K.J. Yesudas, Sanjay Subrahmaniam, O.S. Arun and S. Sowmya charmed the audience with their distinctive recitals.

The 32nd edition of Soorya Music and Dance Festival 2009 featured four Carnatic vocalists, each unique in their presentations. As usual the festival opened with K.J. Yesudas' concert at Tagore Theatre, Thiruvananthapuram. Yesudas began his concert with a Pattanam Subramania Iyer varnam 'Evari Bodha' in Abhogi, set to Adi tala. He followed it with a short alapana of Kanaganki and the kriti was Tyagaraja's 'Sree Gananatham Bhajamyaham,' which saw some smooth swara sancharam.

As a tribute to his guru Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, he rendered 'Pavana Guru' in Hamsanandi. The piece stood out for the rich tonal quality of his voice. A brisk rendering of Dikshitar's 'Santhana Rama Swaminam' in Hindola Vasantham was well received by the audience.

Paying glowing tributes to G.N. Balasubrahmanyam, Yesudas rendered 'Samanarchithe Amba' in Saranga Tarangini. He brought out the essence of the raga in the raga vistaram. The piece stood out for its emphasis on sruti shudhatha. He then enthralled the listeners with one of his masterpieces {ndash} 'Ksheera Sagara Sayana,' composed by Tyagaraja in Devagandhari. Presenting a composition in Ramapriya, Yesudas, in the delineation of the raga, demonstrated its essential difference with Vachaspati. The raga bhava was picked up ably by Mahadeva Sarma on the violin. The kriti was Swati Tirunal's 'Samodam Paripalayama' set to Adi tala.

The taniavartanam was performed with aplomb by Thiruvarur Bhaktavalsam on the mridangam and Uduppi Sridhar on the ghatam.

A request from the audience had Yesudas rendering 'Govardhana gireesam' (Hindolam). The thukkadas included 'Alai payudhe' and 'Santhanamum jabhadhamum' (Abheri).

Exuberant recital

Sanjay Subrahmaniam began his concert with a thanavarnam in Malawi, a janyam of Harikambhoji. Next to follow was the popular Tyagaraja kriti 'Sree Ganapathani' in Sourashtram. The piece stood out for its alapana and kalpanaswaras.

It was followed by 'Anudinamum' in Begada. Koteeswara Iyer's 'Vaa Velava' in Thanarupi set to khandachappu tala brought out the vishada bhava of the raga. Ace violinist S. Varadarajan followed him like a shadow. Dikshitar's 'Nagagandhari ragalude' in Nagagandhari preceded the main piece, a ragam-tanam-pallavi in Abhogi with the sahitya 'Sabhapatikku vere deivam.'

In the ragamalika, Sanjay rendered the tanam, which consisted of Abhogi, Sahana, Subhapantuvarali and Behag. The taniavartanam was performed by Neyveli S.P. Venkatesh on the mridangam and Trichy K. Murali on the ghatam.

O.S. Arun, the younger brother of O.S. Thyagarajan, in his debut performance at the Soorya Festival, enthralled the audience with his pleasing voice.

He opened with Papanasam Sivan's varnam, an invocation to Lord Ganesa in Hamsadwani and set to Adi tala. Tyagaraja's 'Nannu Brovani' in Abhogi came next.

Then he rendered with bhakti bhava Koteeswara Iyer's 'Ayya Arul Seyya Vendum' in Rasikapriya. Dikshitar's 'Akhilandeswari' in Dwijavanti followed.

The main item of the day was a Tyagaraja kriti 'Ennalum,' in Subhapantuvarali, set to Misra chappu tala. Karakkal S. Venkatasubramaniam supported him on the violin. The taniavarthanam saw some fine exchanges between Kumbakonam A. Saravanam on the mridangam and Uduppi S. Srikanth on the ganjira.

The thukkadas included a Swati bhajan 'Aaj Aye Syam Mohana' in Syamkalyan, 'Swagatham Krishna' and a tillana in Mand composed by Lalgudi G. Jayaraman.

Scholarly concert

S. Sowmya's scholarly concert began with a Todi varnam 'Eranapai,' set to Adi tala. 'Pahimam Sree Rajarajeswari' in Janaranjini was rendered in a slow pace. Then came Papanasam Sivan's 'Balakrishnan pada malar' in Dhanyasi, set to Rupaka tala.

'Annapoorne Vishalakshi' in Sama, composed by Dikshitar, was presented with bhakti bhava. Syama Sastri's 'Venkittashaila' in Hamirkalyani stood out for its ragalapana. A brisk rendering of 'Sree padhe nee padha,' composed by Tyagaraja in Nagaswaravali, enlivened the concert.

Sowmya proved her mettle rendering a ragam-tanam-pallavi in Kharaharapriya, set to Khandajati jhampa tala. The sahitya was 'Mayon Maruganai, Muruganai pani maname anudinamum.' She sang the ragamalika swaras, which had Sunadavinodini, Revathy, Amritavarsini and Surutti.

Avaneeswaram S.R. Vinu's violin sketched the nuances of the raga. The tani was performed by Palakkad Mahesh Kumar on the mridangam and Uduppi Sridhar on the ghatam. The thukkadas included a Meera bhajan 'Krishna karo' in Madhukauns, 'Theerathavilayattu pillai,' a ragamalika of Bharathiar, a kavadi chinth and a Hamsanandi tillana.