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By Ranjani and Gayatri
Saturday, September 24, 2022 | 4:30 PM
East High School
450 Ellis Ln,
West Chester, PA 19380
Carnatic Vocal Concert by Ranjani and Gayatri, accompanied by L Ramakrishnan on the Violin and N Manoj Siva on the Mridangam.
Please note: No video recording / streaming is available for this in-person concert.
Ranjani and Gayatri
“If music is not merely to be heard and comprehended but experienced in the rapturous dimensions of the listeners’ hearts, it was provided to the hilt by Ranjani and Gayatri. Their recital breathed the eternal fragrance and the perennial freshness of Carnatic music.”
……The Hindu, Chennai dated 2nd Jan 2004
Ranjani and Gayatri, sisters, are world-renowned musicians whose musical contributions include studio recordings, television, radio, concerts, festivals and lecture demonstrations. They have appeared as soloists, violin duos, accompanists, vocal duos, composers, educators and ambassadors of Indian Classical Music. As top class Carnatic classical musicians, Ranjani and Gayatri are conservators of their genre’s unique beauty and preserve ancient tradition as they continue to innovate within it.
Ranjani and Gayatri’s concerts take the listener into a world of color, beauty and transcendental bliss. Their music leaves a powerful impact on music aficionados and fans, inspiring many musicians to follow their style.
Hailing from a musical family, Ramakrishnan began his vocal training from his mother at the age of 2. He was trained in vocal music for 8 years before beginning his training in Carnatic Violin under the guidance of Smt. Visalam Vageeswar. Ramakrishnan performed his first solo concert at the age of 12 at Shanmukhananda, Mumbai.
He subsequently came under the wings of the distinguished violin maestro Kum A Kanyakumari. His other Gurus include Sri T.K. Govinda Rao, Smt. T.R. Balamani and Shri. B.Balasubramaniam.
N Manoj Siva
N. Manoj Siva a prime disciple of Sangitha Kalanidhi Sri Palghat Raghu is a top ranking Mridangist and Teacher par excellence. He had his initial training in Mridangam from Sangitha Kala Acharya Kumbakonam Sri Rajappa Iyer and has been in the profession for more than 25 years.
Known for his dexterous, soft and accommodative style he has accompanied a gamut of artists which include veterans Sri D.K. Jayaraman, Sri K.V. Narayanaswamy, Smt. D.K. Pattamal and today’s leading artistes. He has travelled all over India and Abroad participating in Prestigious Festivals.
Ranjani Gayatri Concert
By Rajee Padmanabhan
A Carnatic vocal concert by Vidushi Ranjani and Vidushi Gayatri with co-artists Vidwan L.Ramakrishnan and Vidwan Manoj Siva flagged off Sruti’s fall programming for 2022.
Mysore Vasudevachar’s Gambhirnattai krithi Girijaramana got the concert off to a brisk start. Rangapuravihara in Brindavanasaranga, clearly an audience favorite, was received with applause as soon as it started. The kriti was sung with the usual panache that has become the trademark of RaGa sisters. This rasika was certainly in a tiny minority who, having heard this kriti in their last concert for Sruti, wished another Dikshitar kriti would have taken its place. Vidushi Ranjani presented a sensitive Todi Raga Alapana, cleverly hinting at the kriti to follow. Vidwan L Ramakrishnan’s violin , with its remarkably smooth tone encapsulated Todi beautifully, eliciting appreciation from Vidushi Gayatri. Papanasam Sivan’s Tanikaivalar Saravanabhava in Khanda Chappu was the chosen kriti. During this kriti, there was an unfortunate audio glitch that caused an interruption, but the beautiful Neraval that followed compensated for the break in the flow. The charanam line “tuLLi viLaiyADi varum tOgai mayil mElE”, lends itself so well to Niraval with its imagery – literally meaning “Upon the peacock, playfully dancing with its fully spread plumage”. The Neraval had very interesting zigzagging patterns, especially in the faster speed, that musically painted the picture of the words to a T. Vidwan Manoj Siva’s excellent anticipation in the Niraval enhanced the experience.The kalpanaswarams in the faster speed were full of verve. Raga Ranjani was taken up for elaboration by Vidushi Gayatri. In Gayatri’s dulcet voice, this pleasing, asymmetric pentatonic raga was caressed and cajoled into a full shape. Ramakrishnan’s response was equally sweet and brimming with melody. Saint Tyagaraja’s masterpiece, “Durmarga charadhamulanu dora nivana jalara” was followed by a sprightly “Irabeku Haridasara Sanga” , a Purandaradasa pada in Bahudari raga.
The stage was set for the piece de resistance of the concert – a Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) that brought out the incredible imagination, mastery of technique and depth of artistry of these phenomenal musicians. The RTP was delineated in three ragas – Sri, Neelambari and Bindumalini- set to the tala Rendu Kalai Khanda Jhampa ((5+3)x2 = 16 beat cycle) in Tisra Nadai (3 units per beat). Sometimes there comes a time in a concert, the artists have entered into ‘Flow’ and drawn the audience along into that magical zone where there is total sync. In this concert, that point was during the alapana of the RTP, as Ranjani, Gayathri brilliantly and seamlessly transitioned from Sriragam to Neelambari to Bindumalini in the alapana with the full violin support of Ramakrishnan. Then there was no looking back. Tanam sparkled with alternating staccato and flowing, continuous phrases. Vidushi Gayatri explained the theme encoded in the Pallavi line as the concept of numbers – Ekakshari Sri Bhuvaneshwari (Sri) Padadvaya Prabhajale (Neelambari) Tripurasundari Mam Pahi (Bindumalini). After extensive Niraval for the Pallavi line, kalpanaswarams were done in each ragam with the take off point (eduppu) matching the point of the corresponding lyric in that raga. Vidwan Manoj Siva played a brilliant tani replete with tisra patterns. Executing flawlessly on such a complex RTP is the most formidable task an artist faces and this team of artists proved that they are on top of their game.
As a commemoration for the legend Vidwan T V Sankaranarayan, a signature piece of his bani, Eppo varuvaro was aptly chosen. A beautiful virutham, Thayirchiranda dayana thattuvane, in a ragamalika of Simhendramadhyamam, Malayamarutham and Jonpuri preceded the song with its inimitable sangathis.
Harismaranemado in a lilting Yamunakalyani came before their signature Abhang Pandaricha Bhooth Mote. Vidushi Ranjani and Vidushi Gayatri, being Mumbai natives, bring such authenticity to their Abhang renditions, from both enuniciation and presentation angles. Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar’s beautiful Paras Tillana, excellently supported by Manoj Siva, was the final piece to this three hour concert that elicited a prolonged standing ovation from a rapt audience of nearly six hundred people!
Rajee Padmanabhan is an ardent rasika and student of Carnatic Music. Rajee has been a long-standing member of Sruti and finds a true sense of community within the Sruti family.