With good planning and well-chosen kritis, Swarna Rethas gave an endearing concert at Hamsadhwani recently. His voice has gained more depth and range, and his articulation has become full throated.
‘Sami Ninne’, the vivacious Pantuvarali Varnam (Not many sing it thses days. Wonder why?) set the concert rolling, after which came the colourful ‘Manavyla Kimchira’ in Nalinakanti by Tyagaraja with a few swaras.
Rethas had cleverly timed the sub-main Dhanyasi and main Sankarabharanam. After creatively framing the raga essay of Dhanyasi, he assigned substantial time for Syama Sastri’s ‘Meenalochana’ adding just only niraval on ‘Samaja Gamana Neevu’. It sounded good indeed.
After including ‘Kayaarohanesam’ in Devagandharam by Dikshitar as a filler piece, Rethas developed Sankarabharanam employing the conventional and his imaginative motifs. Tyagaraja’s ‘Swararaga Sudharasa’ had sheen and he sang swaras at ‘Guruthe Mokshamura’ for a change sans niraval.
Swarna Rethas’ raga essays showed his musical mind set and the swaras exposed his grasp on rhythm. His acumen in setting the right tenor throughout the concert with a careful eye on time factor was evident.
B. Anantha Krishnan on the violin cooperated with the vocalist in the right spirit. He too followed Rethas when it came to time consciousness and tempo without sacrificing the quality of music. Nellai Balaji and Madipakkam Murali had to satisfy themselves with a combined brief thani though they were quite active all along.
Rethas concluded his recital with an impressive viruttam prefacing in ragas Kharaharapriya, Begada, Saveri, Hamsanandi and Behag, appended with ‘Aadum Chidambaramo’.
Pallavi Prasanna, whose concert followed, opened in relaxed manner. She has a ringing voice with a slight nasal twang but she was quite enthusiastic. Swati Tirunal’s ‘Gopalaka Pahimam’ in Revagupti with an array of swaras was the opening piece. She took up Kannada Gowla for elucidation for Dikshitar’s ‘Neelothbalanayikayam’ which was quite sedentary.
Giving a little push with Oothukadu Venkatakavi’s ‘Madhura Madhura’ in Atana, Pallavi’s main choice was Kalyani. Here too. it was visibly lingering. In some places her approach sounded rather light, sans weight or depth. ‘Venkataramana’ (Papanasam Sivan) was the kriti she chose.
Throwing her voice may give the singer a sense of confidence; but at the same, an artist should know how she does it with focus on improving the quality of the final output. Pallavi needs to employ this aspect in her presentations. The same accompanists mentioned above supported Pallavi and matched her style of presentation.