The Brinda flavour was very much there with Geetha Raja’s stamp.
Vocalist Geetha Raja is well known for the lucid and lovely kalpanaswar as she can reel off in any raga - whether it is major, minor, familiar or unfamiliar - and for the great beauty inherent in her niraval sequences. Her raga alapanas have an exquisite fragrance.
Her voice is perfectly aligned with the sruti, and in recent years it has acquired a captivating glow. And her singing style is introspective, reflective, and serene.
Geetha is one of the prime disciples of Brinda the famous and formidable teacher of Carnatic music, whose birth centenary - like that of the legendary vocal and mridangam maestros Madurai Mani Iyer and Palghat Mani Iyer -- has been widely celebrated in Carnatic music circles throughout 2012. In her concerts during this commemorative year, Geetha's selection of songs has tended to include many of Brindamma's favourite numbers. Although this has meant less time being available for raga elaboration and swara improvisation, it has not diluted the overall excellence of her performance.
In the concert under review, she crisply rendered the following songs in a row: 'Karunimpa' (in raga Sahana, composed by Tiruvotriyur Tyagayyar); 'Brihannaayaki' (Andali, Dikshitar); 'Manasaa Sri Ramachandruni' (Eesamanohari, Tyagaraja); 'Ekkaalattilum' (Poorvikalyani, Tiruvarur Ramaswami Pillai); 'Brovasamayamite' (Gowrimanohari. Garbhapurivaasar).
Then came the main number 'Ninuvinaa Sukhamugaana' (Todi, Tyagaraja), which was quite substantial. That was followed by 'Parulanna Maata (Kapi, Dharmapuri Subbarayar), and a Pillai Tamizh viruttam 'Vaaradirundaal' in Kantimati (plus ragamalika: Pantuvarali, Khambodi, Saveri and Madhyamavati).
While the whole tenor of the performance was thus nostalgically reminiscent of her illustrious Guru's repertoire and approach, Geetha liberally served her own brand of beauty in every phase of the main number in Todi, particlarly the repetitive recitation of the phrase 'Manasukentho Aanandamai,' which had the distinct stamp of Geetha Raja.
Sandhya Srinath (violin), A.S. Ranganathan (mridangam) and Harihara Subramaniam (ghatam) provided gentle and intelligent instrumental support, which accorded well with the serene flow of the music.