Sri Parvathi, Eldams Road - The aesthetic content of every kriti was highlighted by Bhavana effortlessly.
The greatest advantage Bhavana had as she sang at Sri Parvathi, Eldams Road, was the mellowness in her voice. It had natural strength and was able to offer that unique ‘sukham’ even when it traversed the top octaves. This was remarkable considering her high pitch.
Bhavana, whose music has the stamp of pure classicism, began with the padavarnam in Nattakurinji and followed it with ‘Sri Parvathi’ (Bowi, Dikshitar). After an enthralling alapana of Sriranjani, she expressed herself fully in ‘Buvinidhasudane’ of Tyagaraja.
The narrative structure she built into and put to effective use for the neraval at ‘Irupadham Bhaktharukku Eendridum’ for the Purvikalyani kriti (‘Ekkalathilum’, Ramasami Pillai) and at ‘Bhooloka Vaikuntam’ for the Khambodi kriti, ‘O Rangasayee,’ was as orderly as they were rich in aesthetic content.
Earlier both ragas had finely crafted alapanas. Her sarvalagu style of singing of swaras lent better grip to her singing which surfaced at many places. This also gave the concert the required momentum. But still this rasika could not digest the somewhat rapid pace with which she sang ‘Nee Bhajana Gana’ (Nayaki, Tyagaraja).
Also, her choice of ‘Enneramum’ (Devagandhari, Gopalakrishna Bharati) as the penultimate song wasn’t altogether good judgment. Two more songs of Swati Tirunal in Hamsanandi and Dwijavanthi were rendered with ease and ability, earlier.
Harini Nagarajan provided accompaniment on the violin to the best of her ability. Her alapanas were well-timed and had characteristic phrases of respective ragas in abundance. If there was some hesitancy in her overall playing, that is bound to get corrected and become more refined over time. She, one should remember, hails from a commendable lineage.
Erode Nagarajan on the mridangam must have assessed the acoustics in a compact hall of this nature, to a nicety. He always played the instrument holding his fingers close to it, never at any time attempting to give sudden outbursts of loudness. His thani surprisingly that followed a major kriti like ‘O Rangasayee,’ was short and sweet.
This was a mike-less concert. The following comment is linked to this aspect. The mandhara sthayi forays made by Bhavana were left unheard.
There was also the problem of clarity in diction. One had to really strain to catch the exact words sung. Further, one kept wondering why both fast-paced neraval and swara singing (melkalam) was kept to a minimum. The question is, was it intentional, was it oversight or was it dictated by the time-factor.
This concert formed part of a series of ‘Sruti’ Pattabhiraman Memorial Concerts that were held at this venue.