Nithyasree Mahadevan should work to smoothen the sharpness of her presentation.
Nithyasree Mahadevan's razor sharp vocals and her effortless forays are no longer a matter of marvel. It is time Nithyasree endeavoured to smoothen it and soften the delivery to suit her mature presentation as she did of the Behag alapana (RTP). The colourful Behag did make a lasting impression with her innovative and intelligent phrases in the madyama sthayi, with glides into tara and mandra regions here and there. The pallavi was set in Kanda Jathi Triputa as ‘Ananda Thandavam Kandal' carried enough dynamism in Nithyasree's style.
Kharaharapriya, sung earlier in detail, was replete with her trademark penetrating overtures of higher octave sancharas. Tyagaraja's ‘Rama Neeyeda' and the swara slices that centred on dhaivatam were sumptuous.
Dhanyasi and Syama Sastri's ‘Meenalochana,' were dealt remarkably with the brief raga alapana, but she became a bit overzealous in her niraval in ‘Saamaja Gamana' with swara trails landing on dhaivatam.
‘Bhajana Seya' in Atana had Nithyasree smartly weaving swaras ending with ‘Sa da' on the pallavi line. Eclectic selections such as her favourite ‘Endarikku Siva Krupai' in Mukhari (Neelakanta Sivan) and ‘Durgadevi' in Navarasakannada (Muthiah Bhagavatar), maintained the pace of the concert.
M.A. Krishnaswamy on the violin faithfully followed the elements of Nithyasree's raga exposition and swarakalpana patterns. His Dhanyasi response was a notch above the vocalist due to the extra touch of melody. Neyveli Skandasubramaniam's beats came as sharp as Nithyasree's voice, which was further whetted by A.S. Krishnan's morsing.
Onslaught of swaras
Inspired by the guru, imbuing the specialities and evolving a style of one's own should be the mission of a smart disciple and not just to be an imitator. Madurai TNS Krishna falls into the latter category. Krishna seems to be influenced by his guide and father in every aspect.
With a flexible voice, Krishna should have opted for a better plan. His selection of pieces was good. He opened the concert with ‘Surutti' varnam but added an extra baggage of swaras.
In ‘Vallaba Nayakasya' (Begada), Krishna again indulged in swara appendages. Shanmukhapriya alapana sounded like a collage of aggressive akaras, connected by a few traditional phrases and fewer stirring karvais. ‘Mariveradikkevarayya' of Patnam Subramania Iyer was rendered at an intense pitch. The niraval on ‘Sannuthanga Sri Venkatesa' once again was an onslaught of swaras.
Luckily Dikshitar's ‘Kamalambamsam' in Anandabhairavi was spared the threat of swaras. Kalyani raga dissertation was more an unkind dissection of the raga. But, a raga such as Kalyani cannot be messed up that easily because of its inherent power and charm. Tyagaraja's ‘Ethavunara' with niraval and swaras again, was a marathon.
It is unfortunate that Krishna feels that the best way to impress the rasikas is to go for an overkill of swaras and boisterous vocal trips. But the dwindling number of listeners with each song, conveyed something else.
Violin maestro M. Chandrasekaran was constantly reeling out his blatant appreciation of the vocalist with “Bale,” “Sabash” and “Aha.” However, he was quite cool in his responses. Trichur C. Narendran (mridangam) and Trivandrum D. Rajagopal (ganjira) maintained their postures with dignity.