Clever swara grouping and a sensitive approach touched a chord in the rasikas
The hairline shifts in swarasthanas fell into the right slots once Sangeetha Swaminathan started her raga essay of Varamu. The expansion of this raga in Sangeetha’s honeyed voice seemed to touch a chord in most of the audience in the hall and so when she concluded the last phrase, it drew a loud applause and a louder ‘Bale’!
Veteran musician T.M. Thyagarajan’s ‘Maname Unakku’ was a rare presentation which the artist sang with sensitivity. Earlier, Syama Sastri’s ‘Ninnuvina Gamari’ in Poorvikalyani surprisingly turned out to be the second item after Hamsadhwani varnam ‘Pagavari’. The extended niraval on ‘Paramalobulo Pokadi’ featured some clever swara groupings demonstrating Sangeetha’s ingenuity.
The poignant Varamu kriti was sandwiched between two brisk compositions, ‘Palimpara’ in Arabhi of Patnam Subramania Iyer and Tyagaraja’s ‘Sasivadhana’ in Chandrajyothi. Here too, Sangeetha lavished ‘Sasivadhana’ with a few rounds of swarakalpanas.
It was Kalyani and Tyagaraja’s less favoured kriti, ‘Evaramadugudura’ -- indeed a welcome addition. The raga offers ample scope for innovation, and surprisingly, was pursued by Sangeetha with shorter phrases. A few fleeting magnetic touches saved the overall impact of the raga.
V. Sanjeev on the violin luckily stuck to the traditional presentation with extended strokes. The compensation from Sangeetha could be felt in her vibrant presentation of the kriti and her niraval on ‘Pavanamagu Nee Pada Bhajanamu’ with long winding swaras. Nevertheless, here too, one could feel a hazy approach rather than her usual focussed advances.
As a sincere accompanist, Sanjeev played his part with restraint. Poongulam Subramaniam and Madipakkam Murali formed a formidable combine on the mridangam and the ghatam in bolstering the percussion part, through a tad extra dose of beats and a roaring tani avarthanam.