Savita Narasimhan and Jayashree Vaidyanathan were adept at bringing out the devotional aspect of the kritis.
Two vital aspects stood out in Savita Narasimhan’s recital. Her voice, that was refined, helped instil musical softness. She displayed expressional etiquette in handling the songs. These endowments took away the tonal tension.
In her programme, melody docked with aesthetics. Bowing to high fidelity, chaste music and superior sound quality indicated compatibility with her gentle temperament. These aspects ensured she served her best.
The raga vinyasa method emphasised the dormant beauty without exotic indulgences. Savita studiously avoided the frenzied route to impress, and this resulted in her concert being rated high both on perception of lofty ideals and articulation.
The fine-spun sancharas met sangeeta gnana capturing the subtle shades of the raga. It gave a good first impression of Savita’s capacity to visualise the soul of raga rakti. Even while negotiating sancharas in the tara sthayi, she put the comfort of her voice first to impart repose and create a warm ambience of peace and plenty. A karvai here, cadence there was all that took Savita to make the raga picture alluring and versatile.
Her voice consolidated the several factors that make sangita exquisite – melody, manodharma, aesthetics and nuances -- all leading her to sowkhyam. In every respect, she is a worthy successor to Bombay Jayasri.
In the kirtana segment, her interpretation was unprecedented in depth and vividness. ‘Narada Muni’ (Pantuvarali with a lucid alapana) set the concert on its course. ‘O Jagadamba’ (Ananda Bhairavi) is a song full of devotion and as she sang, Savita got a feel of its exertion.
The rakti raga Saveri was redolent with soothing shades. The kriti was ‘Etunammina.’ The peak of her performance was the Thodi ensemble – ‘Ne Morabettithe’ (an unfamiliar kriti of Tyagaraja) raga alapana and niraval – which was classy with smooth, pleasing vocalisation, savoury and interpretative finesse.
The crowning pieces came at the end. Pattabhiramayair’s Javali ‘Nimatale Mayenura’ in Poorvikalyani and Muthuthandavar’s Khamas piece ‘Theruvil Varona.’ It was the ultimate in concert experience.
The compact form of ragas in the solo versions of violinist Ranjani Ramakrishnan was in keeping with the refinement of Savita. Her playing was marked by unparalleled ease and served to enhance the anubhava of rasikas.
B. Ganapathiraman (mridangam) and Adambakkam Shankar (ghatam) were aware of what pattern of percussive support would highlight their competence.
From start to finish, Jayashree Vaidyanathan maintained a uniform tempo, both in raga alapanas and kalapramana of kirtanas.
A clear understanding of the characteristics of the raga Malayamarutam was evident in her handling of it at the very beginning of the concert. In this and in the later elaboration of Abhogi and Simhendramadhyamam, there was no tendency to innovate for pleasure. They were essentially tradition-bound.
Jayashree chose kirtanas of great vaggeyakaras – Tyagaraja, Purandaradasa, Dikshitar and Swati Tirunal. Her style of presentation apart, the veneration she revealed in the interpretation of the songs was noteworthy. The sahityas of the kirtanas – ‘Manasa Etülo,’ ‘Sabhapathikku,’ ‘Maayuranatham’ (a Dikshitar composition in Dhanyasi) and ‘Rama Rama Guna Seema’ (Simhendramadhyamam of Swati Tirunal) – were clearly enunciated. The bhava was well aired by Jayashree.
The Simhendramadhyamam raga vinyasa was done towards the end. By then, Jayashree’s voice had gained sufficient warmth to combine madhyamakala and durita kala sancharas. This was a fulfilling presentation with innate artistic process coming to play.
Poorna Vaidyanathan provided violin accompaniment. Without being over zealous, her support was pertinent. Her solo versions of the ragas were economical but well focussed.
It was the energetic back-up by mridangam player Guru Raghavendra and ghatam player N. Rajaraman.