Seetha Narayanan's experience showed in her raga alapanas. Calcutta Srividya came alive with expansive sancharas and creative touches.
It requires a senior artist like Seetha Narayanan to paint a presentation in ethnic colours with enthusiasm. She began the concert with Kedaragowla varnam in two speeds, besides a confident tisra nadai and innovative variations in the last chittaswaram. It was a prelude to what that day had to offer to the listeners.
Not often heard on the concert dais nowadays is Dikshitar's ‘Ganapathe Mahamathe' in Kalyani. Seetha sprinkled the kriti with neat and crisp swaras. She then offered a tribute to the Wednesday's lord in the form of Natakurinji and a Dikshitar composition ‘Budham Asrayami.' The highlight was the rich Charukesi. Seetha's alapana traversing the three octaves, was elaborated enough to display the shades of the raga in its true form and also exhibited the experience of the singer.
Violinist Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan enhanced the quality of the ambience with his competent play to present the alapana. Swati Tirunal's ‘Krupaya Palaya' with niraval developed gradually over the layers and swaras built on definite patterns, was a feast sweet and sumptuous.
There was one more to the list of less heard kritis. Tyagaraja's ‘Vachama Gocharame' in Kaikavasi was captivating with a sure landing of swaras in their respective places.
The delineation of Khambodi with creativity followed by Vijayaraghavan's good sketching of the raga on the violin made the listeners guess the kriti, and yes, it was ‘O Rangasayee'. In the thani, Thanjavur Subramaniam and K.V.R.S Mani stuck to the kala pramana of the vocalist and presented an elegant show.
What followed a slokam in Yamunakalyani was an abhang, ‘Kasturi Kumkuma'. There was no dramatisation or artificial excitement attached to it. Sitting pretty in the tukkada session, it gracefully paved the way to the Meera bhajan rendered with a Hindustani touch of slow and fast paces. It was an evening of satisfying listening.
It took time for Calcutta Srividya to settle down with her voice and sruti. But once that was done, she took off graciously and presented a well-rounded concert. ‘Siddhi Buddhi Natham,' a composition of Guru Surajananda in Kannada marked the opening of a concert that had a good mix of kritis. The next was ‘Sogasujuda' in Kannada Gowla which just whisked past . Srividya set a firm footing with the raga alapana of Poorvikalyani and glided smoothly on the kriti ‘Ninnuvinagamari' of Syama Sastri in Misra Chapu. However, the swarasthanas and rendering of swara phrases needed more attention. In the Madhyamavati alapana, Srividya came alive with expansive sancharas and creative touches. Sudha R.S. Iyer on the violin matched the vocalist with her elaborate picturisation of the raga. The kriti ‘Rama Katha Sudha' was well rendered in all calmness and with a clear diction. Harish Kumar on the mridangam followed both the vocalist and the violinist carefully in the kalpanaswara segment and presented a delightful thani.
The post thani session was short. Srividya concluded her concert with a patriotic Bengali composition of Dwijendralal Roy which had multiple stanzas.