Ranjani-Gayathri – Nadasurabhi – November 7, 2015

An exquisite concert on a Saturday evening in front of a packed hall, amazingly timed and executed for everyone’s delight. Ranjani-Gayathri were accompanied by H M Smitha on Violin, Delhi Sairam on Mridangam and Omkar Rao on Ghatam.

  1. Sami ninne – Sankarabharanam varnam
  2. Saravanabhava Guruguham – Revagupti
  3. Ramabhi Rama manasu – Dhanyasi
  4. Vanajamukhi – Kanada
  5. Pahi Jagajjanani – Vachaspati
  6. Sevika vendumayya – Aandolika
  7. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Dwijavanthi
  8. Bannisi gopi – Kalyana Vasantham
  9. Maatha Kaalika – Darbari Kaanada
  10. Meera Bhajan – Shuddha Saarang
  11. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourashtram

The concert started with a traditional varnam in Sankarabharanam in both speeds followed by Saravanabhava Guruguham in Revagupti, which I heard for the first time. Dhanyasi aalapana by Ranjani was fine, and Smitha returned well too. Very nicely presented krithi with Niraval in “Sangeethamu paadumani” followed by Kalpana Swaras in both speeds. I was hoping for a Kanada aalapana but they chose to directly sing Kanakadasa’s composition Vanajamukhi, which again was first time for me.

Vachaspati was the main piece and aalapana by Gayathri was excellent, she also did a Graha bhedam on Dhaivatham in the midst, leading to Vasanthi (thankfully she explained – otherwise we were all scratching our heads as to what that raga was) and Smitha’s response was equally good. It happened to be Swathi Tirunal’s Navagraha krithi, very delightfully presented with amazing kalpana swaras and dull tani avarthanam. Sairam was very good but I was a little disappointed with Ghatam. Sevika vendumayya in Tamil was the next composition.

Ragam Tanam Pallavi was in Dwijavanthi – the aalapana by Ranjani was quite common but Gayathri added some nice dimensions to it. Tanam was excellent, especially by Gayathri and Smitha. Pallavi was in Khanda gathi Triputa Talam which they changed to Trisra jati Jhampa talam over a period of time and was very nice. Kalpana swaras followed in two speeds – the raga maalika section included Bhoopalam (Ranjani), Nattakurinji (Gayathri – she did a graha bhedam to Neelambari, greatly responded by Smitha), Sunadavinodini (Ranjani) and Darbari Kanada (Gayathri). Overall, I felt it was a nice RTP.

Concert ended with a few quick pieces Bannisi Gopi, Maatha Kaalika (again in Darbari Kanada – after the request from a few people) which was excellently presented but for spelling ‘li’ in Kali incorrectly which to me, coming from Telugu background, was the minus point. If it is not spelt properly, the meaning becomes something like “… of leg”. A Meera Bhajan composed by them “Meera Naachi…” was very good and I wouldn’t have been surprised if audience danced on it if it went for a little longer. A nice concert ended with traditional Sourashtram mangalam.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh & Dr. Mysore Manjunath – Nadasurabhi – November 5, 2015

Glad I attended a perfect Jugalbandi (Veena-Violin) duet, after 5 days of running around in Bengaluru and Gurgaon/Delhi – as it was very refreshing. The last time I attended the Jugalbandi performance by Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh and Dr. Mysore Manjunath was in Feb 2015, somehow I was not so satisfied then – but, I felt this was much better than that. It’s always so nice to see both of them respecting each other on stage and one asking the other to start a new piece.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh (Veena) and Dr. Mysore Manjunath (Violin) were accompanied by K U Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam and Guruprasanna on Khanjira.

  1. Nattakurinji varnam – Chalamela
  2. Vaatapi Ganapatim – Hamsadhwani
  3. Appa Rama Bhakti – Pantuvarali
  4. Paahimam Sree Raja Rajeswari – Janaranjani
  5. Bhairavi Swarajathi – Kamakshi
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Bahudari
    Pallavi – Raama Raghukula Soma Tanayuni Brova Bharama Dasaratha tanaya
  7. Sri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana – Bhajan
  8. Venkatachala Nilayam – Sindhu Bhairavi
  9. Mangalam – Madhyamavathi

The concert started with a traditional varnam (Chalamela) in Nattakurinji followed by the evergreen favorite composition of Muttuswamy Dikshithar, Vaatapi Ganapatim Bhaje in Hamsadhwani that started with a short aalapana by both. The composition was clean with the exquisite sangathis from Dr. Jayanthi which were played twice by both. Kalpana swaras followed in multiple speeds and it was great to listen to them. This brought both of them into a nice rhythm for a great 2.5 hours ahead!

Pantuvarali aalapana was very detailed on both melodic instruments and I am just tempted to say it felt like the main composition for the evening. Variety of improvisations in the ragam, especially by Dr. Jayanthi were fabulous and soul stirring. The krithi was Thyagaraja’s “Appa Rama Bhakti” for everyone’s delight that ended with long kalpana swaras as well. Very well and serenely presented by both, although Dr. Manjunath tried to get into “galata” mode once or twice and thankfully came back. This was followed by Paahimam Sree Raja Rajeswari in Janaranjani ragam. I guess, I heard it for the first time and I liked it so much. In fact, I read somewhere that it was this composition as I am neither aware of this composition nor the ragam. Crisp rendition of the krithi without any aalapana and kalpana swaras.

Bhairavi aalapana was lovely that was followed by the famous Swarajathi of Syama Sastri – Kamakshi. This was second consecutive time I heard that composition from Dr. Jayanthi’s Veena (of course this time on Violin too) but what a composition it is!! Equally well presented indeed.

Ragam Tanam Pallavi – the item that I wait for in Dr. Jayanthi’s concerts, started a tad relatively late (just about 1 hour before scheduled end of concert). The aalapana in Bahudari was so soulful that my vocabulary will not be good enough to comment on. A very detailed aalapana indeed, by both melodic instruments, with wonderful exchanges to end it. Someone said something like this a while back – “Tanam has to be heard on Veena and more so on Dr. Jayanthi’s veena”. True indeed!! What a divine Tanam it was, especially on Veena!!! Don’t think I am being biased to her here, but I think I can just spend one complete life just listening to Dr. Jayanthi’s Tanam. It ended with a couple of nice exchanges by both. The Dr. Manjunath announced the ragam name and also the fact that “Jayanthi will sing pallavi”. A pleasant surprise to the listeners, as we generally don’t get to see the other shade of her, a gifted singer. The pallavi was set to Aadi talam and each of them played a few improvisations to it, followed by very few swaras (running out of time already) before moving to swara raga maalika section. I was a little disappointed that it was indeed relatively short in terms of number – just one each by both. I couldn’t figure out the ragam chosen by Dr. Manjunath but it was “Lalgudi stamped” Sahana from Dr. Jayanthi. Tani Avarthanam by K U Jayachandra Rao and Guruprasanna was scintillating. I have been watching them for many years now and they are an amazing combination. Special mention of appreciation was done by Dr. Manjunath at the end of the piece.

The concert ended with a delightful Bhajan Sri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana, followed by the Purandara Dasa’s composition in one of my favorite ragas, Sindhu Bhairavi. An excellent concert ended with a Mangalam in Madhyamavathi.

Overall, a marvelous concert with great respect and coordination among all of them and it was completely worth skipping a few hours of work to attend it!!