Sudha Raghunathan proved again her exalted position as a professional Carnatic musician with two sterling performances in New Zealand.
Melody and divine music ruled the two evenings in Auckland (March 17) and Wellington (March 18).
The Auckland concert was organised by Rasikas NZ supported by Sangeetha Bharathi, while the Wellington based New Zealand Fine Arts Society hosted the Concert in Lower Hutt.
Visiting New Zealand after seven years, her Concert was marked as a ‘not to be missed’ opportunity by Carnatic music lovers. The Concert was sold out a week earlier but enthusiasts gathered the Raye Freedman Arts Centre lobby in Auckland hoping for at least a glimpse of their favourite singer.
Sudha packed a punch with a great repertoire starting with a well-known ‘Varnam’ (Ragam Hamsadwani), followed by ‘Siddhi Vinayakam’ of Sri Muthuswami Dikshithar.
She proved that she was the protégé of the late M L Vasanthakumari with exciting rendition of swaras with ‘Prasiddha Gana Nayakam.’
After a soothing ‘Lalitha’ (Nannu Brova), she surprised the audience with ‘Bhavayami Raghu Ramam,’ (a Swathi Tirunal’s composition made famous by the late Bharata Ratna M S Subbulakshmi).
‘Chakkani Raja ‘(Saint Thyagaraja) took centre stage and lifted the concert to a different plane. This set the tone for a “Ragam Talam Pallavi’ in ragas Mohanam, Kamavardhini and Anandabhairavi.
Sudha did not disappoint the audience as she rendered the usual well-loved songs including ‘Jagadho Dharana,’ ‘Vishamakaara Kannan,’ ‘Kaatriniley Varum Geetham’ and a Sai Bhajan.
Violinist B V Raghavendra Rao’s raga essays of ‘Lalitha’ and the main ‘Kharaharapriya’ were superlative. He supported the main artiste, well displaying his brilliance throughout the concert. Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan was spectacular on the Mridhangam with his solo performance.
Rasikas NZ honoured Sudha with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her contribution to Carnatic music.