Various artistes gathered to make the Mahakumbhabhishekham festival at the Venkitachalapathy temple, Palakkad, a festival of sublime music.

The concerts held as part of the Mahakumbhabhishekham festival at the Venkitachalapathy Temple, Kumarapuram, Palakkad offered a feast of sublime music.

T.M. Krishna regaled listeners with his powerful renditions. He gave a bright start with a spirited portrayal of Muthiah Bhagavathar's Dharu varnam ‘Maathe Malayadhwaja' in Kamas. After a Tyagaraja pancharatna kriti, ‘Jagadanandaka' in Nattai, Krishna came out with a superb delineation of Gowrimanohari.

Highlights of the concert

His spontaneous gliding through the sancharas in all the three octaves was remarkable.

The rarely heard kriti of Tyagaraja ‘Karunayelakante' in Varaali was a good choice before the main raga Kambodhi. Krishna combined alapana and tanam in his excellent elaboration of the raga. With violinist M.A. Sundareswaran accompanying in the Parur style, it was an enjoyable duel. The portrayal of Tyagaraja's masterpiece ‘O Rangasayee' with a comprehensive niraval and kalpana swaras at ‘Bhuloka Vaikunta' saw Krishna at his best. The concluding items, ‘Chinnanchirukiliye,' the ragamalika sloka followed by ‘Saapasya' in Jonpuri and ‘Pibare Ramarasam' were rich in aesthetic bhava.

Sundareswaran's violin accompaniment was marked by tonal richness. K.V. Prasad's mridangam support was valuable; his tani was characterised by masterly touches. Anirudh Athreya (ganjira) lent good support.

Abhishek Raghuram began his concert with the Sahana varnam ‘Karunimpa.' ‘Biraana brovaithe,' a krit of Talangampaadi Panchanatha Iyer in Kalyani rendered in fast pace with a speedy niraval and kalpana swaras made an impact on the audience. Dikshitar's ‘Ranganayakam' in Nayaki was a moving presentation.

Abhishek's creative instincts were visible in his enchanting alapana of Abheri. Mysore Vasudevachar's ‘Bhajare re maanasa' was well essayed with tidy swaraprastharas.

Raga Kamas acquired a new dimension in his imaginative portrayal. The tanam followed by the pallavi, ‘Venkataramana Sankataharana Thiruppadhi' in Misra chapu tala provided good aural pleasure. Akkarai Subbalakshmi proved her skills as a competent violinist. Her solo raga versions were well applauded. Veteran Kamalakar Rao (mridangam) displayed his skill with a spirited display. Bangaluru Amruth was on the ganjira. Their tani was enjoyable.

Ambikapuram Sivaraman, a leading disciple of late maestro C.S. Krishna Iyer impressed the listeners with his classical approach and energetic presentations. Gifted with a resonant voice that blends well with the sruti, he made his recital lively, with judicious selections.

He opened with Thodi raga varnam, ‘Aeranapai.' The Dikshitar kriti, ‘Venkatachalapathe,' prefixed with a melodious sketch of Kanada and suffixed with fine swarakalpana was refreshing.

After a neat rendition of Patnam Subramanya Iyer's ‘Abhimaanamennadu' in Begada, Sivaraman came out with a mellifluous delineation of Shanmugapriya. The lyrical beauty of the Annamacharya kriti ‘Paramapurusha' was well brought out with the niraval and kalpana swaras adding weight.

Tyagaraja's ‘Haridasulu' in Yamuna kalyani and the sloka in Ranjani, Hamirkalyani and Sindhubhairavi followed by ‘Venkatachala Nilayam' were throbbed with devotional fervour.

Edappally Ajithkumar (violin) produced sweet cadences of melody. His raga versions were marvellous. Providing ideal mridangam support, Palakkad Maheshkumar wove cascading rhythmic patterns in his tani. Up-and-coming artiste Karthik (ganjira) showed good promise.

Captivating alapanas

Captivating alapanas of Lathagi and Thodi and powerful portrayals of the kritis, ‘Venkataramana' of Papanasam Sivan and ‘Sarasijanabha' of Swati Tirunal were the highlights of P.K. Seshadreeswaran's vocal recital. The detailed elaboration of the ragas enriched with subtle gamakas showcased their intrinsic beauty. The well-designed niraval and the varied swara patterns revealed the vocalist's good patanthara acquired from guru C.S. Krishna Iyer.

Earlier, starting with the Saveri raga varnam ‘Sarasuta, Seshadreeswaran' rendered P. Sivan's ‘Gajavadana' in Sriranjani , Swati's ‘Maamavasadha Varadhe' in Nattakurinji , Dikshitar's ‘Subrahmanyena' in Sudha Dhanyasi and Tyagaraja's ‘Adugaraathani' in Manoranjani in quick succession setting a good pace.

He rounded off the concert with ‘Sabarigirivasane' in Karnataka Devagandhari and the sloka ‘Manojavam,' rendered as ragamalika. Kodunthirappulli Subbaraman came out with a splendid show on the violin. His raga and swara responses were precise and crisp. Kodunthirappulli Parameswaran (mridangam) brought happy reminiscences of his guru T.K. Murthy, in his lively display. Aravind (ghatam) made his presence felt. Their tani won spontaneous acclaim.

Kannur Jayasree Rajeev displayed her elegant style in her pleasing vocal recital. The vibrant opening items, ‘Mathe Malayadhwaja' the varnam in Kamas, ‘Gamganapathe' of Muthiah Bhagavathar in Hamsadhwani and Swati Tirunal's ‘Mamavasadhajanani' in Kanada, led to a racy ‘Bandureethi' in Hamsanaadhanam.

Her alapana of Chaarukesi was noted for its classical purity. Stressing the jeeva swaras, she raised a beautiful edifice of the raga.

The last phase consisting of popular songs like ‘Kurai Onrum Illai,' ‘Enna Tavam,' ‘Chinnanchirukiliye' and so on, were rich in aesthetic melody. Sindhu (violin) scored well in her accompaniment as well as solo essays. Kallekulangara Unnikrishnan provided good support on the mridangam. He was ably supported by Vivek on the ghatam. Their tani was interesting.