The Indian Fine Arts Academy, San Diego has been doing a wonderful job of getting some of the best artistes from India to perform here. My first year here, and I thoroughly enjoyed it- felt like home away from home.
The highlights this time were M.S.Gopalakrishnan and Dr.M.Narmada - violin duet, S.Sowmya and Sudha Raghunathan - vocal solo concerts and Ravikiran and Irshad Khan with a jugalbandhi. While they were all fantastic, some particular pieces deserve a special mention in my opinion.
While Narmada's purvikalyani was outstanding, Irshad Khan played a beautiful solo in Rakeshri- one of his own compositions. I loved the choice of raag! The jugalbandhi defied tradition and they chose the unconventional Kharaharapriya/ Kaafi thaat. Needless to say, absolutely brilliant performance (although I wish Irshad Khan rested his hands for a bit more, allowing the others to play :) )
What I liked best about Sowmya was the piece in Varali (Ka va va)- although not a favourite for me, I loved the way she handled it. The swarams were so intelligently structured, alternating between different gathis/ nadais.
The grand finale was Sudha Raghunathan. I don't have to do more than just mention the name to convey anything about how the concert was. Perfect choice of songs/ ragas- most were favourites :) Maathe in Khamas, Shrichakraraja in Shivashakthi, elaboration of Shankarabharanam followed by Swararagasudha, innudayabarade, bhavayami gopalabalam and kurai ondrum illai were the highlights. The last two nearly moved me to tears and left me craving M.S.Subbulakshmi's voice (which I am listening to as I type this). Some songs are immortalized by some people and you don't want to hear them in anyone else's voice. Nevertheless, Sudha of course did an amazing job.
Sigh... all good things come to an end.