Mala Chandrasekhar has not only lived two important legacies but carved a niche for herself. She is among the top instrumental musicians and arguably the top flautist. She connects to music from her family. She is the daughter of the Sikkil Sisters (daughter of Sikkil Neela). From the matrimonial home, she has inherited the legend MS Amma. As a tribute to MS Amma, her Shrimannarayana and her concluding Maithri Bhajathe were clear indications of her tributes to the maestro.
Mala Chandrasekhar was accompanied on the violin by VV Srinivas Rao, on the murdangam by Kakidaikurichi Shiva Kumar and on the ghatam by Prasanna Hariharan. She set the tone for the evening by presenting Jalajakshi the Hamsadhwani varnam in two speeds. In the raga Narayani, she played saint composer Thyagaraja’s Rama Neeve.
The Swara Kalpana was particularly mention worthy. Annamacharya’s Shrimannarayana was presented with all its soulful intricacies. Dharmavathi was the first of the two ragas she took up for an elaborate presentation. Yet again, her alapana was masterly. She also presented Parandhavathi of Muttuswamy Diskhitar in Tishra Eka Tala and on the way to the main raga, she presented two quick numbers of Dikshitar and Thayagaraya: Maaye in Tharangini and Sadamadim in Gambheeravani. Throughout the evening, violinist Srinivas Rao was a perfect accompaniment.
The evening’s main presentation was Sukhi evaru in raga Kannada. The rendition made one wonder if the raga was a part of her flute. Every bit of this rendition was exhibition of controlled craftsmanship. Shiva Kumar and Hariharan in the thani further pushed the envelope. Moving towards the lighter edition of the evening, she did Narayanathe namo namo in Behag of Annamacharya and Javali in Khamas Modijese.
One would believe carrying awesome traditions and reputation is always a huge challenge. To Mala Chandrasekhar, it seemed natural. Long after the concert and late into the night her Neraval and Swara Kalpana kept echoing thereby, reiterating her eminence. The connoisseurs were justifiably grateful to Kalasagaram for a soulful evening.
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