This reviewer is not a morning person, and is imaginative enough to invent reasons to delay his daily encounters with the city’s din and chaos. Curiously, or not so, there weren’t too many early birds either present at the venue. But as is the case invariably, such modest turnouts often have little bearing on the quality of the music, just as a packed house is no guarantor of great performances. Mahadevan Sankaranarayanan and his team of accompanists were only reminding their audience that it was no different on this occasion.
The young representative of the Madurai Mani Iyer music lineage sang a preponderance of ragas bearing predominantly sharp notes at Bharath Kalachar on Saturday. Mahadevan’s opening song, Veena Kuppaiyer’s ‘Vinayaka ninnu vina brochutaku’, by no means an unfamiliar piece, felt fresh enough. His handsome kalpanaswaram embellished the sharp notes of Hamsadhwani. ‘O Jagadamba’, Shyama Shastri’s famous song in Anandabhairavi, was delivered with relish.
After a lively alapana in Saraswatimanohari, ‘Entavedu kondu’ was sung with great passion. The highlight of the morning was easily this reputed kriti of Tyagaraja. The alternating sequences between the violinist and the vocalist’s gelled beautifully in the neraval on ‘chinta deerchutakenta modira’, and the kalpanaswaram. The following long exposition of Todi and Swati Tirunal’s ‘Sarasijanabha murare’ couldn’t match the fervour of the earlier song.
The appealing alapana in Mohanam and Papanasam Sivan’s Kapali took you back in time. That was when Mani Iyer’s delivery, suffused with devotion, would have left listeners at a loss for words. Mahadevan reaches for the higher octaves with remarkable ease, as he demonstrated in the improvisation following the song.
Soon, another delightful duet was played between him and the violinist, M. Rajeev. The mridangam and ghatam accompanists, R. Sankaranarayanan and Trichy Krishnaswamy, were equally entertaining in their solo spell. Tyagaraja’s ‘Mee valla guna doshamemi’, Muttaiah Bhagavatar’s ‘Needu mahima’ and ‘Eppovaruvaro’ were excellently sung in the concluding segment of the performance.