It was a thoughtful choice of a Hamsadhwani varnam Jalajaksha preceded by a slokam and later an invocatory Ganesha kriti Bhajamanasa Vigneshawara… in Bahudari. Dwaram Lakshmi’s concert was marked by melody, adherence to technicalities and above all devotion in diction and rendition as the underlying aspect. To balance these three angles and be able to deliver a full length recital is no cakewalk. The judicious selection of compositions, ragas and talam further reached out to the varied audience of the South Indian Cultural Association at Ravindra Bharathi.
There are a few distinctive features in Dwaram Lakshmi’s style of rendition which need a mention before an analysis of the katcheri as such. Her staying power in the base is marvellous. In fact, she sounds her sweetest in full clarity in the lower octave; she endows the lines of lyric with a subtle twist which gives a stylistic touch and she draws the composition to a close trailing off with a refrain of the last line. These minute facets made for a totally impressive presentation. The tonal quality could rise to a high pitch in sharp clarity as much as it could get down with lucidity and this was a consistent characteristic of her mode of singing. There was a uniformity in the style from start to finish with total involvement in rendition.
Be it Bantureethi koluva… in Hamsanada where the sangathis moved with meaningful stress with every repetition and the aakaram at Rama namame gave an impetus to the line or the stately Dikshitar’s Kamalamba or the Kalyani set to Himadri suthe… (Shyama Sastri), Lakshmi breathed life and feeling into every line with the right pauses and stresses, so to say without having to sacrifice on classicality in rendition. There was never a light moment into which her tone dropped nor too wrought with technicalities at the cost of content and its import.
The Ananda Bhairavi (Kamalamba samrakshtu maam) was treated with the dignity that goes with any Dikshitar composition. The mitram was given its due emphasis while the kriti moved like a caparisoned temple elephant as Dwaram Lakshmi vested it with her nereval and steady swarakalpana. The meandering alapana in Kalyani bloomed into the divine Himagiri suthe... with an enriching nereval at Shyamakrsna sodhari gowri which got embellished with her improvisation in three cycles and the mukhtayi that had the gait of Kalyani and not just a speedy spill over of a bunch of swaras. Therein lay her maturity as a vocalist. Sri Saraswati namosthute The mridangam player Sadgurucharan enhanced the rhythmic effect of the recital with his clear cut percussion as was Prasad on the morsing. The tani and contest between the two was well laid-out, balanced equation. Kolanki Saikumar rose to the occasion with his faithful accompaniment.
Dwaram Lakshmi also chose to regale the SICA listeners with a few Tamil songs and ‘pashurams’ in keeping with her Tirupati roots which was well appreciated. She rendered a pashuram, Kuthivillakkeriya from Andal’s Tiruppavai in a musical recitation to Sahana which conveyed the import of the lines with feeling. A repetition of the last line tattuvamandru tahavelo rembavai with a stress on the first word would have further enriched the entire verse.
The Nammazhwar’s pashuram in Shivaranjani followed by Yem inda tamadam Rama? in Bagesri was beautiful and emotive. Kuzhaloodhi manamellam azhalahana mayilMakarakundalam Alai paayude kannaKuraiondrum illai
Dwaram Lakshmi’s recital was organised as a part of SICA’s ‘Shantha Devi Memorial Concert’.