Judicious choice of kritis, perfect alignment to sruti and neat delineation by the artists made the concerts vibrant and captivating.

The sound system at the Sathguru Gnanananda Auditorium played truant when A. Kanyakumari and Embar S. Kannan, the guru-sishya violin duet, commenced with the song ‘Kari Mukha' (Nattai-Adi-GNB) on Thursday evening, this past week. After some attention, the system was set right and thenceforth it was absolute sound balancing. Kanyakumari's tonal quality sounded a bit different due to the contact mike she had hooked to her violin. Nevertheless the duo blended very well.

Tyagaraja's gem ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu' (Sri-Adi) was rendered with all its aesthetics intact. A detailed alapana of Suryakantham saw the guru and sishya come out with flying colours. ‘Muddumomu Yelaagu' (Adi-Tyagaraja) a kriti that has almost gone into oblivion was brought to light with azhutham. Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam) with his tekkas and myriad nadais was a great support in the company of B.S. Purushothaman (ganjira).

A clever change of pace added variety to the concert when Kanyakumari presented Syama Sastri's ‘Venkatasaila Vihari' (Hamirkalyani-Adi). The evening's main raga Sriranjani saw Kanya unleash her imagination, complementing the raga with spicy flourishes. Her poise on stage is a lesson for youngsters. Embar Kannan did not lag behind in his essay. Full justice was done to ‘Marubalka' (Adi-Tygaraja) with its cascading sangatis. Probably the presence of Patri on stage inspired her to play a challenging korvai as a climax to the kalpanaswaras. The thani once again saw Patri Satish Kumar come up with an array of strokes. Purushothaman with his softer approach combined well with Patri to make it even more interesting.

Delightful Bilahari

Chinmaya Sisters' (Uma and Radhika), delineation of Bilahari, the sub main raga, during their morning concert at Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall, , was a delight. And for Usha Rajagopal (violin) it was just a cakewalk. ‘Paritanamichithe' (Patnam Subramania Iyer) in khanda chapu with an inherent pep about it brightened up things. The sisters handled the swara segment with a veteran's ease. The anticipation of Sivakumar in this segment was noteworthy.

The selection of slow paced ‘Sarasa Dala' (Saramati-Adi-Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar) added a different colour. ‘Vidajaladura' (Janaranjani-Adi-Tyagaraja) was fast paced with Sivakumar's embellishments comprising perfect nadais and arudhis. Joining him effectively was Sethuraman. It was heartening when the duo took up Madhyamavathi a sure winner, and gave the idea of the raga in the very first phrase instead of keeping the audience guessing. Thereafter, Uma and Radhika changed batons in its neat portrayal. The striking aspect of the duo was that none tried to overdo the other either in the raga or swara phase. Usha's reply was sublime. ‘Palinchu Kamakshi' (Adi-Syama Sastri), yet another good selection, gave them solid scope for a detailed niraval. The swaras that followed were just in right measure. Sivakumar and Sethuraman excelled in the thani.

Solid foundation

Priya Sisters – Haripriya and Shanmukhapriya – with their solid foundation in Telugu, brought out the beauty of the language in the kritis of both Tyagaraja and Annamacharya.

The Annamacharya composition that they presented in Hindolam was an absolute beauty and they made one yearn for more of it.

Haripriya's detailed Sahana was a picture of refinement. M.A. Krishnaswamy has now reached a stage when all he has to do is to place the bow in position and the raga just flows. And that evening it was no exception. Tyagaraja's ‘Emanathicheyvo' (Rupakam) not heard often in concerts was well rendered.

Shanmukhapriya then sketched Kalyana Vasantham. She was joined later by Haripriya.

‘Naadaloludai' (Rupakam) saw the duo exploring swaras imaginatively. Haripriya started the relay in Kalyani bringing forth its exquisite phrases. Limited usage of brigas mixed with long karvais made the presentation only too vibrant. Giving the much needed pauses between phrases Shanmukhapriya continued to spread the raga's fragrance.

Dikshitar's ‘Kamalamba Navavarnam' in Rettai Kalai Adi, saw the sisters plunge into the niraval at ‘Kamalapura Sadanaam.' It was evident that the duo had clear understanding of the meaning for there was no butchering of the lyric during this segment.

The swaras that followed too were graceful. Neyveli Skandasubramaniam (mridangam), who maintained the tempo throughout the concert with his brilliant flashes, combined well with young B. Sri Sundar Kumar (ganjira) in the thani segment. Particular mention must be made of his restrained handling of the misra nadai during the second round of the thani. Mahakavi's ‘Kakkai Chiraginile' in Durbari evoked emotions, with the sisters in absolute unison.