Visalakshi Nityanand's mastery was evident in her choice of kritis.
The vocal concert of Visalakshi Nityanand, Chennai, held on the premises of Lord Vigneswara Temple, Thali, Kozhikode, as part of the Prathishta Mahotsavam, stood out for her good selection of kritis and her powerful rendition.
Daughter and disciple of Trivandrum R.S. Mani (who was a disciple of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer) and also the disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.K. Govinda Rao, Visalakshi started her concert with the Abhogi varnam of Patnam Subramanya Iyer, `Evari Bodhana.' Then she rendered `Sidhivinayakam Anisham...' a Dikshitar kriti on Lord Ganesha in Chamaram (or Shanmughapriya), set to Rupaka thalam. The swaraprasthara at `Prasidha Gananayakam' was instantaneous and challenging.
`Arul mukha adimaye,' a small song in Sudhasaveri was sung too fast.
Slow and elegant tempo
The next song was `Ganamoorthe Srikrishna Venu' in Ganamoorthi, a kriti attributed to Thyagaraja, but believed by scholars to be incorrect. Its slow and elegant tempo evidently showed that she was adept at singing both swift and slow tempos.
In her Bahudari alapana she traced the raga subtly; simultaneously bringing out its quintessence. The kriti selected was Thyagaraja's `Brova bhaarama Raghu Raama.'
A small alapana of Bhairavi was followed by the grand swarajathi of Shyama Sastri, `Kamakshi Anudinamu' in Misrachapu. It was an excellent tribute to Shyama Sastri on his Jayanthi day. `Vara shikhi vahana... ' in Supradeepam, a rare kriti credited to Thyagaraja, was followed by Dwijavanthi kriti of Dikshitar, Chetasri Balakrishnam, which was sung full of bhavam.
After a brisk singing of Varanarada in Vijayasri, Visalakshi chose Madhyamavathi for the main alapana. Portraying a traditional Madhyamavathi, she chose `Palinchu Kamakshi' of Shyama Sastri, rightly expected by all. It was followed by the thani, Aadhi thalam, starting from the `Samam.'
The final pieces were the ragamalikai, Barokrishnayya, Viruthams in Kanada, Hamirkalyani and Nalinakanthi, followed by a thirupugazh in aadhi thalam. Powerful shaareeram and voice are the trademarks of Visalakshi's music, something rarely seen among female musicians today.
Even the gamakas were strong, with touches of Hindustani style.
With her trained and perfect voice, all the sangathis came out clearly. Her flawless diction and proper linking of words with the thalam is on account of her profound knowledge of the lyrics.
On the mridangam, Kondunthirippily Parameswaran, a disciple of Moorthy, did a good job. His accompaniment, especially for the swarajathi, was filled with the trademark mukthayippus and theermanams of the Moorthy school of mridangam. Kovai Suresh, on the ghatom, never failed to rise to the occasion and pleased the audience with the sweet timbre of the clay pot.
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