Vijayagopal’s musical tribute to N. Ramani


At the N. Ramani tribute concert, Vijayagopal came up with a fine blend of laya and swara aesthetics

At the N. Ramani tribute concert, Vijayagopal came up with a fine blend of laya and swara aesthetics

About flute Mali, SVK wrote (The Hindu – June 10, 1994): “To him naadha, that is pure unsullied melody, was the centre of his great art and this enveloped his whole self so completely that he was not conscious of the listeners before him as much as the beauteous sancharas he blew as an experience.” He described N. Ramani as “a disciple as eminent as the guru.” (The Hindu, Oct. 13, 1994). It was appropriate that Kedaram recently organised a flute recital, dedicated to Ramani, by Dr. Vijayagopal, recipient of the Mali Award from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in December 2004.

Vijayagopal, a post-graduate in orthodontics, has managed to strike a balance between his profession and passion. His two-and-a-half-hour concert was marked by poise and power. He started his training as a vocalist and then had his tutelage in flute under esteemed gurus — T.R. Navaneetham, T.S. Sankaran and K.V. Ramanujam.

Elaborate Hemavati

In his elaborate Hemavati raga alapana, one could almost visualise the sound. Madan Mohan on the violin carved another profound elucidation. The majesty of ‘Sri kanthimatim’ by Dikshitar came out in full vigour. Vijayagopal adopted an apt and appealing vilamba kala. The swaras at ‘Suka sounakaadi’, and the concluding korvai brought to the fore the artiste’s firm foundation in laya. The spirited thani by N.C. Bharadwaj (mridangam) and S. Sunilkumar (kanjira), gave many hints of their laya prowess. Displaying their lofty accompanying skills, both duetted well to enrich the recital.

Another detailed exposition was of Kannada, a raga which does not offer enough scope for exhaustive elaboration. Violinist Madan Mohan succeeded in matching up to the main artiste. Vijayagopal rendered Tyagaraja’s ‘Bhajare bhaja manasa’ with an inimitable flavour. Exhaustive swaraprastara at the pallavi was clothed in rhythmic finesse. In fact, the kalpanaswaras presented through out the concert were a harmonious combination of swara and laya aesthetics.

Wide repertoire

Earlier, Vijayagopal commenced his evening recital with the Ragamalika varnam, ‘Inta kopamelara’ by Veenai Kuppaiyer. It has the Ghana ragas — Nattai, Gowla, Varali, Arabhi and Sri — in addition to Narayana Gowla, Ritigowla, Bowli, and Kedaram.

After a crisp Sahana alapana, Vijayagopal rendered Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Sri vathapi ganapathiye’. Then came Tyagaraja’s ‘Sundara tara deham’ preceded by a short alapana in Pantuvarali. The swaras were at pallavi. Dikshitar’s Dwijavanti piece, ‘Akhilandeswari’ (Rupakam) was a soothing rendition by Vijayagopal.

Swati Tirunal’s ‘Devadeva kalayamite’ (Rupakam, Mayamalavagowla) was a neat presentation, which was followed by GNB’s popular piece, ‘Radha sametha krishna’ in Mishra Yaman.

For Anai Vaidyanatha Iyer’s Sindhubhairavi piece, ‘Chandrasekhara eesa eesa’, Vijayagopal used the long flute, for a different aesthetic experience. This song is an Alathur special.

Vijayagopal concluded the concert with the Hamsanandi Tiruppugazh, ‘Niraimathi mukhamenum’.

The Chennai-based reviewer writes on classical music.

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