Chinmaya Sisters rendered creative swara patterns

Chinmaya Sisters Uma and Radhika  

The Chinmaya Sisters, Uma and Radhika, who have youthful and melodious voices, presented a lively concert. Singing at a high sruti, the sisters managed to move across octaves without sounding shrill at any point.

The first song of the evening was ‘Sarasiruhasana priye’, composed by Puliyur Duraisami Iyer in Nattai. With swift kalpanaswaras at the phrase ‘Saraswati’ in the charanam, Uma showcased her skill in moving from the lower rishabam to its counterpart in the upper octave and touching the mel sthayi panchamam effortlessly. The kriti was preceded by the shloka ‘Yakundendu’.

Launching straight away the Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Saraswathi' in Arabhi, the singers presented the composition with the samashti charanam without any unnecessary frills. The elaborate Kiravani that followed was sung by Radhika and had interesting creative flashes. The karvai at madhyamam and the movement to upper rishabam framed the graceful characteristics of the raga well. ‘Amba vani’ by Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar with niraval at ‘Vara veena pani’ and a shower of kalpanaswaras earned them applause. The soothing notes by seasoned violinist M.A. Krishnaswamy made it a pleasant listening experience. Vijay Natesan’s interesting korvais on the mridangam for this piece encouraged Sunil Kumar on the kanjira to come up with similar patterns.

Melodic appeal

Both percussionists anticipated and kept pace with the singers through the concert. Dikshitar’s Ghanta raga Kamalamba navavaranam ‘Sri Kamalambike avava’ rendered with a good sahitya bhava carried the melodic effect that was needed for the kriti. A sprightly ‘Sudha madhurya bhashini’, composed by G.N. Balasubramaniam, which reflects his singing style, came next. Though the fleet of sangatis demand a racy pace, a little restraint could have rendered it more delectable.

The laya patterns exhibited by Vijay Natesan and Sunil Kumar at the lines ‘Kamalalaya tata nivasini’ embellished the lyrics. The Mohana raga alapana by Uma was an expedition across the spectrum of the raga. Krishnaswamy’s violin in typical Parur style provided freshness to the delineation. The main segment was not a kriti, but a few lines from the Lalitha Sahasranamam. Beginning with the line ‘Bhavani bhaavanagamya,’ the singers rendered a two-line shloka as the pallavi, the next shloka as anupallavi, the following two shlokas as charanam, and the next two in madhyamakala pattern. They set the kalpanaswaras at the first line of the shloka and piled up the swaras sumptuously in both the slower and faster paces.

Some delightful dhattu phrases by the singers matched with similar passages by the violinist spoke for their creative abundance. Adi tala in two kalais and the swara patterns established by the singers must have triggered the percussionists’ imagination too, which resulted in an energetic tani avarthanam. Subramania Bharati’s ‘Thedi unnai saranadaindhen’ in Sindhubhairavi was breezy with beautiful ornamentation at the line ‘Nambinar keduvadhillai’. Thoughtful pauses by the percussionists revealed the song’s lyrical elegance.

The sisters presented one song from Oothukadu Venkatakavi’s Kamakshi Navavarana kritis, ‘Bhajasva Sri Tripurasundari’, in Nadanamakriya with verses in madhyama kalam both in anupallavi and charanam, followed by Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Karpagame’ in Madhyamavati to wrap up the concert.

The Chennai-based reviewer writes on classical music.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 9:48:42 AM |

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