Seetha Narayanan stuck to tradition in her recital in Palakkad.

Senior musician Seetha Narayanan from Chennai offered chaste, wholesome music in her absorbing vocal recital at Kalpathy in Palakkad. Blessed with a sonorous voice that has retained its timbre despite the age factor, she struck an instant rapport with the audience, sustaining it till the end.

Presenting an assorted variety of choice kritis that have a pronounced devotional fervour, she infused bhava into all her renditions.

Opening majestically with the varnam ‘Samidayajuda’ of Thiruvottiyur Thyagaraja in Kedaragowla, she proceeded to ‘Gamganapathe namo namo’ (Hamsadhwani – Muthiah Bhagavathar) followed by ‘Nee Irangayenil’ (Atana – Papanasam Sivan).

Her delectable alapana of Shanmugapriya, enriched with copious gamakas and akaaras, was steeped in classicism. Violinist Koduntharappally Subbaraman responded with an equally melodious version of the raga.

Befitting the occasion, she chose Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s masterpiece ‘Sidhivinayakam’. The composer’s vivid description of Lord Vinayaka was well depicted in her vivacious portrayal. The intelligent placement of phrases in the niraval at ‘Prasiddha yaksha’ and separate kalpanaswaras for each lyric showcased her rich manodharma.

Her rendition of the seldom heard kriti of Ambujam Krishna – ‘Aravindalochane’ – in praise of Lord Krishna in the 60th mela raga Neethimathi evoked sowkhyam.

‘Ammaraavamma’, a kriti of Tyagaraja in Kalyani, was rendered pleasingly with a crisp niraval and tidy swaraprastharas at ‘Taamarasadalanetrudu’.

The vocalist’s delineation of Kharaharapriya, the main raga of the evening, was brilliant. She was able to grab the soul of the raga with her long sanchaaras at pivotal notes ‘da’ in the middle octave and ‘ri’ in the upper octave.

Taking up Swati Tirunal’s well-known kriti ‘Sathatham taavaka’, she excelled in the authentic niraval at ‘Mamahridi Vaasa anisam’ and in the well-formulated swara suits. She concluded on a bright note with moving presentations of Naamadevar’s abhang ‘Amrutaavu nee gode’ in Bhimplas followed by Kabirdas bhajan ‘Bhajore Bhaiya’ in Misra Sivaranjani and a soulful verse from ‘Abhirami Andhadhi’ in Madhyamavathi. The concert bore testimony to her deep faith in tradition.

The accompanists played a major role in the success of the concert. Lending excellent support, Subbaraman handled the violin with competence, producing a rich tone. Harihara Lakshmanan (mridangam), a disciple of mridangam exponent Palghat T.R. Rajamani, performed with acute anticipation and a keen sense of laya.

In the concluding stages of the superb tani in Adi tala he played the ‘mohra korvais’ in the typical style of mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Iyer. Displaying maturity, Deepu (ghatam) impressed with his energetic strokes. He played a notable role in the tani.

The concert was organised in connection with the Kumbhabhishekham Day celebrations of the Mandakkara Maha Ganapathi temple.