Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s mastery over tala came to the fore in his Kalyani exposition.
His talent and intelligence took precedence in the concert of Neyveli Santhanagopalan accompanied by Dr. Narmada on the violin, Arun Prakash on the mridangam and Purushothaman on the ganjira.
After the Ata tala varnam in Ritigowla, he moved on to Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s composition ‘Ganapathe’ in Janaranjani. ‘Ananda Natamaduvar’ in Purvikalyani had niraval and swaras for the madhyamakala passage ‘Paadimadhihothi’ in which there was quite a bit of playing around with the notes and tala, which was highly enjoyed by the accompanists.
In the short raga essay of Ravichandrika, Santhanagopalan seemed to demonstrate how it could easily become Nattakurinji. The chosen kriti was ‘Makelara’ of Tyagaraja with swaras for the pallavi where the ‘Ma’ of the song was used as swarakshara. Everywhere, be it alapana or kalpanaswaras, Narmada proved equal to the vocalist and there was good understanding between them.
After Purandaradasa’s ‘Narayana’ in Suddhadhanyasi came the main item Kalyani. The detailed elaboration of the raga without going beyond ‘Ni’ was interesting. Narmada’s essay was attractive. Santhanagopalan’s usual troublesome voice was at its best in the Dikshitar kriti ‘Bhajare Re Chitha.’ The niraval was taken up at ‘Devi Bheejodbhava’ moving seamlessly into swarakalpana. His mastery over tala was to the fore here, the three or four notes with ‘odukkal’ of tala often sounded rather clipped and staccato. At this point appeared the interesting thani by the percussionists, who had a lot of scope through out the concert. There was RTP after that, a really brief raga alapana of Kiravani preceded a fairly good tanam by both the main artist and the vilonist, the pallavi was ‘Gambhiravani Kirvanau’ set to Adi tala, two kalai.
After the detailed Kalyani, why was a RTP necessary? And there was nothing special about it. A soulful ‘Manasa Sancharare’ in Sama followed.