Tanam, if it is played in the veena, has a unique charm about it. That was the reason perhaps, why vidhushi Kalyani Ganesan chose to offer two tanams, one for the Sankarabharanam alapana and again for Saveri for the regular ragam, tanam, pallavi. The Sankarabharanam alapana was rendered elaborately giving every note its weight. There was never a harsh prayoga throughout the concert and the recital was full of grace and it looked like the vainika had melody in her finger tips. The Dikshitar kriti ‘Akshayalinga Vibho’ followed the detailed alapana and one must appreciate the vidhushi’s sahitya suddham. As it is customary, the niraval passage was for ‘Badari Vanamoola’ and the swarakalpanas flowed fluently.
There was no violin accompaniment for this veena recital. Hence the artist had all the space at her disposal to paint exhaustive raga alapanas. Not one to sacrifice the opportunity, Kalyani Ganesan’s Saveri alapana gave the same treatment - expansive and reposeful. She could, therefore, explore the raga’s vibrant colours leisurely. Once the tanam was over, this critic expected the vainika to announce the pallavi line. Normally, the instrumentalists sing the line so that the rasika can follow the pallavi, as well as, the tala structure. It was disappointing that there was no announcement to this effect and the rasika was left guessing. Nevertheless, the enjoyment derived from the melodious play was not spoiled on that score. Earlier, Kalyani Ganesan opened her recital with the Sri raga varnam and played Dikshitar’s ‘Chandram Bhaja Manasa’ in Asaveri. There was no alapana and as was the practice, it was rendered in a slow pace.
Being the centenary year of G.N. Balasubramaniam, every vidwan takes up a kriti of the maestro during this season and this vainika chose ‘Paramakripa Sagari,’ the Yadukulakhambodi kirtana, with its plaintive appeal.
The Purvikalyani raga alapana that followed was exquisite and the artist played the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Paripurnakama.’ In view of the detailed alapana, the vidhushi did not attempt niraval passages but sprinkled the swaras in a lively rhythm. In the post-thani session, she played ‘Mamavasada Janani’ (Swati Tirunal, Kanada) , the multi-raga kriti ‘Arabimanam’ and the Sindhubhairavi piece of Thanjavur Sankara Iyer, ‘Manadirkugandadu Murugan Roopam’ and concluded with ‘Karpagame Kan Paarai,’ the Madhyamavati raga composition of Papanasam Sivan.
The success of the kutcheri was in no small measure due to the mridangam support of Umayalpuram Mali. He closely followed the veena, at times merging with the meettu of the instrument cohesively. Playing for instrumentalists needs an extra skill and no doubt Mali possesses it, as he was caressing with remarkable alertness. His thani stood out for its tonal best, with Valanthalai clearly ringing the sollus. Ghatam would have been an ideal upa-pakkavadyam for veena. The ganjira was almost not heard during the play of kritis and the ganjira playing of KVRS Mani surfaced only during the thani. If only he had offered his contribution in the percussion support, it would have added to the value of the concert.