Bengaluru Ramamani is blessed with a soprano voice. So she kept her sojourn mostly in the comfortable upper territory with consummate ease. Well, it didn’t sound irritating but a little out of place at times. The way she expounded Poorvikalyani was quite proficient. The slightly disturbing part was that she had packaged her essay mostly with tara sthayi sancharas and a surfeit of akaras.
Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Meenakshi Memudam’ also had her sangatis mainly aiming at the upper region preferences. However, Ramamani gave a systematic niraval at ‘Madurapuri Nilaye’, embellished with swarakalpana, chose panchamam as the landing note and brought to a logical conclusion with a smart korvai. The rendition and the addendum could not be faulted technically but the empathy and aesthetics were lackadaisically integrated throughout.
Earlier, she outlined Lalitha for ‘Sri Rajarajeswari’, a composition of Mysore Desikachar, a sketch of Suddha Saveri for ‘Kala Haranamela’ of Tyagaraja and ‘Vande Anisham Aham’ in Hamsadhwani by Mysore Vasudevachar with a swara segment.
Despite Dr. Hemalatha’s disciplined support on the violin and Thanjavur Kumar’s subdued mridangam, the quality of the concert unfortunately, did not rise above mediocrity and stayed just lukewarm.
Sangeetha Swaminathan is a reliable up and coming singer. With vocals that suit classical music and have an admirable range, Sangeetha kept the audience’s interest, from the starting Sahana Adi tala varnam ‘Karunimpa’ to the concluding thillana. In raga treatises, one could see Sangeetha’s conception of the raga and her capacity to impressively configure them. The Kalyana Vasantham interpretation was skilfully developed, linking many finely etched phrases and bringing forth the unique melody of the raga. The emphasis on the raga bhava was visibly addressed in the lower, middle and upper registers.
For a change, ‘Kanuludaka Neeparakanthala’ of Tyagaraja made for refreshing listening. The major raga Hemavati (known as Desisimhavaram in Dikshitar’s parlance) also showcased Sangeetha’s expertise in deploying sweeps, swings, akaras and brigas in the alapana. But, the artist’s attention was more on racing through the raga than dwelling on it, except in a few places. Hemavati shines better when approached with more compassion than technical virtuosity. Here too, Sangeetha’s choice was special - ‘Madhurambikayam’ by Muthuswami Dikshitar. The elucidation at ‘Sakalakala Vinuthayam’ and the following swaras was vibrant. The swara segments were dynamic and enjoyable as they were well defined.
‘Mahishasura Mardhani’ in Gowla (Dikshitar), ‘Edyya Gati’ in Chalanata (Koteswara Iyer) and an abhang-like number in Bhimplas were other notable inclusions on Sangeetha’s agenda.
Ranjani Arun supported the vocalist on the violin with good understanding and knowledge. Her responses in ragas and swaras were marked by professional competence. Babu Rajasekar (mridangam) and Nerkunram Shankar (ganjira) on the percussion front, were quite active throughout.