Melodic essays in classicism

Rasikas in Kochi were treated to a three-day aural fiesta.

Published - February 27, 2015 10:50 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The Akkarai sisters, Subbulakshmi and Swarnalatha

The Akkarai sisters, Subbulakshmi and Swarnalatha

The Akkarai sisters, Subbulakshmi and Swarnalatha, began a three-day music festival in Kochi with a recital that had the audience in raptures. The duo, who are primarily violinists, has been creating waves as vocalists too. In Kochi, they once again returned to the violin. The duo had a peppy start with a three-speed rendition of a Valaji varnam composed by their grandfather Sucheendram Sivasubramaniam.

Dikshitar’s ‘Mahaganapathim’ in Natta raga had miscellaneous swaras varying in rhythms, patterns and melody. This concert also saw Swarnalatha move away from the shadow of her elder sister and proving her skill on the violin. She covered most of the melodic possibilities of Nalinakanthi raga and the sisters bowed in tandem to the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Manavyalakimchara’.

Subbulakshmi sang the Ananda Bhairavi composition ‘Marivere’, before playing a moving delineation of Keeravani raga. She gave a neat presentation of the raga with no frills attached. This was followed by a ragam tanam pallavi in Chaturasrajathi triputa tala. Palakkad Mahesh Kumar followed the musicians deftly on the mridangam, and presented some brilliant rhythmic combinations in the tani.

Sunil Gargyan had the rare raga Ramapriya as one of his main selections on the second day. His briga-laden rendition of the raga and cascading swaras for the Pattanam Subramanya Iyer’s composition ‘Korinavara’ was quite befitting a seasoned performer. His alapanas were rather expansive and Kamboji was not disappointing in this aspect.

However, lack of proper coordination from the mridangam player, Guru Raghavendra, took away the sheen of the concert. He placidly followed the vocalist through the kriti rendition, never trying to imbibe the vocalist’s style. He also could not catch up with the swara segments and korvais.

Even Anayampatti Venkatasubramanian on the violin mostly repeated the loosely woven phrases during the follow-up.

On the third day, after Hamsadhwani varnam, Pantula Rama explored Vasanthabhairavi raga and sang Tyagaraja’s ‘Needayarada’ with flourish. She took a systematic approach in unfurling Pantuvarali raga and demonstrated brilliance in the fast sancharas. M.S.N. Murthy retained a round timbre on the violin even in the high pitch and his version of the raga was rich in aesthetics. The elaboration of the raga by both the artistes gave a peek into the song to be played, which turned out to be ‘Siva Siva Siva enarada’. At the kalpanaswaras, there was a high point where the vocalist and violinist exchanged quick repartees of swaras.

The vocalist rendered a few exquisite varying patterns in her Mohanam raga alapana and she presented niraval for the very first line of the composition ‘Nannupalimpa’. She wove numerous swaras around gandhara and within a short frame carved a plethora of possibilities.

Tani by veteran mridangam player V.V. Ramanamurthy was rich in kuraippu and korvais and displayed intricate nada bhedam. Rama accommodated requests for Annamacharya compositions and sang ‘Bhavayami Gopalabalam’ in Yamuna Kalyani raga and ‘Saranu Saranu’ in Madhupriya.

The concerts were organised by Rasikapriya as part of their 39th anniversary celebrations.

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