Music

Bharati Ramasubban — rendition shorn of frills

Bharathi Ramasubban

Bharathi Ramasubban   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

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Bharati Ramasubban’s choice of ragas and kritis showed her well-grounded approach

Bharathi Ramasubban played to her strengths which lay in sober classical fare shorn of frills and flounces. ‘Pahi Sri Girirajasuthe’ (Ananda Bhairavi, Syama Sastri) was complemented by a free-flowing chittaiswaram.

Woven at leisure, the Purvikalyani alapana, with karvai rests at the madhya sthayi panchama and bhava-filled prayogas at tara sthayi rishabha, was buttressed by solid pidis. Graceful jarus in the concluding verses of the Thiruvembavai ‘Moiyyaar Thadam’ captured the raga’s essence. Kizhkala kalpanaswara took the sarvalaghu route — the truly relaxed kind that eschewed studied effect. Melkala swaras saw the vocalist in her element, the fluency gathering momentum with janta swaras and excellent mridangam support.

Eminently suited to the artiste’s approach was the gamaka-rich standalone kriti, ‘Sri Ramam Ravi Kulabdhi Somam’ (Muthuswami Dikshitar, Narayanagowla). ‘Sri Maanini’ (Tyagaraja, Poornashadjam) injected the much-needed contrasting note of briskness.

Impressive alapana

The artiste embarked on Sankarabharanam, the main raga, with a robustness that quickened the pulse, in a departure from the anticipated meditative approach. Sancharas balanced on the madhyama-dhurita kala cusp built solid constructs. Voice gained sheen at the tara sthayi shadja, enlivened by a select edition of brigas. Rather than dwelling on any particular suite, the alapana fanned out in an overview.

Fluid traverses and pivotal pidis helped the violinist, Thirumarugal S. Dinesh Kumar to build a raga essay of worth, his deft fingering and focus on key facets illuminating a well-phased development. A comfortably-paced ‘Enduku Peddala’ (Tyagaraja) with its sahitya-filled matrix, lessened voice strain. Niraval at ‘Veda Sastra,’ kizhkala sarvalaghu swaras and melkala swaras centred at the panchama in kuraippu, with catchy kanakkus. highlighted attractive shades.

In the Varali RTP, time-tested prayogas radiating from the panchama contributed to a non-showy, well-grounded raga exposition. Tanam was sung with involvement.

Dinesh Kumar scored with his sensitive highlighting of the raga’s hallmark plaintive madhyama in a close-knit web of prayogas. The pallavi lyrics ‘Vidhu Shobitha...’ were set to Khanda Triputa tala, duly rounded off with ragamalika swaras, anuloma and viloma. ‘Sindhu Tarana’ (Sindhu Bhairavi) brought the recital to a fitting close.

Mandapaka Nagalakshmi (mridangam) was a pillar of support and aired a thani avartanam that combined subtlety with puissance.

With voice appearing to be constricted by the vagaries of the December weather, Bharathi navigated octaves and sancharas with a strain-minimising choice of ragas and compositions. The artiste placed her faith in compositional strength, wisely bolstering the programme with several kritis. However, an undercurrent of anxiety that surfaced in segments and occasional over-oscillation of gamakas, stood in the way of achieving calmness at the core.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 3:35:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/bharati-ramasubban-rendition-shorn-of-frills/article30522339.ece

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