Despite paucity of time Sudha Raghuraman's dynamism was evident, while Deepika's brigas exemplified the school she is from.

Alapana Trust's inaugural concert for the three-day Youth Festival of Classical Music & Dance at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore, featured Sudha Raghuraman from New Delhi.

Disciple of O.V. Subramanyam, the vocalist exhibited an uninhibited, dynamic way of singing. Open-throated articulation with unambiguous diction is a favourable point of Sudha Raghuraman's vocal.

Sandwiched between slightly extended inaugural speeches and a dance programme, Sudha had to demonstrate her capabilities within just an hour. But for a confident artist with conviction these hurdles matter little. Therefore, Sudha packed her concert with bright numbers neatly spaced. A couple of raga expressions (Nagasvarali and Kalyani) proved that she knows the pulse of the ragas and could project the main phrases long and short providing a succinct imagery.

A little more restraint in the upper region sancharas instilling a tinge of grace will be advantageous for Sudha's music. The kalpanaswaras for the opening 'Sarasiruhasanapriye' in Nattai and the niraval and swaras at 'Sivakameswara Manpriya Hari' in 'Sivakameswarim Chinthaye' moved with focus on brevity with clarity. 'Sri Sankara Guruvaram' in Nagasvarali and the concluding tillana in Rageshree were the other pieces of Sudha Raghuraman's offering.

Srinivasamurthy on the violin also stuck to the disciplined singing of the vocalist, at the same time emphasising his knowledge in ragas and swaras. Venkata Subramaniam and Harihara Subramaniam played on the mridangam and ghatam with commendable efficiency and also included a crisp tani avartanam within the limited time frame.

Intricate tapestry

The highlight of the second day concert of Deepika was Kiravani; with her supple, soft and sweet voice, Deepika essayed the raga with profound understanding and poised delivery. The ragas delicacy was specially taken care of without over indulgence of any sort; but at the same time Deepika could not resist her temptation and the training of the school she comes from and included the obligatory brigas. Yet in her alapana, even the fast rolling brigas glittered as an intricate tapestry to the melody of Kiravani.

Rajeev on the violin matched every ingenious approach of the vocalist with extra finer touches. His version of Kiravani also carried the unique glow as Rajeev integrated more soulful pauses in his elaboration. G.N. Balasubramaniam's 'Nee Charanambuja' was an apt choice with arresting niraval and swaras at 'Sripurari Rani Kiravani.' Once again a special feature of the GNB-MLV-Sudha lineage was dominant here in Deepika's vision. Nevertheless, the slightly loosely knit concluding swaras could have been lined up in a better manner.

The percussion support on the mridangam from A.V. Manikandan was appealing. The conclusion went in favour of a Jayadevar Ashtapati. This scribe could reach the venue to hear only main number only not withstanding the early start; thanks to the milling Navaratri crowd, chaotic traffic and ceaseless traffic jams in Mylapore.