Kala’s exposition of the raga was beautiful but Chitra’s voice did not comply with sruti. Cuddalore Janani may have to focus on time management, required in arranging the kritis.
Kolkata Chitra and Kala, presented two songs of their guru, Kolkata Gurumurthy, in their concert. The composition ‘Santhanalakshmi,’ in Brindavani set to Misra Chapu talam was enjoyable. Kala’s exposition of the raga was beautiful, handling the notes carefully. The niraval and swaram at ‘Manimakutamaya Varalakshmi’ was handled well by Kala, while Chitra seemed to have some problem with her voice which did not adhere to the correct sruti. If the artists relax a bit while performing, the enjoyment will reflect in their delivery. The duo started their concert with Navaragamalika varnam and proceeded to give a good rendition of ‘Karikalabhamukham’ in Saveri. The usual unison in their rendition was absent in this concert for some reason. Before they embarked on Kiravani, they rendered a fast-paced ‘Maalmaruga Shanmukha,’ Sivan’s kriti in Vasantha. It is unpardonable to split the anupallavi line, ‘Nanmarai Sara Omkara Swarupa’ into Nanmarai Saraom Karaswarupa.
Chitra did a step by step delineation of Kiravani, but her voice did not cooperate and the sruti became the casualty. It was evident that she could not deliver as per her imagination. The alapana was taken over by Kala and she did a neat job of finishing it. The experienced violinist Neela Jayakumar gave a good, neat and chaste version of both the alapanas. The chosen song was Tyagaraja’s ‘Kaligiyunte Gada’ with niraval and swaram at ‘Baguga Sri Raghu.’ Chitra’s niraval had some interesting ‘pidis’. The kuraippu was very good. The mridangam artist V.R. Jayakumar’s thani had a special ‘tullal’ to it.
Both Bharatiyar’s ‘Chuttum Vizhi Chudar’ and Purandaradasar’s ‘Kshirabdi Kannike’ ended as ragamalikas. One wonders whether it is judicious to include three ragamalikas in a two-hour concert. The concert concluded with Gurumurthy’s Behag thillana.
Speed thrills, but it is not lasting. It was refreshing to listen to Cuddalore Janani’s raga alapanas where she dwelt on long notes with perfect alignment to sruti. She has a resonant voice and a clear vision of the ragas. Proper time allocation is required in planning the kritis. The main piece of her concert for Kartik fine Arts was Khambodi. The raga alapana was elaborate, well planned and executed. The Tyagaraja kriti, ‘Evari Mata’ was well rendered, but she hurried through the niraval and swaram at ‘Bhakta Para Dhinudanucu’ (splitting of words to be taken care of).
The concert commenced with the Navaragamalika varnam and ‘Merusamana’ followed after a good elucidation of Mayamalavagowla. Niraval and swaram at ‘Alakala Muddunu’ could have been more beautiful, only the ‘porutham’ for any raga is to be understood. Anandabhairavi Navavarnam, ‘Kamalamba’ and ‘Nadaloludai’ in Kalyanavasantam would have been better had she sung with more involvement.
The short essay of Varali ragam stood out and it was nice to listen to the kriti ‘Ka Va Va,’ starting with ‘Pazhanimalai Muruga Va Va.’ The swaram at the pallavi line, alternating between ‘Ka Va Va’ and ‘Pazhanimalai’ was good.
The mridangam player V. Parthasarathy lent able support for the songs and his beats were restrained and modulated during the swara segments. The thani was good. The violinist V. Suresh Babu gave a neat version of Mayamalavagowla, but his Khambodi was of a totally different style. He was lacking in his kalapramanam.
‘Radhika Krishna,’ an ashtapathi in Jana Sammodini and Balamurali Krishna’s Dwijavanti thillana were superbly rendered. And the rendition of ‘Theruvil Vaarano’ in Khamas, in between these two songs, may be not a good choice. Instead of hurrying through all the charanams, it would have been wiser to limit to one. With her voice and potential, hard work will pay good dividends.