Vocal : Thamarakkadu Govindan Namboodiri
Violin : Attukal Balasubramanyan
Mrudangam : Santhosh Kumar
Ganjira : Vyasa Vittala
01 viribONi ( varNam) – bhairavi – Pachimiriam Adiyappa ( Short Sketch)
02 gaNapatE mahAmatE – kalyANi – Ambi Dikshitar ( O,S )
03 evaraNi nirNaynichirira – dEvAmrutavarshiNi – Thyagaraja
04 shivAnanda kAmavardhini – kAmavardhini – GNB ( A,N,S )
neraval & swara @ ‘bhavAni pAvanI kamala bhavAdi vinuta kalyANi‘
05 paramAtmuDu – vAgadIshwari – Thyagaraja ( O )
06 pAlinchu kAmAkshi – madhyamAvathi – Shyama Shastri ( A,N,S,T )
neraval & swara @ ‘ kAntamagu pEru ponditivi kAruNya mUrti‘
07 rAmachandra prabhu – sindhu bhairavi – Swathi Thirunal
08 mangaLam – sourashtram – Thyagaraja
Not sure if this was the first concert of Sri Thamarakkadu Govindan Namboodiri in Bangalore. I haven’t heard of any concert here in the last 4-5 years. There was a review of his concert that happened at Chennai last year, and there was praise galore for his ‘vidvat’ and presentation.
He was not physically 100% fit. He seems to be having some issue, as he kept rubbing his nose and throat, drinking water often. However, all these did not deter him from giving us a concert of high caliber. A typical ‘Namboodiri mannerisms’ :-), the general restlessness, the eagerness to get on with the next, the vocal and very physical appreciation of the fellow artists on the stage, he was in his elements.
Concert started after Vidushi Neela Ramgopal, the only surviving ( as she mentioned) direct disciple of T K Rangachari, gave a short tribute to her legendary Guru. A speech full of admiration to her Guru, touching upon some of the specialties of his music and his persona, was fitting to the occasion. Continued from where she left, my friend Naresh Keerthi gave a brilliant talk on the person and his life. Keerthi’s talk, full of anecdotal glimpses of the musician, and the importance of his music, his love for teaching, his inimitable rendition of ragas like neelambari, vagadheeswari, touching upon the vast repertoire that he carried, were received with great enthusiasm.
Sri Govindan Namboodiri started his concert humming and extending to a short alapana of bhairavi, before the varnam. Ambi Dikshitar’s kalyani kriti came in next, and the glimpses of his caliber was evident in the kalpana swaras that sung at the end of the kriti. Devamrutavarshini was the standard sangatis, executed pretty well. Pantuvarali alapana came with no delay, detailed in the typical style. Balasubramanyan, I thought, was very impressive in his return, and was generally top class through out the evening. GNB kriti was a mild surprise. He sang detailed neraval and kalpana swaras again.
T K Rangachari’s vagadheeswari is famous, and in her speech Neela Ramgopal, mentioned requesting the artist to include the same. I thought, he might choose to elaborate this. He did sing this as the next item, but it was not in grand scale. But the kriti was sung with lot of ‘soukhyam’ and was very pleasing.
Another kriti of T K Rangachari fame, was the main; palinchu kamakshi in madhyamavathi. The alapana was good, not great. May be he was struggling with his voice a little here. to his credit, he sang within the boundaries of his physical limitations of the day, never gave a moment to frown with some obvious shruthi lapses. Violin return was decent. But, the kriti was presented very very well. Starting at ‘pApashamani ambA’ to some great effect, he eased to the pallavi line. The neraval was very elaborate with some brilliant takes, keenly followed on violin. Two speed swara was also pretty good.
Percussion in general was decent, getting slightly over board with excitement at times. Vyasa Vittala played some interesting fillers to the swaras and neraval. Their ‘tani avartanam’, was good, but did extend far beyond comfort. A slightly controlled, managed tani, would have left us with better memories. I could see the vocalist looking at his watch and speeding up the talam towards the end of tani avartanam. Concert concluded soon after the interruption ( for thanking and recognition), with a Swathi Thirunal bhajan.
Overall, it was a good concert despite his health conditions. Notable was his alpana swara singing, where the ‘manodharma’ aspect was at its best. He seems to be producing them at will and could continue forever. I would definitely be looking out for his concert, if it ever happen in Bangalore.