Though fast-paced Priya Sisters had total control over laya.
Priya sisters were in their usual zest and verve. The concert was so peppy that by the end of the first hour, the main ragam, Kharaharapriya had been launched, after six songs. The kathanakuthuhalam varnam, ‘Sri Vatapi’ (Sahana, Sivan) with swara adjuncts, ‘Lavanya Rama’ (Purnashadjam, Tyagaraja), ‘Pirava Varam’ (Lathangi, Sivan), ‘O, Jagadamba’ (Anandabhairavi, Syama sastri) and ‘Nagagandhari Raganuthe’ (Dikshitar) descended into the hall in an hour of musical hailstorm. The similar tala structures and an essentially uniform kalapramanam made it sound like an orchestral serial. ‘O, Jagadamba,’ promised to provide the calming effect, but the upper speed play of Patri Satish Kumar (a bit inappropriate) put paid to any such enjoyment. The sisters’ talents were however fully displayed in the Lathangi alapana (especially in ga,ma,da and da,ni,ri zones).
The seminal segment saw them exhibit their other side – fervent singing - in ‘Rama Neeyeda’ (Kharaharapriya) and an RTP in Sudhadhanyasi. Kharaharapriya alapana and niraval at ‘Premarahitulaku Neenamaruchi Telusuna’ had classical moments, whenever the sisters moved into the higher octaves. The pallavi, credited to Prof TRS, was set to Kanta tripuda kanta nadai, with the words, ‘Thaakkadhim, Thakadhim, Thadhim, Yanisada Sivudu Ma Chakkaga Nadanamadenu.’
The artistic structure was rendered aesthetically by the sisters with haunting sudhadhanyasi phrases in the niraval. Both the vocalists and the violinist were in complete laya control in the pallavi.
‘Rama Neeyeda’ kriti took all of four minutes and 30 seconds and the thani avartanam lasted 25 minutes. That’s how much the character of Carnatic concerts have changed. It seemed like many in the audience liked this quotient better. The jury is out on if this would be the future trend. The thani elicited three kinds of responses – one group ejected themselves out before it, one moved to the edge of their seats and the last one sank in their chairs.
The thani resembled a rock concert, with speed crescendos being the theme. It surely is very skilful to play four speeds in various nadais, but that is not the essence of a thani by an accompanying artist. The decibel levels added to the ideological discomfort. M.A. Krishnaswamy stuck to the vibrancy premise of the concert without being drawn into the rocky motions.