Years of concert experience bestows certain musicians with special skills that they utilise to make their presentation with maturity and elegance. Without much ado, they are able to establish a quick rapport with the audience the moment they begin their recital.
The harmony among the accompanying artists too, enhances the overall effect of the kutcheri. This was reflected in the concert of Bombay Sisters, Sangita Kalanidhis Saroja and Lalitha, from the start to the finish. They did not strain their voice unnecessarily to impress the audience and the natural vocalisation of the alapanas and niravals lent a sober mood and dignified stance to their performance.
The Nattai kriti ‘Jaya Jaya Swamin’ of Narayana Tirtha was the opening piece with brisk pace. The swarakalpanas added to its lustre and the duo were all smiles when they completed the maiden piece. Swati Tirunal was always a favourite with the singers and therefore, the choice of Srikumara Nagarapale in Atana fitted in their scheme of things perfectly. It was a majestic raga and its madhyamakala presentation suited the kriti to evoke the right kind of rasa among the listener.
The Sisters took up Patnam Subramania Iyer’s ‘Korina Varamu’ in Ramapriya. In the absence of an alapana, it was natural for them to take up niraval for the line ‘Sarivarilona Nannu’ and dwell on it comfortably without any repetition of the sangatis. The swarakalpanas too, were restricted to the minimum so that the sahityam per se could be enjoyed.
Madhyamavati was taken up for alapana. Saroja, who initiated it, covered it with all the salient features of the raga. Usha Rajagopalan, the violinist, did not lag behind in her version of the raga alapana. The satisfactory nod of the vocalists showed it all. The kriti chosen was Tyagaraja’s Devasri ‘Thapasthirthapura Nivasa’ on the deity Saptharishiswarar of Lalgudi. The swarakalpanas began to roll for the line ‘Paavana Pravirtha Srimathi’ and the build-up of the swaras was gradual and unhurried, so as to give a lasting effect to the whole effort.
The Sisters were in no hurry to rush through the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Kalyani, as they had enough time to present it with due weight and care. The spirited alapana by C. Lalitha was befitting the opening segment of the RTP. Violinist Usha Rajagopalan rose to the occasion and had all the time to explore the raga. The pallavi line, ‘Un Dharisanam Kidaikumo Nataraja Dayanithe,’ where swaraprastharam began with Kalyani and then changed course to a ragamalika swarakalpana, Kanada sounding prominent.
While accompanying for kritis, both K.R. Ramesh on the mridangam and Madipakkam Murali on the ghatam were quite unobtrusive, providing smooth collaboration, in the thani both were exuberant and concluded the avarthanam with crisp sollus.
The Sisters ended the concert with an obeisance to Raghavendra Swami followed by a foot- tapping ‘Paraman Aadidum Natanam’ and a tillana.