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In keeping with tradition

G. SWAMINATHAN

Adhering to tradition, Padma Chandilyan delineated Kalyani and Thodi with all their prominent features.

Photo: R. Shivaji Rao.

VETERAN TOUCH: Padma Chandilyan.

A staunch follower of tradition, Padma Chandilyan makes the best use of her sonorous voice. The open throat articulation, the conviction with which the raga is built and sahitya clarity make Padma stand out.

And these aspects were evident in her performance at the Mylapore Sastri Hall although her voice was plagued by a sore throat that triggered bouts of cough. This restrained her from indulging in freewheeling sancharas in the upper registers. Padma's expositions, however, covered the popular and well-established prayogas and pidis of Kalyani (`Nambi Kettavar Illavo' by Purandaradasa) as well as Thodi (`Karthikeya Gangeya' by Papanasam Sivan). `Karthikeya Gangeya' was diligently rendered with all the three charanams including the one with Sivan's signature. However, the niraval and swaras centred on `Vel Maruvum Amara Kara Kamala' in the popular second charanam. The swaras were built up well in a simple and easy style converging on a finale pitched on shadjam rounded off with a masterly touch. Conversely, earlier in Kalyani, the niraval-swara package at `Garuda Gamana Sri Purandara Vittala' was low key.

There were fast numbers such as the initial `Gajananayutham' in Chakravaham, `Namo Namo Raghu Kula Nayaka' in Nattai, `Sreepathey' in Nagaswaravali and `Janaki Ramana' in Kapi.

Violinist Meera Sivaramakrishnan's accompaniment was slapdash. On many occasions her raga excursions were not only tangential but off-key too. In Thodi she was more restrained and seemingly organised.

The percussion support to Chandilyan came from two teenagers and in fact it was the maiden performance for Narayen on the mridangam. Narayen was enthusiastic but was careful in his job and so was the ghatam artist Prashanth. The youngsters' `thani avartanam' was extremely spirited sparkling with the fresh energy and enthusiasm of youth.

An aside

Two important observations:

at last, Sastri Hall is all set for a facelift. Split air-conditioners have been installed on the walls and the rest of the infrastructure has to be developed. One hopes the sound system gets the due attention.

The second aspect is the intrusion of video cameras. The technicians block the view and the harsh light thrown on the performer is distracting, to say the least. The heat makes things worse for the musicians already uncomfortable thanks to the extremely hot summer. Surely, there must be a better way of recording a programme.

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