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.

Ranjani-Gayathri – Rama Seva Mandali – April 5, 2015

Ranjani-Gayathri (RaGa) are amazing vocal duo and each time I listen to them live, my admiration towards them grows in multiple folds. An excellent concert this was, and what a way to end weekend!

RaGa are accompanied by M. Rajeev on Violin, Manoj Siva on Mridangam and Omkar Rao on Ghatam. Concert was planned in a beautiful way with excellent choice of compositions.

  1. Kedaragowla Varnam
  2. Yaare Rangana yaare Krishnana – Hindolam
  3. Vidajaaladu raa Naa manasu – Janaranjani
  4. Nannu brovu lalitha – Lalitha
  5. Srinivasa tava charanam – Kharaharapriya
  6. Okapari joodaga – Kalavathi
  7. MohanaKalyani – Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP)

I just love the way RaGa render the Ragas! Ranjani did an excellent job with Hindolam while Gayathri, justifying the name of the raga, did an extensive elaboration of Janaranjani. The composition in Lalitha was very soulful. The main piece of the concert was Papanasanam Sivan’s Srinivasa tava charanam in Kharaharapriya, that followed a very deep elaboration of the Ragam. Violinist was too good in responses to vocals all the way and his violin also sounded so sweet. I felt Tani Avarthanam was not that catchy for some reason (it was Roopaka talam in chouka kalam).

RTP rendition was just spellbinding with long elaborations of Ragam and short bursts of a few cycles of Tanam with the Kalpana swaras in the end in 2 ragas each. A touch of Hindustani flavour was felt in the end with the respective ragas chosen by them for raaga maalika (I could not identify even one, but Gayathri announced one of the four was, Malavi). Gayathri ended Kalpana swaras section with a trademark Graha Bhedam on Pa and Dha2, leading to Aarabhi and Abheri ragas respectively.

It was already late and I had to leave to reach home. But believe me, it was one of those concerts that I felt very tough to leave. Looking forward to their next concert in Bengaluru! 🙂