Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan: Gayathri led and the accompanists did not lag behind.
Two full scale ragas back-to-back marked Gayathri Vankataraghavan's concert. Rasikapriya alapana followed by Koteeswara Iyer's ‘Arul seyya vendum ayya’ and the main raga of the evening, Sankarabharanam with Tyagaraja's ‘Enduku peddala’ came one after the other at the packed hall of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
It was in the rendition of these two items that the listeners could enjoy the team's presentation well with pleasing raga alapanas by the seasoned violinist Pakala Ramadas, while in most other parts the percussion artists dominated the show.
The edifice of Sankarabharanam, during the raga alapana, moved to the higher octaves quickly. But Gayathri took time during niraval to bring out a detailed sketch of the raga and ascended gracefully to the tara sthayi phrases.
To start a concert with a grand varnam like ‘Mathe Malayadwaja’ (Khamas) that offers scope to get to the right pitch and pace is a good idea. Gayathri presented ‘Vandisuvudaadiyali Gananathana,’ a Purandaradasa kirtana in Nattai with a sprinkle of kalpanaswaras. Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan on the mridangam acknowledged her singing innovative swaras to bring out the tempo of Khanda Chapu. His applause was cue for the rasikas to follow suit.
A leaisurely Brindavana Saranga and Dikshitar's ‘Rangapuravihara’ immortalised by M.S. Subbulakshmi, who Gayathri considers her inspiration, was lapped up by the rasikas.
Gayathri's swara prastharas also have long karvais making them bright with bhava. The swarakaplana segment in Rasikaspriya did have this aspect but the emphasis was on devotion. She dedicated Rasikapriya to the rasikas of the evening.
Pakala Ramadas excelled in the Sankarabharanam alapana, niraval and swaram. His versions of melodious Brindavana saranga and majestic Rasikapriya added brilliance to the concert.
While Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan's mridangam sang the brigas in the Nattai keerthana and in the pallavi of ‘Enduku Peddala’ his tani avarthanam with N. Guruprasad on the ghatam was bold and had the usual sparklers he evokes from the instrument.
The concluding session included ‘Enna thavam seydanai’ (Kaapi), a tillana in Mohanakalyani composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman, Papanasam Sivan's ‘Karpagame’ in Madhyamavathi and ‘Avalthaan anaithaiyum’ composed by Ulundurpettai Shanmugam, set to ragamalika (Ananda Bhairavi, Bhagesri and Sivaranjani) that stood out.