Sathyavathi’s technical finesse and fecund manodharma were not ends in themselves but aspects of articulation of a musical genius

Dr. T.S. Satyavathi, in concert at the Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha last week, was accompanied by Nalina Mohan (violin), C. Cheluvaraju (mridanga), and S.N. Narayana Murthy (ghata).

The classic Begada varna in adi tala was followed by Dikshitar’s “Karikalabha Mukham” in Saveri, and Annamacharyas “Jaya Jaya Rama” set to Manirang raga and adi tala, providing a vivid contrast in mood and tempo. A masterful alapana of Nasikabhushani, highlighting the shatsruti rishabha and the majesty embodied in the vivadi nature of the raga, preceded Koteeswara Iyer’s composition in misra chapu tala, “Thandarul Ayya”, with neraval and kalpana swaras.

Tyagaraja’s “Sujana Jeevana” in Khamach and Mysore Vasudevacharya’s exquisite “Mama Hridaye Vihara” in Reetigowla were remarkable for the emphasis on both lyrical beauty and lilting melody. Dr. Sathyavathi’s deep scholarship, technical finesse, and fecund manodharma, though amply evident, were not ends in themselves, but tools, along with her voice, for articulation of the true genius of Carnatic music. Accordingly, the elaboration of Bilahari, the main raga of the concert, was in the traditional mould and in consonance with the grandeur of the kriti that followed, Dikshitar’s “Kamakshi Sri Varalakshmi” in aditala. The fulsome neraval and kalpana swaras at “Dinakara Koti Prakasa Kaaye” revealed the full scope of the raga, including its bhashanga attributes in moderation. Nalina Mohan’s violin accompaniment provided apt responses to the raga alapana, neraval and the rhythmic challenges in the kalpana swaras of the vocalist. The recital concluded with a few lighter pieces.

The mutual appreciation and respect of the artistes for one another, with the tani avartana of percussionists C. Cheluvaraju and S.N. Narayana Murthy complementing the main item in style and proportion, played a major role in the success of the concert.

The Sri Parthasarathi Swamy Sabha presented 15-year-old Rithi Ramji of Chennai in a Bharatanatya recital on Sunday. Rithi’s guru Nagapriya Karthikeyan, who handled the nattuvangam, is a disciple of K.J. Sarasa and an exponent of the Vazhuvoor style.

The main focus of the performance was on Lord Krishna, touching also on other anecdotes pertaining to Lord Vishnu. The pushpanjali set to Vasanthi raga and adi tala led straight to an exposition of the varnam in Shanmukhapriya, “Devar Munivar”. Endowed with an expressive face and lissom figure, Rithi’s gift for abhinaya, unusual in one so young, was demonstrated in the succeeding items.

The conflicting emotions of the nayika, alternating between annoyance, indignation and wistful longing in Periaswamy Thooran’s composition “Thottu Thottu” (Behag), were in striking contrast to the coaxing, indulgent portrayal, brimming with vatsalya that characterised “Krishna Nee Begane Baro”. The footwork and stances in the tillana (Vrindavani) were more emphatic than in the first two items and with greater experience they will no doubt acquire greater precision and clarity.

The concluding item, “Varanam Aayiram”, Andals dream of her wedding to the Lord, once again established that abhinaya is indeed Rithi’s forte.

The orchestral ensemble provided melodious vocal support and violin accompaniment by Girija Ramaswamy and M.S. Kannan respectively, and mridanga by Karthik.

MADHAVI RAMKUMAR