N.J. Nandini showed why song selection matters too

Nandini’s interesting line-up included some lesser-heard Swati Tirunal kritis and an Ambujan Krishna composition

Published - January 01, 2024 03:32 pm IST

Trivandrum N. J. Nandini performing at the Music Academy’s 2023 December Season festival.

Trivandrum N. J. Nandini performing at the Music Academy’s 2023 December Season festival. | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Trivandrum N.J. Nandini presented a well-planned two-hour recital at The Music Academy. A pleasing voice coupled with a penchant for song selection helped her in taking charge of the concert confidently.

Beginning with Ambujam Krishna’s ‘Iniyaagilum ninai’ in Purvikalyani, Nandini consistently demonstrated clarity in sangatis in all the pieces she performed. A raga alapana in Hindolam characterised by vibrant phrases helped her demonstrate her vocal range and capability to produce imaginative manodharma sections. Even her selection of phrase for swarakalpana in Tyagaraja’s ‘Samajavaragamana’ proved to be engaging – she centred her swaras on the phrase ‘Murali vaadana’ in the charanam landing the final swara with a neat kanakku.

Nandini presented some lesser-heard Swati Tirunal kritis – ‘Gangeya vasanadhara’ in Hameerkalyani and ‘Satatam tavaka’ in Karahapriya. While the former was rendered in chowka kalam, the latter was prefaced by a wholesome alapana. It is good that the artiste chose to explore these Swati Tirunal kritis that have immense musical and lyrical value and add variety to a kutcheri. Nandini’s niraval was at ‘mama hridi vaasanisham madhusudanam shaure’ in the charanam. The structuring of this niraval was intelligently done following a free-flowing approach that helped listeners grasp the bhava of the phrase.

Nandini chose raga Bilahari for Ragam Tanam Pallavi. While one felt that she could have spent some more time on the raga alapana, her systematic graded tanam made up for it. The RTP set in Khanda Ekam ended with ragamalika swaras in ragas such as Ranjani and Manavati.

Nandini’s co-artistes were Sriram Sridhar on the violin, Kishore Ramesh on the mridangam and Karthik Krishnaswamy on the ghatam. While Sriram sometimes found it hard to catch up with Nandini, he rose to the occasion during the RTP. A more confident approach to playing would help him in the future. Kishore and Karthik provided good support and enhanced the presentation with their contributions

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