The week-long national music festival organised by Palghat Fine Arts Society featured erudite performances.
The Fifth National Music Festival conducted by Palghat Fine Arts Society was a success, as all the artistes featured as part of the festival performed their best.
On the opening day, violinists Mysore Nagaraj and Mysore Manjunath regaled listeners with a marvellous performance. The Nattakurinji raga varnam ‘Chalame’ followed by Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Pranamaamyaham’ in Gowla, both presented with elegance, led to a scintillating alapana of Poorvikalyani. The niraval and swaraprastharas in the Dikshitar kriti ‘Meenakshimemudam’ were awesome. All the possible sangathis in raga delineation were explored during the captivating alapana and tanam in Mohanam. Their total command over the instrument was visible in their superb techniques in fingering and bowing. Ragamalika swaras in Charukesi, Reethigowla, Hameer Kalyani and Sindhubairavi in the pallavi created a lovely garland of notes. Mridangam maestro Umayalpuram Sivaraman mesmerised the listeners with his brilliant display. His accompaniment was a major factor for the success of the concert. Guruprasanna, on the ganjira, rose to the occasion with his able support.
Expressive rendering and technical perfection marked Ranganatha Sharma’s vocal recital on the following day. Endowed with a booming metallic voice, he has carved out a niche as a vocalist. The varnam ‘Vanajakshi’ in Reethigowla was indicative of the rich fare to follow. Pleasing renditions of Dikshitar’s ‘Lambodaraaya Namasthe’ in Varali and Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Saaradhe Veena’ in Devagaandhari revealed his erudition and repertoire.
His alapana of the rare raga Sucharitra and the vivid portrayal of Koteeswara Iyer’s ‘Velum Mayilume’, appended with energetic swaraprastharas, were impressive. The highlight of the concert was the comprehensive treatment of Thodi and masterly rendition of Oothukkadu Venakatakavi’s beautiful creation – ‘Venugaana ramana’. Vivacious niraval and imaginative kalpana swaras followed.
Matching the vocalist in every phase of raga delineation and swara passages, violinist Charulatha Ramanujam extended meritorious support. Veteran Mannargudi Easwaran lived up to his stature as a seasoned mridangam artiste. His tani with B. Sundarkumar on the ganjira was laudable.
KOTTAKKAL NARAYANAN AND VENGERY NARAYANAN
Kottakkal Narayanan and Vengery Narayanan presented Kathakalippada kutcheri on the third day. They rendered a variety of choice padams with evocative bhava. The famous ‘Nalacharitham’ songs – ‘Kanden Nigude’ in Kamas, ‘Samyam Aganna’ in Pantuvarali, ‘Vasa Vasa’ in Kaapi and ‘Maanyamaadhe’ in Dhanyas were graceful. The elaboration of Kamboji, decorated with numerous sangatis, brought out the raga bhava succinctly.
It was followed by the song ‘Kandaal adhi modham’. Kottakkal Prasad (chenda), Kottakkal Ravi (madhalam) and Kottakkal Vijayaraghavan (edakka) teamed up well to provide percussion support.
Gifted with a mellifluous voice, Amritha Murali, a vocalist and violinist, showcased her proficiency in her impressive vocal recital on the fourth day. The selection of kritis and their sequence bore testimony to her ingeniousness.
Right from the Thodi raga varnam ‘Aeranapai’ till the mangalam, she could sustain a fine tempo. Her detectable renditions of Tygaraja’s ‘Vidulakum’ in Mayamalavagowla and ‘Manavyaalakim’ in Nalinakaanthi, Annaswamy Sastri's ‘Paramapaavani’ in Atana, and Dikshitar’s ‘Chetasri Balakrishnam’ in Dwijaawanthi revealed her good paataanthara.
She did full justice to Kharaharapriya, with a magnificent exposition of the raga. Tyagaraja’s ‘Pakkaala Nilapati’ was noted for the superb niraval and swaraprastharas. The RTP in Khamas was a skilful presentation. Trivandrum Sampath’s violin accompaniment was full of melodic nuances. While Palakkad Mahesh Kumar excelled on the mridangam, Perukavu Sudheer on the ghatam impressed with his subtle display. Together, they created a fine tani.
On the fifth day, Hindustani vocalist Sumitra Guha transported listeners to sublime delight with her divine music. She began with an elaborate khayal in Charukesi, marked by unique combination of akaaras and swaras. She presented two numbers in the raga.
The second raga Patdeep, interspersed with delectable sangatis, was marvellous and she presented her own composition ‘Ja Jaare Ghanshyam’ depicting Sringara Bhakthi. The way she traversed all the octaves was admirable. She concluded with two soulful bhajans of Meera and Kabir. Vijay Suzen (harmonium) and Anirudh Mukherjee (tabla) extended competent support.
Sikkil Gurucharan’s versatility and creative artistry came to the fore in his brilliant vocal recital on the penultimate day. The concert took off with the varnam ‘Vanajakshi’ in Kalyani, followed by Muthiah Bhagavathar’s ‘Ninnuneranamminaaarura’ in Devamanohari. The exquisite delineation of Dhanyasi and the bhava-laden portrayal of ‘Balakrishnam paadamalar’ of Papanasam Sivan projected the raga swaroopa in totality. The alapana of Bilahari was noted for its distinct flavour and classical texture. A vivacious niraval and swara patterns in the kriti ‘Srichamundeswari’ won accolades. The RTP in Varaali revealed Gurucharan’s rich manodharma; the pallavi was executed with remarkable skill.
M.A. Krishnaswamy showcased his mastery on the violin in his superb raga essays and swara passages. Senior mridangam artiste Srimushnam Raja Rao’s support was outstanding. With another veteran Tripunithura Radhakrishnan wielding the ghatam, their well-crafted tani was an exhilarating show.
Endowed with reverberating voices, the Malladi brothers Sreeram Prasad and Ravikumar presented an inspiring vocal recital, marked by perfect sruthi and right accent on sahitya, on the concluding day.
After the absorbing varnam Viriboni in Bhairavi and a brisk ‘Bhavanuta’ in Mohanam, they proceeded to a delightful alapana of Reethigowla. Vasudevachar’s ‘Mamahridaye’ was rich in soulful bhava.
The piece de resistance of the concert was a majestic elucidation of Kambhoji succeeded by a powerful presentation of ‘Sri Raghuvara’ of Tyagaraja. Sprightly niraval and catchy kalpana swaras enthralled the listeners.
Violinist M.A. Sunderaswaran’s bowing in the typical Parur style was marked by rich tonal melody. M.L.N. Raju on the mridangam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam received thunderous applause for their tani.
The concerts were held at Palghat Fine Arts Society’s auditorium at Tharekkad.
Keywords: Fifth National Music Festival, Palghat Fine Arts Society, vocal concert, Mysore brothers, Malladi brothers, Sikkil Gurucharan, Sumitra Guha, Amritha Murali, Kottakkal Narayanan, Vengery Narayanan, Ranganatha Sharma