Unni Krishnan: the name is catching up not only with the connoisseurs of classical
music, but also with laymen listening to melodious semi-classical cinema songs.
This vocalist who recently came into the limelight for his playback singing in
Tamil and Telugu cinema and who won awards for best playback singing enthralled
the audience of Kala Sagaram who patronize strictly classical music. And why not?
Unni Krishnan has that versatile voice, melodious while rendering, yet powerful
when playing the 'neravels' - the improvisations.
His pure Carnatic vocal recital commenced traditionally with the Varnam "Ninu Kori", and was in the Vasanta Raga and set to the Adi Tala. It set the start for strict disciplined music as a series of compositions of Thyagaraja like "Shobillu Sapta Swara" and "Banturiti Koluvu" followed.
Here the artist elaborated particular phrases like "Rama Namamu Ani" to bring out the inner meaning of the devotional songs. Even in the Surati song of Dikshitar, "Sri Venkata Gireesha" (Uttsava Sampradaya Keertana, or the composition for festive occasions like the present), which has descriptions of the Lord Venkateswara riding on a horse in a procession), such elaboration enhanced the meaning through the appropriate melody for the mood.
The central ornate number of Unni Krishnan was "Yavani Mata Vinuvaaro" of Thyagaraja, and was rendered for over 50 minutes with all the ritual musical embellishments. The recital included some pleasing Tamil compositions too. Violinist Vittal Murthi, percussionist Melakani Balraj and ghatam artist Somayajulu supported the vocalist.