The Bhairavi delineation by Kadri Gopalnath and Kanyakumari were soul-stirring.
Some artists find their style and move on with it, making little effort for further refinement, but all the time keeping their place. I found Kadri Gopalnath happily restless. Be it alapana, kriti rendering or swaraprastara, he is ever on edge, but precise and pointed, sharp and humorous. He was repetitively requesting or rather insisting that sound be reduced, perhaps realising that music is not just sound. And so, it was soft and sweet melody almost throughout. Over the years, he has tamed the brass instrument so much that it sings what his mind thinks.
Otherwise, how could he have produced such a soul-stirring Bhairavi? A 1,500 year-old raga came to life when he elaborated it to beautiful effect in all three sthayis. In the tara sthayi, when he gave the apt gamakas in the nishada, it was heavenly. It’s no exaggeration. Behind it is intense improvisation and rigorous practice. And, surrounding him that evening were brilliant, accomplished artists. A. Kanyakumari’s celestial Bhairavi had appealing brighas and sweet phrases. Dikshitar’s Balagopala’’ offered the artists ample scope for displaying their genius. In the anupallavi, ‘Neela Neerada’, Kadri’s sangatis were outstanding. The Saxophone’s exchanges with the violin in swaraprastara and Kadri’s rhythmic liaisons (or, were they entanglements?) with the mridangam were pure classic.
When all of them including the upa-pakkavadyams joined in the concluding korvai, the large audience warmly and spontaneously applauded the crescendo. The RTP in Revathi was the piece de resistance of the dazzling saxophonist that evening. Only a resourceful creator could craft such a magnificent musical phenomenon. The percussionists accompanied the tanam reminding one of the navaratri mandapam in Thiruvananthapuram. \
The pallavi in Chathusra Jati Triputa, ‘Varam Tharum Deivame’ had ragamalika swarams in Jog, Venkatadri (recently conceptualised by A. Kanyakumari) and Desh. The thani by B.Harikumar (mridangam), Vaikom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam) and B. Rajasekar (morsing) was enjoyably intricate with unpredictable rhythmic pharans.
In ‘Gnanavinayakane’ (Gambhiranattai), the swara exchanges were fantastic. In the Sri raga Pancharatnam of Tyagaraja, ‘Entharo,’ Kadri played the swaras while Kanyakumari, the sahitya.
Kadri could and did produce a wonderful ‘Bagayanayya’ (Chandrajyothi). Similarly, Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s Amrithavarshini piece, ‘Sudhamayi’ with its in-built chittaswaram came off beautifully well. No wonder he could retain the full house till the end.
A. Kanyakumari’s support in enriching the concert deserves mention. Her melodious violin rendering with its colourful notes and classical intensity has the vocal stamp. Kadri Gopalnath wound up his vibrant concert with ‘Oru Neramengilum’, on Guruvayurappan in Dwijavanti. His line-up included Purandaradasa’s ‘Innu Daya Barathe’ in Kalyanavasantham, ‘Hari Bhajan Bina,’ a Sai bhajan, ‘Karedare Barabarade’ on Swami Raghavendrar, ‘Kuraiyonrumillai,’ Thiruppugazh, ‘Mutthaittharu,’ ‘Harivarasanam’ and ‘Bhagyadalakshmi Baramma.’ What a wide repertoire he has!