“The influence of her training under several gurus was evident, her style, a neat amalgam of several styles”
Nisha Rajagopal, the recipient of ‘The Hindu Saregama M.S. Subbulakshmi Award', presented a satisfying morning concert at The India Fine Arts Academy on Sunday. She was accompanied by Nishanth Chandran on the violin and B. Ganapathiraman on the mridangam. The well-balanced presentation was a testimony to her commitment to the core values of Carnatic music. Endowed with a sruti-aligned expressive voice-range traversing the octaves, Nisha used it to good effect to render gamaka rich phrasings with ease. The influence of her training under several gurus was also evident, her style, a neat amalgam of several styles.
She started the concert with a brief outline of Shuddha Dhanyasi that led to a brisk presentation of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bagavatar's varnam Sree raja matangi. Following the varnam, appropriately for the second day of the Margazhi month, she rendered Andal's Tiruppavai Vaiyattu vazhveergal in Gowla. The Ranjani alapana that followed stood out for the intricate detailing of the raga. She stuck to the phrases that showcased the fidelity of the raga, and the rendition gained more lustre and impact with sruti-aligned akara phrasings. The popular kriti Durmarga chara was sung evocatively and accentuated with kalpana swaras. A brisk Rama namamu in Atana, a kriti popularised by the late Madurai Somasundaram, was a prelude to the main piece of the concert.
Nisha chose Saveri as the main raga for elaboration. She presented a very commendable account of this beautiful raga, focussing on gamaka-oriented phrases with an emphasis on madhyamakala. The sancharas in the lower octaves were pleasing. Nishant Chandran responded in a commendable manner with his own version of Saveri. A chaste and sedate rendition of Shyama Shastri's kriti Durusuga krupajuchi followed with neraval and fluent kalapana swaras at narayani shyamakrishna vinuta. Given the time constraints for a morning concert, after a crisp tani avartanam by Ganapathiraman, Nisha concluded with a couple of miscellaneous pieces Baro krishnayya (Ragamalika) and Kaliyuga varadan (Brindavani).
A special mention should be given to Nishant Chandran for his violin support and his melodious alapanas. B. Ganapathiraman, probably the seasoned artiste performing with the youngsters on stage, provided unobtrusive percussive support for the concert and his accompaniment was stellar with excellent anticipation.
(Y. Chandramouli is a software engineer and music lover, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)