. Sundar indulged the audience with their Hindustani influences, pairing the Hawaiian slide guitar with the tabla and the moorsing.
Their last song on the set, Pulse was inspired by a very old raaga Jagathjanani in the simple Aadi taalam. True to its name, the song pitched the evening’s spirit into the hearts of the audiences ending grandly with a thunderous applause and standing ovation. Altogether, it was a fine performance, a fond memory in the many musical sojourns whose echoes refuse to die down.
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