17 December, 2014
As Vignesh Ishwar performed at the Mylapore Fine Arts Club in the second of the afternoon slots, one could get the feeling of listening to a robust voice that was endowed with depth. These then are the main requisites for a carnatic vocalist, not only to be successful but if the innings is to be a long one.
Vignesh’s concert had a quiet beginning with Neelayadakshi in Mayamalavagowlai. One was a bit surprised to see Maa Janaki, a Khambodhi krithi of Thyagaraja coming up next. Artistes plan their concerts according to their liking and the main number was one of the finest pieces in Bhairavi, Raksha Pettare another of the Sadguru’s songs. No surprises here! By choosing to render an alapana for Saranga and following it up with Dikshithar’s vilambakala song Arunachala Naatham, Vignesh created the mood both for himself and the audience to launch his Bhairavi. The Saranga number is an epitome of azhuththam and Vignesh (considering his age) made one sense the gravity of this song in its full measure.
Bhairavi raga alapana was punctuated with all the classical and customary elements this raga would take and what was more, the stamina reflected in the vibrancy of the voice was there for you to savour till the very end of the raga elaboration. All his musical expressions were articulate. The sangatis for the Bhairavi song were sung in the prescribed order that served as an embellishment on its own. The neraval was as chaste as it could be and occurred at the line “sageethapriya thyagaraja”. With all this, why was his Vidajaladhura (Janaranjani-Thyagaraja) contained more of the noise element?
K P Nandini on the violin was a sedate and a faithful follower of the main artiste and presented raga alapanas (Bhairavi and Saranga) fashioning her playing according to her own style and studded it with raga moorchanas that had a telling effect. Rajesh Srinivasan on the mridangam indulged in fine playing and was able to show his alacrity in quickly coming to his own in anticipating and executing the korvais of Ishwar and thus derive the pleasure of Ishwar on more than one occasion.