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R.R. Sabha: The zest continues

THE BOMBAY Sisters (C. Saroja and C. Lalitha), the popular vocal duo, continue to be zestful as was partially evidenced in the concert at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha.

Lalitha's alapana in Simhendramadhyamam was a laboured one and it was Mysore Vasudevachar's expressive kriti "Ninne Nammitinayya" and the neraval point at "Pannagendra Sayanam" that retrieved the situation. The swaras were evocative. Earlier, Saroja's Saveri alapana was on traditional lines carrying all the nuances. Swati Tirunal's "Anjaneyar" with neraval at "Janakasuta" has a charm all its own, and the sisters exploited it handsomely. The navaragamalika varnam was an inspiring opener. Again Annamacharya's "Vande Vasudeva" in Sri was a good follow-up. In a different mood came Tyagaraja's "Paramathmu Valige" in Vagadheeswari. The fast paced "Saravanabhava Guhane" (Kannada — Papanasam Sivan) fitted well as a foil to the Simhendramadhyamam piece.

To say that there was absolute coordination in their singing is to state the obvious. There were no excessive swara duels or long alapanas. Kriti rendering was clear and the diction was perfect.Usha Rajagopalan's effort on the violin reflected her role as an accompanist, not dominating yet not too self-effacing. In the raga alapanas she embellished the vocalist's effort in no small degree. The percussive role of A. S. Ranganathan (mridangam) and N. Govindarajan (ghatam) was seen at its best in an enthralling tani avarthanam.

Incidentally the role of the Bombay Sisters in promoting young talent through sponsorship and institution of endowments should not go unrecorded.

Meaningful pauses

The Mambalam Sisters (Vijayalakshmi-Chitra) rendered the neraval at the anupallavi, "Paramananda" instead of the charanam "Mooladhara" which is the popular place. Earlier Vijayalakshmi sang a well-defined raga alapana progressing step by step with meaningful pauses. Hemalatha (violin) finetuned her sister's effort and the result won the acclaim of the audience.

The swara duel worked up the expected interest, but there was not much sound and fury usually observed in the final rounds readying the audience to let out a loud cheer.

Chitra sang Ramamanohari alapana for a well-dictioned Dikshitar's Matangi. "Karpuranarumo" (Nachiar Tirumozhi), "Navaraatri Nayakiye" in Ranjani, Sivaranjani, Janaranjani. Sriranjani Bhairavi, Anandabhairavi and Madhyamavati (a favourite with Madurai Somu) Kabirdas's Shubhapantuvarali bhajan "Mamiyam Chalita" (Bagesri — Ashtapadi), Neelamani's "Enna Kavi Padinalum Unmanasu Irangavillai" and a Kavadichendu by Oothukadu, were included in the long list of songs by the Sisters, which held the interest of the audience.

Mannargudi Srinivasan (mridangam) and K. S. Rangachari (kanjira) were the percussionists. — KSR

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