A festival held to celebrate Swati Tirunal unearthed some of the composer's rare kritis.
The purpose of organising music festivals dedicated to a particular vaggeyakara is to unearth rare kritis and present it to the public so as to make it popular. A three-day music festival organised by Nadopasana, Irinjalakuda, was worthy and fruitful as it served the purpose of popularising Swati compositions.
Young and vibrant Ramakrishnamoorthy sang on the first day and with the opening number itself – ‘Sumasaayaka,' which was sung in a good kaalapramanam – he stole the hearts of the audience. Next was the rarely heard ‘Paalayamadhava' in Asaaveri, which was followed by a short Begada alapana and kriti ‘Karunaakara.' Sudhadhanyasi was taken for a detailed alapana. The kriti was ‘Saamodam Chinthayaami.' ‘Bhogeendra saayinam' (Kunthalavaraali) served as a fitting interlude before the thodi alapana that was well executed.
‘Bharathymaamava,' a Navarathri kriti was well delineated with its characteristic jathi patterns. With utmost devotion and passion he sang the niraval at ‘Daasa bhoothajana vidya daanalole' and followed it by manodharma swaras. Viju S. Anand accompanied the vocalist brilliantly and portrayed Sudhadhanyasi and Thodi neatly. Palladam Ravi (mridangam) and Kottayam Unnikrishnan (ghatam) handled the rhythm department. They performed a spirited tani. ‘Smarajanaka' (Behag) and ‘Panimathi' (Aahiri) were the concluding pieces of the concert.
Bhavyalakshmi chose to sing a varnam in Sarasaangi and ‘Sree Mahaganapathe' (Gambeeranatta), both composed by her mentor and violinist C. Rajendran, on the second day. She presented ‘Vinuthapaalini' (Sivasakthi) and ‘Atukaradani' (Manoranjini) next. ‘Subhapanthuvaraali' was taken for a vast delineation before the kriti ‘Ennalu urake.' Bhavyalakshmi could have avoided singing ‘Vagadeeswari' immediately, as it is another raga that creates a feeling of pathos, and thus the concert's balance could have been maintained. Also, considering the occasion, she could have included some Swati compositions. Jayaprakash Gopalan (violin) C. Krishnachandran (mridangam) and Parur Gopakumar (morsing) provided excellent support. The concert was followed by a Mohiniyattom recital by Uvika Aravind (Mumbai), who presented ‘Omanathingal Kidavo.'
The final day witnessed a recital by V.R. Dileepkumar, which was a class apart. His sincerity, his strict adherence to sampradaya, and the rich dividend he has reaped for his relentless practice during his formative years were evident throughout the concert. After the initial ‘Bhavaye Gopabaalam' (Pushpalathika) and ‘Vandesadaa Padmanabham' (Navarasakannada), raga Neelambari was taken for a fine, soothing alapana. The majestic, slow tempo ‘Aanandavalli' was sung with attention to diction. Dileep sang the second charanam ‘Saaradendu' also. ‘Paramapurusham' (Lalitha Panchamam) was followed by a systematic alapaana of Ramapriya.
The rarely heard kriti ‘Saamodam paripaalaya' was neatly sung with manodharma swaras.
‘Ahahanaivajaane' (Amritavarshini) acted as a prelude to a serene Naattakurinji, which was explored and expounded in all its hues and colours. A Navaratri kriti ‘Paahijanani' was sung at a leisurely pace with all its grandeur after singing the tanam in traditional way.
T.H. Subramaniam on the violin gave tremendous support and elevated the standard of the concert. His bowing of Neelambari and Naattakkurinji are worth mentioning. Mahesh Kumar (mridangam) and Manjoor Unnikrishnan (ghatam) presented an electrifying thani. ‘Chaliyekunjaname' (Brindavana saranga) and ‘Jalajabandu' (Surutti) constituted the final phase of the concert. Sangeetharadhana by music students were also conducted as part of the festival.