Salem Gayathri Venkatesan's concert for Sri Krishna Fine Arts Society, Nanganallur, exemplified her vast repertoire.
Salem Gayathri Venkatesan has a gifted voice and her melodic instincts allow her to bend it in a masterly and professional manner. Add to this her a vast repertoire and you are in for a concert that is at once enjoyable and absorbing.
'Ranganatham Anisham' (Ghambira Naattai, Oothukadu) set in the saptaratna pattern with its special swara sahithyam, followed a rousing varnam in Kedaragowlai.
The alapana for Sriranjani ('Sogasuga' Tyagaraja) showed her comfort level in handling brigas and had a swaraprastharam at 'Yutha Kruthi Che,' intelligently combining the word 'Navarasa,' and granting meaning to the lyrics.
Songs were in plenty. 'Aparna Parvathi' (Nalinakanthi, Kalyani Varadarajan), one of her favourites and 'Ksheera Sagara' (Devagandhari, Tyagaraja) were sung at the concerts middle stage. Gayathri reaches the higher octaves and mandhara sthayi during niravals with phenomenal ease - comparable to her own methods of swara singing that is marked by numerical certainties, excitement and verve. Her alapanas for Subapanthuvarali ('Nee Samana,' GNB) and Behag ('Smarajanaka,' Swati Tirunal) had phrases that were totally touchingly reflective. She even worked a graha-bedham that went un-applauded. (The organizer, however, made a mention of it in his speech.)
The post-tani had 'Muralidhara Gopala' (Thooran, Maand), 'Thangathadagathil' (on Raghavendra), 'Ramakrishnanu' (Purandara Vittala), 'Sri Ranganatha Panchakam' (a ragamalika by Oothukadu in Khanda Gati) and a tillana in Kalavathy by Sathanur Parthasarathi, that had class and fully satisfied tillana norms. Gayathri has to dispel a bit of fog, though.
Sruti alignment scales heights of perfection when she sets her voice free.
Kovai Chandran on the violin had his task chalked out. His finishing phrases for the Shubapantuvarali alapana had delicate prayogas of quality and he played adopting his pet style, though his replies during the swaraprastharams sounded hurried.
Melakkaveri Balaji (mridangam) accompanied in a manner that held the kritis at their ideal pace.