The 18 Pongal celebrations, organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore, were marked by lively music concerts and bhajan programmes.

Priya Sisters – Shanmukhapriya and Haripriya – gave a pleasant vocal concert as part of the 18th Pongal Music Festival, organised by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore Kendra. They began with a varnam by Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar in Khamas, ‘Maathe Malayadhwaja Paandya Sanjaathe.’

After ‘Karunai Seiyvaay’ in Hamsadhwani by Papanasam Sivan, she rendered the lovely ‘Ranganaathude’ by Ponnaiah Pillai. The alapana in Gamanashraman, though a little slow in the beginning, picked up momentum a little later and the meaningful kriti by Koteeswara Iyer, ‘Ihame Sugam Tharum Shanmugam’ was presented beautifully.

The sisters then sang ‘Ranganayakam’ in Nayaki, relishing each word and letting the audience enjoy the beauty of the composition. The main piece was the weighty Kharaharapriya with ‘Pakkala Nilabadi’ by Tyagaraja.

The line ‘Manasuna Talachi Mai Marachiyunnaaraa’ was taken for an elaborate niraval followed by a lively session of imaginative swara combinations. Devotional kritis by Annamayya and other composers were featured in the lighter session.

V.V. Srinivasa Rao on the violin, Neyveli Skanda Subramanian on the mridangam and B.S. Purushothaman on the ganjira gave lively support to the sisters. The rasikas stayed on till the end, enjoying every bit of the concert.

Amritha Murali’s vocal concert on the final day showcased her sincerity and hard work. She began with ‘Vidulakumrokkeda’ in Mayamalavagowla by Tyagaraja, saluting the almighty connected with music. ‘Enthani Ne Varninthunu’ in Mukhari, extolling the good fortune of Shabhari was moving. It helped that the accompanists were sensitive to the feel of the song. Amritha

did full justice during the niraval for the phrase ‘Kanulaara Sevinchi.’ The sounds from the mridangam and the ghatam were sheer whispers, as if they were afraid to disturb Shabhari’s exhilaration seeing the Lord.

‘Karuna Joodavamma’ in Varali carried the same emotion. Hence, instead of impressing, it created a little ennui. Immediately following it was Brindavana Saranga with the weighty kriti by Dikshithar, ‘Sowndara Raajam Aashraye’. Her Khambodi alapana and ‘Kaana Kann Kodi Vendum,’ however, pepped up the concert. The RTP with the pallavi, ‘Peetaambara Priya Naayikaa, Maampaathu Raadhikaa’, composed by R.K. Sriram Kumar was enjoyable. Amritha concluded with the lullaby ‘Maanikkam Katti’ and ‘Vande Mataram.’

R.K. Sriram Kumar on the violin was at his usual best. The alapanas and swaras came alive through his fingers with absolute ease and joy. K. Arun Prakash on the mridangam and N. Guruprasad on the ghatam were excellent as accompanists.

Harini Ramakrishnan’s vocal recital, T. Madhuvanthi’s violin concert and Thiruppugazh Anbargal’s bhajan programmes filled the earlier slots.