Mature approach, clear articulation and striking prayogas marked the recitals of some of the eminent musicians at the Rajalakshmi Fine Arts Music festival in Coimbatore.

Sanjay Subramaniam’s concert at the Rajalakshmi Fine Arts brought to the fore his penchant for virtuosity and discipline in music. As is his wont, his expertise and tonal outbursts defined the course of the items he handled. After his varnam in Sahana in vilamba and durita kaalams, his characteristic style of presentation became evident from ‘Maamavasadha Janani’ (Kaanada) embellished with swaras. His energetic voice defined the course of Dharmavathi for ‘Arulvaai Angayarkanniye’ and Khambodi for ‘Sikkal Meviya.’ The way he negotiated the course of the raga delineations revealed his complete involvement in the exercise to bring out the raga bhava. The musical excellence moved towards a cheery interpretation of sahitya and sangita. ‘Sari Evare Ramayya’ and ‘Idhuvo Thillai’ (Sindhubhairavi) were zestful and rhythmic presentations. The glimmering aesthetic flashes of his music made the listeners forget his gesticulations.

Varadarajan’s brilliant accompaniment on the violin was evident in Sanjay’s RTP in Brindavanasaranga and the swara repartees. Arun Prakash (mridangam) added punch and enthused the vocalist through his percussion support.

The charm of Carnatic music lies in awakening the rakti in ragas and songs the vocalist chooses for his agenda. If the artist achieves this, tranquillity in music gets dignified. This was missing in the vocal concert of Charumathi Ramachandran. Her attempt to register her capabilities had little impact. May be, her thematic recital on Mudhalvan ‘Lord Ganesa,’ gave no adequate scope to exercise her vidwat. Singing with a script in one hand was no concert etiquette. The opening ‘Vallabha Nayaka’ was followed by ‘Charanu Siddhivinayakam’ and ‘Sree Maha Ganapatim’ (Ataana) garnished with swaras. Her alapanas of Kharaharapriya for the kriti, ‘Ganapathiye Karunanidhiye’ and Thodi for the kriti, ‘Gajavadana’ were deprived of their loftiness and she was not comfortable while negotiating the tara sthayi. The RTP in Hamsadhwani was elongated testing the patience of the rasikas. The kutcheri was a tame affair with no verve or aesthetic finesse.

Usha Rajagopalan demonstrated tonal purity in her fingering prowess. Her solo essays of ragas were heart-warming with a touch of vivacity. The percussive support of Sivakumar (mridangam) and Sivaramakrishnan (ghatam) was lively, energetic and passionate.

Steady voice

Bharath Kumar’s recital, in the junior slot, was an amalgam of prowess and mellifluousness. Son and disciple of Suguna Varadachari, the vocalist with a steady and strong voice gave an impressive recital. Though the opening Kalyani varnam with chittaswarams was not rendered with gusto, he made it up with an elegant version in the next number, ‘Parameswara Jagadeswara’ (Nattai). His Begada alapana was sculpted with karvais and brighas and pleasing musical phrases in the upper octave for the kriti, ‘Amba Sankari Neeve.’

‘Upacharamu’ (Bhairavi) with niraval and swaras revealed a full measure of imaginative manodharma. His resonant voice is an asset. Rahul (violin) and Guru Raghavendra (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Pleasing recital

Sankari Krishnan’s thematic recital on Devi kritis of Thanjavur quartet was deeply rooted in classical vocabulary. Her presentation of the kritis drawn from the Thanjavur quartet was marked by maturity. After her kick start of ‘Maayatheetha,’ ‘O, Jagadamba’ was rendered with vividness and consistency. Her alapanas of Sahana for the kriti, ‘Kaliyugamuna’ and Pantuvarali for the kriti, ‘Neetu Padame’ were sketched with sampradaya pidis and the musical phrases were handled with precision. Her raga vinyasam of Thodi centered on lucidity free from vocal extravagance for the song, ‘Kaamitapaladayini.’ The RTP in Madhyamavathi with the Pallavi set in Kanda chatusra jathi, jampai talam treading into Vaasanti, Varamu and Revathi ragas was strengthened by weighty prayogas. A lilting Behaag thillana rounded off her agenda.

Baskar’s role on the violin gave fillip to her creative impulses and his solo excursions of the ragas glowed with a cascade sancharas. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and Sridhar (ghatam) garnished the compositions and swaras with the right touches of exuberance and subtlety.

Refreshing Saveri

Varalakshmi Anandakumar began her recital with a refreshing Saveri varnam followed by a fluent version of ‘Maha Ganapati Palayamam’ (Nata Narayani). Her raga delineation of Bhairavi revealed her manodharma coursing through all the three octaves for the kriti, ‘Balagopala.’ Her fare included, ‘Durmargachara,’ ‘Thaaye Tripurasundari’ and a viruttam in Bhimplaas. She can become a top artist if she tempers her skills to bring out the nuances of the ragas and compositions with greater ease and facility. Sreelakshmi Venkataramani (violin) and Karthick (mridangam) were the accompanists.

Young Pradeep Kumar topping the list of young brigade-to-be-watched proved himself a mature artist among the juniors at the music festival. Well-aligned to sruti, his meticulous paatanthara was fortified by clear articulation of the sahityas. His alapanas of Chandrajothi for ‘Baagaayanayya’ and Chakravaham for the kriti, ‘Etulabroduvo’ with suitable pleasing prayogas and jarus added punch to the kutcheri. Ananthakrishnan’s violin accompaniment was enjoyable and classic in quality. Gopalakrishnan (mridangam) provided enough percussive rhythm to heighten the dignity of the concert.

Clear diction

A compelling euphoria in raga bhava marked Vijay Siva’s vocal concert characterised by swelling manodharma at every stage. Sruthi suddham and clarity of diction invested his kutcheri with a solid base. The opening ‘Sree Nadhati Guru’ (Mayamalawagowlai) with niraval and swaras set the tone and tenor for his agenda. The kriti, ‘O, Jagadamba’ followed by ‘Iti Neeku Nyayama’ with a pleasing niraval and swaras were exuberant and soulful. In the expansive Kharaharapriya alapana, the vocalist revealed step by step the impressions of his manodharma in giving shape to the picturisation of the raga for the kriti, ‘Charanagathavatsala Rama.’ The RTP in Mohanam with the Pallavi, ‘Mohana Ramayya Samayamithe’ revealed Siva’s expertise in exploring the tara stayi with effortless ease.

The devotional pieces on Saradambal, Dasar and Pasuram left an abiding effect on the listeners.

Sreeram Kumar’s accompaniment on the violin was commendable in following the kritis and the swara sallies. Manoj Siva (mridangam) and Gioalakrishnan (ganjira) played an inspiring thani.

Classic flavour

Learnt under the tutelage of the Brinda and Dhanammal schools of music, Rama Ravi’s choice of compositions at the festival had a classic flavour. Her musical expression revealed an easy flow bereft of unnecessary frills. Warming up with the Kanada varnam, her ‘Vidulaku’ (Mayamalawagowla) with swaras struck a deep chord with the listeners. Her alapanas of Kiravani for the kriti, ‘Bhakta Paalana’ and Naatakurinji (briefly though) for the kriti, ‘Maayamma’ were full of striking prayogas softened by melodious graces giving a consummate touch to them. The main piece of the recital, Sankarabharanam (the crest-jewel of Sankara) was defined by majestic pidis with clear karvais steeped in vintage appeal for the kriti, ‘Akshayalinga Vibho.’ The tukkadas towards the end were ear-worthy. She concluded with a vibrant thillana in Purvi. Bhaskar lent good support on the violin and his solo raga vinyasam of Sankarabharanam and Kiravani was reflective of the vocalist’s emotive account of them. Subramanian (mridangam) presented a spirited thani.