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M.S.Sheela's captivating music at Nadasurabhi concert

Smt. M.S.Sheela is a popular carnatic music artist who has been performing in India and abroad for several decades. On 18th September she gave a sparkling concert for the Nadasurabhi monthly concert held at IHA Hall in Koramangala. Choosing a special theme for her programme, the compositions of 19th and 20th century composers who were directly under the patronage of the Mysore maharaja, Sheela along with five of her disciples gave a concert for more than three hours with not a single sagging moment.

At the outset, the artist gave a brief idea of the songs that she will be presenting including the composer and raga. The programme started off with a Varnam in Panthuvarali, Intha Sowkya , a composition of Mysore Sadashiva Rao. Next was the popular composition of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar, Gam ganapate namo namo in raga hamsadhwani. There were also a few rounds of swaram. Abhogi, a very deep emotional raga was presented next and a rarely heard composition of Mysore Sadashiva Rao, Neekeppudu daya vochchunu along with swaraprasthara. All six vocalists with absolute synchronisation presented the most well known number of the evening, Sree Chamundeswari Paalayamam, with all its myriad sangathis. It was indeed a delightful experience.

As the sub-main item Smt. Sheela chose raga Dharmavathi. After a beautiful raga alapana filled with effortless brigas, Amba Brovave, a composition of Bidaram Krishnappa was presented in all its glory. Neraval and swaras were at Mahaa bhairavi gowri sreekrishna poshini. Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar's composition, Saraswathim bhagavathim namamyaham in raga Hamsavinodini was sung after a brief delineation of the raga. After a couple of short pieces in Sharadapriya alias Rathipathipriya and Kadanakudoohalam Smt. Sheela launched her main song with an elaborate Kharaharapriya alapanai. The song itself was a composition of Muthiah Bhagavathar, Annapurneswari Akhileswari. Compact and enjoyable neraval and swarams kept up the tempo of the concert. A Mohana kalyani composition of Gopala Dasa, had a light classical touch and the group rendering of this kriti had a nice lilting effect. Violin maestro Sri. Chowdiah's thillana in Nalina kanthi was the concluding piece before mangalam.

Overall it was a highly satisfactory listening experience both for the traditional and modern rasika. The rich flawless voice was gliding effortlessly over routine as well as complicated sanchaaras. Accompanying veteran violinist Sri. C.N.Chandrasekaran was in an exceptionally good form with very creative usages during his portions of alapanai and swaraprastharams along with admirably quick replies to the nuances of the main artist. Young percussionists Manjunath and Phanindra Bhaskar gave an enthusiastic support along with a cheerful and enjoyable thani avarthanam.

It was announced that the next concert on 16th October was by Chennai artist Vidushi Nisha Rajagopalan and party. Also, the Nadasurabhi annual festival programme has been released. Details of the event from 9th to 13th November 2011 can be had from their website www.nadasurabhi.org or by email to nadasurabhi@yahoo.co.uk.