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Stringed, but together?

Nikhil Joshi, teenage guitarist, teams up with veena player R Ramakrishnan for this jugalbandi

Veena Meets Guitar
R Ramakrishnan/ Nikhil Joshi
Rs 20

This Karnatak instrumental jugalbandi cassette features R Ramakrishnan, a senior veena vidwan, and Nikhil Joshi, the teenage guitarist hailed as the latest prodigy in Karnatak music.

A vocal rendering of Shuklambharadaram by U B Joshi, Nikhil Joshi's father, begins the tape. The veena and the guitar enter with ad lib phrases.

Then to the actual jugalbandi which opens with Banturiti kolu , a very popular Tyagaraja kriti in Hamsanada. Ramakrishnan is in control in the brief alapana. The guitar phrases too sound good. The kriti is rendered in unison, but the slurred sangatis and swaraprastara spoil the good impression created by the alapana.

In Raghuvamsa in (Kathankuthuhala) the veena brings out the composition's march-like character. On the chittaswara, it plays a very odd gamaka which sounds off-key.

The percussion artistes, A Renukaprasad (mrudangam and konakkol) and Giridhar Udupa (ghatam and morsing) are in their elements in this fast tempo kriti. The konakkol is mastered faintly when compared to the other percussion.

Karaharapriya takes up most of Side B, which is heartening. Ramakrishnan opens the alapana. A couple of phrases establish the raga, but the slurred notes are never too far off. Joshi's alapana is brighter, but neither artiste dwells on the raga and builds it up. After a few seconds they race off to the faster sancharas which ought to feature after a decent establishment of the raga.

Pakkala nilabadi begins on the anupallavi, an editing problem perhaps? The swaraprastara doesn't sound spontaneous enough.

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