G. JAYAKUMAR

`Nishagandhi Music and Dance Festival 2007' saw maestros charming the audience with their brand of music.

It was a musical fiesta at the open-air Nishagandhi auditorium as T.V. Sankaranarayanan, Kadri Gopalnath, Mattannoor Sankarankutty, Bala Bhaskar, and Pankaj Udhas charmed the audience with their brand of music during the `Nishagandhi Music and Dance Festival 2007.'Organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, the festival started with a Carnatic concert by T.V. Sankaranarayanan (TVS) who showcased his skill in climbing octaves, especially while rendering `Kantha yen per,' a kriti in Kamboji set to Adi talam. It was the piece de resistance of the evening. The thaniavarthanam was performed by Nagai Muralee, Srimushnam Rajarao and Vyasa Vittal on the violin, mridangam and ganjira respectively. TVS began his concert with an invocation `Gajananam' of Thulaseevanam in Mohanam. The other compositions included `Saranam Ayyappa' (Bukhari), `Madhudeva Vasudeva' (Kalyani), `Padmanabha pahi' (Hindolam), `Mamava sada janani,' a virutham followed by `Tirupativasa' (Hamsanandi), `Yeppo varuvaa' (Jaunpuri) and a Western note composition of Muthiah Bhagavathar in Sankarabharanam. Madhavan Namboothiri provided vocal support.

Fusion music

A fusion music performance had the chenda partnering Western percussion instruments. Conducted by chenda maestro Mattannoor Sankarankutty (MS) and violinist Bala Bhaskar along with seven other musicians - Prakash (keyboard), Sumesh (lead guitar), Sunder (drums), Jose (base guitar), Sudhi (ghatam), Mukesh (tabla) and Payannur Govinda Prasad (morsing), the recital had the audience wanting more. The programme began with a solo violin performance by Bala Bhaskar, before MS joined him on the stage. MS, an advocate of fusion performances, began by stroking the instrument with the chendakol while gradually raising the tempo of the music, keeping pace with the violinist and the drums.The highlight of the evening was the evergreen `Nagumo' played by Bala Bhaskar, which was accompanied by the chenda's talam. The team also played melodious film tunes, which had the audience singing along. Kadri Gopalnath gave a resonating performance of Carnatic music on the saxophone. Although the saxophone, a Western instrument, is generally associated with bands and jazz, Kadri proved his ability in playing all kinds of music with equal ease. Kadri chose Abheri as the main item for his concert. The kriti was `Nagumo' of Tyagaraja set to Adi talam. The piece, which lasted for almost an hour, showed his prowess and in-depth knowledge by bringing to fore the nuances of the raga. It was embellished with smooth swara sancharam and gamaka prayogas. The thaniavarthanam, which followed, had Alleppey Karunamoorthy on the thavil, Thrippunithura Radhakrishnan on the ghatom and Bangalore Rajasekharan on the morsing. A. Kanya Kumary accompanied on the violin. Kadri also played `Brovabaramo' (Bahudari), a Swati tillana (Dhansree) and `Bhagyathalakshmi' (raga Malika).On the final night of the festival, ghazal wizard Pankaj Udhas opened the world of tender emotions through a string of ghazals. His smooth, yet stirring voice, added meaning to the lyrics based on love, nostalgia, separation, pain and isolation.Pankaj Udhas began with `Lok tumhe ko gulab kahte hai' and followed it with a song from his own album `Mukkr' - `Deewaron se mir rona achha lagtha hai' written by Kaiser. Pankaj also sang `Sabko maloom hai meim sharabi nahim' (Anwar Farooqabadi), `Mehngi baath hai thodi thodi piya karo' (Rakesh). The numbers `Jiye to jiye kaise bina aapke,' `Ahista,' `Chitti aayi hai' and `Ghunghroo toot gayi' had the youngsters in the audience singing and clapping to the music.