Margazhi Festival

A recital steeped in classicism

Gayathri Sankaran performs at Nalinakanthi. Photo: S.Madhuvanthi

Gayathri Sankaran performs at Nalinakanthi. Photo: S.Madhuvanthi   | Photo Credit: S_Madhuvanthi

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When an artist’s musical vision is clear and based on the traditional aspects of Carnatic music, they reflect in his/her deliverance. Sumitra Vasudev’s recital was steeped in classicism.



When an artist’s musical vision is clear and based on the traditional aspects of Carnatic music, they reflect in his/her deliverance. Sumitra Vasudev’s recital was steeped in classicism.

Shanmukhapriya and Khambodi, the two high profile ragas were in her repertoire as the major components. Sumitra’s raga treatises were properly framed covering the three sections of the mantra, madhyama and tara regions. Her focus at every stage was to bring the best as well as the traditional yet creative sancharas of the raga, thereby projecting a brilliant picture of it. The choice of the kritis matched the magnificence of the treatises. It was ‘Marivere Dikkevarayya’ of Patnam Subramania Iyer in Shanmukhapriya and the unrivalled ‘Koniyadina Napai’ of Veenai Kuppier in Khambodi.

The Khambodi alapana and the composition were projected in all their dignity. The splendour of the kriti with its awesome sangatis and inimitable chittaswaram are clear landmarks of Khambodi’s grandeur. With clear articulation, Sumitra made a brief but perfect niraval on ‘Ninnu Minjina Deivamu’ with measured supplements of neatly woven swaras. Earlier, Shanmukhapriya also received similar backup.

It was not a marathon race for Sumitra’s niraval or swaras. They were employed to show succinctly the brilliance and range of the ragas.

Akkarai Sornalatha exhibited extraordinary maturity in her versions of Shanmukhapriya and Khambodi. Sumitra’s other pieces were ‘Giriraja Suta’ in Bangala (Tyagaraja), ‘Dhanyu Devvado’ in Malayamarutham (Patnam Subramania Iyer), ‘Narada Gana Lola’ in Atana (Tyagaraja), ‘Sri Guruguhasya’ in Purvikalyani (Muthuswami Dikshitar), ‘Kaani Nilam Vendum’ in Ragamalika (Bharati) and a thillana in Poornachandrika (Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar).

R Sankaranarayanan on the mridangam sustained the rhythm gracefully.

Gayatri Sankaran began her concert with the Vasantha varnam, ‘Ninnukkori,’ followed by kritis such as ‘Sri Gananathan Bhajamyaham’ in Kanakangi, ‘Entha Mudho’ in Bindu Malini (both Tyagaraja kritis) and ‘Bhajare Manasa’ in Abheri (Mysore Vasudevachar) for warming up. The raga essay of Subhapantuvarali was the prelude to ‘Ennalu Urgae’ once again by Tyagaraja. Swara strings were appended to it in Gayatri Sankaran’s programme.

Gayatri’s prime presentation was an RTP blending two ragas, Valaji and Hamsanadam, set to tisra rupakam, which moved as ‘Maya Kavya Laba Vinodhini Malini Hamsini…’ in the mixed form. Gayatri passed through the rigours of the pallavi singing. Thankfully, she confined herself to these two ragas and did not add more in the swara section.

A high pitch voice has its advantages and drawbacks. Gayatri Sankaran’s vocal chords traversed the difficult parts of middle lines and especially upper registers with ease; but, as she allowed it to go unbridled it sounded shrill. If she could keep a tight check on it, that could make her music sound sweeter.

Kalyani Shankar on the violin handled the raga, swaras and the RTP with perfect understanding. She did full justice to the musical vision of the vocalist. Shertalai Ananthakrishnan and N. Sundar on the mridangam and morsing were pleasant accompanists. Their rhythm control and calculated time-conscious thani were another plus point.

The post-tani carried a few numbers such as ‘Bho Sambo’ (Dayananda Saraswati) in Revati and Maund thillana by Lalgudi Jayaraman.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 4:43:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/chennai-margazhi-season/a-recital-steeped-in-classicism/article6693998.ece

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