Music

Nirmala Rajasekar — Spontaneity ruled

Spontaneity and classicism prevailed at Nirmala Rajasekar’s veena recital at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Bonhomie with co-artistes and an approach sans frills marked her presentation. Having just returned from performing a jugalbandhi at the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav in Pune, Nirmala has featured in many a jugalbandhi with well-known Hindustani artistes. At her BVB recital, she projected the distinct style of her gurus, especially Kalpakam Swaminathan.

Nirmala sang along with almost every kriti that she played, which was appreciated by the audience. This lent the recital an edge, since rasikas enjoy the music more when they can appreciate the meaning of the compositions. It also showed how the artiste was absorbed in the sahitya.

Mysore Vasudevachar’s Mandari varnam was the first piece. A brief alapana of Nattai led to Purandaradasa’s composition ‘Jaya Jaya.’ Rapid-fire kalpanaswaras proved the azhutham that Nirmala brings to the instrument. She ended the piece by playing the poruttam on multiple strings for effect. An energetic display of Syama Sastri’s Thamizh composition ‘Tharunam Idamma’ (Gaulipantu) followed.

Nirmala’s raga explorations were sprightly, touching the core phrases to convey the raga lakshana. They were neither simplistic nor overly-stretched to display vidwat. Instead, they flowed naturally with the appropriate sancharas and prayogas creating a compact picture of the raga devata.

Nirmala’s simple and elegant touches were evident in her Ritigowla alapana, and in the exposition of Subbaraya Sastri’s ‘Janani ninnu vina,’ with the azhuttam coming through in the chittaswaram with the memorable ‘NNS-NNS... GGM-GGM...’ phrase reverberation.

‘Venkataramana’ in Latangi (Papanasam Sivan) paved the way for the main raga essay of the day. She launched into the Khambodi raga elaboration, enhancing the melodious atmosphere with tanam in both keezh kalam and mel kalam.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s ‘Maragathavallim’ (Khambodi) was followed by fast kalpanaswara patterns. Usha Rajagopalan’s (violin) Ritigowla and Khambodi essays stood out.

The thani by Chidambaram S. Balashankar (mridangam) and Adambakkam K. Shankar (ghatam) provided some interesting points in the thani, particularly the nadai variations during the kuraippu.

‘Varuvaaro’ in Sama (Gopalakrishna Bharati) and Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh ‘Thullumada Vetkai’ (Hamsanandhi) were among the tailend pieces.

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 3:12:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/steeped-in-classicism/article25898440.ece

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