G. Narmada displayed with élan the nuances of the Parur bani that she inherited from her father and guru, M.S. Gopalakrishnan.
Pioneered by the great violinist Parur Sundaram Iyer and popularised by his son violin maestro M.S. Gopalakrishnan (MSG), the Parur style of violin playing incorporates brilliant and innovative techniques in fingering and bowing. In this style, each shift from a note to the other is smooth and precise. This, coupled with elongated bowing, produces pure sound of the violin, highly pleasing to the ears.
Narmada, daughter and disciple of MSG, has imbibed this style in toto. All the items presented by her with impeccable perfection, bore the stamp of MSG. Her selections included choice kritis familiarised by her father.
She began with the Saveri raga varnam ‘Sarasuda’ in Adi tala, playing it on a single string – a hallmark of the Parur bani. ‘Maha Ganapathim’ in Natta, a composition of Dikshitar, and ‘Ramabhakthi Saamrajya’ in Sudha Bangaala, a Tyagaraja kriti, appended with speedy swaraprastharas, created a lively momentum. Kadanakuthoohalam, a raga derived from the 29th mela Sankarabharanam by Patnam Subramanya Iyer, has a Western tinge and is most suited for instruments. His own composition ‘Raghuvamsa sudha’ in this raga is a favourite of instrumentalists. The chittaswaram with a distinct western flavour appeals instantly.
Playing the kriti in fast pace in typical MSG style, Narmada earned accolades.
The alapana of the rare raga Kumudakriya, adorned with chiselled sangatis, was superb. ‘Ardhanareeswaram’, the only known kriti in this raga composed by Dikshitar, was presented with grace. Singing the sahitya in between, the artiste brought out the serene ‘bhava’ of the kriti. Swati Tirunal’s popular composition ‘Paripaalayamam’ in Reethigowla, prefixed with a melodious sketch of the raga, was a tidy rendition. Taking up Mohanam for extensive elaboration, Narmada depicted a panoramic portrait of the raga. The alluring sangatis leading to ‘shadjam’ in the middle octave were followed by those around ‘gandhara’, and scaling ‘panchamam’ and even ‘shadjam’ (all in the upper octave) were remarkable. The delectable sancharas on the ‘mantra’ string and the fast glides and twists of gamakas revealed her command over the instrument. The amazing improvisations in the tanam, marked by skilful fingering and bowing, was a treat. The Tyagaraja kriti ‘Bavanutha’ was appended with a fine garland of racy swaras. The ‘sawal jawab’ exchanges with the percussionists were interesting.
A sweet essay of Sindhubhairavi , followed by the enchanting tharana and the subsequent Western note received spontaneous applause. Narmada rounded off with a thillana of Swati Tirunal in Dhanasri and a Thiruppugazh in Hamsanandhi.
Calicut Hari (mridangam), Udupi Sridhar (ghatam) and Thirunakkara Rathish (moorsing) teamed up well to provide adequate support. Their tani in Adi tala after the Mohanam song was a good effort.
Prior to the concert, a function was held to commemorate the memory of MSG who passed away early this year.
The programme was held under the joint auspices of Palghat Fine Arts Society and Swaralaya, at the Society’s auditorium at Tharekkad.