S. Sowmya enthralled with the flexibility of her vocal skills at a concert in Thrissur.
Vocalist S. Sowmya’s exceptional dynamism and engaging camaraderie with her accompanists satiated the aesthetic fervour of music buffs at a two-hour concert at Vadukkunathan Temple in Thrissur, organised as part of the Sivarathri celebrations. If a few of her recent concerts in Thrissur were marred by intellectual, aesthetic or technical discrepancies, this time, every factor was flawless. Most of the songs in her repertoire were steeped in devotion.
In the selection and positioning of ragas, if she had been little a more careful, a symmetrical design would’ve been attained. After the prologue, she chose Panthuvarali, Devamanohari, Mayamalavagaula, Sankarabharanam, Behag, Piloo and Kalyani in that order. Interestingly, in these raga renditions, major ragas were mutually diminished and counterparts augmented. While Sowmya was seamlessly joyriding on the merits of her musical excellence and flexible vocal chord, especially in the brigas, violinist Charulatha Ramanujam was doing her best with intensified cross-bows and roll-overs and Manoj Siva on the mridangam did well in his role as an accompanist.
Sowmya commenced with ‘Vathapi…’, for which Manoj enriched the accidentals and Charulatha followed the patantharam. The swaras were in fiery doublets. With the admirable buoyancy of her voice she put forth an authentic treatise of raga Panthuvarali.
‘Siva Siva Siva enna radha’ in Panthuvarali, Adi, a Tyagaraja composition, had niraval and swaras at the second charanam – ‘Bhaagavatulato Poshinchi…’ The violin responses, especially on the third string, were graceful. Sowmya’s choice of a different scale in between the two suddha rishabha ragas that she sang – ‘Yarikku than theriyum avar mahimai’ in Devamanohari and Adi – was exquisite.
She began ‘Sivalokanadhanai kandu’ in Mayamalavagoula, Roopakam, composed by Papanasam Sivan, in a slow tempo followed by an intricately chiselled rendering of the weighty ‘Akshayalingavibho’ in Sankarabharanam, Misra Chapu, a Dikshitar piece that showcased her integrated creativity and classicism. It was aesthetically animated by a wealth of lyrical sentiment.
Charulatha’s refrains commenced with calm and sustained bows in the ragaalapana, which was elevated to higher realms of technical finesse. Improvisations were at the anupallavi, ‘Aksharaswaroopa amitha prathapa…’ Manoj Siva’s short but crisp tani was impressive.
A subdued recital of ‘Bhajare Yathunatham’ in Piloo, Adi, a Sadasiva Brahmendra composition, was simply divine and had an alapana with chromatic endings in the cadences. Sowmya wound up with a Tiruppugazh in Kalyani and Adi (tisra nadai).