It’s rare to find couple playing veena and more so sharing the same platform. But here we were with veena maestro Ayyagari Shyamasundaram and his equally talented partner Jayalakshmi who gave us an optimum but choicest recital recently. Though the latter was in the role of a support artiste, her subtle melodies were evident. The maestro presented a well-laid out set of ragas beginning with the cadent Nalinakantha (Manavi aalakincha raadate..) wherein he essayed the lyrical import as well as the raga lakshana with clarity. The ringing tones of the veena reverberated through the Ravindra Bharathi auditorium as the audience soaked in its sway.

The popular Nee daya rada Rama in Vasantha Bhairavi followed with masterly touches on the swara play even as the support veena by Jayalakshmi spoke in soft, emotive tones. There is no instrument equivalent to the veena wherein the personality and emotive quality of the musician comes to the fore as his/her fingers slide through the strings in deft moves. So, here we were able to glean the confident intellectual musician whose every move of the hand could spell no wrong and the more poignant partner presenting her patterns in a touching manner that went straight to the heart. Her veena spoke in a human voice while his spoke the language of sangeetha shastra edible to the connoisseur.

When he came to the Behag with Narayanathe namo namo, the ace vainika gave us a glimpse into the appealing raga and together the couple explored the swara patterns in a telling fashion. The minute nuances of the composition came to the fore as Jayalakshmi played the refrain of the opening line; while he laced it with his improvisations bringing out the distinct flavour of the Behag. Teliya ledu Rama…, another well-known kriti of Thyagaraja in the melakartha (ninth) Dhenuka.

This elevated the recital to another level with its pronounced sangathis wherein the stress shifted between the syllabic utterances on the veena conveying the varying intensity of the lyrical lines that carried the desired connotation. The finishing touch was a brilliant piece of exposition.

The Hindolam (Samajavara gamana), another popular raga and kriti, was vested with a lingering alapana fringed with sangathees brought forth the virtuosity of the artists as they drove into the kalpanaswara mode. Whatever be the expression, Jayalakshmi’s output was like the steady lake whose undulations were not disturbing but lively while his playing style was like the mighty river in spate that gushed forth crossing hurdles and controlling them under its currents.

The rhythmic accompaniment was wonderful with Karra Srinivas on the mridangam, T.P. Balasubramaniam on ghatam and Gunaranjan on tabla. The tani and the contest thereof among the percussionists was lukewarm.

The recital was part of the Vedavyasa Vidya Vignana Varadhi anniversary celebrations.