Lalgudi Duo

Lalgudi Duo

by Shanta Sampath


Pallavi’s concert of Lalgudi duo Sri G.J.R Krishnan and Smt Vijayalakshmi on the Violins accompanied by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Prof Trichy Sankaran on Mridangam on 4th March 2018 was well received by a packed house in Redgum Centre.

It was a memorable concert and Sri Sankaran sir’s nadham was simply amazing. Sitting close to the stage, enabled to see his fingering beautifully dancing for each rhythm. After listening to his lecture demonstration on Friday, 2nd, I realised how difficult it is to bring out that kind of Nadham in Mridnagam accompanying varied musicians both vocal and instrumental of different styles. I am awed with the intricacies of playing this instrument.

Now coming to the violin duo the Lalgudi bani was well executed by the siblings and at the same time exhibiting their own bani very well. Excellent communication and understanding between them.

The concert started with a lovely Bouli Varnam of the great legend Late Sri Lalgudi Jayarman. This was followed by 2 Thyagarja Krithis “Ennadu Jutano” in Kalavathi and ever popular “Sogasujuda Tharama” in Kannada Gowla. The rare piece of Thygaraja “Naa Jeevadhara” in Bilahari was delightful. Next was the absolute blissful Mukhari “Entha Ninne”.

The phrase “Kannulara Sevinchi” was very divine but not elaborating with kalpana swarams was a slight disappointment. As an interlude to renditions of all Thyagaraja krithis, a composition of Koteswara Iyer in Rasigapriya was a delightful change. The main piece started with Natta Kurunji Alapanai which is a rarity and Smt Vijayalakhsmi excelled in it. The composition was “Manasu Visaya” another Thyagaraja krithi and never knew the Saint had composed in Natta Kurunji.

Even though it is an instrumental concert, similar to the legend, we could hear every lyric in each composition and this makes the concert doubly enjoyable. The thani Avarthanam by Sangidha Kalanathi Prof Sankaran was so different to many people I have heard it was so absorbing. I could recognise every rhythmic pattern produced by this master.

A very short rendition of Thyagraja Krithi “Nadhaloludai” in Kalyana Vasantham followed this. The ragam Dharmavathi was taken for RTP in Kanda Jathi Adi Thalam with Pallavi “Ummarul Thandhida Thamadhama” which Smt Vijayalkshmi did a short vocal rendition. RTP ended with a lovely ragamaligai swarams in 4 ragams. Towards the end, after hearing so many Thyagaraja krithis it was a good change to hear Dikshitar krithi of “Annapoorne” in Sama and my ever favourite “Enna thavam” in Kapi which I heard for the first time played by the great legend. Before concluding with their guru’s Sindhu Bhairavi Thillana they played Eppo Varuvaro in Jonpuri and Ragamaligai Baro Krishayya. Though I have seen this duo earlier, this is the first time I had seen this close and I was so much reminded of my very first experience of hearing the great Legend and his sister, in the year 1957. Since then I have always loved Lalgudi Bani. This is very special indeed for Sydney Music lovers. More than 3 hours of concert was very satisfying. Thank you to Pallavi organisers Mohan Ayyar, V.V. Ramesh and Ramanath who always make sure the program is well organised and very punctual.