Chip of the old block

Nityashree Mahadevan. Photo: R. Shivaji Rao  

Nityashree Mahadevan’s vocal recital for the Nadasurabhi sabha, transported listeners into a world of pure music. The emotive output equalled her grip over grammar and made for an evening of bliss. For seasoned listeners, it was a revisit to the young Pattammal days. The Saveri varnam was followed by the traditional Nattai ragam. It was a lyrically excellent Shyama Shastri kriti, “Pahimam Sri Raja Rajeswari” set to rupaka tala, where the display of virtuosity at the line, ‘Sarasapaada yugale…’ was like a swararchana at the feet of the deity. The Shuddha Hindolam Thyagaraja krithi, “Manasuloni marmamu” (Deshadi talam) — was delineated with its prominent variation, the chatusruti daivatam, as she traced the raga contours and defined kalpanaswara with beautiful sancharams. Coming as they did were a line-up of dulcet ragas set to lovely kritis like Papanasam Sivan’s “Gynana sabhayil thillai” in Saranga (janya of Kalyani raga set to chapu talam) with its hypnotising melody that is irrefutable and in Nityashree’s tones, seemed embossed with tranquillity. The Vasantha, true to its name, breezed in like the spring as she rendered, a Purandara Dasa keertana, “Rama, Rama, Rama enniro” with sweet diction.

Nityashree is a chip of the old block, and it was reflected with her excellent choice and treatment of two ‘kshetra kritis’ -- one in Poornachandrika, “Sri Ranganatham Upasmahe”, a straight rendition sans embellishments and the central piece of the concert, “Ramanatham Bhajeham” in Kasiramakriya (tisra ekam), the highlight of the concert. The elaboration of Kasiramakriya not only traced the raga in its entirety, with its subtle nuances in utter clarity. Violinist Charulatha Ramanujam traced the raga like a shadow with all the nuances. The sangathis were crisp and defined with clarity. The neraval at ‘kumara guruguha mahitam’ was a steady climb to the upper octaves which was superb, even as she emphasised the raga and sahitya bhava with excellent emotive rendition. The swarakalpana with elongated madhyama and dhaivata lent an aesthetic edge in the first kalai. She zoomed through the other two kalai (cycles of speed) and the scaling down (muktayi) was done with elan. The charanam at the end of the improvisation was like a summing up of the bhava. Tani avarthanam was like a forceful conversation between Tumkur Ravi Shankar (mridangam) and Sukanya Ramgopal (ghatam) with the latter emerging the winner. A sharanagati viruttam in Sindhubhairavi where the raga flowed with rippling rhythmic beauty. The Rama naama sankeertana, her own composition was replete with bhakti bhava and her tone and tenor stirred the audience into deep devotional mood. This was aptly buttressed by ‘Ulazhile shanti vendum’(Thilang) in these stress and conflict-torn days.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 2:12:57 PM |

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