The Festival of Music 2012, organised by Manoranjitham, featured the recitals of some of the eminent musicians

Deeply rooted in classical vocabulary, Sandeep Narayanan’s zippy and cheerful mood at the Festival of Music 2012, organised by Manoranjitham, Coimbatore, right from his opening, ‘Karunimpa’ varnam (Sahana) in two speeds and ‘Kalayami’ in Kannada with kalpanaswaras were enjoyable. Endowed with a pliable saareeram, his flaunting of vocal opulence in Kharaharapriya (‘Appan Avadharitha Kathamritham’) and Bilahari for the kriti, ‘Kamakshi Varalakshmi’ with mega swaraprastaras infused resonance in the presentations. His raga delineation of Durbarikaanada for RTP — ‘Govinda Alarmel Mangai Manavaala Vaa’ — was diligently structured with interplay of korvais and relevant prayogas without any strain in the tara sthayi was an aural treat. Padmanabhan (violin) etched the beauty of the ragas splendidly. Sankaranarayanan’s (mridangam) delicacy of form and rhythmic spontaneity were evident in the percussive support.

Suryaprakash’s presentation skills at the festival, to awaken the rakti in every raga chosen for the kutcheri produced charm and tranquillity. The ‘Vanajaksha’ varnam accompanied by ‘Vinayaka Ninnuvina’ with swaras brought out the spirit of the sahityas. ‘Chetasri Balakrishnam’ (Dwijavanti) was aesthetic in appeal in his musical expression. His fluent raga alapanas of Vachaspati for ‘Paratpara’ and Thodi for the kriti, ‘Sree Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa’ with soul-stirring phrases and swarakalpanas rendered with finesse kindled one’s emotions. The kriti, ‘Nyayama’ in Ahiri was an emotionally moving interpretation. The RTP handled towards the end in the elaboration of four ragas – Hamsanandi, Hamsanadam, Hamsadhwani and Hamsavinodhini was rather elongated testing the patience of the audience. Sundareswaran, the violinist, was in his elements contributing his best in alapanas and swara bouts with the vocalist. Subtle mellifluity of nada came from Sudhindra (mridangam) and Suresh (ghatam). Energetic sound patterns vibrated the chords of percussive refinement.

Mahathi, The charming artist’s musical session reflected the discipline that shaped the understanding of musical values and her evolution as a fine

vocalist over the years. The concert platform was exploited by the vocalist in raga elaborations and spate of swaras. Her sweet voice and patanthara were evident in the opening ‘Vanajaksha’ (Ritigowla) varnam in two speeds followed by ‘Siddhivinayakam Anisam’ (Shanmukhapriya) with swaras. After a bhava-filled rendition of ‘Jagadanandakaraka’ in Nattai, her exemplary application of gana naya in tapering the raga phrases and in sahitya for the kritis, ‘Hariharaputram’ (Vasantha) and ‘Etavunara’ (Kalyani) in a piercing voice

while traversing the octaves exuded sophistication. The raga delineations designed with brigas in right proportions sans any ‘pisiru’ were done with aplomb. ‘Thelisirama’ (Poornachandrika), ‘Velum Mayilume’ (Sucharitra), ‘Krishna Muralidhara Gopala’ and ‘Suttum

Vizhi Chuzhalal’ were the other numbers on her list. Sampath (violin) imparted deft touches and delicate shades to Kalyani and Vasantha. His cascading phrases and swara repartees were a purist’s delight. The rhythmic support of Varadan (mridangam) and Purushothaman (ganjira) enhanced the recital’s value. Their very soft sollus and simple captivating arudis delighted the cognoscenti.

The jaunty flute recital of Mala Chandrasekhar began with an invocation to Lord Dakshinamurthy in true M.S. Subbulakshmi style with the sloka, ‘Om Namah Pranavarthaya.’ The talented artist’s confident delivery of ‘Karunimpa’ varnam in Sahana followed by ‘Ganapathe Mahamathe’ (Kalyani) presented with imaginative swarakalpanas. She covered the beautiful terrain of the raga, Madhyamavati in the octaves with many clever turns of telling musical phrases for the number, ‘Aadaathu Asaiyaathu.’ Her Bhairavi portrayal was a melodic essence savouring in long karvais and the kriti, ‘Balagopalam’ was given the grandness it

deserved. The swaras were played with zest. The thani following this was an enjoyable display of several vibrant rhythmic patterns from Ananthakrishnan (mridangam) and Suresh (ghatam). Her RTP in Amrithavarshini with the pallavi, ‘Neelameghavanna’ was heart-warming.

The composition provided a vast scope to the flautist to portray every facet of the majestic refrain. Her raga sancharas in Ranjani, Anandhabhairavi and Nalinakanti were soulful. After a thillana in Khamas and a Meera bhajan she closed the kutcheri with ‘Maithreem Bhajatha.’ Gopinath’s violin accompaniment played pleasantly displayed considerable merit. The melody from his bowing took the listener to dizzy heights.

Well-aligned to sruti and clarity of diction, the bhava-laden presentations of the duo Ranjani and Priyadarshini (Salem Sisters) on the final day of the festival, of

Manoranjitham commenced with the Lalgudi Varnam in Hamsavinodhini, ‘Engum Nirai Deivame’ with élan followed by ‘Siddhi Vinayakam Anisam’ in Shanmukhapriya with swaras. Sri Ranjani’s alapana of Saveri for ‘Sankari Samkuru’ and Priyadarshini’s raga delineation of Sriranjani for the kriti, ‘Sogasuga’ with swaras saw scintillating exchanges with the violinist,

Thyagarajan. Tyagaraja’s ‘Marugelara’ in Jayantasri was a fluent version. The main raga of the concert, Kalyani for the kriti, ‘Nidhichala Sukhama’ showed the rich imagination of the vocalists. Thyagarajan (violin) and Guru Raghavendra (mridangam) offered abundant and wholesome support.