Young performers are talented, present a good repertoire, constantly improve their concert skills, and have enough confidence to hold the attention of the audience for over two hours. And this is no mean feat.
Madurai sisters, N. Subasri and N. Jayasri, performed for Mylapore Arts Academy’s 25th year music festival, at Ragasudha Hall. They were accompanied by Subhashree Sivaramakrishna (violin), V. Balaji (mridangam) and Sunil Kumar (kanjira). The sisters’ repertoire and the ability to present undiluted music deserve to be applauded.
The evening began with a Kanada raga varnam in two speeds that set the pace of the concert. The duo’s next ‘Maha ganapatim’ (Nattai, Muthuswami Dikshitar) was adorned with flourishes of swaraprastara for added interest.
A Valaji raga sketch by the sisters made for a pleasant evening, while the violinist added her version with brisk phrases portraying the raga’s beauty. ‘Padame thunai’ (Valaji, Papanasam Sivan) was sung before presenting ‘Tulasidala mulache’ (Mayamalavagowla, Tyagaraja). The singers opted for niraval at ‘Saraseeruha punnaga champaka patala kuravaka’ in the charanam line. They could do well by enhancing their presentation skills.
With ‘Mayamma nannu brovavamma’ (Natakuranji, Syama Sastri), there was shift in the mood. An excellent choice by the performers to showcase their skill. This kriti has a beautiful swara sahityam, and is the favourite of the Syama Sastri family. The composers belonging to this lineage including Subbaraya Sastri and Annasamy Sastri excelled in enhancing compositions with beautiful chittaswaram or occasionally swarasahityam.
This kriti seamlessly flowed into the next rapid rendition of the piece ‘Nannu brova nee’ (Abhogi, Tyagaraja).
The sisters then launched a raga essay of Kalyani, taking turns as they unfolded its intricacies and beauty to a good extent. The violinist provided a well-etched rendition of the raga. ‘Nijadasa varada (Kalyani, Patnam Subramania Iyer) saw the sisters warming up to niraval/swaram at ‘Bhujagadhipa sayana,’ after which the percussionists Balaji and Sunil Kumar came up with a well-rounded tani avaratanam.
The concluding pieces were ‘Varum varum deiva vadivel muruga’ in ragamalika, a Nachiyar Thirumozhi ‘Karpooram narumo,’ a thillana, and a mangalam composed by Syama Sastri.
The writer is a trained Carnatic musician.