The Malladi Brothers are in great form. The superb Abheri they sang proves it. But there is an aspect of their performance that transcends their musical prowess - their affecting cheer. The Brothers are obviously happy with their singing without being vainglorious.
Sriram Prasad rendered an enchanting alapana of Abheri, delivered unhurriedly with pauses at the end of each phrase long enough to provide audience the time to savour it. The alapana fully kept in with the leisurely mood of the raga and violinist M.A. Sundareswaran followed it with due finesse. At the end of the violin essay, Sriram Prasad grinned big, as though to say, "Yes. It is going to be Nagumomu'.
And what a Nagumomu it was! The perfect Telugu and Sanskrit diction that the Malladi Brothers are bestowed with enhances the joy of listening to their music. That day's Abheri would be remembered for long. The only exception was that in the alapana, the expected karvai on the upper panchamam was absent. The karvai is a defining feature of Abheri and Sriram Prasad would have done better if he had remembered this.
Earlier, Ravi Kumar sang a nice Hemavathi followed by 'Aahata Sakala Doshay,’ a composition in Sanskrit of Sadguru Sriananda Swamy of Andhra Pradesh, on Goddess Ragini, who is believed to govern the 'blood' (rakhta dhatu) in human body. Hemavathi is a major raga (58th Melakarta) that provides scope for elaboration and Ravi Kumar could have indulged himself a bit more, especially at the upper swaras. Also, the absence of mel kalam (speed gait) in the niraval was notable.
Sandwiched between the Hemavathi and Abheri was a cute Kunthalavarali (‘Shara Shara Samarika’ of Tyagaraja). Following Sriram Prasad's alapana came Tyagaraja's ‘Shara Shara,’ a composition so lively, as though the saint-composer had created it for a Western waltz. The brisk gait gave scope for the percussionists K.V. Prasad (mridangam) and Karthik (ghatam) to indulge themselves - grinning and giggling, they had a good time.