Geetha Rajasekhar’s concert had quality but nothing out of the ordinary.
A sweet Mayamalavagowlai (‘Tulasi Dala’), a majestic Sriranjani (‘Marubalka’) and a whipcrack Hasanadam (‘Banturiti’)—all born out of the depths of devotion of Saint Tyagaraja—were among the delectable elements of Geetha Rajasekhar’s concert. It is a pity that one, two or all of these were not the central piece of herconcert for Mylapore Fine Arts. Instead, the sub-main and main slots were taken by Kalyani (‘Virana Vara’ of Syama Sastri) and Todi (Sivan’s ‘Karthekeya’). Though both of these were of a high standard, it was a bit of a let down not only because they were the good-old, too-familiar ragas, but also because Geetha had sung just these two very ragas in her previous concert a few days ago. In fact, the Todi piece was again ‘Karthekeya’. Perhaps it was at a rasika’s request, but a standard listener would wonder ‘why it couldn’t have been Sriranjani?’
For, the Mayamalavagowlai, Sriranjani and ‘Banturiti’ were of superb quality. The Mayamalavagowlai piece featured a niraval ( ‘Saraseeruha’) and swaras, and it was wholesome and delightful MMG . Sriranjani could have been done better with some swaras, but the Hamsanadam piece came with a bouquet-full and was, therefore, satisfying. Geetha’s style is one of high-speed and the Hamsanadam swaras were delivered like Narayan Karthekeyan on the track. No harm there, because swaras in ‘Rama Namamane’ are traditionally delivered speedily. But why couldn’t Geetha have prefaced such a beautiful rendition with at least a brief sketch of the raga? A Todi or Kalyani in a concert perhaps could be given a resigned nod, what with the better part of the market demanding a more-familiar than the less.
That said, it was a good concert, (as was the previous one at Brahma Gana Sabha, where the Kalyani was Purandara Dasar’s ‘Nambikettavarillavo’.) Violinist M. Narmada, a picture of cheerfulness, was completely at home, which is not surprising, because the vocalist threw her no gauntlet, as there was no inclusion of a challenging element. Poongulam Subramanian delighted everyone with his gentle play on the mridangam along with A. S. Krishnan on the ghatam.
Keywords: Geetha Rajasekhar