Jayanthi Kumaresh spread gentle fragrance, her music full of sahitya bhava.

It might sound repetitive, but sahitya bhava on the veena is an attainment by itself. It transcends a mere capturing of certain traits of the human voice to an instrument. Jayanthi's choice of two Ekaika kritis of Tyagaraja – ‘Pariyachakama' (Manavathi) and ‘Atugaradani' (Manoranjani) – and the way she rendered these compassionate utterances on the veena to bring out the inlaid bhava were matters of delicacy. Art towered over craft. Sahithya Bhava reigned over instrumental virtuosity.

The concert had a few firsts. Malavika, who maintained the beats, rendered the Khamas kriti (‘Santhanagopala Krishnam Upasmahe', Diksithar) in a sing-along style with the veena. That was “double enjoyment.” The ragamalika swaras appended to the pallavi, in the RTP segment took three rounds with Begada, Malyamarutham and Nattakurinji. The multi-raga swaras returned to the pallavi and then had a two avartana laya interlude as a filler – well devised and well executed.

The gentle vadhya prabandham (that which is well-bound) in Suddha Sarang by Abhishek Raghuram had its maiden release in a concert. Shanmukhapriya alone had a raga vistharam with its well controlled mutations and gave due prominence to the emphatic notes. The tanam had beauteous cue phrases of the raga that were lined well with prayogas at all speeds before and after them. The Pallavi line – ‘Sa Ri Ga Ma Pa Dha Ni ThaKita Tha Ka Tha', ‘Ena Paaduvom Isai Engum Vilangida' had its creative element, where the lyrics in reality began only at the later half – ‘Ena Paaduvom….'

Jayanthi maintained this distinction in all her structural arrangements and embellishments which had a unique impact apart from being a purist's delight. This pallavi was in Adi tala (two kalai) and began at the beat (sama eduppu). Earlier ‘Rama Ninne Nammina' (Mohanam, Tyagaraja) had swaras with its many divisions, commanding pauses and fine combinations where the jarus (karvais) at many times gracefully went up to the end point of the last druta and landed gracefully on the lyric. Lalgudi's Mandhari varnam made the beginning and ‘Manasa Sancharare' (Sama-Sadasiva Brahmendra) came towards the end.

The laya-trio of Jayachandra Rao (mridangam), Sukanya Ramgopal (ghatam) and Pramath Kiran (morsing) were guided by the principle - sharing means success. They rotated their playing allowing the veena to be heard and their combined sound appeared only on select occasions. The thani they presented had a final korvai with neat karvais and its last few sollus were dovetailed perfectly to the pallavi showing the level of mastery and application the vidwans possessed.

This veena recital had fragrance, not flamboyance. And its beauty increased as the concert progressed. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, who has analysed our music from the Vedic times to the present, observes that the veena is the aristocrat among instruments and this concert only affirmed it, yet again.


She's got the whole world on a stringMay 6, 2010