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Nithyashree strikes a perfect chord
Nithyashree Mahadevan was at her best when she sang for Kartik Fine Arts on December 4, 2011 at Narada Gana Sabha. A Swathi Tirunal kriti in Revagupti raga, “Gopalaka Pahimam” was decorated with jatis and scintillating swaras. Gana raga Varali got an elaborate treatment. She presented it eloquently. When musicians present a Varali kriti, more often than not they do only a brief justice to raga alapana. Nithyashree proved different with an expansive alap. She strictly adhered to the tradition and made it a point to present classical music in its purest form. She was rasika-friendly throughout the concert. Before reciting a kriti, she identified the song, and announced the name of its composer, the raga and the tala. While this must have pleased the not-so-savvy listeners of Carnatic music, a few learned fans might have rued the opportunity denied to test their raga-identification skills. Nithyashree, however, managed to keep the audience focused.

“Seshachala Nayakam”of Dikshitar, a kriti decorated with antyaprasas (rhyme endings), was presented very nicely. The neraval was done at “Aravinda Patra Nayanam Govindam Uragasayanam”. Her ability to sprinkle a kriti with sparkling swaras left `` Seshachala Nayakam’’ a wonderful listening pleasure for the audience. Violinist Ragavendra Rao, as usual, followed the main artiste with dedicated attention. After reciting a Tiruvachagam lyric, she switched to Papanasam Sivan’s Mohana raga kriti “Soundarya vellam”. She was expressive as she sang this Tamil number. Shyama Sastri’s “Mayamma” in Ahiri was superbly melodious. “Durga Devi” in Navarasakanada raga, a composition of Harikesannallur Muthiah Bhagavathar, gave a pep-up to the evening concerts, as Nithyashree sang this racy song beautifully. Glimpses of late D.K. Patammal could be found in Nithyashree as she sang this one. Pattammal had made another Navarasakanada piece “Nan Oru Vilayatu Bommaiyya” very popular. The Bhairavi alapana was expansive. This was followed by a Thyagaraja kriti “Raksha Bettare”. After an inspiring `tani avarthanam’ by mridangist P. Sathish Kumar and ghatam artiste Madipakkam Murali, Nityashree got into her favourite “Ragathil Siranthathu” (a kind of a ragamalika). Purandaradasa’s “Tambure Meethidava” (Sindhubhairavi) was impressive. She signed off with a Basant Bahar Thillana of Maharajapuram Santhanam.

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