N.J. Nandini’s struck a confident note at the Kalakshetra Foundation’s Sunaadam music festival held recently at the aesthetically designed Bharata Kalakshetra auditorium. . Though she did not indulge in any theatrics, there was never a dull moment.
The start itself was lively with ‘Satatam tavaka’ by Swati Tirunal in Karaharapriya. The vibrancy continued with her well-knit swara package in two speeds. The finale was built on daivatam-centric swaras in a commendable manner. Solemnity ruled high in the next piece ‘Mamayura meethileriva’ (Bilahari) by Mazhavai Chidambara Bharati. It carried a fascinating chittaswaram in varying rhythm.
Nandini chose to elaborate Suddha Dhanyasi in a slow and steady manner. The raga with its lively as well as melodious motifs offers enough scope to explore. Nandini’s raga essay highlighted the nuances of Suddha Dhanyasi. It provided a neat preface to Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Subrahmanyena rakshitoham’, a kriti not often sung on concert platforms now. The serene Hamir Kalyani kriti ‘Gangeya vasana dhara’ again by Swati Tirunal brought in a change of mood. ‘Sadamadin talatu’, the rare Gambhirvani Tyagaraja kriti, followed.
Rich in raga bhava
The piece de resistance of the concert was an elaborate treatise of raga Thodi. The kriti chosen was ‘Venu gana ramana’ by Oothukadu Venkata Subbaiyer. Nandini’s rendition carried enough charm and raga bhava. Niraval in different speeds came at ‘Vitarana guna nipuna’, the line in pallavi. This was followed by a cascade of swaras in multiple combinations.
Raghul on the violin demonstrated his ingenuity in alapanas and swara segments. K.V. Prasad, the veteran mridangist, extended excellent support to both the vocalist and the violinist. The slow, steady and perfect tani avartanam was a mélange of rhythmic patterns.
Nandini drew her concert to a close ‘Enthu njan iha cheyyu’ in Nilambari by Swati Tirunal and ‘Eru mayil eri’, Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh verse, set in ragamalika.
Trained under several illustrious gurus, Nandini’s concert proved her commendable vocal skills.