Gayathri Venkataraghavan has the blessing of a felicitous smooth voice. She was accompanied by Anuradha Sridhar on the violin, H.S. Sudhindra on the mridangam and Sukkanya Ramgopal on the ghatam. Nithyasree Mahadevan is well perched in the music firmament having a great lineage as D.K. Pattammal's grand daughter and blessed with a voice having range and speed negotiability.
Gayathri Venkataraghavan has the blessing of a felicitous smooth voice. She was accompanied by Anuradha Sridhar on the violin, H.S. Sudhindra on the mridangam and Sukkanya Ramgopal on the ghatam. Following in the steps of the legendary singer, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Gayathri recited a sloka on Lord Ganesa set in the same tune as M.S.'s Dakshinamurthy couplet and then opened up with ‘Evarani,' the Devamrita Varshini, the Adi Tala kriti of Tyagaraja.
Gayathri's attempt at rendering the Yamunakalyani kriti of Muthuswami Dikshitar in Rupaka Talam did not evoke the desired effect as it was rather flat.
The lengthy alapana of Madhyamavati with Syama Sastri's composition in Adi Talam, ‘Paalimchu Kamakshi' with niraval and swaras at ‘Kanthamagu,' with a 20-minute thani by mridangam and ghatam artist sagged the tempo. The ragam for the RTP was in Sankarabharanam. The two stage raga alapana was a traverse through the octaves with long, plain karvais in the shadjam. The rasikas had to search for bhava-laden pidis of this ragam. The routine tanam was shared between Gayathri and Anuradha.
The lyric of the pallavi was ‘Dasaratha Karuna Payonidhe Raghukula Tilaka' set in four Kalai Adi Talam. Gayathri handled the pallavi with all the entailing tala jugglery most competently and also with a ragamalika swara chain containing Varali, Ritigowla and Hamsanandi.
The artist recited a ragamalika sloka in Kapi and Nalinakanti. The Thanjavur Sankara Iyer composition in Nalinakanti was the last song of the concert. This kriti should have been placed earlier in the concert.
The accompanying artists acquitted themselves well in keeping the concert level aloft. For a sustained progress in the concert field Gayathri should strive to understand the depth of the raga concepts and also enrich her Sangeetha Jnana in a concerted manner. Unwitting slipping in raga essays and occurrence of swarams going off its sthana when negotiating second speed swaraprastara should be eschewed. The emotional quotient of music has to be naturally inbuilt deep down in one's psyche and thus while presenting, any amount of labour to create that form, should not appear garbed in artificiality.
Nithyasree Mahadevan is well perched in the music firmament having a great lineage as D.K. Pattammal's grand daughter and blessed with a voice having range and speed negotiability. The quality of the voice determines the style and lineage takes only a secondary place.
Nithyasree is a proof of the dictum. She has sidelined D.K. Pattammal's gamaka-oriented deeper style and has adopted a method of speed craft nearer the surface.
This being the centenary year of GNB, it is heartening to find his compositions included in the concerts by the participants. The inaugural varnam, of the doyen, in Nithyasree's concert was in Andholika, Adi Talam which has quite a few interesting swaraprastaras. The Rasali raga composition of Tyagaraja in Adi Talam, ‘Aparadhamula' had profuse kalpanaswaras, so much so that it was tiring. Too much of swaras can rob the total aesthetics of the concert.
Hamirkalyani raga alapana leading to Muthuswamy Dikshitar's composition in Rupaka talam ‘Parimala Ranganatham' had quantity but certain characteristic sancharas of the ragam were absent.
The quintessence of Thodi is hard to come by and this is a raga pregnant with deep gamakas and lofty sancharas but Nithyasree's alapana was anaemic and wanting.
Dr. Hemalatha's version ranked higher and the Thodi quality stood out in all its hues. The Tyagaraja kriti ‘Daachukovalena' was handled with copious niraval and kalpanaswaras. The thani by Sathishkumar and Sivaramakrishnan revealed their high capabilities in the art of percussion. And as is the current trend the tail piece of the concert, the Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Nalinakanthi was taken up. The words for the Pallavi line were ‘Eesane Suryaprakasane Harane Sivane Saranam Thillai.' Nithyasree expertly handled the intricate pallavi and so did Dr. Hemalatha on the violin. The contribution of the accompanying artists was splendid. A Bharatiyar song in Hamsanandi brought the concert to an end.