While the veteran Parassala Ponnammal's dignified and classical rendering enthralled her listeners, the much younger Nisha Rajagopal's musicality impressed the audience

Two Carnatic music vocal recitals – one by a young promising artiste and the other by a veteran performer – enthralled listeners in the capital city with their individualistic but virtuoso performances. Though Nisha Rajagopal and Parassala Ponnamal belong to different generations, their dignified and pristine music helped them reach out to their listeners.

On the first day, Nisha Rajagopal, a young artiste from Chennai began her recital with the Sahana varnam ‘Karunimpa,' composed by Thiruvottiyur Thyagayyar. Building up the tempo, she chose ‘Shivalokanathani,' a Gopalakrishna Bharathi piece in Mayamalavagowla. Compositions in Manirangu are few, and ‘Jay jaya Padmanabha,' composed by the royal composer Swati Tirunal, was received with loud applause.

‘Parama Pavana Rama,' a composition in Poorvikalyani by Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar (Poochi), was essayed in such a way that it showcased the intrinsic beauty of the raga and the literary splendour of the sahitya.

‘Paramakripasagari,' a rare composition by G.N.Balasubramanium (GNB) in Yadukulakambhoji, preceded the magnum opus of the concert, Shyama Sastri's ‘Ninne Nammi Nanu' in Thodi. The ragalapana, niraval and kalpanaswara had the stamp of class. Thiruvananthapuram Sampath on the violin and Nanchil Arul on the mridangam played their roles admirably. Soothing to the ears were the Sama composition ‘Manasa Sanchare' by Sadasiva Brahmendrar and ‘Indudaya Bharathe' in Kalyanavasantham, composed by the sangita pitamaha Purandaradasa.

The Kamas Javali by Dharmapuri Subbarayar, ‘Narimani Nee,' was rendered beautifully followed by Tygaraja's ‘Ennaga Manasu' in Neelambari. Lalgudi's lilting thillana was the concluding item of a memorable concert.

Vintage rendering

On the second day, Parassala Ponnamal, the octogenarian singer, held the audience spellbound with her pristine and vintage style of rendition. It is a wonder to listen to her voice which is unaffected by age while her wide repertoire ensures that she has something new for every concert. She began her concert with the Muthaiah Bhagavathar composition ‘Shakthi Ganapathim' in Nata.

Chakravakam (known as Thoyavegavahini in the Asampoorna padhati), the 16th Melakartha raga, came next in the kriti ‘Sarojana bhadayarnava,' a Swati composition. The main piece was again a Swati composition – ‘Paripahi Mamayi' in Kalyani. The ragalapanam and its reproduction by Manjula Rajesh on the violin were absorbing. The niraval on ‘Sharana gatha' and the following manodharma swaras bore the signature of the doyen of Carnatic music. Mavelikara Rajesh on the mridangam played the the taniavarthanam. But for one, the remaining four compositions, all by Swati Tirunal, were in Malayalam.

The padams, ‘Kanthanodu Chennu' in Nilambari and ‘Aliveni' in Kurinji were remarkable for their bhava and clarity. ‘Kanakamaya maayeedum,' the Huseini raga piece from the Utsavaprabhandam, was followed by the concluding piece in Yadukulakambhoji, ‘Bhujagashayino.' Both the concerts were organised by the Department of Music, University of Kerala.