Impeccable laya control
With her sensitive interpretation, E. Gayathri captivated the audience.
TYPICALLY GRACEFUL: E. Gayatri. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao.
A varnam in Kathanakuthoohalam set the momentum for the concert of versatile veena vidushi E. Gayatri in the company of R. Ramesh (mridangam) and E. M. Subramanian on the ghatam. A felicitous raga elaboration of Malayamarutham was a precursor to ``Karpaga Manohara" of Papanasam Sivan with the T. M. Tyagarajan stamp written all over it.
The impeccable laya control of the artiste was creditably highlighted in the kalpanaswara forays. Arabhi was vividly portrayed in all its grace and elegance. Perhaps slightly more nidhanam in the playing and variations in kalapramanam, punctuated by meaningful pauses would have given added listening satisfaction. ``Palimparavademira," a not too familiar kriti with its spirited, delectably structured Chittaswaram conceived by the inimitable T. M. Tyagarajan was an alluring version.
The meticulous swara improvisations were typical Gayatri fare. When the Subhapantuvarali expansion was introduced an all-pervading reposeful aura took over the entire auditorium. Dikshitar's Sri Sathyanarayanam played at a racy pace would have registered more in a slower tempo. Salagabhairavi is not normally a musician's choice for an alapana. Gayatri captivated the audience with her sensitive interpretation. Tyagaraja's ``Padavini" with verve and vivacity hit the rasika powerfully with Semmangudi nostalgia. Todi was well structured phase by phase with sancharas denoting time-honoured values of vishranti and sowkhyam. The tanam ragamalika comprising Todi, Shanmmukhapriya, Mohanakalyani and Kapi was truly the connoisseur's cup of tea. The tani avartanam by the worthy percussionists that brought into focus multi-faceted rhythmic aspects was a praiseworthy display. This programme of Gayatri's warranted a more sizeable audience, but such is the state of the veena in the modern cultural scenario.
A suggestion to all musicians, more important instrumentalists if they were to announce each song with its title, raga, tala and composer, it would not only enlighten many but also leave the listener in a more comfortable zone to enjoy the composition.
It may not be so difficult in any sphere that with industry and concerted efforts one can reach the peak, but to remain in that exalted position without floundering needs great will, determination and an overwhelming passion to succeed. Sudha Raghunathan's concert bore testimony to this fact. Papanasam Sivan's invocatory kriti "Gajavadana" in Sriranjani was duly embellished with sparkling swarakalpanas culminating in a simple but sizzling korvai. "Jaya Jaya" of Purandaradasa in Nattai and the swara passages found the singer's voice in fine fettle with the mandra sthayi panchamam heard in its full strength. "Everi tho" in the vivadi mela manavati was a beautiful version that to a great extent laid to rest arguments that vivadi ragas spell inauspiciousness. If it were so, why would Tyagaraja compose the first of his five ratnams in Nattai? Sudha handled the Suddha Gandharam with care and confidence. The opening prayogas of Poorvikalyani had an authoritative bearing, with even the mandra sthayi madhyamam emerging loud and clear.
Pakala Ramdas, violinist, played without much ado to present a tidy portrayal of the essence of the raga. Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar's "Parampavana" with its impressive chittaswaram, the neraval and the swaras sung in full-throated fashion were musical treats. Arunachala Kavirayar's "Yaro ivar Yaaro" in Bhairavi has enjoyed a healthy existence for many decades being one of the favourites of the likes of Ariyakkudi, Madurai Mani Iyer, D.K. Pattammal and M.S. Subbulakshmi. Sudha's song rendition had a singular appeal showcasing the emotional content of the lyrics that describes the feelings of Rama for Sita and not as many believe vice versa. The whole exercise was exhaustive and enjoyable. An adroit response from the violinist, not indulging in instrumental acrobatics and adhering strictly to classical sancharas, was welcome. T The percussionists Neyveli Skanda Subramaniam (mridangam) and V. Raman (morsing) were keen in their support to the singer's calculations galore.
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