It was a no frills show from the Swetaranyam Sisters. U.K.
The Swetaranyam sisters R. Nithya and R. Vidya presented a slow paced, no frills concert. Their style of singing is vilamba kala which they maintained almost throughout, choosing kritis accordingly.
The sisters began with Tyagaraja’s Chitharanjani kriti ‘Nada Tanumanisam’ with kalpanaswaras at ‘Sathyojatati.’ The next piece, Dikshitar’s Navagraha kriti ‘Chandrambhaja Manasa’ in Asaveri was rendered with feeling.
Vidya had a shaky start with her Begada raga essay as her voice did not seem to co-operate. The song chosen was Dikshitar’s not often heard ‘Sri Mata Siva Vamangke,’ with niraval at ‘Rama Bharathi.’ (The line has too many words to do justification for niraval)
Nithya then sang a fairly lengthy raga alapana of Anandabhairavi and Syama Sastri’s master piece ‘O Jagadamba,’ which was rendered flawlessly at the right pace.
The satisfaction of listening to this song, however, does not come unless there is involvement from the singers, especially in the charanam phrases ‘Annapoorna Varada’ and ‘Parasakti Manavini Vinuma’ where bhava has to be infused to bring out the meaning of the song and the beauty of the raga; the piece was somehow lacking in emotion. Relief in tempo came in the form of ‘Sarasa Samadana’ in Kapi Narayani which was a tad faster and made the audience sit up. ‘Bhajare Bhaja Manasa’ though rendered well, was not a prudent choice since the raga Kannada sounds similar to Begada.
The main piece was Dikshitar’s Navavarana kriti ‘Kamalambam Bhajare’ in Kalyani. Nithya started the raga alapana and delineated up to tara shadja and from there, Vidya took over. Though the alapana was elaborate, there was no fulfilment because of the constraint in their voice and sruti alignment was not good and the ending was quite lame.
The violinist Villivakkam Raghuraman played a fast paced Kalyani which was in contrast to the vocalists’ version. Earlier his sketch of Begada and Anandabhairavi was passable. The thani by mridangam artist Harish Kumar and the ganjira artist S. Sunil Kumar was lively and enjoyable. Both of them gave good support throughout.
The sisters ended their concert with Bharatiar’s ‘Vellaitamarai’ preceded by a few lines of viruttam in Saveri and Bhimplas sung by Vidya and Nithya respectively, and a Sindhubhairavi piece.