Sumithra Vasudev

I have heard Sumithra Vasudev in snatches, a few recordings here and there. A kriti, an alapana somewhere and so on. This year, I was determined to attend a full concert of hers. I got the opportunity to do so at Music Academy. My misfortune that her voice was under the weather that day. Maybe because of that, the well-known list of compostions she had lined-up for that day didn't shine through.

But she made up for that with her manodharmam. Starting off with MohanamVarnam, she followed it up with Shri Thyagaraja'sEnthaninnein Mukhari with Neraval and KalpanaSwarams in the charanam line of 'KanularaSevinchi'. Then cameMuthuswamiDikshitar's beautiful poetry in Narayana Gaulai 'Sri Ramam'.

Where she came into her own was Saveri Raga Alapana for SyamaShastri'sDurusuga. The alapana was extensive and sparkled with some known phrases and some new ones which slipped in unobtrusively. Neraval and swaram at ParamaPavani was brilliant. Neraval singing is clearly her forte and the anupallavi set in the madhyamasthayi was the perfect spot to sing it on that day.Shertalai R Anantha Krishnan on the mridangam did a fabulous job on the mridangam and played a good thani with Payyanur T. Govinda Prasad on Morsing

A brisk 'Kanden Seethaiyai' of Arunachala Kavi in the original Vasantha was lovely with the other charanam of 'KaaviVizhigalil' The RTP in Nattaikurinji set to KhandaTriputaThalam in MisraNadai for the line 'DasaratheKaruna-Payonidhi Mam Pahi' was the show-stealer. A grand ragam and effective thanam set the stage.The 'chowka' pallavi was beautifully handled even in the trikalam. There was no careful, measured singing at any point and that gave the whole vinyasam and trikalamcomponents a great flow. She then changed it to Chathusra Nadai-2 kalai and later 1-kalai which speeded up the whole proceeding. She included Ragamaligaswarams in Sriranjani and Hindolam. Nalina Mohan on the violin was adequate.

She wrapped it up with Viruttam in Sahana, Shanmukahapriya and SindhuBhairavi for Kula SekharaAzhwar's blissful verse 'AanadaSelvatthu' followed by Andal's 'AndruUlagamAlandaayadipotri' Sumithra's style of singing is less given to sentiment and more to technical expertise. A very good concert on the whole