A. Kanyakumari’s violin solo showcased her virtuosity and experience.
Violin maestro A. Kanyakumari’s solo recital at the Chembai Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram stood out for the tempo in which she played popular kritis, without compromising on tradition. Kanyakumari opened her violin recital with a varnam, ‘Karimughavarada,’ composed by GNB in Natta, Adi tala. She gave a quick rendition of the evergreen ‘Entaro Mahanu Bhavolu’ in Sreeragam, set to Adi tala.
The piece-de-resistance of the evening, however, was a ragam tanam pallavi in Madhyamavati and Valachi. The contours of the ragas with all their subtleties, nuances and brigas, brought to fore the competency of the artiste. After that she played the tanam, devoid of tala restrictions. The uniqueness of the tanam playing reminded rasikas of the importance attached to tanam singing by her guru, the late MLV. This was followed by a pallavi composed by Kanyakumari herself. With differing speeds and talas, she excelled in playing the manodharma sangitam.
Unflinching violin support was provided by Padma Krishnan. The taniavartanam saw some fine exchanges between G.S. Rajeshnath on the mridangam and Manjoor Unnikrishnan on the ghatam, which enlivened the concert.
Earlier in the concert, Kanyakumari played a couple of Tyagaraja kritis such as ‘Pariyachakama’ in Vanaspathi and ‘Raghuvara’ in Pantuvarali. Another kriti she played was ‘Om Namo Narayana,’ composed by Ambujam Krishna in Karna Renjini, a janya raga of Kharaharapriya. Her gentle bowing succeeded in highlighting the bhakti bhava of the composition.
The concluding part of Kanyakumari’s violin recital included a feast of melodious compositions. Again the speed and control with which she played the ragas, with stress on the sahitya, was exhilarating. ‘Muraleedhara’ (Mand), ‘Ethiunaku’ (Bujangani - an Annamacharya kriti), ‘Thamburu meetithava’ (Sindubhairavi), ‘Aalayam’ (Khamaj), ‘Kurai ontrum’ (Ragamalika), ‘Chinnamcheru’ (Ragamalika), Tillana (Sivaranjani), ‘Venkatachalanilayam’ (Sindubhairavi), ‘Muthaithiri’ (a Thiruppugazh in Shanmughapriya immortalised by T.M.Soundarajan) and ‘Parulannamatta’ (Kappi), all bore the stamp of Kanyakumari’s expertise.
On the whole, Kanyakumari’s concert showed her flair for improvisation. The festival was organised by the Sri Chembai Memorial Trust, Thiruvananthapuram.