17 December, 2014
NJ Nandini, runner-up at the carnatic idol competition, 2012 sang at MFAC during their 63rd year Art Festival on December 15, in the afternoon slot. She was accompanied by Thirucherai Karthik on the violin and Vineeth on the mridangam.
Commencing with Neekela Naayeda Nitsalamu in Devamanohari, a krithi of Srinivasa Iyengar, she filled it with a gentle dose of swaras and then took up the Mayamalavagowlai krithi, Deva Deva Kalayami. This was a krithi of Swathi Thirunal and one remembered the words of Semmangudi, who had stated with conviction that the ragas Sankarabaranam and this particular raga are the greatest assets carnatic music has given us. Nandini for her part showed her great passion for neraval as she gave one for this song at Bhuvanathraya Nayaka. Particularly at the slow paced sangathis here and later during the raga alapana for Rishababpriya this artiste showed a lovely penchant to stay at certain words/notes and invoke that lingering feeling of the swaras/sahithya which would be the yearning of any seasoned carnatic rasika.
Rishabapriya alapana showed the level of confidence that Nandini had attained in handling vivadhi ragas. The krithi taken up was Gananayadesika of Koteeswara Iyer. In between she chose to utter two songs of contrasting nature, Mamava Pattabhi in Manirangu and Vararaga Laya in Chenju Khambodhi. The first one is really a kind of litmus test of the top octave efforts the artiste has put in as evidenced by uttering the line samporna kama (the same usage would occur in the charanam too). The second one runs at a lively pace and was treated fittingly so. Nandini stood tall and did a creditable job.
For the later part she sang a Malayalam number in Nilambari, Muruganin Marupeyar (Behag-Guru Surajananda) and signed off with a Thillana. By all this she told the audience that was sparse in its numbers, that she had sense of order.
The violinist had a bit of struggle when he had to negotiate the fast paced sangathis, barring which showed abiding grace all the while. The mridangist played with considerable restraint and excelled during the thani. One was particularly impressed by the way he adhered to the pace of the songs, especially for the Manirangu song’s serene rendering.
But the final question remains? Why is Nandini, abundantly talented as she is, singing only at a couple of sabhas?