K. Gayathri’s raga delineations bore testimony to her training and manodharma.

Young Chennai-based musician K. Gayathri proved that she is a rising young star at a concert at Palghat Fine Arts Society, Tharekkad. Gifted with a mellifluous voice that can traverse an enviable range, she took the audience on a refreshing journey of melody and rhythm.

The Ada tala varnam in Kambojii ‘Sarasijanabha ninnu’ and ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabha’ in Manirangu, both creations of Swati Tirunal, provided a flying start to the recital. Next in line was an outstanding portrayal of Reethigowla. The gradual elaboration of the raga, punctuated with innovative sangatis and a plethora of akaaras – all within the bounds of tradition – was unique. This was one of the best expositions of the raga heard in recent times.

Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Mamahridaye vihara’ was a welcome choice. The scintillating niraval and the vivacious kalpana swaras at ‘Mandahaasa vadana’ revealed the artistic strength of this enchanting raga. ‘Ranganaayakam bhavaye’, a moving kriti of Muthuswamy Dikshitar in Nayaki in praise of Lord Ranganatha, rendered with deep veneration, left an indelible mark. The listeners could comprehend the contents of the kriti, thanks to the clarity in Gayatri’s presentation. A crisp rendition of ‘Thunai Purindarul’, a song of Papanasam Sivan in the rare raga Varamu, was an apt interlude preceding the main raga Thodi.

The vocalist rose to great heights in her stage by stage delineation of Thodi. She gave a free vent to her manodharma, while essaying the multifaceted hues of this major raga. It was as exquisite as it was majestic and contained all the elements that constitute a comprehensive alapana. The kriti was Tyagaraja’s ‘Endukudayaraadura’ in Misra Chaapu tala. The intricate patterns she wove in the niraval at ‘Neevaegaani’ in the charanam and the copious flow of well-designed swara combinations showcased her excellent sense of kalapramana.

Taking up Vachaspathi for ragam, thanam and pallavi, she rendered the alapana in two parts, in the traditional way. The depth of the raga was fully unravelled in her vivid presentation. She displayed extraordinary breath control while traversing the sangatis, particularly in the middle octave. The thanam phrases were full of classical echoes. The pallavi ‘Karathale venum kare kanganam Muraharim bhajaami’ was executed with admirable skill in trikaalam in the complex tala Misra triputa in thisra nadai, bearing testimony to her virtuosity. Besides Vachaspathi, the swaras were rendered with finesse in ragas Nattai, Nagaswaravali and Saraswathi.

While ‘Jagadodharana’ (Kapi- Purandaradasa) was rich in aesthetic flavour, the thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman in Kamas sparkled with verve. Gayatri rounded off aptly with a piece on Anjaneya ‘Rama bhakta Hanuman’ in Jonpuri composed by her guru Suguna Purushothaman.

S.R. Rajasree’s violin accompaniment was marked by rich tonal quality. Though K. Jayakrishnan (mridangam) extended good support, he was too exuberant. Alathur Rajaganesh (ganjira) impressed with his dexterous touches. Their tani after the Thodi kriti was interesting.