Sri Ramanavami Music Fest by Ramaseva Mandali, Mysore North
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Sri Ramanavami Music Fest by Ramaseva Mandali, Mysore North

April 18, 2024

Angelic voice and amazing breath control

On Apr. 15, Gayathri Venkataraghavan from Chennai gave a vocal concert in Mysuru with Mysore V. Srikanth on violin, B.C. Manjunath on mridanga and G.S. Ramanujan on ghata. The concert was organised by Sri Ramaseva Mandali Charitable Trust, Mysore North, at Sri Prasanna Parvati Kalyana Mantapa in V.V. Mohalla.

Gayathri has an angelic voice that is captivating and she has cultured and nourished it with great care. Her voice traverses effortlessly with ease in all the three octaves with no falsity. Her ardent and intense practice has helped her to achieve amazing breath control.

The concert opened with Annamacharya’s ‘Namo Namo Raghukulanayaka’ in Naata, a majestic invocation to Lord Rama. There seemed to be a small confusion before taking up the last charana ‘Biruda Ravana shirobhedaka’ but the swara essay to “saketapuaravasa Raghava’ made it up. ‘Teliya leru Rama’ in Dhenuka by Sri Tyagaraja was impressive with swaras to the pallavi portion.

Kalyani though began with a great promise of an elaborate alapana was disappointing as the vocalist suddenly took up the composition ‘Anjikinyatakayya’ by Purandaradasaru, cutting down the alapana. Valachi had attractive frills and curves in the alapana with occasional forays into the upper notes. Srikanth’s version of the raga was equally good and won the hearts of the listeners.

Her choice of ‘Baajare Manasa Sri Raghuveeram’ by Mysore Vasudevachar was clear when the vocalist took up the alapana of Abheri embellished with characteristic curves but the listeners were surprised when space was created for Taniyavartanam rather early in the concert.

However, after a vibrant Taniyavartanam by B.C. Manjunath and Ramanujam, the artiste presented a brisk ‘Ma Kelara vicharamu’ (Ravichandrika, Tyagaraja) which was obviously a filler before the RTP in Simhendramadhyama.

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Gayathri presented a short but full-of-essence ragalapana followed by a tanam, which she smartly preferred to sing only the beginning and the last closing phrases, giving opportunity to the violinist to cover up the in-between  tanam phrases, which saved the time. The pallavi  set to Mishra Chapu tala was presented in ragamalika in niraval and swaras, which in a way compensated for the absence of niraval in the earlier part of the concert.

The concluding part of the concert included  ‘rama nama bhajisuvavage unte bhavada bandhana’ in Darbari kanada by Purandara Dasaru, ‘Ramanai bhajittal,’ a Tamil composition in Mand and ‘Sharade Karunanidhe’ by Sri Chandrashekhara Bharathi.

The artistes were continuously disturbed by the microphone disturbance, which hampers their manodharma and had it not been for this reason, the concert would perhaps  have been elevated to a higher level.

—Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan


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