Gayathri Venkatraghavan @ MFAC Hall, Chennai

Venue: Mylapore Fine Arts Club (MFAC) Hall, Musiri Subramanya Iyer Road, Mylapore, Chennai

Date: 07 Nov 2006

Organizer: Mylapore Arts Academy

Vocal: Smt. Gayathri Venkatraghavan

Violin: Kum. Akkarai Subhalakshmi

Mridangam: Sri Neyveli Narayanan

Khanjira: Sri B.S. Purushottam

List of songs:

1) karuNimpa (varnam) – sahAnA – Adi – tiruvOtriyUr tyAgayyer

2) pAhi srIpathE – hamsadwani – Adi – swAti tiruNAL (S)

3) srI lakshmI varAham – AbhOgi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)

4) gAnarasamuDan nin – bEgaDa – rUpakam – pApanAsam sivan (AS)

5) dEvi brOva – chintAmaNi – Adi – syAma sAstri

6) chAla kallalADu – Arabhi – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

7) nI pAdamulE – bhairavi – Adi – patnam subramaNya iyer (?) (ANST)

8 ) sAramaina (jAvaLi) – behAg – rUpakam – swAti tiruNAL

9) kandavarkku kanavilum – kuntalavarALi – Adi – swarna venkatEsa dIkshitar

10) viruttam – madyamAvati

     karpagamE kaN pArAi – madyamAvati – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

11) mangaLam kOsalEndrAya – madyamAvati

(Key: A=raga alapana; N=neraval; S=kalpana swaram; T=taniavartanam)
Smt. Gayathri Venkatraghavan has a powerful, booming voice which she uses to her advantage very well. I entered the concert venue when she was almost finishing the sahAnA varnam. A fast paced Swati Tirunal composition in hamswadhwani and Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar’s sri lakshmi varAham were followed by a gem of a bEgaDa alapana. The syAma sAstri composition dEvi brOva in chintAmaNi was sung beautifully. Smt. Gayathri was a picture of involvement especially when singing this song and she used her strong voice along with modulations at suitable places to add a lot of beauty to her rendition. I simply love hearing slow compositions sung by her, especially Sri Syama Sastri’s or Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar’s kritis.

Neraval and kalpana swarams in the main kriti, nI pAdamulE, were sung at the pallavi line nI pAdamulE gatiyani nammiti itself. When singing kandavarkku kanavilum, Smt. Gayathri took her lower panchamam as shadjam, which was a bit strange. The madhyamam in this song coincided exactly with her normal (madhya sthaayi) shadjam. It made the kuntalavarALi raga also sound very strange.

The concert was overall a very good one and it gave a very satisfying experience. The sad part however was that there were very few people inside the huge MFAC hall listening to it. The artists on stage however didn’t seem to mind it at all and gave a superb performance. Akkarai Subhalakshmi on the violin was again very impressive. Sri Neyveli Narayanan and Sri B.S. Purushottam also played a good taniavartanam which included a brief chatusra nadai portion, an elaborate tisra nadai and a short kuraippu in the misra nadai followed by a normal chatusra nadai kuraippu.

Author: Ramkumar R

Leadership Coach. Musician. Educator.

5 thoughts

  1. Excellent concert. I loved the “ni padamule”. Only negative was that the percussionists were just banging away. For sometime the concert looked like some ayyappa bhajan.

  2. Well … I think the “banging” effect was more because of the high amplification given to the mridangam combined with the fact that the instrument was at a high pitch of 5″ and not because the artists were banging their instruments. Even some sollus which Sri Narayanan played softly were getting amplified very loudly. The artists should have requested the person incharge to lower the volume, but then I also think it is a bit difficult to judge what would be an appropriate volume in such a big hall.

  3. when the artist is neyveli narayanan, he has to bang the mrudangam. he cant usually play kIzh kAlam. he can never accompany a viLamba kAla kriti perfectly.

    well, this is what i feel about his playing. expecting brick bats..

  4. Yeah, the amplification was not good. And the acoustics of the hall also was not upto the mark. I couldn’t believe when I entered the hall, even temples have better auditoriums than the asbestos one at MFAC.

    Even then I felt Narayanan played more than necessary.

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