Kudamaloor Janardanan breathed melody during his concert in Thiruvananthapuram.G. Jayakumar
Melody reigned supreme when Kudamaloor Janardanan breathed life into his bamboo flute during a well-attended concert at the Theerthapada Mandapam, Thiruvananthapuram. The occasion was the Swati Sangeetotsav organised as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of All India Radio.
Kudamaloor Janardanan, a self-taught flautist, opened his two-and-a-half hour flute recital with an Ada tala varnam ‘Chalamela,' composed by Swati Tirunal in Sankarabharanam. Lasting for about 20 minutes, the charana swarams at the end was reminiscent of western notes. It is believed that Swati Tirunal, known for his versatility, could have made use of the fine elements of Western music in this piece. The playing was also noted for excellent breath control and the ease with which the flautist scaled the different octaves.
In addition, an alert Kishore, who accompanied on the mridangam, and the rhythmic patterns created by him and tabla artiste Harikrishnamoorthy were enough for Kudamaloor Janardanan to take the composition to sublime heights.
Next to follow was a rare composition in Manirang. It was Swati Tirunal's ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabha Anujesha,' set to Adi tala. A short alapanam preceded the kriti. One of the best compositions in this raga, Kudamaloor Janardanan began by playing the base flute and gradually moved to the middle octave only to underscore that the ragabhava perfectly suits the flute.
Then came the Hindustani piece ‘Chaliye Kunjana' in Brindavan Saranga, in teen taal. Usually musicians sing or play this as a thukkada. According to Janardanan, Swati Tirunal had composed it as a dhrupad. Tabla was the only accompaniment for this piece.
The main piece of the evening was ‘Pari Pahimam Nruhare' in Mohanam set to Misra chappu talam. After a short ragalapana, he moved to the kriti, which stood out for his manodharma sangeetam. It was amazing the way he synchronised the Akashvani signature tune and snatches of popular music in between to convey the rich melody of the raga.
Vishnu Vijay who gave flute support proved his mettle as a talented flautist. He could sense the mood of Janardanan, his guru, beforehand and lay the right foundation. This was evident during the ragalapanam. The taniavarthanam that followed the kriti saw some fine exchanges between the mridangam and the tabla.
The last item of the day was ‘Madhava Lokananu' in Jaunpuri. Here, Janardanan imparted a folk touch to the composition which received a big applause from the audience.