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Vishnudev Namboodri's Concert
05 December, 2019

Vishnudev Namboodri  - firmly grounded

Vishnudev Namboodri has come a long way in the field of carnatic music. His music rests on strong foundations and there is always a striving in him to improve upon this in every concert. There was ample proof of this as he launched NinneBhajana of Thyagaraja in Nata giving his full attention to the song with some involved rendering that brought out the song’s significance. That he was able to give a neraval and swaraprasthara even for this first song again bore testimony to the firm ground he stood on.  After this came Arunachala Nadham of Muthuswami Dikshithar in Saranga and that probably showed the kind of control he had in his armoury.

The main raga in his concert was Khambodhi. This had a formal step-by-step and well-sequenced alapana with astute raga cadences and mel kala (top octave swaras and alapana) sancharas coming to the fore with an enthusiastic slant that went well with the audience. One had to keep one’s fingers crossed for the Khambodhi song. Would it be something special? The song came with an announcement. Vishnudev said that Swathi Thirunal was fascinated and cherished the judicious use of swarakshara (the concept where the lyrics and the corresponding swaras are identical) in his sahithyas. The vocalist sang Padasanati Munijana Sugama Pavana where right at the commencement of the krithi, Padasa of the lyrics was found to match the swaras “Pa” - “Dha” - “Sa”. The song had more of such thoughtful usages. During the kalpana swara segment Vishnudev ended his rounds, long and short, on the pallavi line (Padasa) time and again, thereby turning the spotlight on this “swarakshara” aspect again. Thiruvarur Ramasamy Pillai’s Sri Kamakshim Kadakshim in Vasantha came in between (mnid you not as a filler) but as a full-fledged song with quite a few captivating sangathis for the pallavi.

Rahul as his wont showed his inherited bow-qualities that stood out. During the raga alapanas he followed the main artist faithfully that served to reflect his temperament. His fount of imagination was in full flow during the raga alapana, especially of Khambodhi. All this had a cumulative effect taking the concert to its expected heights. His replies for the kalpanaswaras were spot on.   

Laya accompanists Akshay Ananathapadmanabhan on the mridangam and Payyanur Govindaprasad on the morsing played softly and produced nadham that was in complete consonance that could maintain and retain the mood of the songs.

The mridangam’s idadhu had too much of the bass component that even the proverbial feather touch created such an unnatural sound. In fact the mridangist realized and signaled to the mic-man but the problem was left unattended.

One remembers this: Vishnudev Namboodri won the Carnatic  Music Idol award in 2012. I was one among the panel of judges who had to decide on the winner. PadmaVibhushan Sri Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna gave away this award and the event was under aegis of Jaya TV.

This concert was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Main Hall on 5th December, 2019 between 5 and 6.30 p.m.

s.sivakumar

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