Savita Narasimhan and Sumitra Vasudev were at their soulful best

This past weekend, Savita Narasimhan’s performance for Sri Thyagaraja Seva Samithi at Vani Mahal, and that of Sumitra Vasudev for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha were notable for poise and peace. The late M.D. Ramanathan, among the male fraternity, was a sole exception for whom exposition of music of quietude was true Nadopasana.

Savita’s programme, which fell on Bahulapanchami, and Sumithra Vasudev’s thematic Sadguru Rasanubhava, the aesthetic influence of Tyagaraja kirtanas, were examples of how motivated the singers were in their rendition.

Savita, pitching her voice in the right areas, made the flow of music smooth and graceful. In her style of singing the dulcet voice ruled. Vocal modulation enabled her to chisel passages of delicacy in raga alapanas and in articulation of sahityas in kirtanas. Savita strived to convey that perception of tranquillity was her prime objective. This she achieved through the technique of precision meeting dignity.

Rich tonal quality

Two ragas, Charukesi (‘Aadamodigala’) and Bhairavi (‘Thanayuni Brova) were serenely framed on fertile creativity. While negotiating the top octave sancharas, tonal refinement was rich, clear and deep to present graceful curves. The images of the ragas were suggestive of her intimate acquaintance with their beauteous complexion. The song list ‘Entavedu Kondu’ (Saraswati Manohari), ‘Enta Nerchina’ (Suddha Dhanyasi) and ‘Durmargachara’ (Ranjani) was well selected.

All the kirtanas were uniformly endearing by the way she softened the sahityas.

The fascinating aspect of the kirtana segment was the subtle aesthetics frozen in the songs were fondly dwelt on by her. Savita kept a tab on the emotions with gentle nuances.

Violinist R. Hemalatha offered vivid musical lines in her solo session. Mridangam support came from B. Ganapathiraman. It was warm and friendly and the thani was replete with rhythmic articulation.

At the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha Sadguru Rasanubhava concert the musical maturity of Sumitra Vasudev sensed the significance of the theme and tailored her exposition on ascetic lines. It was not her aim to make the recital spectacular. The interpretation of the songs carried the imprint of the repertoire of sampradaya.

The intonation of the sahityas was purposeful – to delve deep into the spiritual contents. In every song there was the stamp of her performing style – a disciple well retaining the heritage of her guru. Her ideal in this respect was clear – so send her musicality to expositional integrity.

In raga alapanas she revealed that her music was seasoned by the strength of training and sadhaka.

But the focus of the recital was to expound the basics of Indian philosophy which Saint Tyagaraja, in his genius, incorporated in his compositions. This was the task that Sumitra discharged with scholarly introduction before every kirtana by liberally quoting from Adi Sankara and Bhagavad Gita. The prelude to the Sahana kriti ‘Gorake Galkune’ was the main item with alapana.

The tenor of the performance was not such as to demand much from the accompanists. M. Vijaya Ganesh (violin) was just adequate. B. Ganapathiram (mridangam) and G. Chandrasekhara Sarma (ghatam) restricted themselves rhythmically.