The festival, organised by Rajalakshmi Fine Arts that concluded recently, offered a sumptuous fare.

Sikkil Gurucharan’s caressing voice carried the complicated swara prayogas with ease as he presented a well-planned concert at Rajalakshmi Fine Arts’ September Season in Coimbatore. His depiction of Saramathi and Husseini were immersed in raga bhava. The well-known kriti ‘Arulavendum Thaaye’ by M.M. Dhandapani Desikar as well as the rare ‘Paahimaam Brihannaayike’ by Swati Tirunal were rendered with equal ease and apt ornamentation. It was a joy listening to Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar’s brisk ‘Raghunatha Nannu’ in Swararanjani.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Paramaathmudu’ was presented as a sumptuous treat with a detailed delineation of ‘Vagadheeswari’ and imaginative swaras.  He started the RTP dealing with Ranjani, Manoranjani, Janaranjani and Sriranjani quite late, but kept it crisp and appealing.  The Pahadi tillana and ‘Maithreem Bhajatha’ gave a fitting conclusion to a gratifying concert. Violin by V. Sanjeev was pure melody and he stood out as an accompanist as well as a creative musician. The youthful sparkles of the mridangam player (Shertalai Ananthakrishnan) and the refined sophistication of veteran ghatam artist, Vaikom Gopalakrishnan, added to the effect.

Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s concert, with Delhi Sunderrajan (violin), K.V. Prasad (mridangam) and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam) had characteristic briga-laden alapanas and torrential swaraprastaras. He took care to include songs that made him famous - ‘Annapurne’ (Sama), ‘Ini Namakkoru Kavalaiyumillai’ (Bilahari) and ‘Vaananai’ (Kiravani). Delhi Sunderrajan proved that he is an ace violinist. The senior accompanists got opportunities to bring out their skills and they exploited it to present an aural treat to the rasikas.

Bombay Jayashri’s concert on the concluding day was a nostalgic experience. It was M.S. Subbulakshmi’s birthday that day and the kritis popularised by the legend flowed one after the other. The concert began appropriately with Annamacharya’s ‘Sriman Narayana’ in Bowli. The alapanas, however, were typical of Jayashri, soft and meditative. She depicted Hindolam (‘Maa Ramanan’) and Purvikalyani (‘Meenaakshi Me Mudham Dehi’). Her RTP dealt with Yadhukula Khambodi and Gowla and the pallavi, ‘Aadum Chidambaratharase,’ saw her splice some popular kritis.

M.S. would have been happy to listen to ‘Hari! Tum Haro Jan Ki Peer,’ the Mira bhajan. ‘Thera Theeyaka Raadha’ and ‘Rangapura Vihara’ were obviously included. It was a humble, heartfelt tribute and Jayashri deserves appreciation for taking the backseat and projecting the greatness of M.S. The young team of accompanists, comprising Avaneeswaram Vinu on the violin, Sumesh Narayanan on the mridangam and Nerkunam Shankar on the ganjira, made the concert a memorable one.

Up and coming artists made a favourable impression during the earlier slot in the evening. Ramakrishnan Murthy, a disciple of Delhi Sunderrajan, presented a fulfilling concert in just two hours. His Sankarabharanam for ‘Saroja Dhala Netri’ and Varali for ‘Mamava Meenakshi’ glistened with phrases that brought out the nuances of the ragas. The niraval, swaraprastaras and the virutham made him eligible for the senior slot. When he concluded with the tillana in Purvi, the applause was spontaneous and loud.

Deekshitha Venkataraman, disciple of T.R. Subramanian and Raji Gopalakrishnan, was quite sincere in her approach. She gave a good picture of Mandari before singing, ‘Ninnu Jeppa Kaaranamemi Manasa.’ ‘Shadaanane Sakalam Arpayaami’ was interesting, with jatis woven into the sahitya. She is sure to bloom with a little more experience.

Aishwarya Shankar was quite impressive while strictly adhering to her Guru Suguna Varadachari’s patantaram. The very first varnam by Suguna Purushothaman based on ragas ending with ‘Priya’ made one sit up. Her swarakalpanas for ‘Tatva Bodhana Jesi’ (‘Gurulekha Etuvanti’), her delineation of Sama and Bhairavi and the niraval for ‘Neela Neerada Shareera’ clearly bore the stamp of her guru.

Accompanying these artists on the violin were M. Vijay, Supraja and Trivandrum Sampath, respectively, while N.C. Bharadwaj lent rhythmic support on these three days.

During the course of her five-day discourse on ‘Krishnaleela,’ Jaya Srinivasan spoke about great saints, narrated interesting anecdotes and made thought-provoking statements. The audience could appreciate the motherly love of Periazhwar, the imagination of Leelasukar and the devout commentaries of Dongre Maharaj. She entertained the audience with her word-pictures on the mischievous antics of Krishna and enlightened them by elaborating on the significance of each of his leelas.