Venue: Dakshinamurthy Auditorium, P.S. High School, R.K. Mutt Road, Mylapore, Chennai
Date: 25 Mar 2007
Vocal: Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan
Violin: Vid. Padma Shankar
Mridangam: Vid. Melakkaveri K. Balaji
List of songs:
1) tuLasi daLa – mAyAmALavagowLa – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (ONS)
2) evarani – dEvAmrutavarshini – Adi – thyAgarAja
3) lambOdarAya namastE – varALi – kanDa chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANS)
4) raghupatE rAmA – sahAnA – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (A)
5) viDajAladurA – janaranjani – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)
6) shrI janaka tanayE – kalakaNThi – Adi – thyAgarAja
7) sAmi ninnE nammiti – bEgaDa – Adi – syAma sAstri (A)
8 ) shrI mAtrubhUtam – kannaDa – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)
9) tanayuni brOva – bhairavi – Adi – thyAgarAja (AST)
10) shrI vENugOpAla – kurinji – misra jampa – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
11) akhilAnDEshwari durusuga – karnATaka kApi – Adi – syAma sAstri
12) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja
(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)
After listening to a stunning concert full of rare gems by Vid. Nirmala Sundararajan and Vid. Subhashini Parthasarathy at Musiri Chamber Concerts, I scurried to P.S. High School to be in time for the start of Vid. Gayathr’s concert. This concert had two things one can always have faith upon. One was the fact that only compositions of the trinity (Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Syama Sastri) were to be sung which meant that almost every composition would be thoroughly enjoyable. The second was Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s music. I think she is arguably one of the best singers of the present generation and I find her concerts to be almost always interesting and well presented. Today’s concert was no exception and was probably the best one I have heard since TNS sang for Nayaki in Chennai a few weeks back.
Vid. Gayathri began her concert with the best rendition of “tuLasi daLa” I have heard till now. She sang the kriti with full involvement and the joy of watching the kriti develop beautifully, sangati by sangati, was very evident from her face. Neraval was done almost using all lines from the charanam. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the concert !!
Everything about the concert was so nice. The alapanas by both Vid. Gayathri and Vid. Padma Shankar were very good. Vid. Melakkaveri Balaji played well for all the songs. The kOrvai he played for chatusra naDai in taniavartanam was the same one he played for Smt. Prema Rengarajan’s concert a couple of days back. It had an avartanam of chatusram, kanDam and tisram each in both the pUrvAngam and the uttarAngam.
Vid. Gayathri sang very beautiful sangatis for almost all the songs. She even used the lower octave very effectively during the alapanas, especially the bhairavi alapana. This is something not many other female singers seem to do. She was very appreciative of her accompanists. Instead of just expressing her appreciation in terms of words like “sabAsh”, “balE”, “bEsh” etc and resorting to star gazing when her turn was over, she actually turned a bit towards their side whenever the violin alapana or taniavartanam was on and could be observed enjoying what they played. Signs of a great artist in making is what I would say.