Gifted with a silky voice that’s full of energy it is strange that this singer who was once the toast for many popular sabhas finds herself less preferred these days – very queer and hard to comprehend the behavioural pattern of both sabhas and the rasikas. Yet the turnout for Rajee Gopalakrishnan’s vocal concert was fair in the pre-music festival series of this sabha at their Mini Hall.
A bright start was ensured with the Saveri varnam. Periasamy Thooran’s Gananadhanae (Saranga-Adi) at madhyama kalam kept up the tempo set in the beginning with patternistic swaras. Khamas was detailed with short phrases that were fast-paced making it attractive. Usha Rajagopalan (violin), a seasoned campaigner, was competent in her reply. None will be able to resist the temptation for a niraval in the line ‘Prema Jhoochi Naa Pai’ in the Tyagaraja kriti Seethapatay Naamanasuna (Adi) and Rajee Gopalakrishnan was no exception to this. Then came a free flowing swaraprastara.
Hanumanthapuram R.J. Bhuvaraghan (mridangam) with his metronomic sarva lagu patterns kept pace with the singer and embellished the song further with adequate support from Srirangam Ravikrishnan (ghatam). Maaravairiramani’ (Tyagaraja-Naasikabhushani) was preceded by a detailed alapana of the vivadhi raga. A concert is bound to be successful in classical terms if any one of the ‘Big Five’ ragas is chosen for elaboration and laced with a Tyagaraja piece. Rajee Gopalakrishnan took up Bhairavi and sung it at madhyama kala that was the underlying tempo of the concert that evening. Her brigas, used limitedly, reminded one of the legend MLV at times. Upachaaramu packed with niraval and swaras at ‘Kapata Naataka’ was relatively slower. She adopted a simplistic approach for her swara passages. Enlivening the atmosphere with their imaginative playing, both Bhuvaraghan and Ravikrishnan presented a thani that was brief and to the point.