In his golden jubilee concert, Ramachandran included more kritis by his guru, GNB.

‘Sangita Kalanidhi’ awardee Trichur Ramachandran, began his concert with the warm greetings to the audience. The vidwan said that he was dedicating the concert to his parents, gurus, acharyas and yes, to the audience as well, as this was his golden jubilee performance at the Music Academy.

The vocalist began his concert with the ‘Amboruha Padame’ varnam of his guru GNB in raga Ranjani. The built-in chittaswaram added to the briskness of the proceedings. There was a short Malayamarutham alapana before he rendered ‘Niravathi Sukadayaki’ another of his guru’s sahityam, in which the niraval and swarakalpanas for the line ‘Sarasoma Bimba Vadanae’ added weight to the simple kriti.

Ramachandran has a majestic voice that moves easily in all three levels. His is a brigha-laden voice, too. The Pantuvarali (Kasiramakriya according to Dikshitar) raga alapana was extensive and the vocalist paid much attention to its beautiful swarupa with several layered sangatis. This was followed by ‘Sri Sundararajam Bhajeham’ of Dikshitar. The vocalist did not attempt at niraval and swarakalpana, but left it to the rasikas to savour the beauty of the sahitya bhava. Begada alapana had its own charm and Ramachandran’s vocalisation of the raga was pleasant. Swati Tirunal kriti, ‘Kalayami Raghuramam’ followed with appropriate swarakalpanas.

‘Vararagalaya’, the Chenjukhambodi song of Tyagaraja was a fast-paced one, which served as an interlude before launching his major raga alapana of Bhairavi. With the spirited display of his imaginative skill, he presented the raga in all its hues.

The violinist M.A. Sundareswaran offered his tuneful assistance in alapana, niraval and swarakalpanas. The Tyagaraja kriti, ‘Sarvantharyami Nevane’ was not often sung in concerts and was, therefore, a pleasant surprise. ‘Dhari Teliyaleru’ of the charanam line was taken up for niraval and swaraprastaram in detail. This served as an indication that thani is to follow.

Mannargudi Easwaran, the senior mridangam artist is a team-man. While his accompanying technique for kritis and swara sallies had been soft touches to embellish the vocalist’s efforts, his contribution for thani was outstanding. In the company of another eminent artist of percussive power, ghatam Suresh, Easwaran presented the session in an engaging manner.

It was then time for a few lighter pieces before launching on RTP and the vocalist rendered a breezy ‘Unnadiyae Ghatiyendru,’ the Bahudari piece of GNB. Shanmukhapriya was chosen for the raga alapana. Ramachandran rendered the alapana in three parts offering the violinist his rightful turn. The pallavi line ‘Kanaka Sabesan Thiru Natanam Kanden, Anandam Konden’ was taken up for a swarakalpana and the vocalist drew a round of applause at the close.

Trichur Ramachandran is also adept at Hindustani music and he utilised this occasion to pay tribute to his Hindustani guru, Pandit Krishnanand, by singing a short Hamir raga piece (‘Kaise Ghar Jaun’). He completed his recital with the popular song of GNB – ‘Sonnadai Seythida Sagasama’ and a moving Narayaneeyam sloka.

Nostalgia apart, the audience gave him a standing ovation for his golden jubilee performance.

charukesiviswanathan@yahoo.co.in