Winning notes

(From top) Nagamani Srinath, Nagai R. Muralidharan and Suguna Purushothaman.  

S angeet Natak Akademi recently organised a week-long festival of performing arts in the Capital which featured recipients of SNA Awards 2010. One of the awardees was Suguna Purushothaman, who gave a fine vocal recital reflective of her scholarship in the field. Even in the brief concert, she presented four well thought out selection of compositions and brought out the richness of Carnatic music.

Suguna started off with Tyagaraja's composition “Janakiramana” in raga Suddhaseemantini which was interspersed with highly creative neraval of the phrase “rakta nalinadala nayana nrpala” and Kalpanaswars. Shyama Sastri's “Ninnuvinaga” in raga Poorvikalyani underwent fine treatment. The preceding raga alapana was a fine exposition in which she brought out the features of this raga to the fore. While presenting Muthuswami Dikshidar's “Neerajakshi Kamakshi” in raga Hindolam, the emotive aspects of the raga came to the fore. Sugana finished her concert with a scintillating tillana in raga Kapi during which she demonstrated her skills of keeping two different talas in two different hands, simultaneously.

Suguna Purushothaman was ably assisted by Mullaivasal G. Chandramouli on the violin and Tanjore R. Kumar on the mridangam. While Chandramouli's sketch of Poorvikalyani was delightful, Kumar's brief taniavartanam (percussion solo) in misra chappu tala was engaging.

In another concert in the festival, Nagai R. Muralidharan too delighted the audience during his brief violin recital which was marked by commendable clarity of notes. Muralidharan too began straight away with a Tyagaraja composition, “Eendaro mahanubhavulu” in raga Sri, the fifth Pancharatnakriti of the legendry saint. He gave utmost importance to various sangathis and mellifluously brought out the elegance of the composition. Within the time allotted to him, Muralidharan presented Mysore Vasudevachar's “Brochevarevare” in raga Khamas in a somewhat detailed manner. He did adequate justice to each aspect, whether in presenting the composition or handling the improvisation techniques (raga alapana and swaraprastharas). He finished his concert with an emotive bhajan in raga Sindhubhairavi. Srimushnam V. Raja Rao provided excellent and understanding support to the violinist in the mridangam. Rao's tani avartanam, though brief, was spellbinding. Nagai Sriram provided able violin support to Muralidharan.

Sadly, yet another concert in the series, by vocalist Mysore Nagamani Srinath, was disappointing. One could not understand the need for having two uppa packavadyams (Kanjira and Ghatam) in addition to the mridangam in such a brief concert, particularly when their tani avartanam was a joint exercise and none of them played individually even a few avartanams (rhythm cycle).

Nagamani Srinath began her recital with “Sree Mahaganapathim bhajeham” in raga Attana. Nagamani's main item was Tyagaraja's “Manasuloni” in raga Hindolam and finished off with her own composition, a tillana in raga Vasanthi, which was prefixed by a scintillating vrithum. While Delhi R. Sridhar provided the violin support and closely followed the vocalist, H.S. Sudhindra on the mridangam, Tanjore R. Keshavan on the kanjira, and Mannai Kannan on the ghatam provided the percussion support.

While Suguna Purushothaman and Nagamani Srinath have been awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for their contribution to Carnatic vocal music, Nagai R. Muralidharan and Srimushnam V. Raja Rao for their contribution to the Carnatic instrumental music.