Thamarakkadu Govindan Nambudiri – A Feather in Naada Inbam’s Cap

Thamarakkadu Govindan Nambudiri with S.Varadarajan, Trichur Narendran and Udupi Sridhar on 18-12-2018

Govindan Nambudhiri’s concert for Naada Inbam was a sample of the other dimension of Carnatic music. A dimension where  nothing else mattered except the purity of music. . For the duration of the concert he held the audience spell bound by the sheer magnetism of his music. The Mother and  Father of music, Sruthi and Laya were there at every moment. At some moments there was such unison between Nambhudiris voice and the tambura that the two seemed but one harmonic melody. His voice flowed like liquid, something like pouring honey out of a jar, and who cared that his voice did not have the ‘sweet and honeyed’ texture that is so prevalent today. Each sangathi welded with the other seamlessly. Out of his repertoire, the Muthuswami Dikshitar piece ‘Gurumurthe’ shone like a gem and the swara sequence found Nambudiri in his element. His abundant manodharma came forth with swara sequence after sequence, each one more delightful than the other. One wondered why no one else had thought of such sequences before! Equally delightful was Varadarajan’s replies on the violin: he followed the vocalists patterns but always had a personal touch that kept the audience in a fit of anticipation at every moment.
The first major raga was a real googly: Ahiri! And how elaborate it was! How many artistes, one wondered have explored this raga in such depth. And depth it certainly was, for Govindan Nambudithiri effortlessly skimmed the scale from the lower panchamam to the highest notes, gliding here, holding a note there.  Many of the sancharas were breathtaking and showed just how much sadhana this gentleman, tucked away in Kerala has put in. Even rendering a piece effectively in Ahiri is a tough proposition, and singing an elaborate alapana would make any connoisseur sit up. Varadarajan too gave exquisite sancharas.Beside his great talent, Varadarajan has the inherent quality of gnanam and some of his little touches showed just how sensitive a musician he is. His alapana was rewarded with resounding applause and perhaps the delighted vocalist outdid the audience in his appreciation. His applause, accomapanied by a genuinely delighted beam that warmed the hearts of everyone.The piece was the heavy weight Sri Kamalamba Jayathi. the vocalist sprang another surprise by rendering swaras for this piece, another rarely heard delight. with due respect for the raga bhava, he restricted himself to the first speed. After a brisk Ramapriya piece of Swati Thirunal (Samodam), the vocalist embarked on a Mukhari. The raga really seemed tailor-made for him with his ability to deliver the smooth glides that this raga full of pathos calls for. Such was his understanding of the true qualities of music that he knew when to give the plain notes, when to give dainty touches and when not to. The effect was remarkable.
The piece Emanine was rendered with utmost bhava, as was the whole concert. One wonders why and how such a fabulous musician remains in relative obscurity. The audience was evidently a classy one, that demanded heavy duty music rather than frivolous acrobatics. The musician was able to take the audience along the path of sedate serene dignified music, exactly how the classical music idiom is meant to be.
Besides Varadarajan, the top ranking percussion duo of Trichur Narendran and Udupi Sridhar did everything to prove themselves ideal partners in this musical feast. Their accompaniment was sheer mastery, not just over layam, but over the art of accomapanying a master artiste…
A concert to remember for life.
By Varalakshmi Anandkumar
(Varalakshmi AnandKumar

4 thoughts on “Thamarakkadu Govindan Nambudiri – A Feather in Naada Inbam’s Cap

  1. Namaskaram and thanks a lot for the beautiful review. He is singing Navavaranam at my residence for last 14 years on Deekshithar Jayanthi day. He is one only one to sing all the Navavaranams on all days at early morning 3 am. Namaskaram to Govindan Namboothiri ji.


    1. He is one only one to sing all the Navavaranams on all days at early morning 3 am – wow! Please share Dikshitar Jayathi program details in advance with me!


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