The concerts by Sreevalson Menon and Ranjani-Gayatri, brought out their potential.

The Gokulashtami-Navarathri Music Festival 2012, organised by Manoranjitham at the Sree Ayyappan Puja Sangham, Ram Nagar, Coimbatore, began with Sreevalson’s kutcheri. The artist started with ‘Sami Ninne’ varnam in Sree Ragam in durita kalam followed by ‘Merusamaana’ (Mayamalava gowla) with niraval and swaras. His instinctive grasp of the finer nuances in the presentation of the kritis, ‘Veera Hanumathe,’ ‘Sree Krishnam Bhaja Manasa’ and the Hamirkalyani kriti, ‘Gaanalola,’ with negotiation of the octaves from the base to the crescendo and the descending glides in the successive jarus with nonchalant ease demonstrated his performance skill. The number, ‘Gaanalola Neelabhaga,’ breathed eternal fragrance and the enchanting sancharas in Saveri, Sahana, Husseni and Binnashadjam had all the qualities of a well composed symphony.

A hymn on Lord Krishna at the end capped it all. Ajith’s melodic modulation and perpetual mellowness in bowing while giving attention to the rakti of the ragas was a veritable treat. Balakrishna Kamath (mridangam) and Krishnakumar (ghatam) brought out the dignity and grace of percussive support and the tenderness in the sound level of their tani avartanam.

Crisp swaras

At the second day’s concert, which featured the recital of Ranjani and Gayathri, the duo began their musical session with the Pantuvarali varnam, ‘Sami Ninne’ followed by Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Parthasarathy’ in Suddhadhanyasi with a crisp round of swaras setting the recital on the right keel.

Gayathri’s scintillating alapana of Manoranjani for Tyagaraja’s ‘Adugaradani’ and Ranjani’s full-throated karvais and intricately braided passages at the tara sthayi gandhara for Kalyani raga delineation provided an insight into the true potential of their voice. ‘Biranavara’ interpreted with passion and zest took the kutcheri to a melodic high. ‘Sarasasamadana’ in Kaapinarayani was a brisk and vibrant version. Ranjani and Gayathri shared the Bhairavi raga vinyasam for the kriti, ‘Yaro Ivar Yaaro.’ The magic casements they wove around the raga with their grammatically crafted sancharas in deliberately chosen idiom conferred a rare breath of freshness in the exercise.

The niraval and swaras at ‘Chandra Bimba Mukha’ were attractive aided with imaginative stroke play by the percussionist. ‘Smarajanasubhacharita’ of Swati Tirunal was earworthy. An Abhang in Misramaand closed their agenda. Charumathi’s brilliant violin accompaniment was like an adventurous journey through a picturesque landscape either in the raga essays or swara sallies to help the artists create a placid and idyllic mood. Whenever she touched the top shadjam, it was a smooth glide from the nishadam and the listening pleasure knew no bounds. Sairam (mridangam) embellished the compositions and swaras with right touches of exuberance and subtlety.

(krishangan@gmail.com)