A pleasing tonal quality, a neat presentation capturing the mood of the lyrics, and imaginative phrases in niraval and kalpanaswara segments made Vasudha Ravi’s concert enjoyable.

She presented a rarely heard Papanasam Sivan composition ‘Gomathi thaaye’ in Yadukula Kamboji, on the goddess of Sankaranarayana temple, with elegant and crisp madhyamakala swaras in the charanam lines ‘shruti purana’.

Another highlight of the day’s recital was her Bhavapriya raga alapana and Tyagaraja’s ‘Srikantaniyeda’. Violinist Raghul’s version was equally composed. The snappy illustration of the raga, followed by a clean-cut rendition of the composition, were appended by a flurry of impressive swarakalpana phrases.

Enjoyable sruti bhedam

The main raga that Vasudha took up was Mohanam, and its development was different from the traditional delineation, with several vibrant sancharas. A short sruti bhedam to Hindolam and back to Mohanam was enjoyable. This style with straight notes and subtle harmonies was in alignment with the structure of the yet another not-so-frequently heard kriti by Mysore Sadasiva Rao, ‘Pedda devundani.’

Raghul’s raga essay was suave. The composition with a built-in chittaswaram also had a dose of fine embellishments with kalpanaswaras in the pallavi line. Delhi Sairam oriented his rhythmic patterns to suit the lyrics in the kriti. He, along with Papanasam Sethuraman on the kanjira, presented a spirited tani avartanam.

Vasudha commenced her concert with the beautiful Behag varnam, ‘Vanajaksha ninne nammiti’, composed by Prof. T.R. Subramaniam. Her skilful handling of the madhyamams in the varnam was full of life, and gave a delightful start to the concert. In ‘Deva deva kalayami’ by Swati Tirunal in Mayamalavagowla, she sang an elaborate niraval at ‘jatharupa’ and appended it with a detailed swarakalpana.

After the thani, she had time enough for just one song, which was Bharatiyar’s ‘Chinnanchiru kiliye’ in the usual Ragamalika.

The Chennai-based writer reviews Carnatic music.



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