The Carnatica Brothers rendered kritis with an aesthetic, fine blend of azhutham and appropriate kalapramanam.
Carnatica Brothers, Sashikiran and Ganesh, have a high degree of confidence in their individual voices and its combined strength. A lovely and inimitable varnam in Andolika by GNB, began the proceedings in the second concert of the afternoon session. Margazhi was greeted with the first Paasuram from Andal's Tiruppavai. The lyrics at ‘Kadhir Madhiyam Pol Mugathan' had its split at the wrong syllable. Ganesh tried to prove his capacity by trying to reach the top octave swaras. His alapana for Devamanohari (‘Evarikai,' Tyagaraja) had as its dominant concern the establishing and maintenance of the raga swarupa with original phrases and never resorted to drawing clichéd prayogas from songs.
The song which asks Rama the probable cause of his avatara was sung with a fine aesthetic blend of azhuththam and appropriate kalapramanam that helped derive its meaning. An RTP became their main number. Sashikiran essayed an alapana for Sriranjani that was laced with many thoughtful usages - brisk, long and short. It was followed with glimpses of Sri Ragam and Ranjani.
The thanam and the pallavi, ‘Sogasuga Mridanga Thaalamu' and ‘Sri Ranjani Raga Bharitha' also embraced these three ragas though the beginning phrase for Sri did not arrive as desired. The thanam phrases had the expected vibrancy and swaras were included in Janaranjani and Sivaranjani. ‘Manamohana' (Kuntalavarali, Brazil Subramanyam) with an effective chittaswaram, Purandara Dasar's ‘Bikshaku Ragee Thandhiro' and a padam (‘Ini Enna Pechu' in Sahana, Subbarama Iyer) came under the miscellaneous category. It was announced that the first of these was tuned by Sashikiran. One still had to hold one's breath as a tillana (Pancha Raga, Pancha Nadai) with its wide range of ragas - Darbari Kanada, Bilahari, Kapi, Behag and a signing-off Madhyamavathi - came dancing around in its ascending and descending orders. It also drew all it could from the laya hierarchy – Tisram, Chathusram, Kantam, Misram and Sankeernam - a near superhuman laya exercise. Idappalli Ajith Kumar's violin accompaniment was of a high order in its intake and subsequent mirroring of the enormous variety that was on display. There was a quiet alapana for Devamanohari that held the raga aloft with depth and purposeful playing.
Trivandrum Vaidhyanathan's mridangam was of a caressing kind and his thani had many memorable idadhu prayogas that could be heard distinctly, thanks to the sensitive audio system and its operational experts. Post-concert pondering left us with this thought. Variety has to weigh receptivity too and the brothers need not have poured all they could in a single concert.
Certain songs give you a refreshing feeling every time it is sung. ‘Korinavaramosagumayya' (Ramapriya, Patnam Subramanya Iyer) must be heading the list. The same value-statement applies to the niraval at ‘Sarivari Lona Nannu' and Ramakrishnan Murthy acquitted himself creditably by carrying it with both grace and gaiety. He worked his way and built his alapana for Bhairavi (‘Thanayuni Brova' Tyagaraja) integrating it with even brigas and apt phrases that rested with a sense of ‘sowkhyam' at focal points, without wanting to be glitzy.
His comfort zone was not perhaps the mandhara sthayi which had a bit of cloud around it. He should also make a clear distinction between a naturally soft voice and one that is painstakingly made to appear soft. The niraval here for the line ‘Vathsamu Venta Dhenuvu' was characterised by soundly-rooted methods and the swara singing had korvais that meshed well with the strength of Bhairavi.
‘Chiththam Irangadhadhenayya' (Sahana-Sivan), ‘Kalaya Yashode Thava Balam' (Narayana Tirtha) and a Tillana in Purnachandrika (Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar) came down the list to satisfy norms of fluidity. Rajeev on the violin accompanied without exceeding his brief and his alapanas and swara answers were received well. A few slips and strange sounds from the violin could have been avoided. We had a mridangam player of immense potential in Nirmal Narayan, whose restrained style will take him far. His well enunciated sollus during his well measured thani showed vidwat and exquisite technique.