Sharmila and Santhala impressed the audience in Palakkad with their choice of kritis by various composers.

A concert by sisters, Sharmila and Santhala, who are better known as the ‘Gayaki sisters’ struck a chord with music aficionados in Palakkad. The duo charmed the audience with their adherence to classicism and their tonal synchrony.

Inclusion of compositions of different vaggeyakaras in different languages was testimony of their repertoire.

The sisters began the concert with ‘Nee daya rada’, a rare Adi tala varnam of GNB in Andolika. Next came Chengalvaraya Sasthri’s ‘Re re manasa’ in Natta.

Strictly adhering to the traditional concert format, Sharmila took up the short, but exquisite alapana of Anandabhairavi in which she explored the subtle nuances of the raga. The majestic Navavarana kriti of Dikshitar on the deity of Thiruvaroor was marked by clarity in diction and sahithyabhava.

Santhala’s Lathangi alapana demonstrated her skill in unlocking the innate beauty of the raga. Elegant rendering of Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Venkataramana’ and ‘Alarmel mankai manala’ followed. Their swaraprasthara in variegated rhythmic patterns was impressive.

An emotive rendering of Swati’s ‘Utsava Prabandham’ in Thodi and ‘Pankajakshanam Ramesan’ set to Adi tala paved the way to a brisk Tyagaraja kriti ‘Nenarunchara’ in Simhavahini before the highlight of the concert.

Their stage presence and rapport with percussionists, Sunitha Shankar (violin) and Kallekkulagara Unnikrishnan (mridangam) elevated the aesthetics of the concert.

Sharmila’s elaboration of the 23rd Melakartha, Gourimanohari was methodical, with systematically developed sancharas. Sunitha’s essay on the violin, marked by strong bowing and skillful fingering techniques, was equally melodious. Swati Tirunal’s ‘Sarasa sama’ in a soothing tempo, showcasing their grip over chowkakala kritis, was soaked in spiritual fervour.

Sobriety marked Unnikrishnan’s beats and korvais, while accompanying the vocalists.

The sisters sang bhajans in the latter half of the concert. The ‘Gayaki sisters’ wound up their concert organised by the Swathi Sangeetha Sabha, Palakkad at Kalpathy Krishnan koil with a Thillana in Panthuvarali composed by Santhala, and ‘Bhujagasayino’, a mangalam of Swati’s in Yadukulakamboji.