Sharada Cultural Trust's musical fest started with fine performances by T. N. Seshagopalan and N. Vijay Sai.Mukundhan Sampath

Madurai T. N. Seshagopalan is an artiste par excellence. Endowed with a rich baritone, creativity and vast repertoire, Seshagopalan stands tall in the Carnatic concert stage; but on Monday last, Seshagopalan was not at his best due to a sore throat.

His celebrated voice simply would not heed to his machinations and many a time took off tangentially from aligning perfectly to the sruthi. It was a good turnout for the inaugural concert of Sharada Cultural Trust's Annual festival at Keyes High School and many returned disappointed.

TNS started off with the lovely Natakurunji Varnam of Mulaivittu Rangasami Nattuvanaar, Chalamela. The next song was Parabrahma Swaroopame in Gowlipanthu for which Seshagopalan sang long swaras. Chandram Bhaja in Asaveri, the Navagraha Krithi of Muthuswami Dikshitar which came next was preceded by a small vrutham. Seshagopalan took up Kumudakriya for a detailed elaboration. He sang Ardhanareeshwaram with great feeling. The beautiful Ranganayakam in Nayaki came next.

Begada, a favourite of Seshagopalan followed for the krithi Tanavaritanamu and superfast trademark swaras.

Todi was the centre piece of the concert. Seshagopalan gave it a detailed treatment despite his strained voice to present a scholarly and complete picture. Delhi P Sundararajan on the violin matched the tempo all throughout and especially so in the alapana.

Yemani Matladithivo, a rare krithi of Thyagaraja was sung in his distinctive style and embellished with fitting neraval and kalpana swaras. The Tani by Mannarkoil Balaji on the mirdangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the kanjira was sprightly.

The concert ended with Ivan Yaro in Kamboji and a tillana.

N. Vijay Siva who sang the next day kicked off with Janakiramana in Suddha Seemanthini in an unhurried tempo that characterised the whole concert. He was accompanied by the same team that accompanied Seshagopalan. In complete ease right from the start, Vijay Siva understood what the audience expected of him and delivered it in full measure. Complete alignment to sruthi and non-negotiable diction are Vijay Siva's strong points. He delivers all this in such complete bhakthi that the output touches the audience.

The ever youthful, Begada flowed out next for Kadai Kannvaithu. Vijay picked Varali as the first raga for detailed alapana. The raga lent itself beautifully to Vijay's style and school. He sang Aadiya Paadame Gathi in Varali with great feeling. A quick filler, Tholinenu Jesina followed.

A full and competent exposition of Devamanohari came next. The brisk krithi of Thyagaraja, Kulabirudunu was sung in this raga followed by a slow filler — Syama Sastri's Mayamma in Ahiri.

Shankarabharanam was the main raga, in which Vijay touched all the traditional and popular phrases to please the audience.

The magnificent piece, Shankaracharyam was presented with great care. Special mention must be made of the chaukakaala pidis in the neraval in Paramagyana Lathavalam and the kalpana swaras. The tani that followed kept up with the overall mood and tempo. Bhaje Sharadamba, Thammaye Pugazhndhu, Vittala, Tillana and a Thirupugazh brought the pleasant kutcheri to a very devotional closure.