Vocalists Thripunithura Sangeeth and Pandalam Ganesh struck a chord with the audience in Palakkad during their concerts for the Subbayyar Memorial Music fete.

The annual Subbayyar Memorial Music festival pays homage to Mridangam Subbayyar, godfather of Palakkad’s own rich mridangam tradition.

He was guru of the legendary Palakkad Mani Iyer and many other stalwarts. A music fete in his memory is conducted in connection with the Kumbhabhishekam celebration of the Chathapuram Mahaganapathy Temple.

The two-day festival began with a mellifluous vocal concert of Thripunithura Sangeeth.

Being a mridangam player too, his rhythmic skill elevated the laya aspect of the concert. Beginning with the elegant Bhairavi Ata tala varnam ‘Viriboni’, Sangeeth took up Natta for T. Lakshmanan Pillai’s ‘Gananadhanai’.

Harikamboji ragalapana and Mysore Sadasiva Rao’s ‘Saketha-nagara-natha’, appended with lilting chittaswara, followed.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Brovabarama’ in Bahudari led to the main raga – a melodious Hindolam. His own composition ‘Sreelambodaram’ in Sanskrit was tagged to it. Violinist V. Sindhu’s raga portrayals captured their innate charm and ragabhava. A captivating thani by Unni Keralavarma on the mridangam and Harikrishnan (ghatam) was followed by devotional numbers.

The second day featured seasoned vocalist Pandalam Ganesh.

Ganesh’s mature voice and strict adherence to tradition and classicism enthralled the rasikas.

Ganesh opened the concert with a dazzling rendition of the varnam ‘Sarasijanabha’ in Natta raga. The Dikshithar kriti ‘Sreemahaganapathim’ was ornamented with rhythmic chittaswara and impressive swarakalpana. A brisk ‘Sobillu sapthaswara’, Tyagaraja’s kriti in Jaganmohini, was followed by Vachaspathi for Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Parathpara’.

A comprehensive Varali and Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Ka vava’ showcased his command over classicism. Next came a quick ‘Thelisirama’, composed by Tyagaraja in Poornachandrika.

Senior rasikas got a chance to relish the sublime beauty of Sudhanandabharathi’s ‘Karanam Kettuvadi’ in Poorvikalyani, popularised by G.N.B. but rarely heard in concert platforms nowadays. The pinnacle of the recital was a dexterous Thodi that unfolded the nuances of the raga in abundance. The Tyagaraja kriti ‘Jesina thella’ had lyrical improvisation and sprightly kalpanaswara. Violinist Nedumangad Sivanandan’s accompaniment and raga essays were precise and aesthetic.

A well-structured thani highlighted the rapport between percussionists Thripunithura Sangeeth on the mridangam and Harikrishnan on the ghatam.

Ganesh wound up the concert with Tyagaraja’s ‘Thavadasoham’ in Punnagavarali, ‘Kalpakavalli’ in ragamalika and a Thiruppukal ‘Erumayil’, also in ragamalika.