Vamanan Namboodiri sang with placidity worthy of emulation.
A two-and-a-half-hour vocal recital by Vamanan Namboodiri in Thrissur left his audience in a state of mental repose. A senior musician of All India Radio, Vamanan’s métier seemed melody right from the first number, delivered in a soothing voice. The placidity with which he performed throughout appeared worthy of emulation. Further, his selections for the concerts highlighted his quest for classicism.
The opening number was GNB’s composition in Natta ‘Kari mukha varada’ in Adi. Swati’s ‘Maamavadasa varade’ in Nattakurinji and Roopakam was preceded by a short alapana. The syncopations at select junctures added to the beauty of the rendition. The rare raga Manoranjini seemed intricate to negotiate for the minute differences in swaras. But its melodic appeal coupled with a streamlined flow was endearing as Vamanan ventured into it. Of the three variants of Ranjini, Manoranjini is the janya of the fifth mela raga Manavati. Conspicuous is the omission of ‘ga’ in the arohanam. It is an upanga raga. The raga, though rarely attempted by musicians nowadays, became popular through the Tyagaraja composition ‘Atu kadara nibalka’ in Adi, perhaps the only one.
The concert gained in melodic niceties as it progressed. The raga that followed was very much quintessential of this trait. It was Neelambari, perhaps most befitting the ambience of serenity that Vamanan was trying to create. The Swati composition ‘Anandavalli’ in Adi received an elegant alapana. The slow tempo made the rendition more alluring. The Misra chap composition of Dikshitar in Saranga, ‘Sarangarajapriye’ followed next.
The concert also provided an opportunity for senior citizens to enjoy ‘Chinna nade na’ cheyambattithive’, a Tyagaraja composition usually presented by maestros of yore. The raga Kalanidhi itself is rare and a janya of Khararaharapriya. Energising was the fast number with its vakra swaras – sa re ga ma sa pa ma dha ni sa in the arohana and sa ni dha pa ma ga re sa in the avarohana.
The RTP in Todi received a scholarly elaboration of the raga with myriad shades of it coined impromptu. This was in sharp contrast of the raga singing in the previous numbers which indicated the musician’s sense of propriety. Moreover, it brought to light his technical virtuosity by braving the tala of a complex structure, Misra jati tripuda in tisra gati. Perhaps this number stole the whole show as the accompaniment artistes also rose to the occasion and supported the musician with gusto. The sahithya chosen for pallavi was ‘Nayakam, vinayakam, jananayakam, thadha bhajami’. The tani tagged to this piece was equally praiseworthy.
Purandaradasa’s ‘Jagadodharana’ and Swati’s ‘Nadasudhamayi’ were rendered at the end.
Edappally Ajith on the violin, Poongad Sanoj on the mridangam and Vellattanjur Sreejith on the ghatam contributed substantially to make it a memorable performance. The concert was staged under the aegis of Bharatham, Thrissur.