Less did I expect a wish, long forgotten, to come true in the most unexpected way. Today, I am glad to have in my hands, a vintage concert recording featuring T M Krishna, B Gayatri (of the Ranjani-Gayatri duo) and K Arun Prakash in vocal, violin and mridangam respectively. This concert is a very special one because seeing these three fine artists together on one stage once again is next to impossible simply for the reason that TMK is more of a writer and a speaker now than a musician and BG, more of a vocalist than a violinist/accompanist these days.
This concert was recorded at Mindess Middle School, Ashland, Massachusetts during the Spring of 1998. That was when Smt Ranjani and Smt Gayatri were at the pinnacle of their violin career. I first witnessed their vocal concert organized by Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira at Bangalore Gayana Samaja in the early 2000s. Having listened to just K J Yesudas, Nithyashree Mahadevan, T N Sheshagopalan for all those years until then, the sisters’ music sounded different to my ears. I have, then on, become an ardent admirer of their style. Within a few days, I discovered many things about their musical career which included the fact that they were well established violinists.
It was around the same time when Sri T M Krishna’s name was was also making rounds in the music circles.
As any other fan would, I aspired to see two of my favourite artists come together in a concert and here I have, before me, a wish materialized after almost two decades! The magic of the cosmos to bring even a fleeting thought to reality has left me speechless.
Coming to the concert, it is a two-and-a-half hour full-fledged concert where the artists have challenged each other’s competencies to bring out rich music.
With a beautiful start to the concert with Viriboni varnam in Bhairavi, TMK presented a brisk alapane in Hamsadhwani to present Vatapi Ganapatim of Muttuswamy Dikshitar followed by a few interesting exchange of swaras between vocal and violin. Papanasam Sivan’s Sri Valli Devasenapate in Natabhairavi preceded the sub-main item, Jnanamosagarada by Sri Tyagaraja. Poorvikalyani was portrayed with all her beauty by the artists. Pattividuvaradu in Manjari, Vinaradhana in Devagandhari and Janani Ninnuvina in Devagandhari came as soothing fillers before the main item of the concert, a chowka kala pallavi in Todi and chaturashra jati triputa tala. Every aspect of the raga-tana-pallavi was presented with utmost beauty by the trio. The artists’ mutual appreciation with sabhash and bhale is just the little tempering that was needed for the delicious feast that they were preparing on stage. The detailed pallavi spanned for more than an hour. Gayatri’s violin was like an embankment on a mad flood called TMK. The concert was then concluded with a dasara pada, a Subrahmanya Bharathiyar composition and a tillana.
Although I felt content to some extent immersing myself in this concert experience, it has kindled much more desire in me to listen to more of violin from Gayatri. In many places, she has outdone the main artist but never does it seem to intrude or outsmart his manodharma.
As a concluding remark, if ever Ranjani and Gayatri decide to take up violin into mainstream along with vocal, it would be their violins that would rejoice first even before fans like me do.
Click here to enjoy a small snippet of this concert. Courtesy: MITHAS