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Painter of evocative swaras

G.S. PAUL

In an inspired performance M. Narmadha interpreted a painting on the strings of the violin.



FIRE IN THE FOREST: The painting that evoked the muse.

Rasikas who thronged the mini-auditorium Sraddha in Thrissur were treated to a violin recital by Chennai-based artiste M. Narmadha. The recital was the musical interpretation of a painting titled `Fire In The Forest.' Further, it was quintessential of the holistic approach to art forms that has come to stay in recent times.

"The moment I happened to see the painting, there arose an urge in me to express it musically," said Dr. Narmadha who had come to Thrissur to perform in the Trinity Musical Festival, 2005.

Acrylic painting

The acrylic painting by artist C.G. Prince called `Fire In The Forest,' depicts the devastation caused by a wild fire. The six by three feet painting had garnered a lot of attention when it was exhibited by the artist in Thrissur in 1996.

As Narmadha began bowing out strains of the raga Saraswathy supported by single beats from G. Chandrasekharan Nair's mridangam, which was the only supporting instrument used, an ambience of melancholy filled the hall. The audience seemed to hold their breath. The resonant beats appeared to portray the animals fleeing to safety. By skilfully coupling the style of the bowing with the gradually ascending tempo of the beats, she could show how the wings of the birds might have been singed. The musical communication with the audience was so effective that there was a sigh of relief in the audience as the denouement depicted the birds fleeing to safe destinations.

Dr. Narmadha proved an ingenious composer through the impromptu narration and the raga Saraswathy, the janya of the 64th Melakartha Vachaspathy, appeared most suitable for the theme.



ON STRINGS OF MELODY: M. Narmadha's colourful notes were in tune with the mood of the painting.

Inspired by the audience, she described how she saw the surging waves of the tsunami from the towers of the Chennai station of All India Radio where she is a staff artist. The alarming height of the waves had reminded her of the height of the mountain described by Thyagaraja in his famous composition, `Giripainelakonna' in Sahana. The same number was played in the traditional Carnatic style and it was dedicated to all the victims of the disaster and also for those who had engaged themselves in rescue operations voluntarily. She also played an inspiring tarana in Sindhubhairavi.

Narmadha is the daughter of violin maestro M.S. Gopalakrishnan and the granddaughter of the late Parur Sundaram Iyer.

The programme was staged jointly by Thrissur Heritage Resource of Indian Land Lovers' Society (THRILLS) and the Thrissur chapter of the All-India Peace and Solidarity Organsiation (AIPSO).

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