The Mahakumbhabhishekam festival at the Venkitachalapathy Temple in Palakkad was celebrated with a variety of classical concerts by stalwarts and up-and-coming musicians.

A month-long festival of dance and music was held at Venkitachalapathy Temple, Kumarapuram, Palakkad in connection with the Mahakumbhabhishekam celebration at the temple. The festival was a fine blend of performances by renowned as well as up-and-coming musicians.

Kanjhangad Sankaran Namboothiri's concert was mellifluous. The Carnatic vocalist was accompanied by Subbaraman (violin) and Mahesh Kumar (mridangam).

He wooed the audience with the Adi tala varnam piece ‘Neranammithi' in Kannada. His rendition of an alapana of Lalitha was scholarly. Then came Subhapanthuvarali and the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Ennaalluage.' ‘Ennaalluage' had a niraval at ‘Konnalu sakethapuravasa…' Clear diction and apt gamakas had the audience captivated during this piece. Mahesh Kumar brought the feel of this kriti alive on his mridangam. Namboothiri then took ‘Saragunapalimpa' in Kedaragowla for detailed exposition. It was laced with creative swarakalpana, which paved the way to a brilliant tani.

Sublime renditions

Cherthala K.N. Ranganatha Sharma's recital captured the attention of music buffs with his sublime renditions that adhered to tradition. Cherthala Sivakumar (violin), Kumarapuram Hariharalakshmanan (mridangam) and Deepu (ghatam) accompanied the vocalist. Gifted with a resonant voice, Sarma's concert was marked for his emphasis on clear diction. He began his concert with a composition by Lalgudi Jayaraman – ‘Neeve gatiyani' in Nalinakanthi (Adi tala). This was followed by Papanasam Sivan's ‘Thathvamariyatharama' in Reethigowla and the rarely heard Bhagavatar's ‘Saranam Vijayasaraswathimaye' in the raga Vijayasaraswathi. ‘Saranam…' had a scholarly swaraprasthara.

An alapana of Poorvikalyani, ‘Thillai Chidambaram,' was laced with brilliant manodharmaswara. Dikshithar's ‘Sreevenkatagireesamalokaye' breathed an air of bhakthi to the concert. A rendition of Tyagaraja's ‘Swararagasudharasa' had a well articulated niraval at ‘Mooladharaja…' This was followed by an impressive tani.

N.J. Nandini, a promising young artiste captivated the audience during her concert with her vocal range and aesthetic modulations that reminded the audience of her guru Bombay Jayasree. Thiruvizha Viju S. Anand (violin), A. Ganesan (mridangam) and Vivek (ghatam) accompanied Nandini.

She started the concert with ‘Vanajakshi' in Kalyani. Dikshitar's ‘Sreemahaganapathiravathuma' in Gowla came next. Pattanam's ‘Mariveredikkevarayya' in Shanmukhapriya was ornamented with fast paced niraval amd swarprasthara at ‘Sannuthangasree.'

A well-rendered ‘Sreerangappuravihara' and ‘Ninnujappakarana' were ensued by a neat portrayal of Kedaragowla. ‘Saragunapalimpa' was marked by clear sangathis. A complex ragam-tanam-pallavi in Bhairavi ‘Avan en sonthamadi, Govindanadi, Mukunthanadi' and a lively swarakalpana was followed by a superb tani.

Rajeswari Satish, a disciple of maestros M.A. Venugopal, C.S. Krishnayyar and P.S. Narayanaswami took the stage captivating connoisseurs with her pleasing stage presence and crystal-clear padanthara. Sampath (violin), Anilkumar (mridangam) and Dipu (ghatom) accompanied her. She began her concert with ‘Valachvachi' in Navaragamalikavarna that was sung in two speeds and followed by manodharmaswaras. Rajeswari dedicated the song ‘Tharumo nin karunakataksham' to Krishnayyar; a song that he himself composed in Saranga. A charming ‘Ninnenammithinayya' in Simhendramadhyamam was followed by the highlight of the evening, a sparkling Bhairavi. Dikshitar's ‘Balagopala' was ornamented with a niraval at ‘Neelaneeradasareera…' Cascading swarasanchara was followed by a brilliant tani.

In sync

A performance by flautist K.S. Gopalakrishnan with T.H. Subrahmaniam (violin), Surendran (mridangam) and Guruprasanna (ganjira) was memorable. Gopalakrishnan began the concert with an Adi tala varnam in Darbar ‘Chalamela.' Dikshitar's ‘Mahaganapathim' in Natta had dazzling swaraprasthara. The violinist who was in tune with the flautist added allure to the concert. A crisp rendition of ‘Nadathanumanisam' in Chithranjani was followed by a leisurely alapana of Hindolam, ‘Govardhanagiresam.' It was laced with scintillating swara passages.

The highlight of the concert was the luxurious treatment of Thodi. Short and crisp phrases and alternate playing between the flautist and violinist delighted the audience. A lively tani preceded a well-articulated niraval and swarasanchara. Gopalakrishnan wound up his concert with ‘Bhagyadalakshmi baramma' of Purantharadasa in Madhyamavathi.