Friday 15th November 2017, SIFAS Auditorium Veena – Mrs Nirmala Rajasekhar Violin – Guru Nellai Ravindran Mridangam – Sri Murugabhoopathy
Friday 15th November 2017 evening came alive with a brilliant concert by Nirmala. Arranged at short notice, she played to a fairly thin crowd. But what a concert! Especially in today’s time when learning and playing the veena is becoming less popular. She was ably accompanied by SIFAS Guru Nellai Ravindran on the violin and Sri Murugabhoopathy on the mridangam. Nirmala started off briskly with a varnam by the great Mysore Vasudevachar and went on to play one of my favourite kritis “Sree Mahaganapathim” in Atana, a composition of Mysore Maharaja. One of the best renderings of this piece was by the late Vidwan Madurai Somasundaram and Nirmala came to a close second. An interesting composition of Muthuswami Deekshitar in the raga Kalavathi captivated the audience – this raga is not to be confused with the Hindustani Kalavathi which is the equivalent of the Carnatic Valaji. Thanks for the concert lesson Nirmala. I learned something new! Surely the piece de resistance must be her Shankarabaranam Mahalakshmi, a composition of Papanasam Sivan. The raga alapana was soulful but the brilliance came in the taanam which she rendered to a rhythm accompaniment. It brought me back to the 1960s when the late Maharajapuram Santhanam sang thaanam to the mridangam accompaniment of Palghat Krishna Mani. A strong impact had been made on me during my teens. The tani avartanam was a rare treat. The dexterity and mellifluence exhibited by Murugabhoopathy’s fingers were amazing and struck a chord in me as a rhythm player. Nirmala followed with some nice thukadas rounding off her concert in 2 hours. Concert planning is an art. Nirmala gave varieties in tala – adhi, rupakam, misra chapu- varieties in composers, and mood variations. A well spent evening at SIFAS.
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