Siblings' music, a work in progress

J.B. Keerthana and J.B. Sruthi Sagar at Sri Krishna Gana Saba on Saturday. Photo: R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

A team of talented young artistes, led by the sister-brother vocal-flute duo J.B. Keerthana and J.B. Sruthisagar, accompanied by B. Ananthakrishnan on the violin, Thippirajapuram Hari (mridangam) and Sai Subramaniam (morsing), performed recently at the Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.

The concert had good atmosphere, with audible shruti and optimal volume. It was well-balanced in terms of raga selection and kalapramanam variation. However, the pacing of the pieces left something to be desired, with the artistes having to rush the main piece towards the end. This and other issues left the overall concert experience a little unsatisfactory.

Keerthana has a pleasant demeanour and an attractive, earthy voice with good potential. Sruthi Sagar has good fingering techniques and was able to maintain shruti in the lower octaves but exhibited a common Carnatic flute problem — the upper octave fell short of shruti often; perhaps more attentive blowing in the upper octave and careful instrument selection are needed. Both the vocalist and the flautist were able to achieve modulation where required.

The concert started off with the Begada varnam Inta chalamu with swaraprastharas in the charanam. Preceding the Swati Tirunal kriti Jaya jaya raghurama, Keerthana started off the Sahana alapana and Sruti Sagar took over and completed it well. Violinist B. Ananthakrishnan struggled a bit to bring out the swaroopa of the raga initially. Next, Tyagaraja's Bhavapriya kriti Srikanta nee yeda was rendered with an attractive brisk kaalapramana and the artistes enhanced it further with mel-kaala neravals and swaraprasthara . Dikshitar's Panchabhutalinga kriti Jambupate in Yamuna Kalyani was chaste, unwavering in the stately kalapramanam. Sruthi Sagar started off the alapana of the main item Kharaharpriya before passing the baton to Keerthana in the upper octave. She did a very good job of bringing out the raga swaroopa. Ananthakrishnan managed to get a grip of the raga after a slow start but the use of non-standard phrases turned the raga scalar in places. The Papanasam Sivan kriti Sentil andavan was presented. Neraval and swaraprasthara at velan vadivelan had to be hurried through for want of time. Ananthakrishnan distinguished himself with some good responses.

Ananthakrishnan needs to learn to be more lively and participatory. Young left-handed mridangam artiste Hari has a bright future but for now needs to focus on precisely latching on to the vocalists' kalapramanam and tuning perfectly to shruti. Morsing artiste Sai Subramaniam played well, perhaps could have been just a little more precise with shruti.

(Uday Shankar is a biomedical design engineer with a keen interest in the design of acoustic and wind musical instruments. Email: udayshankar10@

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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 9:43:33 AM |

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