The rich tonal quality of the violin helped Naramda in presenting a memorable concert.

From an accompanying artist, M. Narmada has now graduated to presenting solo violin recitals. She has, however, the right credentials and therefore used her morning slot to claim the rightful place for the violin solo. She has the advantage of years of experience in accompanying her legendary father and guru M.S. Gopalakrishnan, as well as, several other vidwans and vidhushis from both North and South. This aspect clearly reflected in her easy-flowing alapanas and niravals. The additional point was the rich tonal quality of the violin that helped her in presenting a memorable concert.

Narmada opened her recital with the Saveri varnam ‘Sarasuda’ and followed it up with the Muthiah Bhagavatar’s kriti, ‘Gamganapathe’ in Hamsadhwani. The raga alapana for Hamsadhwani and the short swaraprastara for it were presented with felicitous flow.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Paramathmudu’ in raga Vagadeeswari was marked by piety and sobriety. (For those unfamiliar with the raga, she promptly made an announcement.) Narmada also revealed that she is a good singer, when she sang the pallavi line of Muthusami Dikshitar’s unusual kriti, ‘Paranthamavati Yuvati Parvati Paramesyuvati’, before playing it on the violin. Sung in praise of Thanjavur Brihannayaki, it has no Anupallavi, but has one Samashti Saranam. The name of the raga was Damavati.

The Thodi alapana was the highlight of the concert. Narmada invested all her prowess to present a complete picture of the majestically flowing raga. The detailed essay was so elaborate that it unveiled not only the violinist’s incredible mastery over the instrument, but also her imagination. The bowing technique of the Parur School was evident in every phrase. It was the Syama Sastri kriti, ‘Ninne Nammi Nanu’ that followed the alapana. The swara sallies involved all the three accompanying artists, mridangam, ghatam and morsing and Narmada gave equal role to each of them in rotation. The morsing artist, Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna, was a surprise introduction. The percussion trio, Shertalai Ananthakrishnan (mridangam), Udipi Balakrishnan (ghatam) and Bhagyalakshmi (morsing) contributed an engaging thani and each had the share of rasika’s appreciative applause, after the violinist’s rendition of niraval and swarakalpanas for ‘Kanchadalayadakshi Kamakshi.’

As a soft piece before RTP, Narmada played Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Mayilvahana Vallimanamohana’ in Mohanam. It was a lilting presentation. For ragam-tanam-pallavi, instruments like violin or veena has a special appeal. Khambodi was Narmada’s choice for the day and she had the pallavi lines, ‘Kamalasani Dukkasamharini Rajarajeswari’ in (Kanda Jati Triputa/Kanda Nadai). While the alapana served as a strong base, the tanam in violin was enchanting.

The final pieces were ‘Jagadodarana’ , ‘Adum Chidambaramo?’ (Behag) and ‘Pibarae Ramarasam.’ Narmada rendered the fast-paced ‘Tarana’ in Sindhubhairavi as a tribute to the violinist’s guru and his father Parur Sundaram Iyer. ‘Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma’ served as a fitting finale.

charukesiviswanathan@yahoo.co.in