Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: There were quite a few surprises in Geetha Rajasekhar’s repertoire.

Geetha Rajasekhar drew listeners’ attention equally to her selection of songs and deft delivery. Noticeable all the way was a fine balance of the familiar and not too common kritis from this direct disciple of D.K. Pattammal. Similarly, neither segment was over-emphasised, the raga exposition as well as swara improvisation were concise, showing what was realistic within a 90-minute recital.

A brisk Dikshitar song, ‘Vallabhanayakasya’ in Begada was the opener. The Narayana Tirtha composition ‘Kathaya Kathaya’ is one not many would have anticipated when Geetha gave a hint of Kalyani. In the improvisations to both kritis, K. J. Delip, a disciple of M. S. Gopalakrishnan, showed his fine touch on the violin. The vocalist acknowledged him for saving the day – standing in for M.A. Krishnaswamy.

So familiar is Ritigowla and so are the innumerable the kritis therein in terms of popularity. Even more predictable are the kritis artists present from this scale. Prizes for guessing would be almost laughable. But not on this occasion. An elaborate exposition ended in a welcome surprise. Tyagaraja’s kriti ‘Chera Ravademiraa’ is by all accounts not a piece synonymous with Ritigowla as some others.

The short outline of Khamas kept up the suspense. ‘Konji Konji Vaa Guhane’of Periasami Thooran continued in the vein of uncomplicated manner of her singing.

Kiravani, the evening’s centre-piece, was immensely enjoyable. So was the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Kaligiyunte’ Not to be missed out were the niraval and the subtle and lively phrases in the improvisation. The percussion solo was not too long; just as well perhaps in the overall scheme of things.

The recital came to a close with Rukmini Ramani’s ‘Narahari Veshaa’ in Surya and ‘Ranga Baaro’ of Purandaradasa in Maand. Poongulam Subramanyam on the mridangam and A. S. Krishnan on the morsing were a well-matched pair.