Prema Rangarajan excelled in creating the apt musical mood right at the very beginning of her concert.

In Prema Rangarajan’s concert, you can listen to music conforming to the highest traditions of sampradaya and a few rare compositions too. With her rich imagination and craftsmanship she creates exquisite music. She has a wide repertoire of kritis, composed by a number of composers. For instance, she rendered the rarely heard Kedaragowla kriti of Dikshitar, ‘Abhayamba Nayaka’ in her recent concert. Though it is not an easy kriti to sing, she rendered it with effortless ease. The alapana preceding the kriti had the stamp of class. On the violin, Padma Sankar responded with a brilliant elucidation of this beautiful raga.

The piece de resistance of the evening was her RTP in Valaji. The alapana had stress on the vital swaras, the mould and of course the gamakas. On the violin, Padma Sankar produced a few ultra-soft phrases in the lower octave. Prema Rangarajan dedicated the pallavi, ‘Sundara, Madhura Bhashana’ in Khanda Triputa talam to TRS, who was himself a Pallavi expert. The usual trikala pattern was followed. In between she rendered it in single beat as well.

Kallidaikkurichi Sivakumar (mridangam) and Madipakkam Murali (ghatam) rendered a sprightly thani. Sivakumar is a fine artist as an accompanist too. It is a pleasure following his nadai!

Prema Rangarajan commenced her concert with the Vasantha varnam. Endowed with a sweet voice, she excelled in creating the apt musical mood right at the very beginning. ‘Sri Mahaganapathe’ in Abhogi (Khanda Chapu) followed. This is a composition of N.S. Ramachandran. Swaras were at Pallavi itself.

Mysore Sadasiva Rao was a disciple of Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, who himself was a disciple of Saint Tyagaraja. He was a prolific composer. Prema Rangarajan sang his ‘Devadi Deva Nannu Kava’ in beautiful Mayamalavagowla (Rupakam) with niraval and swaras at pallavi. She rendered two Tyagaraja kritis. After a detailed alapana in Kalyani, she sang ‘Evara Madugudura’ (Rupakam) and this time the niraval and swaras were at the anupallavi, ‘Pavanamaku Nee Pada.’ The other one was ‘Vidajaladura’ in Janaranjani. Here, the accompaniment of Kallidaikkuruchi was splendid.

Prema Rangarajan concluded her recital with a Madhuvanthi Devaranama, ‘Yadava Nee’ of Purandaradasa an d the now-forgotten Behag thillana of Papanasam Sivan.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)