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Mastery on stage

VENKATESAN SRIKANTH pens his exhilarating experience of listening to recitals by the Priya Sisters and Vechoor C. Sankar at the ongoing Thyagaraja Music and Dance Festival in New Delhi.

Photo: S. Siva Saravanan.

The Priya Sisters... A scintillating performance.

IT'S THAT time of the year again when rasikas in Delhi look forward to the annual festival of Carnatic music and dance. Named Tyagaraja Music and Dance Festival 2005, the 11-day ongoing festival is being organised by Sree Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha in association with the Resident Commissioner, Government of Andhra Pradesh, Indian Oil Conversation and the Delhi Tamil Sangam.

Shanmukhapriya and Haripriya, popularly known as the Priya Sisters, gave a scintillating Carnatic music concert this past weekend in the Andhra Bhawan auditorium. They began their concert with a well-executed Abhogi raga Adi tala varnam, in the sense that the presentation of pallavi, anupallavi and the muktayi swaras of the varnam in two grades of tempo had depth. It was also coupled with the required briskness.

In the next item, "Vaarana Mukha", in the raga Hamsadhwani, set to tala Rupakam, both the sisters gave a good account of their manodharma skills during the swaraprasthara towards the end, particularly the younger sister, Haripriya, who brought out some fascinating phrases using the Ni-Ri-Ni swara combination.

The presentation of "Ranganathude", a composition of Ponnaiah Pillai in raga Saurashtram and Tyagaraja's composition, "Yethaunna nerchidivo" in the raga Yadukula Kamboji set to tala Adi were appealing. Earlier, Haripriya presented a fine alapana of the raga. Another composition, "Arul Tara Venum" of Kavi Kunjara Dasan, in the raga Rasikapriya enthralled the rasikas. The presentation of "Devadi Deva", a composition of Mysore Vasudevacharya, in the raga Sunadavinodini - which differs from the raga Hamsanandi due to the absence of the note Ri in the former - was brilliant, the emotions associated with this raga flowing in abundance. First Shanmukhapriya, then Haripriya presented an outstanding alapana of this raga with a comprehensive delineation. Similarly, the swaraprasthara by the sisters was marked with rich creative music.

Dasarani presentation

The main item was Tyagaraja's "Dasarani" in the raga Todi, set to tala Adi. The comprehensive delineation of this raga - again by Haripriya - as well as the niraval of the phrase, "Bhoginchina Tyagaraja..." and the swaraprasthara bore testimony to their mastery.

Ragavendra Rao on the violin, Thiruvarur Vaidiyanathan on the mridangam and G. Ravichandran (disciple of N. Govindarajan) on the mridangam - all from Chennai - provided excellent support throughout the concert, though Vaidiyanathan seemed to be forgetting quite frequently that he was playing an "uppa pakkavadiyam".

Priya Sisters have been conferred the Nadabhushanam award by the Sabha this year.

Sankar's recital

In another concert, most of the songs rendered by Vechoor C. Sankar of Kozikodewere Tyagaraja's compositions, possibly taking the title of the festival in letter and spirit. Sankar's total commitment and devotion to Carnatic music came to the fore during the one-and-a-half hour concert. "Brochevarevare" in the raga Sriranjini, set to tala Adi, "Santhamuleka" in the raga Sama and `Ramakatha Sudha' in the raga Madhyamavathi were heart warming. His alapana of the raga Sama and Madhyamavati, niraval and swaraprasthara employed while rendering "Ramakatha Sudha" displayed his creative talents. H.N. Bhaskar on the violin and Kalladai Srinivasan on the mridangam ably supported Sankar in this concert.

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