You always go with an expectation to concerts of certain artists and generally they don’t disappoint. S. Sowmya is a consistent performer and her manodharma sangitam could be attributed as a reason. Past Wednesday evening it was no different. She dedicated the concert to D.S. Ramanujam, KFA secretry, who passed away the previous evening. She was in the company of Embar S.Kannan( violin) and Neyveli Narayanan (mridangam).

Warming up with an emotional ‘Ninne Bhajana’ (Natta-Adi-Tyagaraja) and a few avarthanams of kalpana swarams, she proceeded to yet another master piece of the saint poet ‘Chalamelara Saketharama (Margahindolam-Adi). The swaraprastharams at a breezy pace oozed with the raga’s essence sans any arithmetic.

Following her like a shadow Kannan was equally passionate in this segment. With head bent the only movement on stage about Kannan are his two hands weaving magic. Narayanan’s exuberant display of rhythm artistry lifted the concert to a higher level. Be it nadai or arudhi, he was immaculate. Sama essay of Sowmya that followed was spontaneous, with the artist exploring the raga in all dimensions. Kannan gave a spirited reply.

Then came a pleasant rendering of Dikshitar’s ‘Anna purne Visalakshi’ (Adi). ‘Yaro Ivar Yaro’ in Saveri (Adi-Arunachala Kavi) would have surprised many as its Bhairavi version is more popular. It is believed that Arunachala Kavi originally conceived it in Saveri.

The evening’s main raga Harikhambhoji was soaked in classicism. A favourite of Saint Tyagaraja, this raga offers enough scope for improvisation. That Sowmya explored it with zeal without resorting to any gimmicks such as swara bheda showed her steadfast belief in pure music.

Sivan’s ‘Enadhu Manam Kavalai Ennum Irul Suzhandaal Evaridam Murai Iduven’ was rendered with feeling. Narayanan excelled in the Thani combining various nadais intelligently. Particular mention must be made of his playing the topi. Such was her manobhavam that Sowmya could not resist researching the raga while singing Sri Madhava ( Behag-Adi-Sivan) though it came towards the end. Kannan holding the gandharam during this phase added colour. Sowmya wound up with Mahakavi’s Kavadi Sindhu in Chenchurutti and a tillana.

The 35th edition of Kartik Fine Arts’ music festival began with Ranjani Hebbar Guruprasad’s vocal concert at the Narada Gana Sabha Mini hall past Wednesday morning. Ranjani portrayed Amritavarshini in all its splendour. The akhara phrases in the mid and high ranges were executed with aplomb. She was however found wanting in the mandhara sthayi.

G. Venkatasubramaniam was at ease in his reply reminding the listener of his guru M.A. Sundaresan now and then. ‘Anandaamritha karshini’ (Adi-Dikshitar) with interesting kalpanaswaras was an apt choice with clouds looming large over the auditorium. Well settled, Ranajni’s next choice was ‘Allagallala’ ( Madhyamavathi-Rupakam-Tyagaraja). Nagarajan’s arudhis for this song were noteworthy. Ranjani complimented the kriti with fast paced swaras. Yet there was sag.

Taking up Sankarabharanam for elaboration, Ranjani splashed it with authentic phrases that were a judicious mixture of Akhara, long karvais and brigas. Venkatasubramaniam matched her phrase for phrase. Swati Tirunal’s Navarathiri kriti ‘Devi Jagajanani’( Adi), a beauty, found the vocalist doing the niraval in the anupallavi ‘Deva Makutamani.’ Both here and the swara phase that followed she did her best to showcase the raga.

The rhythm duo Erode Nagarajan (mridangam) and Nergunam Manikandan (morsing) combined well to present a lively tani.