Amidst the bustle of the food stalls and the irate drivers parking their cars in the lot, there seems to be a note of delicateness hanging in the air, twisting gracefully and finding its way towards us. It has a spiritual duality to it and it is magnetic. On stage are three ladies graciously attired in shades of copper and vermilion and their voices in unison assail the senses delicately. There is no attack in this music, and these compositions reflect far subtler passions. If I were to give a label to the musical experience using the language of rasas, karuna would be predominant.
Abhinaya, Keerthana, and Poornima, all students of the ethereal Bombay Jayashri took centrestage at the fourth day's walk-in series for The Hindu Friday Review November Fest. Deciding to focus on Tamil compositions from across the ages, the ladies presented their fare with great care and restraint. Delectably rendering verses from the Tiruppugazh and Sivan's effervescent Kannanai pani maname in Shanmukhapriya and the elevating Ambarame tanneere in Kalyani from the Tiruppavai (sacred hymns of the Nalayira Divyaprabandham), they went on to present the well-loved Chinnan chiru kiliye, completely enthralling their audience with their renditions.
Given that the three vocalists displayed the moving, bhava-soaked, lyrical style of their guru, there was little that went amiss. Their voices are uniformly well-honed and melodious. The introductions between the pieces were also crisp and informative, keeping the time constraint and audience in mind. The repertoire was planned well, but I would have liked to have seen some other emotional graphs (besides karuna or bhakti) woven into their songs, more reflective of the variety available in Tamil poetry. Perhaps more solos could have also done each of their voices greater justice. I would like to see these vocalists in bolder settings and displaying musical versatility in the future, as these are certainly musicians to watch out for.
Particular note must be made of the violinist (S. Rajeev) whose accompaniment was instinctive and musical. Percussion (Sumesh Narayan) was a bit muted, but that may also be more reflective of the repertoire chosen. Overall, a lovely evening.