A fête in Irinjalakuda celebrated the versatility and genius of Swathi Thirunal

The four-day festival featured music concerts and a Mohiniyattam recital

A four-day music and dance festival dedicated to Maharaja Swathi Thirunal was held at Irinjalakuda recently.

On the first day of the programme, Cherthala K N Ranganatha Sharma started with the Kamboji varnam. He then made a precise aalapana of Bahudari followed by the krithi ‘Gurupavanalaya’ of Sundaranarayana. ‘Jalajanabha’ (Kedaragowla) and ‘Paalayamadhava’ (Asaveri), both composed by Swathi, were marked by the beauty of the leisurely pace with which they were delivered. The latter was decorated with an array of swara passages with a judicious mix of Jhanda patterns. ‘Pahitharakshu’ (Anandabhairavi) of Swathi was executed in a slow tempo setting the stage for main piece. A neat alapana of Sreeranjini panning its contours preceded the main piece — ‘Bhavaye Sree Janaki Kantham’, which was decked with niraval and swara passages. Solo essays of Panthuvarali and Sreeranjini by violinist N Sampath were noteworthy. Support by KS Maheshkumar (mridangam) and Vazhappally R Krishnakumar (ghatam) enhanced the concert.

Cherthala K N Ranganatha Sharma participating in a music festival in Irinjalakuda to celebrate Swathi Thirunal. He was accompanied by N Sampath (violin), K S Maheshkumar (mridangam) and Vazhappally R Krishnakumar (ghatam) | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Vivek Moozhikulam performed on the second day. ‘Saarasasamamridhu’ in Gowrimanohari with swarakshara phrase in its pallavi was well delineated and the Sudhadhanyasi piece ‘Samodham Chinthayami’ was well received. However, instead of concentrating on the krithis of Swati, he chose to sing several other compositions. The solo presentation of Valachi and Saramathi by violinist Viju S Anand were praiseworthy and the deft handling with delicate touches by Palakkad A M Harinarayanan on the mridangam was commendable. Kottayam Unnikrishnan was on the ghatam.

Vivek Moozhikulam in the company of Viju S Anand (violin), Palakkad A M Harinarayanan (mridangam) and Kottayam Unnikrishnan (ghatam) participating in a music programme in Irinjalakuda to celebrate Swathi Thirunal  | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

N J Nandini presented a well-structured concert on the third day. She took off with a rarely-heard ‘Sree Ramachandra’ (Thodi) enriched with swara passages followed by ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabhanujesa’ (Manirangu). Malayamarutham blossomed with a pretty aalapana and the krithi ‘Padmanabhapaalithebha’ was tagged on to it. After the padavarnam ‘Sumasayaka’, she took Hamsanandi for elaboration with full vigour especially in the higher echelons and experimented with sruthibhedam at rishabham to create Hindolam for a while. ‘Paahijagadjanani’ was the krithi rendered. ‘Bhavayami’ was the main piece and she devoted time to elaborate all the seven ragas before garlanding the krithi with several cycles of ragamalika swara phrases. ‘Saramaina’ (Behag) and ‘Panimathi’ (Ahiri) constituted the post-thani session. She was accompanied by Thiruneloor Ajith (violin), Balakrishna Kammath (mridangam) and Harippad Sekhar (ghatam).

Nemmara brothers Kannan and Anand along with Kavalam Sreekumar and Thidanad Anu Venugopal on the thavil presented a nadaswaram duet on the fourth evening. Their absolute command and control over the instrument as well as their approach towards the depiction of each and every raga played were evident throughout the concert. Exposition of Lalithapanchamam by Anand before the krithi ‘Paramapurusham’ and Shanmukhapriya by Kannan preluding ‘Maamavakarunaya’ were well portrayed. Chakravakam was detailed before the main piece ‘Sarojanabha’, which was followed by Thani. ‘Aaaye Giridhar’ (Puryadhanasree) and thillana brought their concert to a close.

A Kathakali pada kacheri comprising padams of female characters from select plays was led by P D Narayanan Namboothiri and Kalamandalam Vinod. ‘Sree Neelakanda’ (‘Dakshayagam’) in Neelambari, ‘Anupamagunanakum’ (‘Lavanasuravadham’) in Reethigowla, ‘Saamyamakannoru’ (‘Nalacharitham’) in Panthuvarali were presented. Effervescence of creative experimentation was the highlight as they chose the raga Arabhi instead of Darbar to present the padam ‘Poomadinotha Charuthano’, another piece from the play ‘Nalacharitham’. ‘Kandalathimodam’ (‘Kirmeeravadham’) unfurled in raagamalika with Kamboji, Hamsadwani and Hamirkalyani. Tabla accompaniment by Rathnasree Iyer deserves special mention. Murali Krishnan (veena), Murali Narayanan (flute), Rajnarayanan (madhalam) and P Nandakumar (edakka) were the other accompanists.

A Mohiniyattam recital by Kalamandalam Prasheeja Gopinath was the final event. Starting with ‘Sreevighnarajam Bhaje’ in Gambheeranatta, she portrayed the story of Damayanthi in Charukesi varnam. Her pathos and suffering in the forest after being separated from Nala and their reunion was portrayed. ‘Jalajabandu’ (Surutti) and thillana in Dhanasree were the other pieces presented. Kalanilayam Gopinathan (nattuvangam), Bijeesh Krishna (vocal), Reghunath (flute), Kalamandalam Charudath (mridangam) and Nandakumar (edakka) supported the danseuse.

The fête was organised by Nadopasana, Irinjalakuda.

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