Prema Rangarajan is a singer who assiduously sticks to her traditional guns. There was a sense of simplicity and out rightness in her performance. While most of the artists fail in time management especially, when it comes to Ragam Tanam Pallavi, Prema neatly dedicated about 45 minutes for this intensive exercise. Her raga choice was Hindolam which was presented in two parts in the traditional manner followed by tanam and a pallavi intricately set with Chatusra Triputa with two different nadais; the poorvangam (first segment) in Khanda nadai and uthrangam (second segment) in Chatusra nadai. The pallavi ‘Raja Mathangi Paavani’ was given the mandatory treatment of niraval, trikalam and embellished with ragamalika swaras.
Kalyani was prominently executed before the RTP with a neat exposition and the composition was Tyagaraja’s ‘Enduko Nee Manasu’. Here, Prema opted for detailing on the line ‘Tarakanama Paratpara’, and the swaras with nishadam as the centre went on a systematic slant and shipshape moves. Her swara suites were well designed and not just directionless strolls. Their combinations and built up were educative and enlightened the finer and artistic strength of the raga.
Sriranjani has a special glamour and this was fully elicited in Prema’s raga essay. In her reply on the violin, Padma Shankar added extra charm with many colourful motifs. ‘Sri Dum Durge’ by Muthuswami Dikshitar was rendered with veneration with weight added with niraval and swaras at ‘Dundubi Vadya Veda.’
Padma Shankar’s violin support was another asset for Prema. She played cool and composed responses in all her versions. Ganapathyraman on the mridangam was aided by Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna on morsing, the first instance this scribe seeing a woman playing this difficult upa pakkavadyam. Their support was unassuming.
‘Isai Padi Magizha’ in Charukesi by N.S. Chidambaram and ‘Narayana Namo’ in Chenchuriti by Annamacharya were engaging numbers although less heard. But it is little depressing to note that such well planned, enlightening concerts draw only a few dedicated rasikas.