Festival Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, Tirupur, celebrated Pongal by organising the music concerts of eminent artists. B. Ramadevi

Pongal was celebrated with much fanfare in Tirupur, with an enjoyable line-up of music concerts by eminent artists, thanks to the 47-year-old Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha. Thanjavur Nagarajan's auspicious nagaswaram notes marked the beginning of the ninth edition of Isai Amudham at the Velayudhaswamy Tirumana Mandapam.

Bombay Jayashri 's dulcet voice mesmerised the audience on the first day.  After propitiating the remover of obstacles with Dikshitar's ‘Vallabha Nayakasya' in Begada, Jayashri rendered a Periyasamy Thooran's kriti ‘Karunaanidhiye Thaaye,' on Goddess Karpagambal, in Bowli. The earlier session comprised a few less known kritis such as ‘Sharadhe, Karunaanidhe' in Hamir Kalyani and ‘Mahitha Praavrutha Srimati' in Khambodi, on the Goddess of Lalgudi (One of the Lalgudi Pancharatna kritis by Tyagaraja). Kalyana Vasantham for ‘Nadaloludai' and Simhendra Madhyamam for ‘Ninne Nammithinayyaa' added to the mood of devotion. Her raga delineations were exquisite and the dainty swara combinations classy. Her fresh treatment of the ragas and the restraint in delivery added density to her presentation. Towards the end, she earned thunderous applause from the audience for rendering songs of their choice (‘Chinnanjiru Kiliye,' ‘Enna Thavam Seithanai' and ‘Koovi Azhaithaal').

Melody flowed through H.N. Bhaskar's fingers as he coaxed his violin to give shape to his imagination. He handled raga delineations as well as brisk swaraprastaras with effortless ease. B. Ganapathiraman on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira enhanced the appeal of the concert.

Meenakshi Subramaniam of Coimbatore sang earnestly in the junior slot, impressing with popular numbers. ‘Kathana Kuthoohala Ragapriye' was a listener's delight. Guruvayoorappan on the violin, Radhakrishnan on the mridangam and Subramaniam on the ganjira gave her solid support.

Sikkil Gurucharan has been adding depth and polish to his performance year after year. He set the pace with the Sree raga varnam, ‘Saami Ninne' by Karur Devudu Iyer. Gopalakrishna Bharati's ‘Sivaloga Naathanaikkandu' in Mayamalavagowla provided the momentum with lively niraval and swaras. That being the last day of Margazhi, he sang the Thiruppavai verse, ‘Vanga Kadal Kadaintha,' after a lovely delineation of Surutti and concluded it with an elaborate niraval for ‘Sanga Thamizh Malai' bringing out the beautiful nuances of the raga. The fast, fascinating swara phrases in Vasantha for ‘Kanden, Kanden' by Arunachala Kavirayar were gripping. The main piece, ‘Punniyam Oru Kodi Purintheno' was on Kanchi Maha Periyava by Periyasamy Thooran in Kiravani. The raga appeared in all its majesty and the kriti was rendered with solemnity. The enchanting lighter session included ‘Thunbam Nergayil,' ‘Aandavan Dharisanamae' and ‘Thullumadha Vetkai.'

Each one of T.V.K. Ramanujacharyulu's strokes on the violin was an exercise in perfection. The swaras sprang forth merrily as his nimble fingers danced on the instrument.

Umayalpuram Sivaraman's thani was so absorbing that it made the rasikas sit up instead of making a beeline to the food court. Ghatam S. Karthick's mastery matched the vivacity of Sivaraman, adding to the excitement.