Tonal richness and alignment with the sruti helped Jayapradha Ramamurthy make an early impact on her concert at the Music Academy. Her Sriranjani was elaborate and impressive. After C.N. Thyagaraju’s (violin) brief reply, she played ‘Bhuvinidasudane,’ (Tyagaraja) and embellished it with the standard concert package of swaras with koraippu and korvai. She prefaced Ganapati Sachidananda’s compositon (‘Ri Ri Swaroodhitam’) with a good sketch of Sahana. A.V. Manikandan (mridangam) showed his adaptability, playing aggressively for the Sriranjani piece and softly for the Sahana kriti. Jayapradha played Mohanam, basking in the comfort of the flute for such ragas. Thyagaraju presented his version with an MSG-ish touch.
For ‘Kadambari’ (Dikshitar) again there was a dose of swaras with kanakku. She played an interesting pace-maker in Swararanjani (Raghunatha, Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar), which resembled Kathanakuduhalam but had its distinct differences, too. The RTP was in Latangi. The alapana was a mix of melody, scale-based excursions and leaps over some notes. The violin version was even more scale-based. Some of the phrases that skipped the panchamam sounded unpleasant. His glides on single string could not help the cause of Latangi! The tanam, unusually elaborate for a flute, came good from both the artists. Playing a simple pallavi, (adi tala, 2 kalai, eduppu at samam), Jayapradha essayed a few spells of niraval and went on to the anulomam. Manikandan appeared to have missed the beat while she played the tisram but got back into the act quickly. Jayapradha showed variety in her sarva laghu spells, built up a koraippu and went on to the finale that included a spell of swaras in tisra nadai and some tremolo effects. Manikandan made good use of the time that he had for his thani. He built it up organically, impressed with his variety, patterns and finish, marred only by excessive racing towards the end. The concert ended with a couple of short pieces in Anandabhairavi and Madhyamavati. Jayapradha appears to play within the limitations of flute as an instrument. There were a few discernible discontinuities, which, one hopes, can be overcome. She should have shown her felicity with ragas that have many half-holed notes (Latangi did not help) on the flute. It appeared that she took the easy way out.
If she could work on sorting a few issues out, she may ascend to higher levels.
Archana & Arathi
Singing duos have the advantage of being able to make a powerful initial impact on the listener when their voices blend well. For the twins, Archana and Aarthi, training under vidushi R. Vedavalli, co-ordination and understanding should have occurred naturally.
Making a brisk beginning with Dikshitar’s ‘Vallabha Nayakasya,’ they soon registered their melodic capabilities with a soulful ‘Orajupu’ in Kannadagoula.
Even as their voices soared in unison for the anupallavi, there was pleasant distraction from the side. Nellai Srikrishnan, with his visibly long and slender fingers, drew attention with his lively percussive support.
The sisters showed their concern for the sahitya by the manner in which they carefully articulated words that were split between lines. Aarthi sang a competent Purvikalyani, aptly complemented by violinist Sudha Iyer in her version, prefacing Syama Sastri’s ‘Ninnuvinaga Maridikkevvaru.’ The niraval at ‘Kamidhartha Pala Dayaki’ and swaras were comprehensive and crisp.
The duo sang ‘Ninnada’ in Kannada to keep the tempo up. Probably owing to unfamiliarity with the kriti, Srikrishnan’s embellishments for the sangatis of the anupallavi were inadequate.
Archana started the alapana of Bhairavi and scored with her exposition in the mid-range around the panchamam. Aarthi, who sang the second half of the alapana, impressed with her akara passages; however, there was an element of discomfort when she sang in the higher octave and a bit of meandering before she finished.
Sudha played a fine Bhairavi. The kriti, ‘Balagopala’ unfolded majestically; the duo’s rendition was a treat to the ears. As they began the charanam with ‘Chanoora Mallam,’ Srikrishnan’s gentle strokes on the mridangam again compelled attention. The expected niraval at the anupallavi line was of the standard associated with their tutelage.
Their time management showed again in their crisp round of swaras in both tempos, polished off with a finale.
Archana seemed slightly uncomfortable while singing the final round of swaras but their korvai showed the attention paid to the grammar of the raga even in rhythm-oriented venture. Srikrishnan used the thoppi generously, played his thani well and included a khanda nadai variation within the short spell that was possible.
The sisters concluded with a short virutham followed by Gopalakrishna Bharati’s ‘Adum Chidambaramo’ in Behag.
The sisters have high potential but need to work a little harder to sort out the few rough edges that surfaced during this programme.