Bharathi Ramasubban’s concert organised by Nalinakanthi on December 9 at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women was packed with the right elements of aesthetics, clarity, perfect pitch and pace.
Opening the concert with Intaparaka (Mayamalavagaula), a composition of Annai Ayya immortalised by Semmangudi, set the mood of the concert. Well-proportioned neraval and kalpanaswarams in santatamu enhanced the brisk presentation. Maintaining the same tempo, came flashing Sanaatanaa, a Tyagaraja kriti in Phalamanjari wherein Bharathi displayed an impeccable level of pedigree and prowess.
A clean delineation of Varali with a stamp bearing kriti of Dikshitar – Mamava Meenakshi was a little off the mark, though her swaras at Shyaame shankari made up for it. A relaxed presentation of Kaalai tookki, a Marimutha Pillai composition in Yadukulakambodhi soaked in devotion perked up the spirits again. Quickly followed, a gusty Anupama gunambudhi (Tyagaraja) in Athana before the artiste settled for the main piece of the evening Sarojadala netri in Shankarabharanam.
Here was a grammar book presentation of alapana devoid of any acrobatics, without any loss of the raga’s stature. Bharathi’s ringing, open-throated voice is weighty, controlled, balanced and has an admirable display of sensitivity. The kriti was rendered with the perfection of the Semmangudi bani. Neraval was in the usual place of Samagana vinodini and the swaras were crisp without any surprises.
She finished the concert with a short tukkada following the percussion solo.
Violin support by Aditi Krishnaprakash (Bangalore) was to the point and complemented the main artiste. Without resorting to the usual verbiage, she handled her role deftly. N.C Bharadwaj’s subdued playing style with the right amount of volume to either sides of the percussive instrument was refreshing and in a sense assured the audience that the main artiste did not have to handle one more complexity. Though the crowd at the beginning of the concert was a mere handful, it picked up during the concert to 50% capacity of the hall. Bharathi did guarantee a wholesome experience and this rasika felt that she is poised to be a great promise of the future.
(Ashok Subramaniam is an engineering professional, a musician and teacher, based in California, USA)