Neyveli Santhanagopalan infused more bhakti and sukhanubhavam in his music.

The concert under question was Neyveli Santhanagopalan’s 16 season with some more to go into January and this made me apprehensive. It was with some preconceived notion did I venture it. On the contrary, Neyveli R. Santhanagopalan, belying all this, got off to a boisterous start in his concert with his Atana varnam further extended by kalpanaswaras. The energy was as though he was singing his season’s opener.

‘Rama Neepai’ (Kedaram-Adi-Tyagaraja) helped him warm up to go main stream.

Kalyani’s resplendent colours were showcased well in his six-minute alapana that included phrases where he traversed octaves with ease.

M. Narmadha (violin) proved that she is the chip of the old block with a clean bowing technique.

‘Kanindharul Purindaal’ (Adi-Tisra nadai) saw him on a research mode of Kalyani during the niraval and swara segments when shades of the mathematician in Neyveli emanated now and then. Over the years Santhanagopalan has changed his outlook and has found solace in infusing more bhakti and sukhanubhavam in his music and the Ritigowla alapana was proof enough. Neyveli allowed his manodharma to take off and the result was a soul stirring smooth flow of the raga, a memorable one too.

M. Narmadha took over from where Santhanagopalan left.

She maintained the same tenor; so much so, the rasika was never disturbed in his meditative mood. What more can one ask for when the kriti selected was Tyagaraja’s gem ‘Dhwaitamu Sukama.’

A special mention must be made of the unobtrusive playing of Umayalpuram Mali. His simple and straight forward nadais helped Neyveli in his efforts.

A.S. Shankar (ghatam) kept pace with him. Neyveli’s swaras were styled on symmetric patterns brimming with the content of the raga. Boredom never set in, despite the fact that the kalapanaswara were on for about 12 minutes. The thani that followed again was a calm affair but yet effective. Neyveli then forayed into Devagandhari.

Spontaneity ruled the roost in his sketch. The raga’s inherent emotional content was neatly showcased and same was the case in tanam too.

The pallavi set in tisra jati Jampa-Khanda nadai ‘Devagandhara Raga Thoshini-Veena Gana Vinodhini’ was presented with all parameters intact. The swaras included a garland of ragas such as Darbari, Nilambari and Ranjani.

A thillana in Purvi and a Tiruppugazh were the concluding pieces.