While Chitra Poornima Sathish added crispness and depth to ragas, Saashwathi Prabhu scored with bhakti.
If good Carnatic music represents mature cultural sensibilities, it was presented in a good measure by Chitra Poornima Sathish in her concert at the Kapali temple Chitrai festival series. The various aspects that mould the inherent value of the art were well grasped by her in the correct perspective. The rare gift of suggestiveness, spontaneity and simplicity were within her vocal reach. These qualities imparted crispness and depth in the raga edifice and song interpretation. Everything adhered to strict musical propriety.
The rendering of the songs ‘Sambho-Mahadeva’ (Pantuvarali) ‘Innamum – Orudaram’ (Yadukula Kambhodi – Gopalakrishna Bharati) and ‘Sabapatiku’ (Abhogi) with minimum fuss was intense. The shared experience between the singer and the listeners marked her musical equipment. There was nothing in excess, which at once made her performance compelling and absorbing.
The same process was adopted in raga alapanas of Abhogi and Vachaspati ‘Paraath-Para.’ Manodharma merged with the characteristic shades of the two ragas. The intermingling of cadences and oscillating sancharas revealed the raga swaroopas with telling effect. The sharpness of phrasings enhanced her creative instincts. Her performing technique was well confined to artistic limits. The first few movements led her towards expression of musical impulses in sculpting the ragas.
The success of the concert sprang from the vocal lucidity vibrating the chords of refinement. She is in all respects a worthy disciple of guru Bombay Jayashree.
The violinist was K.J. Dileep. He is quite competent in handling the instrument but in attempting to emulate the raga pattern of Chitra Poornima Sathish, he fell short. P. Ramkumar on the mridangam adhered to accepted standards of the accompanying process. His tani was sharp and precise.
Sangita and spirituality
The compositions of Vaggeyakaras are well steeped in bhakti. Whether to bring out the loftiness of sahityas in there or convert these to rhetoric is an artist’s preference. The motivation stressed in the concert of Saashwathi Prabhu was an inclination to savour the devotional base of Carnatic music. The selection of songs and the way they were rendered conveyed that her musical expression in her appealing voice had to be appreciated in bhakti terms.
Sahityas in songs are not just narratives in a tala format, but are revelations of the sacredness of music. The music of Saashwathi in this respect was to emphasise the unity of sangita and spirituality. Linked to this objective, her rendering of songs was an achievement, because they were not mechanical presentation.
She revealed a good grip in the scientific basis of compositional structure, but her attention was on the bhakti supremacy in the compositions.
There is no need to list the many kirtanas she handled. A few samples would be enough. ‘Thaye-Tripura-Sundari’ (Suddha Saveri), ‘Muruga-Muruga’ (Saveri), ‘Andavane’ (Shanmukhapriya), ‘Idathu-Padam-Thookki’ (Kamas), ‘Pacinchu-Kamakshi’ (Madyamavathi). She had as accompanists B. Muthukumar (flute), Arjun Ganesh (mridangm), N. Sundar (tabla) and Nagaratinam (special effects). The ill-conceived thundering beats by the percussionists did not go well with the serene musical environment.