Rich traditional fare
M. S. JAYARAM
The chaste alapana of Madyamavati was the hallmark of the concert of Ranjani and Gayatri.
EXCELLENT VOICE CULTURE: Ranjani and Gayatri. Photo: R. Ragu.
Ranjani and Gayatri, recipients of this year's Isai Peroli, conferred on the sisters by Kartik Fine Arts, gave their title concert to a packed auditorium at the Narada Gana Sabha. They were accompanied by B. U. Ganesh Prasad on the violin, Neyveli Skandasubramaniam on the mridangam and N.Guruprasad on the ghatam.
The sisters, in the recent years have emerged as front line singers, combining rich traditional musical inputs in the form of sound repertoire, excellent voice culture, very good imagination and exquisite presentation. The day's concert started with the grand Kanada varnam `Nerra Nammi' set to Ata talam and immediately the atmosphere was cast for a fine musical fare.
The sisters sang short crisp medium tempo swaras for Muddu Momu for the Suryakantam kriti of Thyagaraja. Before embarking on Pantuvarali ragam "Raghuveera Rana Dheera" in Husaini was rendered in an unhurried kalapramana. Ranjani sang Pantuvarali with good shruti alignment and the long karvais at panchamam was embellished with lovely sangathis.
Gayatri sang a very well structured Madyamavathi with sedate musical phrases. traversed both slow and fast sangathis with poise. The chaste way of rendering of the alapana was the hallmark of the concert. Ganesh Prasad on the violin kept up the dignified atmosphere constructed by Gayatri. Papanasam Sivans `Saravanabhava guhane' was very well rendered ending with neat swaraprastharas at the pallavi stance. A short and sweet tani avartanam was played by Skandasubramanian and Guru Prasad with good teermanams.
Tulsidas bhajan set in Yamuna Kalyani was rendered beautifully by the sisters taking turns to add aesthetic musical phrases at the right places. With a Pilu Tukaram Abhang the concert came to an end.
In Carnatic music, the tail pieces have been attracting a good section of audience these days who particularly are charmed by the pure aesthetics of the tunes set to the compositions of Sri Sathya Sai, Meera Bai, Subramanya Bharathi, Annamacharya et al, rather than the serious compositions of the Trinity or the other classical composers.
The concert of Priya sisters, Shanmukhapriya and Haripriya, commenced with `Vatapi Ganapathiye'in raga Sahana composed by Papananasam Sivan, a charming piece. The lovely composition of Dikshitar in Khamas `Santhana Gopala Krishnam Upasmahe' was presented neatly. The sisters sang Poorvikalayani and Bhairavi ragas elaborately, basing it on permutation of swaras and sangathis.
There were glimpses of the richness of Bhairavi at places, as Haripriya progressed through the raga but on the whole the entire journey was a mechanical exercise.
M. A. Sundaresan, who accompanied the sisters on the violin, was comfortable with the pace and kept up the tempo of the concert. He also played a good version of Bhairavi.
At no point did the ragam tanam pallavi effort in Bhairavi reach a significant musical height. Madipakkam Murli who accompanied the sisters on the mridangam extended wonderful support through out the concert and his tani after the Ragam Tanam Pallavi was well appreciated.
Friday, December 2, saw heavy rain. If any one thought getting an audience for a music concert under these conditions was impossible, they were proved wrong!
At 5 p.m., the curtains went up at the Narada Gana Sabha auditorium, the Chennai rasikas in sizeable number, had turned up for the first music concert of the 31st art festival organised by Kartik Fine Arts.
Vijay Shiva was accompanied by Sriram Kumar on the violin and Manoj Shiva on the mridangam. Vijay Shiva's music is pure with no cosmetic overtones adhering to sampradaya and taking the rasikas to the old world charm of bhava, rakti, dignity and grandeur. These days he tends to shed the unwanted brigas which he employed in his formative days and thus adheres to presenting only the essence of tasteful music.
The concert commenced with Tyagaraja's Kedaram composition ``Rama ni pai tanaku" in a sedate tempo and the tone was all set for a melodious musical journey. Two lovely compositions one each of Shyama Sastry in Anandabhairavi (Pahishri giriraja) and Thyagaraja in Saranga Emidova Balkuma followed in quick succession.
Keeravani was essayed in its chaste version with the voice well-settled reaching up to mandara panchamam and effortlessly reaching up to gandhara in tarastayi. Sriram Kumar played with great aplomb, rising to the occasion with his characteristic sedateness.
It was in the portrayal of Todi that Vijay Siva depicted his rich manodharma while enjoying every swara, immersed in swanubhava, a rare thing these days. There was not a sangathi out of place or unwanted. The pauses and silence between sangathis did create a lofty structure true to the nagaswara tradition. Sriramkumar was equally at ease and extended the good Todi atmosphere for Dikshitar's ``Sri Ramachandraya namaste" in tisra triputa to follow. Good, structured swaraprastras ended with the tani avartanam. Manoj Shiva's tani was very pleasing, clear in its tonal quality and the right amount of kanakkus for every one to enjoy.
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