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An impressive RaGA
They go ga ga over RaGA. The reasons are obvious. The high octane stuff at Narada Gana Sabha on December 23, 2017 settles beyond doubt why the RaGa sisters (Ranjani & Gayatri) remain the darling of many a Carnatic music buff. They dished out a classical stuff in a contemporary way in an ever so friendly manner to the capacity audience at the NGS auditorium on a lovely Saturday evening. It proved an heady cocktail in the end for listeners.

The duo sang a composition on Subramania Bharathiyar “Poomalai” impressively. Gayatri’s Begada alapana was mesmerizing. She brilliantly explored the raga in varied hues, and enhanced its beauty with consummate ease. Ranjani & Gayatri went on to articulate the most celebrated composition of saint Thyagaraja “Nadopasana”and “Charanam Raghurama”(Asaveri) composed by Arunachala Kavi. Gayatri gave a brief sketch of this composition which relates to the Samudra Raja (Lord of the sea) Sharanagathi or the surrender to Lord Rama during the Sethu bhandan. Both the kritis were well presented for evoking sensitivity, lyricism and connotation. The Swathi Tirunal kriti “Parama Purusham”(Lalitha Panchamam) and “Kamakshi Kamakoti” of Muthuswamy Dikshitar (in raga Sumadayuthi, according to Dikshitar school. However, it is popularly known as Simhendra Madhyamam) earlier were commendable. The concert gained elevation as the duo progressed to the RTP (Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi), the creative or the manodharma sangeetham. The felicitous flavour was obvious. They chose the rakthi raga “Andolika” and explored it with remarkable sancharas. While Gayatri was all absorbing, Ranjani’s resonating voice lend the alap additional beauty. The pallavi is a catchy phrase from the composition of Thyagaraja “Raga Sudha Rasa Paanamu Jesi Ranjilave Manasa”(set to Tisra Jathi Jhampa tala in misra and tisra nadai). They sang the pallavi swaras in Vasantha, Lalith and Shubapantuvarali in their inimitable style, and Gayatri reversed to the original raga in her unique style. After a virutham, the rendered “Muruganin Maru Peyar Azhagu”(Behag) made famous by M.L.Vasanthakumari. The duo sang it with dedicated devotion and melody. A Tukaram Abhang “Dolo Majhe” (Misra Malkauns) formed the perfect finale for the evening. K. Arun Prakash on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on Kanjira contributed well to heighten the kutcheri spirit. Violinist M. Rajeev played with precision and involvement.

Revealing brand identity
Ranjani-Gayatri gave an energetic concert at Vani Mahal on December 17, 2017. The duo began with a Navaraga malika varnam of Patnam Subramania Iyer with great felicity, setting the mood for a good listening experience. “Ganamurthe” of Thyagaraja was impressive with catchy lyrics. Samodham Chintayami (Suddha Dhanyasi) of Swathi Tirunal and Ma Janaki (Kamboji) were outstandingly rendered by the duo. `Ishane Inda Ezhaikku' (Chakravaham) of Papanasam Sivam and Sevikka `Vendum Ayya' (Andolika) of Muthu Tandavar were rendered with melody and sweetness. Raga sisters chose a pallavi in Kumadakriya (RTP) composed by Dikshitar “Ardanarishwaram Aaradayami Abhyakaram Shivam”(set to chatrusra jati triputa talam) and they made the creative music absorbing with a splendid alapana and sang the pallavai swaras in ragas such as Neelambari, Natakurunji and Darbari Kanada etc. Gayatri’s singing integrating with melody and sweetness produced a collage of light and shade in the minds of the connoisseurs. `Nan Oru Vilayattu Bommaiyya' (Navarasa Kannada) was finely presented by the sisters in their style, and finally an Abhang of Namdev in raga Peelu displayed the RaGa brand and their command over the language and music.

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