Eclectic rendition

Ranjani and Gayatri caught the pulse of the audience and made a fine presentation at Rang, the Freedom Concert in Bangalore

August 19, 2010 04:15 pm | Updated November 11, 2016 05:45 am IST - Bangalore

Carnatic vocalists, Ranjani and Gayatri at the 'Rang De Freedom concert', at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan organised by in Bangalore on 14 August 2010. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Carnatic vocalists, Ranjani and Gayatri at the 'Rang De Freedom concert', at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan organised by in Bangalore on 14 August 2010. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

“We will not provide a traditional fare today, it will be an eclectic mix from various saints and composers,” announced Gayatri (of the Ranjani & Gayatri duo) at Rang, the Freedom Concert put together for Bangalore by Rang De recently with The Hindu as media partners. The programme was in support of Rang De, the non-profit Indian online platform striving to make low-cost micro-credit accessible to the needy in remote rural areas with people's contribution (http://rangde.org).

Restrained accompaniment by M.R. Gopinath on the violin and Manoj Siva on the mridanga, and with effervescent energy flowing from young Aditya on the tabla, the sisters were prolific in their offer, albeit a 90-minute performance. Packaging is an art, and the manner in which Ranjani & Gayatri included both Hindustani and Carnatic was apt for a crowd with heterogeneous tastes.

Works of Tyagaraja, Tulsidas, Purandaradasa, Bharatiyar and a Muslim poet were part of the fare. There was ugabhoga, viruttam and abhangs sprinkled in for good measure. What comes through is Ranjani and Gayatri's grip in handling short and long concerts with equal comfort, and the fare is never diluted. One recalls their concert in 1999 when they had sustained a huge gathering for four hours with their appealing assortment for the Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha at The Music Academy in Chennai.

At the Rang De show here, the Hindustani and Carnatic intermingled in their main piece; it invited a roar of applause as they took up both Pantuvarali (for Tyagaraja's “Siva Siva Siva”, aditala) and Pooriya Dhanashri (Bandish - teentaal). Ranjani brought in the solemn

Pantuvarali in detail, and Gayatri's handling of the raga reflected her sensitivity to the genre. There were no no unnecessary frills; the kriti and the bandish in all its varied add-ons of sangati and neraval, taans and swaras spoke of their immaculate years of grooming in Mumbai.

Tyagaraja's description of Shiva as the embodiment of Nada in “Nadatanumanisham” provided Ranjani & Gayatri a relaxed opening, as raga Chittaranjani opened up a mellow scale and only an unperturbed pace can elucidate the emotive lyrics of the saint so well. What followed was Tulsidas' bhajan in Shuddha Sarang and the multiple variants given for the line “Modaka Priya” showcased the sisters' imagination. Ranjani's husky tone suited the intermittent soft touches she was attempting, while Gayatri's sharp tonal quality brought in an interesting mixture.

It was comforting that Ranjani & Gayatri included Ugaboga and a kriti of Purandaradasa with good Kannada pronunciation for the Bangalore chapter of Rang De.

Their abhangs were received well and Gayatri even stepped into explain some of their innovations. Their rendition of the abhang in Chandrakauns, in typical Pandarapur style, had complete participation from the audience.

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