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Velcheti Subrahmanyam
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Concert Archana and Aarathi’s rendition was remarkable, aided by good tonal quality. Velcheti Subrahmanyam

Twin charmsArchana and Aarathi performing in Visakhapatnam.PHOTO: C.V SUBRAHMANYAM
Twin charmsArchana and Aarathi performing in Visakhapatnam.PHOTO: C.V SUBRAHMANYAM

It is rare to see wizardry at a young age, particularly in music since mellowness in presentation usually comes with experience. Exceptions are rare. Chennai-based vocal duo Archana and Aarathi belong to this category.

The duo regaled music aficionados at Kalabharati, Visakhapatnam. The twin sisters are the granddaughters of T.L. Venkatrama Iyer and disciples of R. Vedavalli.

Their illustrious lineage and tutelage stood out in every stage of the concert. Perfect diction and tonal articulation, steadfast sruti alignment, cadenced grace and cascading manodharma made the concert a memorable one. Traversing at an identical wave length in perfect sync, the duo collectively and individually remained splendid all through holding the music lovers spell bound for three hours.

The duo opened the session with Gajavadana Beduve of Purandardas in raga Kedaram. Decorated with nifty swarakalpana, it set the tone for the session. They embroidered almost every piece either with alluring alapana or with adroit swarakalpana letting the myriad charms of chosen piece spread out in the process.

The ripeness of their artistic endowment evidenced in their manodharma scaled its peak in raga essays in chosen octave.

Suffused with exotic shades, raga Bhairavi for Tanayunibrova of Thyagaraja — the mainstay of the session — turned out to be a piece of connoisseurs’ delight.

In an elaborate treatment at amble, it wafted musical fragrance in a pervasive measure.

The gamaka casements that the duo interlaced over the contours of raga Bhairavi heightened its aesthetic appeal beyond a measure.

The format of presentation and choice of ragas and kritis are reflective of their deep roots in the system. Srimahabala of Muttiah Bhagavatar, in  Sarangamalhar, sung with chittaswaram was awesome.

Extensive elaboration of raga Pantuvarali for Nenni neranamminanura of Thyagaraj unfolded sensible mind of a devotee in total surrender at lotus feet of the Lord, while that of Begada for Lokavana Chatura attested their grip over the idiom of raga.

Chall Kalla in Aarabhi, Krishananda in Goulapantu, Sakala santhikaramu of Annamayya in raga Bahudari and Sarade Karunanidhe in Hamir Kalyani were other notable songs in their concert and the duo rounded it off with a Thillana of Patnam Subrahmnyaiyer in raga Khamaz.

D.V.Durga Bhavani’s bow added colour to ragas particularly Bhairavi, Pantuvarali and Begada with glowing phrases on violin, while Mandapaka Lakshmi on mridangam and K.V.Ramakrishna on ghatam lent dexterous support. Visakha Music Academy featured it in its monthly schedule.


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