In the current Carnatic concert scenario where sound and fury is in abundance especially in instrumental concerts, soothing, refined playing of an instrument like the veena has become a rarity. Jayalakshmi Sekar, a talented vainika vidushi, has been performing regularly at various venues in recent years adhering to sampradaya sangeetham without resorting to any gimmickry.
Her latest album, released by Srishti’s carnatica P Ltd, titled ‘Suswara Vaadana,’ consists of a select rendering of Tyagaraja kritis. The inlay card mentions the contents as ‘Exclusive Tyagaraja Melodies’ which would be more apt to be called as ‘Exclusive Tyagaraja kritis’ or compositions as melodies can be equated to only ragas.
Jayalakshmi begins with ‘Rara Ma Inti Thaka’ in Asaveri. The brief outline of Asaveri and the kriti rendering are both competently offered.
The often heard ‘Hecharikagara Ra’ in Yadukulakhambhodi is a delicate offering and is played in a style suiting the mood of the lyrics which the composer must have felt.
The vinyasa of Dhanyasi is built-up on only pertinent and meaningful phrases and provides a wholesome effect in a short duration.
The composition chosen is ‘Ni Chittamu’ in Misra chapu with a short spell of kalpanaswaras.
Jayalakshmi employs a similar swara combination in Dhanyasi for both the closing Kizhkala and Melkala solfa passages which happens to be Sa Ga Ri Sa Ri Ni Sa, Pa Ni Da Pa Da Ma Pa and Sa Ga ri Sa ri Ni Sa.
A variation in the second tempo swara final closing would have offered variety as the beginning is identical to the one offered in the slower speed.
‘Mamava Raghurama’ in Saranga is a brisk rendition and sets the mood for the Bhairavi suite comprising of alapana, thanam and the song ‘Enati Nomu.’
The niraval and swaras are merit worthy and the focus by the vidushi has been on Sowkhyam rather than to indulge in instrumental liberties which has been wisely avoided.
The laya support by Thanjavur Subramaniam (mridangam) and Nanganallur Swaminathan (ghatam) is as what it should be while providing percussive accompaniment for the veena.
The closing number is the Devagandhari Utsava Sampradaya kriti ‘Koluvaiyunnade’ and is played with the raga bhava in mind and is a convincing version.
This compact disc would be a welcome addition to the collections of veena enthusiasts.Suswara Vaadana
Srishti’s Carnatica Pvt Ltd
Jayalaksmi Sekar (Veena)
Devotional CD (Price Rs 100)PVK