Siblings scored with rare kritis and a firm grip over classicism.

It was a feast of music at the October Music Fest organised by Santhi Arts Foundation & Endowments (SAFE) at Sastri Hall, Mylapore.

Sathur Sisters Bhuvana and Lalitha may be a bit low profile but they have a commendable music base. Being the daughters of vidwan Sathur Subramaniam, their focus is on the melody and classicism of Carnatic music.

In their two-hour concert, they tried to establish their wide repertoire by including less-heard kritis. The Hamsanandhi alapana by Bhuvana was followed by ‘Sachamara Ramavani’ of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar. The Keeravani raga essay for Tyagaraja’s ‘Kaligiunte’ was done by Lalitha. Both were presented with elaborate neraval and swaras.

It so happens that when siblings sing, one of them invariably has a less potent vocal prowess. Here, Bhuvana managed the raga alapanas and swara conclusions with sincerity. The swara sessions were intelligently framed and neatly shared between the sisters but the raga essays were a tad damp. ‘Sri Mahaganapathe’ in Abhogi, ‘Saaketha Nakaranaatha’ in Harikhambodi, ‘Mahalakshmi’ in Madhava Manohari, ‘Sonnathai Seithida’ in Ragamalika and a rare thillana in Sindhubhairavi formed part of their subdued recital.

R. Raghul on the violin kept up with the sisters’ proclivity to soft approach and so did Manikkudi Chandrasekaran on the mridangam.

At a brisk pace

Right from the beginning, Kalakad Brothers R. Thyagarajan and R. Srinivasan regaled listeners with their sound (literally and figuratively) music. Sriraga varnam was briskly appended with ‘Vathapi Ganapathim’ in Hamsadhwani with feisty neraval and swaras on ‘Pranava Swaroopa.’ The mighty Atana was shared by both for ‘Brahaspathe.’

The Pantuvarali raga exercise for ‘Sarasaksha Paripalaya’ formed the centre-piece of their concert.

Violinists always take the cue from the vocalists. So S.P. Ananthapadamanabha dashed through the raga and swaras with full energy. K.R. Ganesh on the mridangam resonated well with the rest.

The sisters look identical; their voices too, but one has a slight edge over the other in intensity. Arathi and Archana have sweet and supple voices and their presentation moved on delicate lines.

Opening their concert with ‘Kanjadalayadakshi’ in Kamalamanohari, Archana and Arathi followed it with a spirited ‘Dinamani Vamsa’ in Harikhambodi before moving to Poorvikalyani for ‘Paripoornakama.’

The choice of songs was appealing. They included a couple of rare compositions of Oothukadu Venkatakavi in Sarangamalhar (‘Srimahabala’) and a Tyagaraja composition in Bhooshavali (‘Tanameedana’) apart from detailed expositions of Sriranjani (‘Marubalga’) and Thodi (‘Dachukovalana’).

The siblings demonstrated a firm grip and methodology in building up the ragas’ images and provided the right measures of karvai and akaras. Swara sessions were once again managed with a cautious approach. The kritis were handled with extreme care and the swarakalpana, presented at the right speed. Yet, one could find, notwithstanding their careful tread that they missed out either the time or a sangati or coordination often. However, these are not insurmountable drawbacks.

Another significant factor was time management. They had to race through the Thodi kriti with limited neraval and swaras to accommodate the tani avartanam.

Apoorva on the violin was a picture of poise. N.C. Baradwaj on the mridangam maintained a dignified posture throughout.