C. Sukanya and Amruta Sankaranarayanan highlighted their originality in their delineation of ragas.

Kamakoti Hall of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, witnessed concerts of two artists – daughters of two great vidwans. Yes, they were born into gurukulavasam. With all its obvious advantages, being a resident scholar has at least one minus point. The style and influence of the parent-guru will be so powerful that it would be a challenge to be original and innovative, and not be just a carbon copy.

The two artists have to a great extent succeeded in breaking the mould. Yet, inevitably you can still hear their respective gurus when they sing! C. Sukanya, daughter and disciple of D.K. Jayaraman rendered a few of his favourites such as ‘Sanathana Parama Pavana’ (Phalamanjari –Tyagaraja) and ‘Hey Kamakshi’ (Yadukulakhambodi – Andavan Pichai). She has a sweet voice that has a wide range and reach. She makes full use of it too.

Sukanya’s unrestrained Pantuvarali (Kasiramakriya in Dikshitar School) alapana had a few bright tri-octave sancharas that brought out the intricacies of the raga. M.A. Krishnaswamy (violin) flashed the entire ragaswaroopam in the very first phrase. Sukanya rendered Dikshitar’s ‘Ramanatham Bhajeham’ with power and poise. Niraval was at the usual ‘Kumara Guruguha.’ Her Tisra Nadai swaraprastara was indeed a thing of beauty. Every sangati was brimming with raga bhava. S.J. Arjun Ganesh offered a scintillating thani in Rupakam (Rettai Kalai). He did it with confidence, precision and aesthetics. It is quite some time since this writer had the opportunity of listening to such a bright thani in this tala.

After a vivid alapana of Sriranjani, she rendered a Telugu Daru of Dikshitar, ‘Nee Sati Daivamu,’ with exquisite chittaswaram. Another Dikshitar kriti that she sang was ‘Gunijanadhinutha’ in Gujjari (Adi) on Sri Lalithamba. Syama Sastri’s Kalgada piece, ‘Parvathi Ninnu Ne’ in a metric Tisra nadai was charming. ‘Ezhiludan Hamsanadam’ of Thanjavur Sankara Iyer describes the beauty and structure of the raga with its Prati Madhyama, Chathusruti Rishabham and Kakali Nishadam. Kovai Supri’s Abheri piece ‘Kuraiyittup pala Murai’ on Lord Muruga and Kavi Kannan’s ‘Thamarai Malaronru Kanden’ in Tillang on Maha Periyava were appealing. She wound up her sparkling morning concert with Purandaradasa’s ‘Tirupati Venkataramana,’ Annamacharya’s ‘Muddugare Yasodha’ and Andal’s Thiruppavai, ‘Maale Manivanna.’

Madurai Mani Iyer’s flashes were unmistakably present in the evening concert of Amruta Sankaranarayanan, daughter and disciple of T.V. Sankaranarayanan. She is endowed with a powerful, yet flexible voice, capable of traversing the three octaves with ease. She has mastered the skill of extracting the quintessence of the raga. Her delicate Bhairavi alapana had several of Madurai Mani Iyer’s trademark sangatis. Along with that, her own innovative skill too came to the fore. M. Rajeev (Violin) offered a melodic version of the raga. Tygaraja’s ‘Koluvai’ was the chosen kriti and niraval was at the usual ‘Manasu Ranjilla.’ The way she offered sarvalaghu swarams without any element of strain was commendable. B. Sivaraman (mridangam) along with H. Prasanna (ghatam) offered an aesthetically woven thani with Tisra and Misra Nadais.

Another Madurai Mani Iyer special was Muthiah Bhagavatar’s Gowda Malhar kriti, ‘Sarasamukhi’ (Rupakam). Her swaraprastara was simple, yet majestic.

Amruta’s Purvikalyani alapana was splendid, especially the higher octave sancharas. She is able to catch the subtle nuances of the raga. She rendered ‘Enneramum Un Namam’ of Syama Sastri in Tisra Triputai. The niraval and swaras were at ‘Anaiththum Arintha.’ The swara eduppu at ‘Adi Sakti,’ ‘Aravanaithu’ and ‘Syamakrishna Sodari’ added elegance to the beautiful kriti.

Amrutha commenced her recital with Tyagaraja’s ‘Sri Ganapathini’ in Saurashtram and ‘Anupama Gunambudhi’ in Atana. After an expansive alapana in Nayaki, she rendered ‘Ranganayakam’ of Dikshitar.

With a strong foundation in quality music and an unquenchable thirst for innovation, these two young artists have a bright future ahead.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)