Kala Prashala, a division of SciArt Services, recently hosted an online concert of the Rangan brothers — Raghuveer and Narayan — students of veteran musician O.S. Thiagarajan. The one-hour thematic concert titled ‘Sri Padmanabham,’ included six kritis of Maharaja Swati Tirunal. And the brothers judiciously provided time for the songs, based on their complexity, content and merit.
Raghuveer and Narayan have similar vocal prowess and their duet, therefore, sounds perfect in unison. The duo began the recital with the Asaveri kriti ‘Palaya madhavamam anisham’. The extended swara exchange in keezh and mel kalams added value to the slow, soft and steady presentation. The brothers next took up Ritigowla, a raga of supreme melodic charm. Though brief, the contours were well defined and the choice of the kriti was the popular ‘Paripalayamam’. Quick came ‘Bogindra sayeenam’ in the lilting Kuntalavarali, followed by the main raga Saveri.
All raga essays were shared by the brothers like swara exchanges — one took it to a particular point and allowed the other to extend it further and reach the upper register sancharas and bring it to the finale. Their comprehension of the depth and range of a raga was evident and both diligently spread it out to present a comprehensive portrait of Saveri. ‘Devi pravane,’ one of the nine popular Navaratri krits of Swati Tirunal, was their choice here. No doubt the kriti demanded a lot of concentration both in terms of rendition and perfect enunciation. The charanam line ‘Soma bimba madahara sumukhi bakta jana kile’ was taken up for niraval and swaraprastara. It was an engaging exercise with brisk swara sallies and the duo rounded it off with the popular landing on ‘srgsr pdnpd’. The closing pieces were ‘Taruni gnan yendu’ in Dwijavanti and ‘Baja baja manasa’ in Sindhubhairavi.
Nevertheless, a few words of concern to the aspiring vocalists.
While their voices blend well, the integration falters in some places. Better practice and effective planning as to where one should stop and the other proceed will help them present a wholesome concert. Also, in raga treatises, developing a raga may be a methodical exercise, nevertheless a grip over adding karvais and delivering brigas at appropriate places will not only highlight the beauty of the raga but bring the expertise of the musicians to the fore. The siblings should work more on this aspect too.
The Chennai-based author writes on music and culture.