Madras Music Festival – Sudha as mellifluous as ever!

Returning to the blogsphere after a rather long break. Sometimes you have these weeks where you remember all the things that need to be done that never got done and set out to do those things. I’ve had a couple of such boring weeks. Anyway, moving on.

My first “season” kutcheri of this year was Sudha Ragunathan at Music Academy. This past Sunday, I got a chance to listen to her live after almost 5 years and I must say she was as mellifluous as ever. This time she sang in the 4:15 pm slot which I think is a great time to listen to music on a Sunday. The best part is, it lasts for just over two hours, so you get quality time with the added benefit of being able to get out at a decent time (7-ish pm).

Sudha started with a interest-inducing Pantuvarali varam and moved on to a well-rendered Saranu Janakana in Bilhari. A lustrous yet brief alap in Lalitha preceeded the Syama Sastri composition Nannu Brovu Lalitha replete with neraval and kalpana swara. The Mukhari that followed was another well rendered song. For me, the best piece of the day was the Kalyani one featuring Navavarna kriti Kamalambam Bhajare. I found it rather striking that Sudha’s rendition of this song was marked different from the MLV style, but that didn’t take away anything from the song or the piece; just that it was different yet poignant. A fast paced song preceded the Ragam Thanam Pallavi in raga Sri Ranjani (Kadai kan partharul sri ranjani), which disappointed me both in terms of choice of raga and time allotted to it. The only thing in this piece that stood out was the neraval and the ragamalika swara passages in Poorvi Kalyani, Priyadarshini and Nalinakanthi. Sudha finished up with Purandaradas kriti Yadava raya and a thillana. The percussionists, Mannargudi Easwaran was vintage and Raman provided good support, but the violin disappointed. All in all, it was time well spent for me.

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