P. Unnikrishnan @ Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai

Venue: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Main Auditorium, East Mada St., Mylapore, Chennai

Date: 29 Nov 2006

Organizer: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan & Kala Pradarshini

Vocal: Sri P.Unnikrishnan

Violin: Sri S. Varadarajan

Mridangam: Sri Srimushnam Raja Rao

Ghatam: Sri N. Guruprasad

List of songs:

1) sAmI nI tODI (varnam) – pantuvarALi – Adi – vINai kuppaiyer (O)

2) sarasIruhAsana – nATTai – Adi – puLiyUr doraiswAmy iyer (S)

3) nI irangAyenil – aTANA – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

4) kAmAkshI kAmakOTi – simhEndramadyamam – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANS)

5) murugA murugA – sAvEri – misra chApu – periyasAmi thUran

6) inta sOwkhya – kApi – Adi – thyAgarAja (AST)

7) dikku teriyAda – rAgamAlikA – Adi – subramaNya bhArati

8 ) rAdhA samEthA – misra yaman – Adi – ??

9) karAravindEna (viruttam) – rAgamAlikA

kalyANa gOpAlam – sindhubhairavi – kanDa chApu – nArAyaNa tIrtar

10) eppO varuvArO – jOnpuri – Adi – gOpAlakrishna bhArati

11) kurai onrum illai – rAgamAlikA – Adi – c.rAjagOpAlachAri

12) puLLi kaLAbamayil – kAvaDi chindu – Adi – aNNAmalai reDDiyAr

13) vijayagOpAlatE (mangaLam) – suruTTi – Adi – nArAyaNa tIrtar

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)
Detailed raga alapanas were done only for simhEndramadyamam and kApi. Both these alapanas were very well done by Sri Unnikrishnan and later elucidated succinctly and in a very beautiful fashion on the violin in less than half the time by Sri S. Varadarajan. Sri Unnikrishnan showed some very good prayogas in these alapanas. When Sri Unnikrishnan sang “nI irangAyenil” and then started the simhEndramadyamam alapana, it looked as though he is going to sing the songs from his earlier commercial recording release “Anandam” one by one. But luckily, he didn’t sing “unnai allAl” and took up “kAmAkshi kAmakOTi”. I was also relieved when he took up kApi for the main piece and was happy I didn’t have to hear him sing karaharapriyA again, which has been kind of his favorite these days. He has sung almost the same karaharapriyA alapana with graha bhedam done using rishabam, gAndhAram and madhyamam as shadjam one after the another in many of his concerts now. I have heard two of those concerts in Chennai itself in the last 2 months. I heard from a friend of mine that he repeated the same thing in a concert in Delhi a few days back.

Sri Varadarajan on the violin proved why he is one of the best violin accompanists in the field today. He was clearly a class apart. Sri Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam was his usual self, blasting his way to glory at times while playing with sowkhyam for the most part. Sri N. Guruprasad on the ghatam was allowed to prove his mettle (in fact I must say allowed to play the ghatam) only in the taniavartanam which comprised of the chatusra and the kanDa naDais.

4 thoughts on “P. Unnikrishnan @ Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai

  1. THanks for the brief review of the kutchery!
    What does graha bhedam mean? Did he not sing a RTP? Even the songs that you mentioned are all his ‘std’ – the eppo varuvaro, simhendra madhyamam – panthuvarali…
    for some reason i often remember UK pick mostly prati madhyamam ragams…any analysis / opinion on that?

  2. Graha bhedam refers to changing your sa to some other frequency corresponding to one of the notes in the raga you are singing. Since the frequency of the notes are fixed, when you change your base frequency (sa) to some other note’s frequency other than sa, all the other notes in the raga will get translated to different notes relative to the new sa, though their frequency remains the same. Thus you get a new raga (because essentially the other notes are viewed relative to what is your sa).

    Going deeper, at the frequency level, the frequency of the notes got by shifting your sa may not exactly match with the frequency corresponding to the actual note of the new raga. So graha bhedam usually works at the swara sthana level and not at frequency level.

    Regarding Sri Unnikrishnan’s song selection … yes .. I do find him repeat the same set of songs too often. As a person who was once a die-hard fan of his, I sincerely feel that with the kind of voice and ability that he has got, it will be great if he tries his hand at songs that are outside his mundane, often repeated list.

  3. Thanks ram for the explanation on graha bagam. I am able to relate to that now. The stuff that you do in typical raga aalapanai – thodi, kalyani, karaharapriya etc…

    I think this is called jasrangi in hindustani classical (can you confirm?)

    For eg, you shift your shadjam of a particular ragam to rishabham and do on…and then you sound like you are singing a different ragam in the same octave. I think you can see that in thodi-hindolam combination!

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