With her enviable voice and range, Sheela could have made attempts to feel the core of the raga images.
M.S. Sheela's mellifluous voice imparts a relaxing effect on the listener. Her vocal concert took the audience on a bright and breezy trip into the realm of Carnatic music.
The three ragas Sheela selected that evening for extended presentation were almost given equal prominence. The first one was Purvikalyani after the two soft renditions of ‘Varanamukhava' (Koteswara Iyer) in Hamsadhwani with an interesting swara package and ‘Ora Jupuju' (Tyagaraja) in Kannadagowla. The raga delineations here and later in Thodi and Mohanam were more cosmetic than profound; a long karvai here, a rolling briga there and a few poignant touches in the middle summarized her raga essays. With her enviable sweet voice and range, more emphasis on the bhava aspects, Sheela could have made attempts to feel the core of the raga images than feeling them peripherally. Nevertheless, though brief, the expositions were pleasing.
‘Ananda Nadamaduvar' (Neelakanta Sivan) in Purvikalyani had the necessary dancing lilt and later the swaras circling on panchamam were impressively built. In general, Sheela's swarakalpana segments were a mix of swaras with highly imaginative and calculative connectivity. This aspect could be realised more specifically in the brisk ‘Anupama Gunambuthi' (Tyagaraja) in Atana and her ascending notes framed in Mohanam for ‘Evarura' (Tyagaraja) after the niraval at ‘Sava rakshaka nithyo.' Sheela gives mostly caressing touch to the notes which, therefore, sound soothing.
In Thodi she sang ‘Meenalochani amba' by Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar. The niraval at ‘Manikka veenadri malayadwaja pandya kumari' was engaging for its melodic and methodic development.
M.A. Krishnaswami on the violin invariably started all his alapana with very quick characteristic notes of the raga in one stroke. His Thodi was notable for its richness whereas the other two were more lighthearted. He matched well with Sheela's arithmetical acumen in the swara ensemble in Mohanam.
J. Vaidyanathan and E.M. Subramaniam on mridangam and ghatam showed their matured and professional approach to Sheela's singing. They equally shared the honour for making the swara sections interesting with their appropriate rhythmic contribution.