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Vishnudev Namboodri - alapana was his forte'
16 December, 2015

Carnatic Idol, Vishnudev Namboodri began briskly with the Nattakurinji Varnam and led us into listening to a brief alapana of Mukhari before presenting Thyagarajas composition, Thalachinandhane. The manner which he began the song as if to establish continuity with the alapana must have touched a chord in a few rasikas that were present. The audience had in fact two more alapanas in store, Bilahari and Shubapantuvarali in that order - raga delineations that were elaborate and comprehensive like that of a maha vidwan and aesthetically fulfilling. We have here a singer who does not rest without giving his best at all stages in a concert. He is also gifted with a robust voice which he is willing to exploit fully.

The song he chose to present in Bilahari was Dikshithar’s Sri Madhurapuri Viharini. The pallavi had an abundant load of kalpana swaras that mainly terminated with sa ri ga pa dha with a well-intended gap between the ri and ga. This gap was well anticipated by the laya vidwans and together with the violinist it became almost a thala exercise that lasted for a while. It however went well the pallavi line. For Shubapanthuvarali the song was again a Thyagaraja krithi, Ennalu Oorage. In its alapana Vishnudev was guarded in his approach not to allow a hindusthani slant to slip in which calls for both vidwath and depth.  It had a neraval and swaraprastharam at Konnalu Saketha. In between these he accommodated Sri Ramam Ravikulabdhi in Narayanagowlai. While choosing Mukhari and Subhapantuvarali the concert never tended to sag, one still wondered whether in attempting to concentrate in the area of alapana which appeared to be his forte, did Vishnudev fail to keep track of time in the bargain.  Inclusion of a couple of krithis would have lent balance to this concert and would have aided him with a better time-sense.

 L Ramakrishnan on the violin lived well up to the standards expected of him both during the alapana and swara stages.  Ganapathyraman on the mridangam and Chandrasekara Sharma on the Ghatam seemed to be an ideal pair as they showed good understanding between them both during the song accompaniment and thani phases.

This concert was under auspices of Parthasarathi Swami Sabha and was held at Bhimasena Garden and occupied the afternoon slot.

aarvalan (aarvalan@yahoo.com)

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