Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s music has a continuing appeal, as was seen at his recent concert for Hamsavinodhini.

The audience had filled up the hall in spite of the IPL matches. And, as is his wont, Neyveli Santhanagoplan had applied thought in planning his cutcheri. In this, the spread and depth of his vidwat aided him enormously.

After a top-notch delineation of Subhapantuvarali, it was an pleasurable experience to listen to ‘Charana Kamalalayathai,’ a Tiruppugazh (Arunagirinathar). What a choice! Neraval was at ‘Aruna Dhala Padha Padhmam.’

Violinist Dr. M. Narmadha’s raga alapana took this raga to its aesthetic heights clothing it with vivid hues. Her jaru prayogas were arranged and re-arranged in a delightful manner.

In an review written a few years ago, this rasika had mentioned the word ‘swara-sowkhya-anubhavam’ to express the kaleidoscopic patterns of swaras that Santhanagoplan was able to weave. That applied to this concert too and to all ragas prior to and ensuing Subhapantuvarali -- Kalyani, Bangala and Natakapriya.

Santhanagopalan’s main raga that day was Natakapriya (‘Githa Vadya,’ Thanjavur Sankara Iyer). By laying the required stress on the daivatham (Natakapriya is only a subtle variant of Thodi), the alapana became a genuine effort to rekindle one’s sense and sensibilities towards this raga. The violinist, for her part, had a singular approach where the culminating points, time and again, established the special identity of this raga.

Santhanagopalan also sang ‘Eppadi Padinaro’ and prefaced it with a viruttam and began the song at ‘Apparum Sundararum.’

K. R. Ganesh (mridangam) and Srirangam Kannan (morsing) were their belligerent selves, and presented a thani that had many laya variations and combinations, and accompanied with minimal strokes.

Santhanagopalan signed off with the Syama Sastri kriti, ‘Karunajooda Ninnu,’ as this was the day on which Sastri’s jayanthi was being observed.

Kasthuri Kamala Deepthi sang earlier. Imaginative display was the main ingredient of her concert. For ‘Ninnunera Namminanura’ (Pantuvarali, Tyagaraja) the swaras were sung in an admirable manner at ‘Veda Sastra Purana.’ While elaborating Kanada (‘Sukhi Evvaro,’ Tyagarajar), Deepthi appeared a trifle breathless at times, but her presentation was full of conviction.

A true representative of the youth-at-the-helm, this up and coming artist wants to accomplish many things. Long korvais seemed to be one of these. In the bargain some swara sthanas appeared slightly off-key. She could not set herself to sing melkala neravals with a certain ease in their renderings. She included one more kriti of Tyagaraja (‘Vidajalathura,’ Janaranjani) and another of Annamacharya (‘Devadevam,’ Hindolam).

Vijay (violin) accompanied with a poise, though the top octave swaras did not fall favourably on one’s ears. Gururaghavendra (mridangam) played a restricted thani and accompanied with a sense of purpose for the songs.

(The two concerts were part of Hamsavinodhini’s Midsummer Music Festival, held at the Arkay Convention Centre.)

(sivakumar2004@gmail.com)