A violin concert featuring Kanyakumari and 25 of her students, was an enchanting experience.

Thyagaraja Utsava Samithi organised a massive violin show featuring Kanyakumari and her disciples in Malkajgiri recently, to mark the Samithi’s silver jubilee.

It was a pleasure to watch such a soulful concert, featuring 25 highly committed artistes hailing from all parts of south — 13 from Chennai, six from Hyderabad, three from Bengaluru, and one each from Mumbai, Ernakulam and Manjeri. The audience too turned out in large numbers and sat through the concert that lasted unusually for three and a half hours. The group was accompanied by K.V. Prasad on mridangam, Ganesh Rao on tabla and Krishna Kishor on rhythm pads. One rare feature of this effort was the violins playing in unison, the ragas and swaras too.

Kanyakumari had in her repertoire as many as 15 compositions to play. She looked quite spirited right from the opening number Chalamela a Natakuranji pada varnam set in Adi talam. She then went for Abhista Varada in Hamsadwani of Thyagaraja. This was presented with a sketch of raga essay, but elaborate swarakalpana. It was time for presenting Thyagaraja’s Pancharatna kirtana Endaro Mahanubhavulu in Sriragam, joined by 25 violinists. Playing chittaswaras and related charanas sounded superb, never losing the spirit of kirtana. Another great number of Thyagaraja Ksheerasagara Sayana in Devagandhari was played well. This was followed by a musical piece that Kanyakumari set in ragam Charukesi.

It is interesting to note that Kanyakumari has composed Annamacharya kirtanas in seven ragas she created and named after the Saptagiris, Seven Hills of Tirumala, and was even given best demonstration award by Music Academy, Chennai, for this effort. One such kirtana was Meluledu Teeruledu, in Narayanadri ragam she composed and set in tala Adi-Tisram. She made her young disciple Mallela Tejaswy, who sat behind her; first render it vocally, for the audience to assimilate. Then followed Samajavaragamana in Hindolam of Thyagaraja and presented Kalpanaswaram. The famous fast-paced kadanakutuhalam number Raghuvamsa figured next, before taking Chakkani Rajamargamu in Kharaharapriya as concert’s main number. Essaying the raga, kirtana play and swarakalpana in ragamalika made the number simply engrossing.

After the main compositions, the ensemble played included Anamacharya kirtanas Jagadapu Chanavula and Govindanamalu that thrilled the audience for their bhakti component. Venkatachala Nilayam and Bhagyada Lakshmi both of Purandaradasa and a tillana in Sindhubhairavi, Kanyakumari’s own composition gave a remarkable finish to this rare and enchanting show.