Gayathri Venkataraghavan, Sri Rama Samaj
Of late, one starts feeling the gap rather vigorously between two live concerts one gets to attend. Hence, choosing the right one matters. When one could go everyday, all that mattered was availability of an event. One could go and sit through any concert. The word any in it's true sense. However with time and opportunity vastly diminished, availability of a concert performed by a preferred artist or a preferred school of music becomes important. So does the ease to travel. What adds to this, is age, which does start to show up in the mid thirties these days, and refinement of taste, or the lack of it.
With a will to use a rarely free Sunday evening to attend a concert, The Hindu couldn't have been more helpful to show that Gayathri Venkataraghavan was performing at ayodhya mandapam, with MR Gopinath, Neyveli Skandasubramanian and AS Krishnan. The concert was organized by Sri Rama samaj as part of their summer music festival.
As one was loitering around Murthy street to find a free slot to dump one's two wheeler, one could make out a slokam in Arabhi, and as one walked in and found a place to settle down, sAdinchanE had begun and the rendition was clear and appealing.
The next kriti mAkElarA vichAramu was rendered with the usual vigour. A very well structured round of kalpanai swarams followed. While Gayathri was very good in the swarams section, Gopinath was indeed a shade better. And the percussion department did well to appropriately boost a fast paced kriti. It was so absorbing a rendition that one could not help murmuring a few sanchArams of ravichandrikA.
Next was an elaboration of latAngi, with marivere dikkevvarO. Neraval and swarams at daralOna nI sATi, were elaborate and done very well by the entire team.
As one was expecting something in slow tempo, gnAna sabaiyil tillai in sArangA was next. It was rendered well. Two closely related prati madhyama rAgas, two varieties of cApu tALam. What was the artist's reason to plan something like that! A quick sObillu saptaswara with sparkling percussion support from mrudangam and morsing was next in line.
As the stage was set, kharaharapriyA was taken up as the main rAgam of the evening. With phrases fast and slow coming one after another and spread across the octaves, and some kArvais and uruTTals added in good measure, it was a good AlApanai by Gayathri. Gopinath was more precise and crisp, and yet gave a fitting reply. Chakkani rAjamArgamu was the kriti. It was handled with much elegance.
Looking back, one would not have sat through such a concert, as both ragams taken up for elaboration, were not of one's preference. That would have been during days when one was regular to concerts. Back in present, one did sit through and appreciated the music that was presented.
It felt very good to sit and enjoy the concert after a longtime. The goodness of a live concert is never explainable in words. It has to be experienced to understand the feel. The experience of sitting through a concert in a non-air-conditioned hall with a slight breeze to flow across, a temple in the backdrop, and good music. It is not easy to explain. One did feel good and hope to make such sojourns rather frequent.