The efforts taken by PSCA (Padma Sarangapani Cultural Academy, Villivakkam) to cultivate and nurture interest in music, especially in North Chennai, are positive. The gradual trickling in of rasikas at the flute concert of Raghu and Ravi (The Madras Brothers) held recently at the Kshirasagara Hall served as proof. Raghu and Ravi have an instinctive flair for the flute though they are not much in circulation, at least in Chennai.
The concert had many popular songs that can never be deprived of their glorious positions in spite of their repeated rendering and those that will continue to chime for generations. The Kharaharapriya’s (‘Vidamu Seyave’) raga structure that was elaborated had deft phrases, organised and packed to present its contours, where even the single landing and closing note helped accurate identification of ragas. The kalpanaswaras saw the flautists exchange single avarthana rounds between them, which were marked by refined, trimmed and tapering combinations.
A well-worked change at the beginning was the brisk ragamalika varnam built with Ranjanis – Sri Ranjani, Ranjani, Janaranjani et al. ‘Sriganapathini’ (Sourashtram), the Sri Raga Pancharatnam, and ‘Manavinalakinchara’ (Nalinakanti) were played in close sequence. The two ragamalikas – ‘Kurai Ondrum Illai’ and ‘Chinnan Chiru Kiliye’ saw rasika-enjoyment at its highest. Raghuraman (violin) functioned with a fair level of confidence, both in raga vistharam and swara answering. Thanjavur Kumar (mridangam) gave a thani of absorbing substance and his acquaintance with the order of the sangatis was made explicit during his song-accompaniment.
Managing audio output with a keen ear for proper mixing isn’t difficult -- it is merely a balancing act. A great deal has to be done on this score at the hall. Also, while introducing the performers, allusion was made to the alluring flautist T. R. Mahalingam, but he was referred to as S. Mahalingam! Just ‘Mali’ would have sufficed. Care could take people a long way, not laxity!