Seasoned artistes participated in the cultural programmes held in connection with the Sivarathri celebrations at Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur.

Performances by outstanding artistes were part of the Sivarathri celebrations at Sree Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur. Both musical ingenuity and mastery were discernible in the two-hour saxophone recital presented by Kadri Gopalnath. He began with the popular Dikshitar composition `Vathapi Ganapathim Baje' in Hamsadwani. The simple pentatonic raga exuded charisma as Gopalnath dwelt on the sangatis. Even as he chose popular numbers like Tyagaraja's Panthuvarali `Siva Siva Sivayenarada' in Adi tala, Vyasarayar's Yamunakalyani composition in misra chappu `Krishna nee begane baaro' and Papanasam Sivan's Kapi composition in Adi tala `Enna thavam saithene Yasoda,' Gopalnath also rendered the rare Tyagaraja composition in Nalinakanthi, a derivative of Sankarabharanam, `Manavinaalaginjaraadade' in Adi tala.

Mandolin concert

`Vanajakshi,' an Adi tala varnam in Kalyani, a composition of Veenakooppayyar, was enough for the young mandolin artiste U.P. Raju to establish a rapport with his audience. Thereafter, he played familiar numbers such as `Siddhi vinayakam anisam' (Shanmukhapriya) `Raghunayaka' (Hamsadwani) `Jaya jaya Padmanabhanujesa' (Manirangu) and `Vanchathonunaavagalu' (Karnaranjini) before entering into a pleasing elaboration of Hindolam raga. Raju's fingers scaled more than three octaves effortlessly as he filled each beat of `Samajavaragamana' with bewitching phrases to bring out numerous shades of the raga. The occasional chords he strummed provided an entirely new dimension to the rendition. C. Rajendran provided melodic support on his violin, accompanied by percussion artistes Jayakrishnan (mridangam) and G. Manoharan (ghatam). A Bharatanatyam recital by Lakshmi Gopalaswamy was proof of her strong hold on the strict grammar of the classical dance form. While the mudras were well defined, each adavu and karana was noted for its geometrical perfection. The description of lord Siva in the delineation of the Tamil composition `Mohamahine intha velayil' and the anxiety of Kuchela waiting at the entrance to Krishna's palace in the Swati Tirunal composition in Behag `Smarathinu mam sthanam' showcased her abhinaya. The GNB tillana in Hamsanandi was dedicated to Sree Vadakkunnathan. Odissi exponent Meera Das staged an enthralling recital in the traditional `margam' accompanied by her disciples Isha Satpathy and Malabika Jena. The pallavi in Saveri, which followed the invocatory piece of `mangala charan,' was noteworthy for its tapestry of rhythm, music and movements. The highlight of the performance was `Ardhanareeswara,' a solo by Meera. Choreographed by her guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra, the piece was an inspiring depiction of the contrasting attributes of Siva and Parvathy. It highlighted Meera's histrionic talents in full. Another notable number was `Dasavathara,' based on Jayadeva's Gitagovindam (Ashtapadi I). Japanese dancer Keiko Watanabe surprised everyone with her Kuchipudi recital that demonstrated her 12-year stint in the field. Siva, the Nataraja, along with the celestial musicians - Brahma on the cymbals, Lakshmi as vocal, Saraswathy on the veena - was well portrayed in the second piece in ragamalika depicting the ragas Hamsanandi, Nattakurinji, Saveri and Shanmukhapriya. For `Pravesa,' she chose an excerpt from `Rugmini Kalyanam,' choreographed by the veteran Vempatty Chinna Sathyam. It was composed in Kalyani.Narayaneeyam, presented in Mohiniyattom by Suchitra Visweswaran, Dakshayagam Kathakali led by Kalamandalam Balasubramanian, Ottanthullan by Muriad Muraleedharan and a vocal concert by Isaimani Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar were other attractions of the festival.