K. Gayathri’s music was not syrupy but striking, while Nityashree Mahadevan’s innovative touches found appreciation among the rasikas.

There is no denying that K. Gayathri is a star on the horizon. The way she treated Sriranjani and Kashiramakriya (Pantuvarali) exhibited her strong foundation in raga development. Her forays centred on swift akaras running in succession. She did not dwell much on a particular note or phrase but moved on with fluidity. No, it did not mar the overall effect. The alapanas were rounded but left one wanting more on the delicate side.

Yes. Gayathri sings well, but impersonally and more technically. Her music is not syrupy but striking.

She chose Tyagaraja’s ‘Sogasuga Mridanga’ in Sriranjani with significant touches on the niraval on the pallavi line fully.

She turned quite a mathematical wizard when she came to swarakalpana. Her matrices were intriguingly built with laya control. ‘Sri Sundararajam’ in Kashiramakriya also moved on the same lines of Sriranjani. ‘Soma Soorya netraya’ had absolute permutations, adorned with swaras.

‘Karunimpa,’ the Sahana varnam, set the concert off to a smooth start. ‘Rangapuravihara’ in Brindavana Saranga (Dikshitar), ‘Baro Krishnayya’ in ragamalika (Purandaradasa) and ‘Meevalla’ in Kapi (Tyagaraja) served as fillers.

Dr M. Narmada on the violin gave some strong visages of the ragas and swaras.

B. Sivaraman and Anirudh Athreya on the mridangam and the ganjira, respectively, provided overzealous support and a frenetic thani avarthanam.

Nityashree Mahadevan surprised the audience by opening her concert with ‘Vatapi Ganaptim’ in Hamasadhwani (Dikshitar), a composition that has almost faded into oblivion, especially in vocal recitals. She followed it up with ‘Yochana Kamalalochana’ (Tyagaraja) in Darbar where she adopted a unique form of swaraprasthara by singing the swaras in two pitches creating the impression of two singers, something that found much appreciation from the the overflowing auditorium.

Her Vachaspati alapana was quite exhaustive and inspiring. If I am not wrong, Nityashree’s voice seems to have developed a sort of rigidity and this interfered with her favourite, effortless upper region sojourns.

Nevertheless, Nityashree was stoic in her efforts and it paid dividends. She energised her raga treatise with fast, free flowing akaras creating a breathtaking layout of Vachaspati. Here, she forged a step ahead in her niraval on ‘Alanadu Sowmithri’ for the kriti ‘Kandjoodumi’ (Tyagaraja), where after her extensive niraval, she went for a spree of akaras.

Can it be termed as a novelty or distended niraval? Whatever you call it, this too received an overwhelming response. Similarly, the speedy swaras for ‘Rama Rama’ in Vasantha (Purandaradasa) was another winning post for Nityashree.

Violinist Dr. Hemalatha was perfect in her replies and maintained her poise. I. Sivakumar with a professional touch on the mridangam gave percussion support in the company of Anirudh Athreya on the ganjira.