A well-etched Thodi by Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar

Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar brought out the elegance of the raga in her elaborate delineation

October 07, 2021 05:04 pm | Updated 05:04 pm IST

Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar with M.R. Gopinath (violin), Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar (mridangam) and H. Prasanna (ghatam).

Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar with M.R. Gopinath (violin), Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar (mridangam) and H. Prasanna (ghatam).

The flute concert by Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar, which was premiered on YouTube by Naada Inbam, was a wholesome treat, but strictly traditional.

Mala began her concert with the Kanada varnam ‘Ninne kori’ by Thiruvotriyur Thyagayyar. ‘Vathapi Ganapathim bhajaeham’ in Hamsadhwani, one of the series of Shodasha Ganapathy kritis by Muthuswami Dikshitar, set the background for a spirited fare. This kriti propitiates the Ganesha who is worshipped at a shrine in the Thiruchenkattankudi Uthrapathiswaraswamy temple dedicated to Shiva. M.R. Gopinath followed her closely on the violin, adding sheen to her silky notes, showcasing his prowess during the alapana and swara repartees.

Steeped in bhakti

‘Padavini sadbhakthi’ by Tyagaraja in Salaka Bhairavi followed next, in which the saint talks about the futility of social status if one does not understand the nature of Rama. Syama Sastri’s devout kriti pleading for mercy, ‘Dayajooda manchi samayamidhe’, on Brihadamba of Thanjavur, in Jaganmohini was full of karuna rasa.

After paying due respect to the Trinity, she presented Maharaja Swati Tirunal’s ‘Saevae srikantham’ in Mohanakalyani with a crisp alapana and sprightly swaras. The centre piece was Tyagaraja’s ‘Kaddanuvariki’ in Thodi. The raga appeared in all its elegance as Mala elaborated its swarupa layer by layer, ably supported by the violinist. In the kriti, which was presented with well-etched ornamentation, the composer yearns to see the face of his favourite deity ( Athambu chekkillache muthugaru momu chooda ). Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar on the mridangam and H. Prasanna on the ghatam laid a strong laya foundation and dazzled during the thani.

The later songs, ‘Karpooram narumo’ by Andal and ‘Pibarae Ramarasam’ by Sadasiva Brahmendral carried great spiritual beauty and depth. Veena Seshanna’s ‘Chenchurutti’ thillana and ‘Maithreem Bhajatha’ gave the concert a thoroughly gratifying conclusion.

The author writes on Carnatic music.

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