The siblings deliver the tonal contrasts of their vocal duets to their violin performances too
Typically, it’s onerous to decide on between a violin duet and a vocal duel of the Akkarai Sisters, however on Monday, it was straightforward. Their violin live performance for MadRasana Digital Pageant 2020 was a veritable two-in-one during which they actually sang via their violins, usually dwelling it up in expressions and speeds that the conventional human voice might not simply capable of match.
A beautiful function of the Sisters’ vocal duets is the distinction within the timbre and tone of their voices and the dynamics that it creates. They convey the identical tonal distinction to their violin duets too. Whereas Subhalakshmi, the older of the 2, retains her mid-range on the violin, Sornalatha prefers the bass sound. So after they started the live performance with ‘Annaiye’, a Tamil composition by their grandfather Suchindram S.P. Sivasubramaniam in Amritavarshini, what stood out, together with the expressive starting in medium tempo, had been the sounds of their instrument. Quickly, they started cavorting in three speeds that led to a crescendo, co-created with the percussionists Sai Giridhar (mridangam) and S. Krishna (ghatam).
What adopted was a extra generally heard, ‘Shri Saraswathi Namosthuthe’ (Arabhi) by Muthuswami Dikshitar praising the virtues of goddess Saraswati. The engaging component of this rendition was the brisk alternation of sangathis and notes. Arabhi, that’s energetic even in any other case, sounded extra animated, but devotional. In each the songs, Subhalakshmi took the lead.
An upbeat temper in a live performance units the stage for somewhat introspection and soul-searching. And what higher raga than a stately Bhairavi? This time, it was Sornalatha’s flip. She was fastidiously truthful to the gamakas and variations that add to the may and fantastic thing about Bhairavi and its quintessentially Carnatic flavour. Her phrases painted the raga in all its majesty. Subhalakshmi joined her within the kriti, ‘Lalithe Sri Praviddhe’ by Tyagaraja. It was a nuanced and detailed rendition during which the dynamics they generated as they alternated phrases and notes had been a worth addition. One other instance of how orchestral work could make common compositions experientially totally different and extra vibrant.
The highpoint of the live performance was the Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP) in a rarely-heard Rishabhapriya. After a fast Nilambari (‘Brovavamma’ by Syama Sastri) to alter gears, the Sisters settled into the RTP. A 13-minute alapana could also be a luxurious within the shorter format, however Subhalakshmi, who took the result in painting the raga, introduced out its intriguing high quality. I’ve all the time discovered Rishabhapriya to be a bit arty and mental, most likely due to the even handed use of gamakas and the straighter sounding notes, however that was the essence of Subhalakshmi’s painstaking alapana. The pallavi was ‘Parama Siva Neelakanta Vaidyanatha Mampahi,’ composed by the sisters as a prayer to struggle the pandemic. The pallavi was adopted by a marathon ragamalika during which they offered 20-odd ragas in fast succession alternately on their violins. In direction of the top, the ragas modified in a flash — most likely in 5 notes or so — leaving the digital viewers with no time to guess. Nonetheless, many might establish ragas akin to Nattakurinji, Ranjani, Bahudari, Hemavathi, Poornachandrika, Nalinakanti, Saramathi, Sriranjani, Janaranjani, Valachi, Saranga, Kalavathi, Vasantha, Sri, Revathi, Sumanesa and so forth. They ended the live performance with a Lalgudi thillana in Sindhu Bhairavi.
In actual fact, it’s not tough to summarise the expertise of the live performance as a result of what was on show was depth of musical knowledge and mastery over the instrument. The double-bowing and lower bows that Subhalakshmi throws in jogs my memory of Western violinists and the understated (mathematical) improvisational prowess of Sornalatha harks again to seasoned musicians. The end result was orchestral precision.
The contribution of Sai Giridhar and S. Krishna on rhythms was immensely worthwhile too, as they performed to raise the central piece and keep a soothing laya. Giridhar added appreciable melodic magnificence by using a number of bass and gumkis. In actual fact, he was not accompanying them, however was in a dialog during which Krishna additionally seamlessly joined.
To summarise, a sprightly live performance with an awesome mixture of songs, languages and composers that confirmed how even a small ensemble can create an orchestral storm throughout the classical confines of Carnatic music. MadRasana’s manufacturing design created the correct aesthetic, whereas their prime class manufacturing values made the expertise actually immersive.