Carnatic Vocal Concert (co-presented with Philadelphia Ganesh Festival) (Free event)

Carnatic Vocal Concert (co-presented with Philadelphia Ganesh Festival) (Free event)

Anahitha and Apoorva

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 | 8:00 PM

Bharatiya Temple

1612 County Line Rd.
Montgomeryville, PA 18936

About This Event

Anahitha and Apoorva – Vocal

Sruthi Sarathy – Violin

Akshay Anantapadmanabhan – Mridangam

Sowmiya Narayanan – Ghatam

Concert Review

Concert by Anahita & Apoorva Ravindran

By Dinakar Subramanian

Sruti joined forces with the Philadelphia Ganesh Festival again this year and presented a scintillating sister duo vocal concert through Anahita and Apoorva. This was held at the Bharatiya temple in Montgomeryville, Pa. Sruti Sarathy on the violin, Akshay Anantapadmanabhan on the mridangam and Sowmiya Narayanan on the ghatam were the accompanists. People streamed in after the devotional activities earlier to get ready for a musical evening.It being the Ganesh festival, as expected the vocalists started the concert with the Nattai kriti by Muthuswami Dikshitar – mahAgaNapatim manasA smarAmi. Oothukaadu Venkata Subbaiyer’s swAgatham kRSNa in Mohanam in Tisra nadai Adi talam gave the concert a nice oomph with its lilting pace. Shyama Sastri’s Punnagavarali kriti kanakashaila vihAriNi provided a pensive change to the previous lilt.

After some audio adjustments, Apoorva started a lovely exposition of Pantuvarali and as a nice change handed it over to Sruti, the violinist who just exploded with some absolutely mind-blowing sancharas. Pantuvarali as a ragam, lends itself to a lot of dhatu prayogams and Sruti showed her mastery of the ragam and the instrument. Her alapana had touches of the Parur school though her training was not in that school which I found quite fascinating. Her alapana had such a fresh approach which really impacted the audience that they broke into a spontaneous applause after her alapana. Anahita took over after the violin and explored much of the tAra sthAyi passages of the raga and delivered some scintillating brigas. It seemed she would enter the world of graha bedham with her notes but she didn’t.

Thyagaraja’s Kovur pancharatna kriti SambhO mahA dEva was the kriti rendered. Neraval was at Shambo Mahadeva as opposed to the variation of the start of the caranam – parama dayA-kara mRga dhara. Anahita, Apoorva and Sruti exchanged some tight and fast paced neraval phrases and kalpanaswarams. I felt that the whole audience was taken on an exhilarating, heart-racing and wonderful journey in this phase of the exposition. To me, it showed their vidwat, depth and control over the whole concert. This was clearly the high point of the concert in my opinion.

Akshay’s tani followed with great dexterity joined by Sowmiya Narayanan’s ghatam. Akshay was on pace for every kriti and showed his skill throughout the concert. Taking into account the concert was part of a devotional festival, Anahita and Apoorva then delivered several lilting bhajans including rAma bhajan karo in raga Jog which had some lovely interludes by Sruti. An brisk abhang maazey pandari was a palpable crowd pleaser. Mirabai’s payOji mainey and Surdas’s hE gOvinda hE gOpala rounded out the list of bhajans.

An icing on the concert cake was a beautiful rendering of Chitravina Ravikiran’s (their guru) composition pAvana sumanESa ranjana in sumanesaranjani – a lilting pentatonic janya raga of the 56th melakarta – Shanmukhapriya. Swati Tirunal’s ever popular Dhanashri thillana completed the very satisfying concert. The audience left with a sense of surfeit from the music.

Dinakar Subramanian is a long-time resident of the Philadelphia area, an avid rasika and musician and has served in various capacities on the SRUTI Board.