Surfeit of swaras and lengthy sancharas brightened up Nithyasri’s concert. V. Balasubramanian

With the sound system replaced at the Satguru Gnanananda Auditorium of Narada Gana Sabha, the clarity of reproduction was good as Nithyasri Mahadevan negotiated Lalgudi Jayaraman’s varnam in Charukesi.

An array of sarvalagu swaras laced with variations for Tyagaraja’s ‘Yochana’ (Adi) brightened up the environment. Her open-mouthed singing came in handy during her ten-minute Mandhari raga alapana. Akara phrases ruled the roost, all falling precisely on the slot.

One has heard of breathless singing but that evening Raghavendra Rao presented a similar fare on the violin. Patnam Subramania Iyer’s ‘Endukidu Chapalamu’ (mishram) at a slow pace gave enough scope for Patri Satish Kumar (mridangam) to showcase his stylish approach. He has a natural volume in his right hand so much so that the sound engineer has no need to manipulate the panels.

When one was expecting more of the Mukhari essay, Nithyasri cut it short and took up Sivan’s ‘Ennalum Indha Bhagyam Vendum Sri Gopalane.’

Incidentally, former Election Commissioner Gopalswamy was sitting right in the midpoint of first row. Nithyasri’s rendition of Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Soundararajam’ (Brindavana Saranga) needs special mention for its vishranthi. The evening’s main, Kiravani, was a combination of lengthy sancharas with intermittent pauses that passed muster.

Tyagaraja’s ‘Kaligiyunte Gada’ led to the thani where Satish with Alathur Rajaganesh (ganjira) showcased their skills in rhythm. Ramalinga Adigalar’s ‘Porumaiyyudan Ninanadu Tiruvadi’ was her choice for viruttam in ragamalikai - a neat job. Incidentally it is ‘Dharumamigu Chennai’ (as in chaste) and not ‘Shennai.’

It is sad to note that the audience has still a long way to go in discipline. Unmindful of the happenings on centre stage a group of women broke into conversation discussing murukku and thenkuzhal (snacks of Tamil Nadu). Finally it was a surround effect when two men in the front row broke off into some administrative conversation.