With her crisp rendition and choice of kritis, R.S. Jayalakshmi proved her excellence.

Acknowledged widely as a guru of high calibre, especially strong in theory, veena vidushi R.S. Jayalakshmi proved that she is an excellent performer on platform, too. Her ‘meettus’ were gentle and her fingers glided over the instrument without any slip. She did not opt for aggressive play and there was, therefore, never a harsh note from her veena.

The presence of a larger number of westerners in the concert hall made one wonder whether it was the veena that has found acceptance by them, after the other stringed instrument, sitar. If the turnout for the concert under review is any indication for the changed minds of the rasikas for the instrumental concerts of veena, it is to be welcomed.

The traditional varnam over, the vidushi drew the clear picture of Begada through her alapana and went on to present, Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Vallabha Nayakasya’. It was an excellent swaraprastara that added lustre to the kriti rendition. The alapana of Shanmukhapriya was simple but was a sweet preamble for the Patnam Subramanya Iyer kriti of ‘Marivere.’ She was contented with embellishing the sahitya with just two rounds of swarakalpanas and did not attempt to overdo.

‘Jayajaya Padmanabha’ was a crisp rendering of Swati Tirunal’s Manirangu kriti and next the vainika took up the Ritigowla song of Subbaraya Sastri, ‘Janani Ninnuvina’ which was marked for its serenity in presentation. One could truly enjoy the leisurely pace of the kriti, even without an alapana to compliment it. It is a fact that the raga Ritigowla, as well as, the very sahitya chosen for the concert are such that they both offered scope for a peaceful listening pleasure and the vainika rightly dwelt on the aspect of ‘sowkyam’ of the kriti per se. To prove that she is adept at fast paces too, Jayalakshmi went on to play the Purnachandrika song ‘Telisirama Chintanato’ of Tygaraja.

It looked as if it is the season of Khambodi and ‘Evarimata’ and the veena vidushi’s Khambodi had all the hues of the raga in her alapana version. As she had no violin support, the vidushi gave enough opportunities for the accompanying artists, Umayalpuram Mali (mridangam) and H. Sivaramakrishnan (ghatam), while presenting the niraval and the swarakalpana.

Besides faithfully accompanying the main artist, Mali and Sivaramakrishnan performed the thani in an absorbing fashion. Mali’s soft beats were soothing and Sivaramakrishnan too gave him the needed percussive assistance. In short, it was a thani of significance.

Before taking up the RTP, it was a short interlude of ‘Bhogeendra Sayeenam’ in Kuntalavarali that the vidushi presented.

If the raga alapana of Bhairavi was a sincere effort in an elaborate format suited exactly for RTP (Tisrajathi Jampa-Misra Nadai for the lines ‘Vadivelan Adiyarkkanukulan’) the tanam was enjoyably lilting. For swaraprastara, Jayalakshmi treated the listeners with as many as five ragas – Sahana, Dhanyasi, Behag, Kanada and Kapi, gliding from one raga to other effortlessly. The concert ended with a pleasing ‘Marubari Talane’ padam in Khamas.

charukesiviswanathan@yahoo.co.in