Music

K. Gayatri’s bhava-rich Varali

K. Gayatri.

K. Gayatri.

The new generation of vocalists has been groomed to deliver a high standard in many aspects — voice management, repertoire, manodharma, subtle embellishments, and strong self-belief. And these singers deploy their full armoury every time. K. Gayatri belongs to this club, and her concert for the Music Academy showed this well.

Gayatri began her line-up with Tyagaraja’s Kovur Pancharatna kriti, ‘Eevasudha ni vanti’, in Sahana. Her dynamism continued with a volley of swaras at high speed. The Varali raga alapana that followed took a more bhava course with its characteristic karvais presented in good measure by both Gayatri and violinist Vittal Rangan.

When is an alapana complete? Is it after all the potential sangatis have been exhausted or when you have demonstrated your understanding and nuances of the raga? Some young singers like Gayatri seem to count on the former. ‘Seshachala nayakam’ (Dikshitar, Rupakam) with niraval at ‘Aravinda patra nayanam’ and appended with swaras was clinically delivered, though one felt an overflow. Sometimes less is more.

Similar yet different

The much anticipated speed-breaker came in the form of Ponniah Pillai’s exquisite kriti, ‘Amba Neelambari’, which has a similar flavour to Dikshitar’s kriti in the same raga and yet is distinct in its own right. Gayatri embraced the vilamba mood well.

Then ‘Parakela nannu parapalimpa’ in Kedaragowla (Syama Sastri) with its own rakti yet brisk with chittaswaram brought back the pep that Gayatri thrives better on.

In the Karaharapriya alapana, Gayatri’s exploration of the lower notes of madhya stayi was elegant. A classic rendition of ‘Chakkani rajamargamu’ (Tyagaraja, Adi) brought out the essence of the raga as did the niraval at ‘Kantiki sundara’. Both Gayatri and Vittal Rangan were facile and smooth in their execution. Swaras with kuraippu ending in daivatam were well packaged, as is the norm now.

‘Tarunamide varai en swami’, a javali by guru Suguna Purushothaman is a lovely creation in Behag, and Gayatri rendered it in her own charming style. Vittal Rangan is in the big league now, performing effortlessly to the demands of a busy-on-stage vocalist like Gayatri. He was in his elements during the Karaharapriya raga and the Varali alapana segments, demonstrating the ability to thrive in quick-action settings. Like Gayatri, he too will need to embrace self-enjoyment and bhava more than the rattle. With a malleable voice, Gayatri too opted to don only the warrior role.

Modulating decibel levels and tones can change moods more quickly. After all, some musical values do get lost in whirlwind singing. And these will be the first lessons of ‘swanubhava’, the next quest. Gayatri has the capacity for that evolution.

The seasoned mridangist Manoj Siva’s kriti knowledge came in handy to play to the song and its sangatis rather than playing the mechanical ‘sollus’. He made sure that the main artiste was not impeded in her delivery of ideas. Prasanna’s ghatam accompaniment aided the rapid phases of the concert well.

The reviewer specialises in Carnatic music.


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Printable version | May 13, 2022 8:41:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/k-gayatris-bhava-rich-varali/article38298016.ece