It was vintage Rasogulla that the Calcutta Sisters served.

It is not easy to attain unison in a vocal concert by two (or more), even with the same patanthara! The voices should blend in harmony; the sangatis should merge; and manodharma should be a smooth flow. Calcutta Kala and Chitra did fulfil all these and little wonder it was a high quality concert.

As a tribute to their guru Calcutta K.S. Krishnamurthy, they rendered his kriti ‘Sarigaadha ninnu' in Subhapanthuvarali. The raga delineation was shared between the two – phrase by phrase. They made full use of the several swaraaksharas, especially in kalpanaswara. The concluding korvai in the swaraprasthara was mathematically precise and aesthetically pleasing. The varieties in the sangatis in the anupallavi, ‘Giridhari' were stunning.

The outstanding item in the concert was Tyagaraja's kriti on Lord Subrahmanya, ‘Neevanti deyvamunu shadaanana' in Thodi. It is on the deity in Sirkazhi. Incidentally Arunagirinathar has sung many a Tiruppugazh in praise of this deity. The piece was well planned and equally well executed. The first half of the raga alapana was rendered by Chitra with Kala taking over from the upper shadja.

Able support

Violinist Meera Sivaramakrishnan underlined her class in the support she gave and in the raga delineation. Her charming elucidation of Thodi was indeed the very definition of the raga.

Calcutta Karthik on the mridangam provided adequate support with impressive calculations in thani. Another Tyagaraja krithi that the sisters rendered was ‘Seethamma Mayamma' in Vasantha. The duo commenced the concert with ‘Sri Mahaganapathe' (Nattai) of Mayuram Viswanatha Sastry. The chitta swaras and kalpanaswaras at ‘Subha Vaaranavarana' (Atheetha) were lilting. It was followed by Dikshitar's navavaranam, ‘Kamalambam Samrakshithu' in Ananda Bhairavi set in Misra chapu. That was a neat rendition. The sisters concluded the concert with ‘Kaninilam Vendum' (ragamalika) of Bharatiyar and a splendid Nalinakanthi thillana of L. N. Gurumurthi.

To this critic at least, with three from Calcutta on the stage, the sweet concert was like rasogulla!

(ramakrishnan.h @gmail.com)