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Friday Review » Music

Updated: December 28, 2010 19:25 IST

Communicating through the strings

G. Swaminathan
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Graceful: E. Gayathri. Photo: R. Ragu
Graceful: E. Gayathri. Photo: R. Ragu

Gayathri’s Thodi, surfeit with several free flowing phrases and glides, brought forth the raga image with elegance.

Though veena resembles human voice almost, the veena player has an edge over the vocalists in achieving some exotic inflections or sangatis what may be a trace difficult for the singer. When one listens to E. Gayathri’s veena, they could easily identify her exceptional creativity could bring forth many graceful, delicious and attractive nuances of a raga through her sinuous playing with nimble fingers.

Gayathri’s strong belief in considering veena not just as an instrument but a divine form of godliness could be felt the way she plays a raga, delivers a kriti or goes for the swaraprasthara. The divinity of music becomes explicit in her thought process and deliverance. Chakravaham’s intense moments on the upper registers as well as the dreamy passages of Mohana Kalyani could be communicated to the listener in Gayathri’s exquisite playing of ‘Nera Nammithi’ of Mysore Vasudevachar and ‘Bhuvaneswariya’ by

Muthaiah Bhagavatar. In both instances, Gayathri suffixed the kritis with streams of swaras one poignant and the other poetic.

Thodi understandably became the major player with a lengthy preface of alapana for the Syama Sastri’s ‘Ninne Namminanu.’ The paradigm of classicism was explicit in Gayathri’s Thodi surfeit with several free flowing phrases and glides structuring the raga image with elegance. The composition full of majesty and musical charm picked up when Gayathri went for niraval in ‘Kamakshi Kanja Dalayadakshi.’ The swara ornamentation was another surge of swaras with superb musical prudence.

Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi was set in Suddha Dhanyasi for Adi Talam. Suddha Dhanyasi always carries a sparkling tenor. This vivacity was permeating throughout the raga exposition, and the dynamic tanam further brightened through ragamalika tag of Khambodi, Simhendramadyamam, Valaji. The pallavi in Adi talam (two kalai) went as ‘Bhaavaye Srisankaram Bhakta Jana Priyaharam.’ The necessary embellishments with several rounds of swaras added merit to the exercise.

The role of supporting artists for veena demands special expertise. Trichur C. Narendran and Pudukottai N. Ramachandran on the mridangam and the ghatam respectively were aware of their roles which should be subdued but at the same time visible. They maintained that throughout the concert except during the thani in misra chapu where they exhibited their skill. ‘Sri Saraswathi’ in Arabhi and ‘Suma Sayaka’ the protracted pada varnam of Swati Tirunal in Karnataka Kapi were the starters of the concert.


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