A concert drawing almost a full house during the ‘off-season’ is a clear indication of the high level of excitement and anticipation for the event. It was Bombay Jayashri’s Tyagaraja Aradhana special concert at The Music Academy — after an extended hiatus of a couple of years.
The concert was distinctive with two Utsava Sampradaya keertanas (one to begin with and the other to end), and two extensively rendered ragas and compositions vying with each other for being the centrepiece, with moments of brilliance as well as serenity.
The leisurely building up of Shanmukhapriya from the mandara sthayi to the upper octave through the middle octave displayed Jayashri’s technical proficiency. The array of sangatis in the portrayal of the composition ‘Vaddane varu’, followed by a cascade of swaras in madhyama kala and mel kalas were appealing.
The Bilahari raga alapana took some time to set in, but subsequently picked up a lively gait. A remarkable clarity in long and continuous akaras ascending to the top octave and sliding on the return highlighted the finer nuances of the raga.
‘Na jeevadhara’ from Jayashri’s guru, violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman’s oeuvre, must have been a natural choice. Jayashri presented it with a resplendent chittaswara and chose to append it with rich kalpanaswaras too. The niraval was conspicuous by its absence for the main number, perhaps due to the shortened duration of the concert.
Jayashri began the concert with ‘Heccharika ga ra ra’ in Yadukulakamboji, setting the tone for an evening of musical elegance. For the Mayamalavagowla raga composition ‘Meru samana’, Jayashri began with the emotive lyrics ‘Raghuveera jutamu’ and explored it unhurriedly with the niraval at ‘Galamuna sobillu kanaka bushanamula’ and with intricate kalpanaswaras.
The percussionists Sumesh Narayanan on the mridangam and S. Krishna on the ghatam going silent during the lines of the composer’s mudra was evocative. Jayashri’s presentation of ‘Sogasu juda tarama’ (Kannadagowla, Rupakam) was imbued with a sense of expression and meaning of the kriti.
Violinist H.N. Bhaskar added layers of complexity and depth to Jayashri’s music with his precise and harmonious playing.
He excelled in the Bilahari alapana as well as in the swarakalpana segment.
Both Sumesh and Krishna were in sync with the vocalist throughout the concert and during their solo time in the tani avartanam, they displayed their skill with robust and energetic playing. The audience was attentive and appreciative, applauding at appropriate moments.
To conlcude her concert, Jayashri sang the ceremonial ‘Pathiki harathi’ in Surutti that conveyed an emotion of gratitude. The hall remained full till the end of the concert, an indication of how much the audience enjoyed Jayashri’s music that day.