Seetha Narayanan offered rasikas a wholesome fare.

Senior musician Seetha Narayanan of Chennai offered chaste, wholesome music in her absorbing vocal recital at the Kumbhabhishekham Day celebrations of the Mandakkara Maha Ganapathi temple, Kalpathy. Blessed with a sonorous voice, she struck an instant rapport with the audience. 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 Tyagaraja in Kedaragowlai, she proceeded to ‘Gamganapathe namo namo’ (Hamsadhwani –Muthiah Bhagavathar) followed by ‘Nee Irangayenil’ (Atana - Paapanasam Sivan). Her delectable alapana of Shanmugapriya enriched with copious gamakas and akaaras was steeped in classicism. Violinist Subbaraman responded with an equally melodious version of the raga.

Befitting the occasion, she chose Dikshithar’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 kalpana swaras for each lyric showcased her rich manodharma. 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’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, Koduntharappally Subbaraman handled the violin with competence, producing a rich tone. Harihara Lakshmanan (mridangam), a disciple of the well known mridangam exponent Palghat T.R. Rajamani, performed with acute anticipation and a keen sense of laya. Displaying maturity, Deepu (ghatam) impressed with his energetic strokes. He played a notable role in the tani.