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A well-etched Thodi by Ranjani and Gayatri

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Who could resist that melody-tinged pallavi, the ebullient sancharas and sharp swaraprastara that marked the culmination of the RTP in Hamsanadham, the piece de resistance of Hamsa Geetham, the online concert supported by Purdue University featuring Ranjani and Gayatri. The pallavi, ‘Va vennilave mannil va theynthidaamal deepamaaga olira,’ was set to an intricate Chatusrajathi Triputa talam — the Poorvaanga in chatusra nadai and Uttaranga in tisra nadai. All these, not at the cost of its musical brilliance.

The duo vied with each other in presenting an expansive swaraprastara, with a closing touch of ragamalika. Rajiv Mukundan’s violin accompaniment was splendid. His aesthetic sense makes him a desirable accompanist on any day. Similarly, the percussion section led by Sai Giridhar was an asset to the vocalists in its subdued richness. S. Krishna (ghatam) matched well with him. Their thani in the intricate tala was well executed and deserves special mention.

Impressive raga essay

Earlier, Ranjani gave a fitting lead to the raga alapana and Gayatri took it forward and it seamlessly glided into a fabulous tanam. Rajiv Mukundan rose to the occasion and offered an equally impressive Hamsanadham.

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Thodi stood out in all its magnificence in the two-hour concert. Ranjani initiated the raga elucidation with deft touches and Gayatri, who took it forward, did not forget to perform her favourite, a grahabhedam, by culling out a lovely sketch of Mohana Kalyani from Thodi. The kriti was Tyagaraja’s ‘Enduku dayaradura’ (Misra Chapu). The swaras were at ‘Jaagela idhi samayamu’. Rajiv Mukundan’s response both in the alapana and the swaras was again superb.

The sisters commenced their recital with the Pantuvarali varnam, ‘Sami ninne’ by Shatkala Narasayya, which they embellished with their nuanced aesthetic. This was followed by a Purandaradasa Devaranama, ‘Saranu benakane’ on Lord Vinayaka in Bilahari. Their swaraprastara at the pallavi rendered at a captivating tempo enhanced the concert.

Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Varalakshmi’ (Sri raga, Rupakam) was rendered in an unhurried pace, which brought out the duo’s creativity, craftsmanship, and imaginative rendering. GNB’s Bahudari piece on Parvathi, ‘Unnadiye gathiyenru’, had emotive appeal. The composer says, “O, Mother, in your feet is my only refuge.”

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After a virutham, ‘Kadhalagi kasindhu kanneer malgi’ from Namasivaya Pathigam by Thirugnana Sambandhar in ragas Karaharapriya, Mohanam and Jonpuri, the duo rendered ‘Andavan darisaname’ by Muthiah Bhagavatar.

Their concert is never complete without an abhang and the sisters concluded with one by Janabai in Desh raag.

The Chennai-based author writes on music and culture.

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