Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

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mahavishnu
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#1 Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by mahavishnu » 09 May 2016, 10:40

Ranjani Gayatri - vocal
M Rajeev - violin
Sai Giridhar - mridangam

1. nivE nannupAlimpA - Ranjani - varNam - GNB?
2. karuNanidhiyE tAyE - bowLi - papanAsam Sivan (S)
3. enta rAni tanakenta - HarikAmbhOji - TyagarAja - (N, S @ Seshudu)
4. soundararAjam - brindavana sAranga - MD
5. rAma rAma guNaseema - simhEndra madhyamam - ST (A, S, T)
6. sarasa sAma dAna - kApi nArayani - TyagarAja
7. RTP - KannadA & KAnadA (dwirAga pallavi): chatusra triputa tisra nadai (2 kalai).
Pallavi line: Saravana Bhava guhanE shanmukhanE | ennai kA natarAja maindhA) rAgamalikA swarams in Kannadagowla, navarasakannadA, darbAri kAnadA, chandrakauns/madhukauns by grahabedam
8. Viruttam: pAdi Adi nindrirangi nin padamalar mudi mEl (Poorvikalyani, Chakravaham, karnataka devagandhari —- transition to
9. Eppadi PadinarO - Suddhananda Bharati
10. nAch ke AyE - basant - Ambujam Krishna
11. Abhang - pilu - jAnAbhai
12. nI nAma rupamulaku - sowrashtram - mangaLam

Ranjani and Gayatri gave a stellar performance in the Bay Area today, the last concert of their current tour of N. America. What talent! What energy! This was a high-class concert with just the perfect balance between technical virtuosity, sincerity in exposition and "janaranjakam". There are few that can carry such a performance at these levels of showmanship and theatrical appeal (and I mean both as a compliment) as successfully as the sisters. They have assimilated the best of the Semmangudi bANi with the art of duo singing that is the hallmark of the Alathur tradition, thus producing a truly original sound. If you pepper that spread with a deep and wide repertoire, formidable stage presence, pleasing looks and demeanor, you get a winning combination.

There was a significant crowd waiting for them as they took the stage. The sisters were greeted with thunderous applause even as they settled into their performance.

After the first two pieces, Ranjani sang a wonderful harikambhoji alapana followed by a very KVN-esque enta rAni leading to a neraval at the expected Seshudu sivuniki. Unfortunately, this was the only neraval of the evening. While the Soundararajam and even the main in simhendramadhyamam were competent, the sisters really broke into their element in the pallavi. BTW, the s.madhyamam alapanai by Gayatri had some beautiful moments including a grahabedam to sAvEri.

The pallavi was set really beautifully. The raga essays as the sisters criss-crossed between kannadA and kAnada showcased their talent and their spontaneous ability to generate syntactic creativity in two streams simultaneously. They handled the swarams and the mathematical structures in the pallavi with great ease.

Through the entire exercise, it seemed clear that Ranjani served as the anchor while Gayatri went out on her creative forages looking for the moon as it were. Her sAreeram totally cooperates with every thought, whim and caprice. Be it the turn of a phrase or a deliberate brigha. And it is no wonder that the combination is quite so formidable.

Rajeev Mukundan played excellently. Although he underplayed at times and took the risk-averse pathway, he was a solid pillar of support. He generated a very sweet tone and played his part in the manOdharmic sections with great competence. Some of his sarvalaghu swarams showed an excellent ability to project predicates and follow the phrases of the sisters.

Sai Giridhar is a top-shelf mridangist. I would go out on a limb and say that the current generation of Andhra mridangists has some of the best in the business today! Patri, Phalgun, Ramanamurthy and now Giridhar. All of them play the the dhim with the middle (instead of the ring finger seen in the Tanjore/Pudukkottai schools). They also employ the gumki in a very tabla-esque way and have a way of using the outer perimeter of the valanthalai to produce continuous phrases at breakneck speeds. They take excellent care of their instruments; the nAdham is stellar irrespective of the shruti of choice. And most importantly all of them give 200% and I can see them adding such value to the concert experience. (footnote: I would not classify Kamalakar Rao and Dandamudi Ram Mohan Rao as Andhra mridangists, since they were trained in the Tanjore/Pudukkottai styles respectively).

Today, Sai Giridhar played exceptionally well. His tani was structured highlighting the phrases of the koraippu used by the sisters. His final kOrvai fit perfectly into the refrain of "muni mAnasa" as he finished his rhythmic exposition. Sai Giridhar has now made it into the list of mridangists that I will watch closely over the next few years! Great talent.

Although I have heard R-G multiple times, each concert turns out to be somewhat special. It explains the adulation of the crowds. It is clear that they stand tall, right at the very top of the profession today.

Special thanks to Sankritilaya for this concert. The organization of the queuing system and the hall acoustics were both excellent.
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rshankar
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#2 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by rshankar » 09 May 2016, 16:17

Ramesh - great review of what appears to have been a wonderful concert! Thank you for sharing.
Unlike some other duos, these sisters share and share equally- with the audience being the beneficiaries.
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rajeshnat
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#3 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by rajeshnat » 09 May 2016, 18:35

mahavishnu wrote: They have assimilated the best of the Semmangudi bANi with the art of duo singing that is the hallmark of the Alathur tradition, thus producing a truly original sound.
Mahavishnu
We can divide duos as overlapping and non overlapping . To the best of my understanding alathur brothers were non overlapping in singing sangathis where it is usually contrast sangathis

vs

Ranjani gayathri who are usually overlapping duos where sangathis are more in synchornization . Certainly the alathur brothers were the most successful yes - and in this era ranjani gayatri in terms of mass reach they are indeed successful. Few more duos of todays era fit like alathur brothers in delivery. But the art of duo singing of ranjani gayathri and alathur brothers are sun and moon to me.

May be if I am wrong in my interpretation or may be you can clarify more on what you said it will help?
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thanjavooran
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#4 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by thanjavooran » 09 May 2016, 20:15

Mahavishnu,
Many thanks for the detailed review. No doubt there is perfect co ordination between sisters. A very good selection of songs too.
With wishes,
Thanjavooran
09 05 2016
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mahavishnu
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#5 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by mahavishnu » 09 May 2016, 23:21

Rajesh: While I agree with you w.r.t. kriti rendering, the manodharmic sections and the embellishing phrases that R-G use is very similar (imho) to the Alathur tradition. One person is the anchor (R) and the other (G) goes out on these creative bursts. They also specialize in different ranges of the octave and the pace of the alapana/tanam. I do not see many contemporary duo singers doing this. And finally, their intellectualism (with kanakku vyavaharam and scale shifting etc) also seems to have been inspired by AB. Again, this is just my opinion.

Hyd brothers have a similar chemistry, but for the last decade or so their act has become a one-person show.
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arasi
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#6 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by arasi » 09 May 2016, 23:48

Mahavishnu,
Always a delight, reading your reviews. Thanks for the ones which don't come that often. Besides learning a thing or two from your reviews (always), I love reading the phrasing (such distillation) of your thoughts:


No one equal to you perhaps to speak of the percussion section (vAziayaDi vAzai)!

I enjoyed listening to the sisters sing at the SRLKM spring festival in B'luru this february. They are a vibrant pair...
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mahavishnu
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#7 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by mahavishnu » 10 May 2016, 22:45

Thank you, Arasi, Ravi & Thanjavooran avl.
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Lakshman
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#8 Re: Ranjani Gayatri - Sankritilaya - SF Bay Area May 8

Post by Lakshman » 10 May 2016, 23:16

The ranjani varNa is nIvE nannu paripAlicavammA by GNB.
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