With a little fine tuning Kirnavali could elevate her concert to an altogether different level.
Kiranavali Vidhyashankar is endowed with grit and guts. That she plunged headlong to present Mahavaidhayanatha Sivan’s Mela ragamalika on stage, spoke of her determined bid to vidwat of a high order. She presented the ragas (ninth and tenth chakras) Dhavalambari to Neethimathi (12). She had encapsulated 108 ragas and made a presentation at Srinivasa Sastri Hall some years ago. This 12 raga exercise was child’s play for her, perhaps.
The raga Mohanam has infinite possibilities. It is a universal scale. Kiranavali exploited the full potential the raga offered - both in terms of scale and range - and gave a step-by-step delineation in terms of an alapana. She chose the pallavi line, ‘Bhavanutha’ (Tyagaraja), to unleash countless single avarthana swaras, that were gloriously built around karvais, janta prayogas, thaattu prayogas, etc., (I started counting the number of avarthanas, but just could not maintain it.) ‘Vazhi Maraithirukkudhu’ came next in order. Her main was Thodi (‘Karthikeya,’ Papanasam Sivan). Here she announced and then sang a charanam that is normally left unsung by many vidwans (It commences with ‘Kaamaribuvin Abirama Sutha Nin Thiru’)
The abundant knowledge she has, combined with her musical up-bringing, prompted one to think on the following lines. Does she require a bit of fine tuning, some more efforts from her side, to elevate her concert to an altogether different level? For instance, the mandhara sthayi forays she painstakingly and conscientiously attempted could not be heard at all.
Sunitha Harishankar’s (violin) gave raga essays that were reasonably good and swara accompanying was largely supportive, though at some points two avarthana swaras presented by the vocalist were returned with one avarthanams.
Neyveli Ramkumar (mridangam) and Srirangam Ravikrishnan (ghatam) chose the right methods of accompanying. There were none of those impetuous heaving waves of drum beats. The single avarthana swaras for Mohanam were followed faultlessly with a keen sense of timing. Even their thani took the minimum time but had all the elements mixed in it.