Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 21, 2018

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented a memorable concert in the company of Arjun Kumar on Mridangam and Trichy Krishnaswamy on Ghatam, at the Madras Music Academy Annual Concert, that truly gave an exhilarating experience for the audience.

  1. Varnam – Mandari
  2. Tatvamariya Tarama – Reetigowla
  3. Narasimha Aagacha – Mohanam
  4. Mayamma – Ahiri
  5. Palintuvo – Kantamani
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kharaharapriya
  7. Kandanaal Mudalai – Madhuvanthi
  8. Thillana – Khamas
  9. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

A brief sketch of Mandari followed by the Varnam provided a great start to the concert. Reetigowla aalapana was lilting. Papanasam Sivan’s composition Tatvamariya Tarama was lovely. Kalpana Swaras were just a sample to show Jayanthi’s rhythmic excellence! Arjun Kumar and Krishna played a pivotal role in embellishing the presentation.

Mellifluous Mohanam aalapana was one of the highlights of the evening. Truly exhibiting Jayanthi’s hallmark of soulfulness in presentation, the aalapana remains etched in the memory for long time. It can be a textbook of sorts for presenting Mohanam so aesthetically. Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s masterpiece Narasimha Aagacha was played so well that the lord Narasimha himself would have come down. As explained by Jayanthi in one of her videos, this composition is a wonderful demonstration of the command Dikshitar has on Sanskrit – the second half of Charanam was completely without any deergha aksharams (elongated syllables). The swaras poured soaked in melody and both percussionists played very well complementing her amazing rhythmic patterns!

A brief outline of Ahiri was soul stirring and the Syama Sastri’s masterpiece Mayamma was presented with divinity. For the lack of words in my limited vocabulary, I will skip mentioning about the rendition anymore!! Now I understood why they say you don’t get food when you perform Ahiri. Actually, you don’t need any food as it fills you up completely. Some of the phrases are still lingering in my ears even after a few hours!!

Kantamani is a very special vivadi ragam which has Suddha Dhaivatham and Suddha Nishadham and the combination evokes a very haunting kind of a feeling. One could easily hear the oohs-aahs in the Music Academy, as Jayanthi was presenting the ragam in an outstanding way! A brisk Palintuvo, Saint Thyagaraja’s composition was presented that ended in scintillating swaras.

Kharaharapriya is one of the ragas which is very difficult to get the rasa out of it. Although it is very famous ragam, I have heard only a few handle it carefully bringing out the raga devatha with ease! Jayanthi was in her own element this evening and this ragam was explored delightfully in the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi that lasted for more than 45 minutes (excluding Tani Avarthanam). An outstanding Tanam which also comprised seamless ragamalika with SaveriHamsanandi and Bahudari will be cherished for long time. Pallavi was in Khanda Triputa Talam and so magically presented that the audience gave a long round of applause at the end of it. Arjun and Krishna did great job in enhancing the overall rendition. Swaras were played in all four ragas, the approach to korvai and the ending was just mind boggling! Jayanthi played swaras in Hamsanandi till perhaps the highest note possible on the Veena, extending beyond the frets that left everyone mesmerised. Tani Avarthanam was extremely good, just apt in enhancing the grandeur of the RTP.

Beautiful composition in Madhuvanthi and the charming Thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman in Khamas were presented in an unhurried manner. Jayanthi ended the concert with her trademark Kamakshi Lokasakshi, yet another Syama Sastri’s composition of the evening.

A long standing ovation from the audience year after year at the Music Academy just signifies how much Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh’s music is adored and it stands a testimony of her purity in music, chastity and divinity in presentation!!

One must note the importance the Carnatic Music trinity get in her concerts, all the last 4 of her annual concerts at Music Academy featured at least one composition of each of them. Also, the way Jayanthi plays her concerts in a leisurely manner with no overdose of the number of songs is certainly a guideline that every musician can pickup in this era of singing a lot of songs especially towards the end of concerts!

I am glad I could attend this masterly concert despite having to travel all the way from Delhi, arriving just right in time!

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Kausal Malladi

Computer Technologist | Occasional Blogger | Carnatic Music Lover

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