A.V.K. Rajasimhan’s vocals had a vintage touch.

Reaching Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Vidvat Samajam in Mylapore and finding a safe parking space for the car was an ordeal. But the stress vanished once you entered the Samajam because of the divine vibrations prevalent there. Adding to the ambience was the imposing statue of the Saint poet, which gave you the much needed serenity as his kritis have done for centuries.

A.V.K. Rajasimhan, son of A.L. Krishnamurthy Bhagavatar (popular for his abhinayam-based sampradaya bhajans) was featured by the Samajam in its annual Tyagaraja Jayanthy Utsavam exactly five days after the his Jayanthy.

Tyagaraja was born in the Tamil month Chiththirai with Poosam as his star and this year it fell on May 6.

Like his father, Rajasimhan, who trained under O.V. Subramaniam, shines in samparadaya bhajan. His foray into Carnatic music is a recent phenomenon. The grooming in nama sankirtanam has really worked well for him. Here is a voice that has a vintage touch endowed with sweetness and the concert too bore that stamp.

However, the same could not be said of his selections that evening. While one expected him to delve into the ocean of the Saint’s kritis, that he included other composers was a mild aberration taking into account the occasion. Two such songs were Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Mooladhaara’ ( Sri) for the beginning and the other, Thanjavur Sankara Iyer’s ‘Ranajana mala,’ for the end.

Strangely, he left out the numerous utsava sampradaya kritis of Tyagaraja that one yearned to listen to. Despite the shortcomings, the evening’s fare showed his class. One was the alapana of Chandrajyothi, a real challenge, given the fact that there aren’t many kritis in this raga. Rajasimhan completed the essay with aplomb. And for veteran violinist M.A.Sundareswaran (M.A.S), it gave him ample scope to reiterate why he is a highly rated accompanist. That evening, his father and veteran violinist Parur M.S. Ananatharaman and flute vidwan N. Ramani were both present at the concert, which might have been an added inspiration for M.A.S.

A fast-paced thathva meruga tarama set the tone for the evening’s main Todi. He was able to paint a multi-coloured portrait of the raga with all its hues. M.A.S’s reply further enhanced the mood already created by the singer. Tyagaraja’s ‘Karuna Joodavamma’ was sung with devotional fervour that Sathguru had perceived.

Srimushnam Raja Rao, who has completed 50 years of service to classical music, was in his elements. His sollus bore the stamp of a maestro embellishing the concert. In the company of E.M. Subramaniam (ghatam), his tani was gripping.