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Melody on a single string

FEW MUSICIANS are adept at singing as well as playing any musical instrument equally well. More so, playing Carnatic music on a single-stringed instrument ,with due emphasis on varied type of gamakas. That is indeed a rare achievement. Therefore, when `Ganakokilam' Vaikom Vijayalakshmi started strumming on the Gayathri Veena, with the varnam in Sahana (Karunimpa) by Thiruvattiyoor Thiagayya, the audience at the Sree Poornathrayeesa Sangeetha Sabha at Tripunithura, were ushered into a world of chaste Carnatic music.

Employing a technique similar to that of Gottuvadyam, she entered the domain of Hamsadhwani with Mahaganapathe, composed by Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer. The stringent training in vocal that Vijayalakshmi has been receiving from Mavelikkara Ponnammal reflected in the gayaki style with which she played `Mamava Sadaa Varade' in Nattakurinji (Swathi Thirunal) set to Roopakam and `Naadathanumani sham' in Chittaranjini by Tyagaraja.

`Raghuvamsa' by Pattanam Subramania Iyer, happens to be a combination of the name of ragas, Kadanam (Sarasangi family) and Kuthoohalam of Sankarabharanam household. Usually top-class instrumentalists revel in playing this Kadanakuthoohalam composition and Vijayalakshmi too was no exception.

The `rakthi' element in Thodi was brought to the fore during its depiction. `Thaamathamen' by Papanasam Sivan, immortalised by the late GNB was furnished with a ragamalika, comprising Sivaranjini and Kaappi. `Thampuruven' in Sindhubhairavi had tilt in abundance, while `Saarangan', a ragamalika popularised by the late Maharajapuram Santhanam had a good impact on the listeners.

Vijayalakshmi concluded the programme with a thillana in Desh.

Kottayam Jayaprakash on the violin rose to the occasion when portraying Thodi in detail. Kuzhumathikkadu.

K.Gopalakrishnan with the mridangam showed how to accompany a soft-toned stringed instrument. Tripunithura N.Gopalakrishan handled the ganjira ably.

When Vijayalakshmy first came on the scene after her much appreciated youth festival performance when even the judges were enthralled by her controlled and confident singing, music lovers were sure that they were to see more of her. She proved them all right.

V.JAYARAMAN

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