Geetha Bennett presented a pleasant recital nuances in tact.
Accompanied by Bala Shankar on the mridangam, Geetha Bennett presented a good veena concert. It began with the Saranga varnam and moved on to ‘Samajavaragamana’ in Hindolam. A neat essay of Bilahari came as preface to the compact rendering of ‘Paritanamichithe.’
The alapana of Dharmavati was fetching and found Geetha engaging in a difficult technique – she played long phrases of the raga without plucking the string, only with the fingers of the left hand moving on the frets. The niraval and swarams for ‘Bhajanaseyarada’ were lively.
It was pleasant to listen to Dikshitar’s ‘Maye Twam Yahi’ in Tharangini after a long time. The main raga was Kedaragowla which was detailed with all its nuances; in the Tanam were added Hamsanadam, Danyasi and Kapi with Geetha indulging in some inspired playing. The song chosen was ‘Saraguna Paalimpa.’ It was support with understanding that was provided by Bala Shankar, who also came off with a good Thani.
Geetha sang a ragamalika viruttam in Kannada along with the veena in Hamsanandi, Thodi and Desh followed by a Kannda composition of Purandaradas ‘Kandu Kandu.’ After the popular ‘Kurai Onrum Illai’, a Tiruppugazh in Kalyani was the concluding item, both of which were also vocalised by Geetha.
An in-form T.N. Seshagopalan began his concert with ‘Tulasidalamulache’ in Mayamalavagowla with niraval and swaram. In the rendition of ‘Chalamelara’ in Margahindolam, Guruvayur Dorai on the mridangam and E.M. Subramaniam on the ghatam seemed to go a little overboard but later were more controlled. Valiant Sancharas in the top octave marked the essay of Poorvikalyani as if TNS. After singing ‘Meenakshimemudam,’ he took up niraval of ‘Veenaganadasa’ and played around with the tala and individual swaras in the kalapanaswara segment but it proved to be an overdose after a point.
Nagai Sriram always rose to the challenge. The Suratti raga exposition by both the vocalist and violinist were good, followed by ‘Ramachandra ni daya.’ Seshagopalan began ‘Darini Telusukonti’ in Suddhasaveri when someone from the audience wanted TNS’s amplification raised, although it was maintained at a comfortable level. Multiple Sangatis were sung for the Charanam line ‘Rajithamanigana’ which were attractive when handled with a controlled voice. The decibel level rose, marking the end of soukyam .
After the Tiruppavai hymn, ‘Pullum Silambina’ in Sankarabharanam, the rather long elaboration of Kharaharapriya appeared. The indulgence in vocal calisthenics by singing long spells in a single breath replete with brigas might have underscored Sesahgopalan’s skill but musical quality was a casualty. There were no subtle nuances of the raga on display.
In contrast, Sriram came out with a neat rendering of the raga. ‘(Sow)Mitribhagayame’ with a brief niraval and swaram followed. This was followed by the Thani, which was a routine fare.