Nalinakanti: The Nalinakanti raga suite and Tyagaraja’s ‘Manavyala’ added pep to the proceedings.

In her concert for Nalinakanti, Amrutha Venkatesh’s supreme level of confidence was evident from the start of the famous Sankarabharanam Adi tala varnam. She reinforced it by adding an ornamental swara passage for Dikshitar’s Husseni Panchalinga kriti ‘Sri Kalahastisa.’ The Nalinakanti raga suite and Tyagaraja’s ‘Manavyala’ added pep to the proceedings. Though the Abhogi alapana was considerably precise, there was a substantial soirée at the niraval and swaras at ‘Kripanidhi’ for the kriti ‘Sabhapathikku’. The Ramapriya elaboration has taken the main slot.

Amrutha represents the new generation of singers who have immense potential and tact to handle classical music with élan. Nevertheless, presenting a technically correct raga or swara does not present the complete picture. It requires a deeper insight and the ability to project the inherent nuances of the ragas and kritis.

A raga like Nalinakanti may not need much of internalised singing but definitely Ramapriya demands it. Racing phrases linked with delicate or intricate akaras alone will not suffice to create a lasting impression on the listener. Amrutha could have deployed her husky voice to better results and could have brought out not just the ‘charm’ but also the ‘depth’ of the melody through defined segments and pauses. Swati Tirunal’s ‘Samodam’ was her choice in Ramapriya with swaras on dhaivatam leading to an imaginative long winding finale.

Violinist B. Ananthakrishnan played in tune with the vocalist. He too rushed through his raga essays and swara sallies. Arjun Ganesh on the mridangam, was brisk to match these players and his sharp beats were a tad piercing.  Blame it on balancing!

Manasi Prasad began colourfully with the Kalyani Ata Tala varnam. As she hummed Nattai and asked the audience about the audio levels, the hall instantly plunged into darkness. However, Manasi unflinchingly proceeded with Dikshitar’s ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya’ with captivating swaras at ‘Vamadeva Parvathi.’ In fact, the mike-less music emanating from the voice, the violin and the mridangam was immensely pleasing, soft and soothing. The concert continued with a candle light as Manasi sang Ritigowla. The hues of the melodious raga unfolded in several levels, and midway, the lights came on. ‘Raga Ratna’ of Tyagaraja and the exposition on ‘Bhagavathotthamulu Koodi’ with swaras were poignantly presented.

Contrastingly, the main raga was Khambodi where Manasi employed her vocal power to establish the raga image in no uncertain terms. The upper region travels were effectively handled. ‘Ma Janaki’ and the swaras at ‘Vani Matalagu’ centring on dhaivatam with varying combinations, were fetchingly aligned.  ‘Ranga Puravihara’ in Brindavanasaranga and a concluding Abhang were other numbers in Manasi’s repertoire.

The violinist B. Ananthakrishnan took the cue from the singer and played with matching sobriety and aggressiveness in Ritigowla and Khambodi. R. Sankaranarayanan on the mridangam was discreet throughout.

The concerts were held at the auditorium of the MGR-Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women.