Many stalwarts of yester year in the field of Carnatic music have time and again opined that their initial interest in music was kindled by the nagaswaram recitals of many maestros who used to take part in the festivals connected with the temples in the villages where most of the vidwans resided. These concerts reportedly lasted from late night to the break of dawn and used to dominate over vocal recitals.
The current concert scenario however is different. The nagaswaram gets confined mostly to provide the mangala isai during the inaugurations and valedictory functions of music festivals. A few organisations have tried for the revival of nagaswaram concerts by conducting festivals with exclusive concerts on this wind instrument. The response from the rasikas has been minimal.
Swathi soft solutions have recorded S.R.G. Sambandam and S.R.G. Rajanna who hail from Sembanar Kovil. The blowing by the duo is devoid of harshness and falls pleasantly on the ears. Thavil accompaniment has been provided by Tirupananthal S. Marimuthu, Tiruvavaduthurai T.N. Govindaraj and Tirukannapuram Govindarajan.
The strains of Gambeera Nattai at the start of this album lead on to a composition ‘Gnana Vinayakane’ which is a brisk rendering. Tyagaraja’s ‘Orajupuju’ (Kannadagowlai) is the succeeding kriti played with the structure of the raga intact.
A rare raga ‘Rathnambari’ (derivative of Vachaspati) is the melody in which a Thamizh song ‘Eppo Kanbeno’ is set to tune. The main fare is the playing of a rakti melam in Nattakurinji (Misra Chapu). Rakti melam playing is confined to nagaswaram concerts and is similar to a pallavi rendition sans any sahitya. The alapana of Nattakurinji is impressive though the kakali nishada creeps in on a few occasions during the course of the rakti melam playing which is disturbing to the sensitive ear.
Oothukkadu Venkata Subba Iyer’s popular Kanada composition ‘Alaipayude’ is engrossing. An English note and a Tiruppugazh (Madyamavati-Khanda Nadai-Adi) bring the curtains down on this album.