The 23rd Pongal music festival, conducted by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Coimbatore Kendra, featured a series of concerts by eminent musicians. Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s vocal recital on the final day was vibrant yet soothing. She began with Avvaiyar’s ‘Vaakkundaam’ and moved on to ‘Ganapathi Thaalai Karuthinil Vaippom’ (Bharatiyar’s song, tuned by Rajkumar Bharati).
Melody and dignity blended together as she elaborated Kalyani for SyamaSastri’s ‘BiraanaValaalichiBrovumu.’ Another caressing alapana was that of Malayamarutham preceding ‘Manasaa Etulorthune.’ Kiravani was the main raga and the Tyagarajakriti, ‘Kaligiyunte’ was presented elaborately. The saint has composed this kriti in a mood of acceptance and resignation and says that only if he has earned good merit he will get the grace of God and there is no point in blaming Him. The niraval for ‘Baaguga Sri Raghu RaamuniPadamula’ was filled with raga bhava and the kalpanaswaras that poured out in torrents drenched the rasikas in bliss. ‘EppadiManam Thunindhadho’ (Huseni) and ‘Anna Poornae Visalakshi’ (Sama) added to the emotional appeal. Mysore V. Srikanth’s virtuosity came to the fore as an accompanist as well as a talented solo player. N. Manoj Siva’s (mridangam) experience and Krishna Sriram’s (ghatam) freshness came together, to a dazzling effect.