Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar created a serene mood.

Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar is a lucky artist. The daughter of Sikkil Neela handled a flute when she was just seven! She became part of the family of the legendary M.S. Subbulakshmi through marriage, and could learn many a nuance from MS. Naturally, this lent additional mileage to attain perfection in her musical career.

Little surprise, her flute concert for The Mylapore Fine Arts Club, was strikingly successful. She could create a refreshingly serene mood. Her account of Khambhodi was awesome. It reflected her clear perception of the stately raga. Dikshitar’s masterpiece, ‘Sri Subrahmanyaya Namasthe’ (Rupakam) came to life in all its grandeur. Once, Paramacharya clarified the import of the raga and meaning of this kriti to Ariyakkudi. That underlines the divine majesty of this composition.

The cool evening breeze in the auditorium combined with the beautiful qualities of the different registers of the instrument and her soothing alapana produced a heavenly bliss. Her total command over the instrument helped her traverse through every conceivable sanchara in Khambhodi. Her niraval and kalpanaswaras at ‘Vasavadi’ were exquisite. The tisra nadai swaras had a unique symmetry about them. The piece de resistance however was her elucidation of a powerful Simhendramadhyamam. She commenced the alapana with meditative sancharas and slowly the raga’s bold and majestic mood came to the fore. Swati Tirunal’s ‘Rama Rama Guna’ was impressive. The composition, by itself, speaks volumes about the musical and literary genius of the Maharaja.

Throughout the concert, Mala displayed a cheerful disposition. She was seen appreciating the accompanying artists several times. A positive attitude indeed!

Mala commenced her recital with the Dakshinamurthy slokam in the typical MS style. After the pleasant Kedaragowla varnam, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar’s Mohana Kalyani piece ‘Siddhi Vinayakam Saevaeham’ rushed in with all its beauty. The next piece was a DKJ special – ‘Neelayadakshi’ (Paras) of Syama Sastri having quite a few meditative passages.

Mala then chose ‘Enthamuddo’ (Bindumalini) of Tyagaraja and Dayananda Saraswathy’s ‘Ramam Bhaje,’ creating a pensive mood. With ‘Bhavayami Gopalabalam’ and ‘Maithrim Bhajathe’ (both MS specials), she concluded her delightful recital.

V. Sanjeev on the violin gave ample support throughout. His sketches of Khambodi and Simhendramadhyamam were superb. In the rhythm section, the support offered by J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) and E. M. Subramaniam (ghatam) enriched the concert considerably. Their thani was immaculate.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)