Tips for Carnatic music concert performance

Radhika KrishnaA carnatic music concert performance is the platform for every singer to reveal their real talent. Hence the music performer should have a vigorous practice before the actual performance. The first and most important thing for the concert is the selection of items to be rendered. There are two things to be observed while selecting krithies. First select krithies which you are confident with. Don't select krithies which you learned very recently or partially. Select the most suitable sruthi for you while you practice and stick on to this sruthi when you render a performance. Selection should be done according to the time limit also. It will be good to note down the time taken to render each krithies during the practice session so that you can arrange the time limit accordingly. Do not try to take a heavy bag of krithies. Leave some time for the percussion players and also for your own relaxation. For example; if you are planning to perform for one hour, limit your performance to 45 /50 minutes. It will be good to leave one 'thalavattom' after each pallavi, anupallavi and charanam.

Time management is an important factor in every concert. If you are performing for one hour or more, it will be good to start with a 'varnam'. The best order of singing is to start with a varnam followed by krithy praising Lord Ganesha and further the selection shall be based on ragas and thalas.

If you are performing less than one hour, you can directly start with the Ganesh stuti. We can divide the concert into two parts. The krithis in the first part should contain krithis of varying ragas, thala and pace. This main part should also include alapana of major ragas elaborated and this should be accompanied by a detailed delivery of major krithis. The singing should also have elaborated niravals and kalpana swaras. Main ragalapana can range from five minutes to fifteen minutes. As per the expertise and knowledge level, the singer can also use advanced music concepts like graham bhedam and sruthi bhedam etc…Do not use these frequently, but use it occasionally so as to please the listeners. Main krithi performance should have a thaniyavarthanam which will give room for the percussionists to so show their excellence. One can also opt to do a ragam thanam pallavi as the main piece.

With the rendering of the main krithy, the first part of the concert comes to an end. Now the singer has the freedom to sing lighter pieces. They may include javaly, chants, folk pieces, light devotionals etc…The performance shall end with a mangalam, preferably preceded by a thillana. Mangalam can be in the form of a virutham in different or single ragas. There is a common practice to sing the mangalam in madhyamavathi however other ragas are also used. Brief raga elaboration of madhyamavathi is also used instead of mangalam. It is not good to perform for more than three hours. The audience will not be able to concentrate much after this time span.

The body language of the performer is also important in a carnatic music concert. Try to communicate to a maximum with the accompanying artists and with the audience with your body language. Avoid unnecessary facial gestures and awkward body language. Try to control this right in your practice sessions / sadhakam sessions itself. Try to maintain a pleasing attitude right from the beginning of the concert till the end. It will be a good idea to understand the krithi to its full before rendering it. Especially regarding the meaning of the krithi, the composer, any specialties associated with the krithis etc… this will help the singer to render the krithi in its best possible way. The raga bhavam and the mood of the meaning that the krithi explains should also be given due consideration while rendering.

While selecting the krithis, do not select krithies that have similar swara sancharam (music route) eg. Panthuvaraly and Poorvikalyani, Ritigowla and Anandabhairavi. The alapana should not be too long for rare ragas. And for familiar ragas the singer should not take a difficult alapana style which will confuse the audience.

To add garnish to your concert, present yourself on the stage in a confident and pleasing attire. Give rest to you vocal chords on the day of the concert, so that you can perform at your best on the stage.

Being a fresher, a performer may face many challenges with all the entire above said attributes. The only way to get out of this is constant practice, dedication and confidence.

Radhika Krishna
Associate Editor ; Senior Consultant

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