‘Raga Sisters’ set new benchmark for Carnatic Music

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Meenakshi (Meena) Iyer

Music is all about transporting people, speaking a language which languages fail to express, Lata Mangeshkar, the famous playback singer has said.

The RAGA Concert by popular sisters Ranjani and Gayatri was a memorable concert presented on the last day of the Sangeethothsavam by the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society (NZCMS).

It was truly a fitting finale to the music lovers of Auckland.

The Programme began with a welcome speech by Priya Vijay setting the tone for the evening’s grand concert. The concert in every sense was a fusion of devotion, melody, and innovation.

Versatile and Professionalism

Ranjani and Gayatri with their versatility and professionalism kept the audience spell bound for 31/2 hours and left the audience completely mesmerised with their pristine music and charming disposition.

Their wide repertoire filled with mind boggling creativity was indeed a musical treat to the lovers of Carnatic music.

They started with the composition of  Dikshitar’s ‘Ramachandra Bhavayami’ in Vasantha Ragam followed by ‘Dayamado Ranga’ of Purandara Dasa in Rithigowla.

Their uncanny ability to connect to the audience was portrayed visibly in ‘Sitapathi’ of Thyagaraja Kriti in Khamas Raag.

Ranjani and Gayatri’s passion was displayed in every gem of rare compositions, be it Mukhari Ragam or Ragamalika which was a combination of Shubhapanthuvarali or Jog Brindavani filled with swara Alpana and eloquent interpretations of various Ragas.

Strong form of emotion

Music is the strongest form of emotion and the two sisters bought forth the feelings through powerful lyrics by rendering songs in different languages with ease and comfort.

No wonder they are among the most popular singers in India.

‘Eppadipadinaro’ and ‘Eppovarovaro,’ the two famous songs laden with lyrics of lofty wisdom and philosophy still echo in our minds and hearts.

Meera Bhajan ‘Paga Ghungaru Bandhe’ in Shuddha Sarang, created an atmosphere of devotion in the packed auditorium and the climax of divinity in the well-presented ‘Kavadi Sindhu.’ ‘Abhang, Bhola  Ba Vithala’ was very well received by the music enthusiasts.

The accompanying artists deserve applause for their brilliant performance. Vidwan KV Prasad is acknowledged as a front ranking mridangam artist. His expertise and deep knowledge of rhythm was beautifully exhibited in the Thani Avartanam.

Vidwan Vittala Rangan a promising young violinist was a great asset to the evening concert. Since the sisters are violinists themselves, they could appreciate his virtuosity.

On the whole it was a soul stirring music concert and far above entertainment or should we say a Programme of enlightenment.

The Programme was aptly concluded by Malathi Vasudevan who complimented the artistes for their excellent performance and vote of thanks by Ravi Nagraj.

A tribute to the RAGA sisters with this small Acronym:

R-Resplendent with Resonating voice

A-Aesthetic dress code with Appealing music sense

G-Gorgeous and Grandeur personified

A-Authenticity of all renditions and Accolades!

Meenakshi Iyer (Meena Venki) is a teacher, with unquenchable interest in the performing of arts of India and reviews music, dance and other programmes of the Indian community. She lives with her husband in Auckland.

Our Reporter adds:

Malladi Brothers

Concert held on Saturday, June 1, 2019

Sreerama Prasad and Ravi Kumar are known for powerful rendition of Ragas, a quality that they inherited from their grandfather, the Late Malladi Ramamurthy and their father Malladi Suri Babu, who belong to a family of musicians in Andhra Pradesh.

Advanced  training from Nedunuri Krishna Murthy, an exponent in Carnatic Music, helped them to hone their innovative skills and the pedagogy of Dr Sripada Pinakapani boosted their professional standards.

They are recipients of several awards including those given by ‘All India Radio,’ ‘Sri Voleti Venkateswarulu Award’ by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and the ‘Best Concert Award’ from the Chennai Music Academy.

Sriranjani Santhanagopalan

Concert held on Sunday, June 2, 2019

An energetic and versatile performer, Sriranjani Santhanagopalan is the daughter and disciple of R Santhanagopalan, one of the most prominent singers of the contemporary era. Growing up to the music of stalwarts such as Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasan and Ramnad Krishnan, her ability to raise to high levels of Carnatic Music has been proved at several concerts worldwide.


Photo Caption:

  1. Ranjani and Gayatri at the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society Sangeethothsavam on June 1, 2019
  2. Malladi Brothers at the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society Sangeethothsavam on June 1, 2019
  3. Sriranjani Santhanagopalan at the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society Sangeethothsavam on June 2, 2019

(Pictures Supplied)


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