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Hemavati with heart

Bombay Jayashri sings Dikshitar gems with all the scholarship Lalgudi Jayaraman has blessed her with

Dikshitar Kritis
Bombay Jayashri
Rs 45

Bombay Jayashri came to Chennai to learn from Lalgudi Jayaraman. Strict as he is known to be, Lalgudi Jayaraman groomed her to be a first class performer with a stage presence. She sings classical music with a flamboyance associated with films. At the same time each phrase is studied and rehearsed to perfection.

Her recent foray into films saw her singing under Ilaiyaraja's direction for Bharati. In this 1994 Sangeeta album re-issued by HMV, she elaborates two ragas. Side A is an essay in Bilahari (Sri Balasubramanya), with its heroic emphasis, while all of Side B presents Hemavati (Sri Kanthimathim) with its gentle pratimadhyamam and wistful antara gandhara.

The tape begins with the misra chapu kriti Sri Mahaganapthe in raga Gowlai. Sri Parthasarathi in raga Suddha Dhanyasi is a brief picture of the pentatonic raga from the Hanumatodi mela.

Raga Hemavati is the highlight of the tape. Slow, deliberate and less studied, Jayashri tries to capture the poignancy of the 58th melakarta raga. Embar S Kannan on the violin matches the singer's pace and flow.

Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan is a senior mridangist whose playing is thankfully devoid of flashy phrases. V Selva Ganesh on the kanjira adds resonance to the mridangam's ghumki, and matches it stroke for stroke effortlessly. This rapport lets the listener enjoy the whole recording without fretting about accompanists who outplay the main performer and interrupt their stream of thought.

A showcase of Jayashri's thorough classical grooming as well as four gems from the Dikshitar collection making for a wholesome listening experience.

S Suchitra Lata

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