K. Gayathri Prasanna seems to have struck the right balance as was evident from her repertoire.
Attending a concert at Sastry Hall (for Kapali Fine Arts) is something special, for it was here that I heard stalwarts such as MLV, S. Balachandar, K.S. Narayanaswamy, Mani Krishnaswamy, KVN and MSG. Their divine music probably could be the reason for the positive vibrations one feels in that hall.
That evening was no different when K. Gayathri Prasanna took the stage. Under the tutelage of gurus Suguna Purushthoman and Suguna Varadachari, Gayathri firmly believes in the traditional music padhathi.
The evening began with the Kadanakuthuhalam varnam. Tyagaraja’s ‘Suajana Jeevana’ showcased her appetite for classicism. The correct diction and word-split at appropriate places raised the kriti to an exalted status. The kalapanaswaras with stress only on the raga bhava embellished the proceedings.
Endowed with a sweet voice, Gayathri’s Sriranjani essay was refined as she packed it with slow and fast paced phrases interspersing them with lengthy sancharas.
Nishanth Chandran, the U.S.-based violinist who is yet another noteworthy disciple of A. Kanyakumari, was a good foil. His forays were in tandem with the singer’s mood. Dikshitar’s devotion to Rama was evident in the kriti ‘Sri Ramchandroh Rakshathumaam.’ Gayathri did full justice to it. The niraval in the anupallavi line ‘Bharathakrajo Kowsika Yaaga Rakshako Taatakaanthaka’ was effective.
‘Sri Kumara’ (Atana-Swati Tirunal) delivered at a slow pace and Tyagaraja’s ‘Nee Dayaraadaa’ at a fast pace, added colour to the gait.
Confidence on show
The evening’s main Sankarabharanam was grand. Dotting her alapanas with a clever mix of phrases in the lower, middle and upper octaves in varying speeds, it seemed like a veteran was at work. Spontaneity ruled the roost.
Tyagaraja’s ‘Edutha Nilachitay,’ rarely heard these days, was refreshing.
Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar (mridangam) and H. Prasanna (ghatam) kept pace with the singer throughout. Their tani was a display of gripping rhythmic patterns. Almost two hours had gone by, and yet Gayathri was able to sustain the interest with a viruttam from Ramalinga Adigal’s Tiruvarutpa in ragas Hamsanandi, Gowrimanohari and Behag.
Listening to her, a thought that came to mind was about the art of structuring a concert to make it a success. Observing Gayathri’s repertoire for her concerts over a period of time, it appears that she has struck the right balance.