Sathur Sisters’s raga delineation was faultless. V. Subrahmaniam
It is a general observation that in a concert by a duo the voice of one of the singers is a shade more powerful than the other. But the voices blend well supporting each other to make their concert effort highly fulfilling to the rasikas.
Sathur Sisters' concert evidenced this musical background entrenched in traditional musical values of classicism. With the accompanying team of Charulatha Ramanujam on the violin, Thanjavur Kumar on the mridangam and K.S. Rangachari on the ganjira, it was the Arabhi raga Adi tala varnam of Tiger Varadachari with which the sisters began the concert. Mayuram Vedanayakam Pillai’s Tamizh composition in Malayamarutham, Rupaka talam, with the words ‘Dayai Puriya Innum Thamadhama’ was next. The swaraprastara for this was at three eduppu points of the Pallavi lyric ‘Dayai Puriya’, ‘Innum’ and ‘Thamadama’. Perhaps edged on by their initial enthusiasm this swara session was a little long especially being the commencement of the concert. The GNB kriti for this concert was in raga Ranjani, Adi tala ‘Ranjani Niranjani’. This also had a kalpanaswara embellishment at the charanam line. ‘Kanchadala Lochani Sri Mathrubootham’, the Kannada raga, Misra Chapu tala kriti of Muthuswami Dikshitar, sung was without any kalpanaswara appendage. In this a few sangatis with some new touches of Kannada were noticed. The Ritigowla raga alapana of Bhuvana for Tyagaraja's ‘Chera Ravathe’ in Adi talam was a chaste, blemishless effort. The last line of the charanam, ‘Talachikarangaka’ was treated to a short and sweet spell of kalpanaswaras.
Paving the way for the sub-main of the concert was a racy presentation of ‘Neekelana’ the Devamanohari Adi talam composition of Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar with its most engaging chittaswaram. The Khambodi raga exposition by Lalitha was for Vasudevachar's ‘Mari Mari Vachuna’, in Adi talam, not oft-heard in concerts. The alapana came out with the distinctive contours of this majestic ragam. The charanam line of the kriti, ‘Ramumahimale’, was treated to niraval and kalpanaswarams. The thani by Thanjavur Kumar and Rangachari was an energetic display. With his well-tuned mridangam Thanjavur Kumar's efforts to bolster the concerts to a successful fruition was of no mean measure.
The Ragam Tanam Pallavi was in Rishabapriya, the 62nd melakartha ragam. The sisters shared the alapana and tanam and the outcome was scintillating. The Pallavi was in Sankeerna Nadai set to Tisra Rupaka talam, the lyrics of the Pallavi were ‘Guha Muruga Shanmukha Malmaruha Saravanabhava Guha-Valli Deivanai Manala’. The pair expertly handled all the rigors of the Pallavi faultlessly and with self confidence. The ragamalika swaras in Kharaharapriya and Kokilapriya gave the session additional brilliance. At every stage of the concert, the competent support provided by violinist Charulatha was considerable. The kutcheri was rounded with a Sadgurumahima slokam by Visalakshi Natarajan set in the Ragam Chandrakauns Adi talam.
Devoid of the gimmickry of the present day the concert by Sathur Sisters was very sedate, soaked in the ethos of the music of yesteryear resulting in the contentment of the traditional rasikas. The punch and vigour were elusive factors of this high ranking concert and if the duo could strive harder to pump in these factors to their concert and plan their concerts better, their ascendancy to greater levels is easily achievable.