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Updated: June 20, 2011 16:13 IST

Music sans barriers

G. S. Paul
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Sister Linnet Antony in concert in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb
The Hindu Sister Linnet Antony in concert in Thrissur. Photo: K.K. Najeeb

Sister Linnet Antony's sincere efforts in presenting a traditional Carnatic music recital were appreciated by rasikas in Thrissur.

Sister Linnet Antony, a member of the Society of Kristhudasis (SKD), recently gave a Carnatic music concert in Thrissur. The concert hogged much media attention not only because of the vocalist – she is the first nun to give a classical music recital in Kerala – but also on account of the secular appeal of the recital in respect of audience, compositions and also accompanists.

Linnet's zeal for music took her to Sri Rama Varma Government School of Music in Thrissur where she underwent a rigorous course for senior certificate in vocal music. Having completed it with flying colours she joined the undergraduate course of Madras University for which classes were held at Chetana Music College, Thrissur.

Linnet presented a two-hour concert at her alma mater. “It was the confidence gained through intensive training over the past seven years in succession that inspired me to give a recital,” said Linnet with a sense of pride.

New compositions in the typical classical format by Fr. Paul Poovathingal, Fr. Placid and Fr. Ignatius Chulliyil depicting Christian themes added a new dimension to the concert. She was accompanied by violinist Abdul Aziz, ghatam artiste Vellattanjur Sreejith, and mridangam artiste Thrissur Suresh .

Laudable indeed

That Linnet chose to stick to the conventional format of a concert was laudable. She opened with the Kederagaoula varnam in Adi, composed by Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya. Papanasam Sivan's popular composition in Sreeranjini and Adi, ‘Gajavadana,' was delectable. For the Mohanam number that followed, she impressed the audience with an elaboration of the raga that was in the right measure. She also tried sangatis and swaras obviously because of the simplicity of the pentatonic raga. The composition was ‘Yesunaamam, divya naamam,' composed by Fr. Poovathingal, her guru and Principal of Chetana College. ‘Udavi seyyalagada,' a Sahana composition of Mayuram Vedanayakam Pillai in Roopakam, and ‘Tillai Chidambaram,' a Poorvikalyani composition of Gopalakrishna Bharati in Misra chapu, provided variety of talas. Syama Sastri's Ritigoula received a neat alapana for ‘Ninuvina' in Roopakam.

For a novice like Linnet, it was commendable to select Sankarabharanam as the major raga for the evening. The composition was Syama Sastri's ‘Sarojadalanetri' in Adi. The alapana was noted for the sancharas in the upper sthayi, the notes of which were touched with remarkable softness. Even as the swaras were graceful, the niraval at ‘Samagana' were well thought out.

‘Amale Aambike,' in Shanmukhapriya and Adi, ‘Sreeyesunaamam' in Jonpuri and Adi, both compositions of Fr. Placid, were the other selections. She concluded the recital with a tillana in Madhyamavathy by Sadasiva Brahmedra. The rendition left much room for improvement as the verve characteristic of this form of composition was conspicuously lacking.

While the violin support was notable, that by the percussion side was dismal, especially since Sreejith had to leave midway through the concert due to some unexpected developments.

Sr. Linnet was groomed at Chetana by V.R. Dilipkumar, Nirmala Vamanan and Fr. Paul Poovathingal in vocal music, and by Sudha Marar on the violin.

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