Violin is an instrument which is quite difficult to try one’s hands on. When played with utter mastery, violin can paint varied moods of different Ragas. N. Rajam is a name synonymous with violin. She and her next two generations skillfully play this instrument and have created a distinct place in the world of Indian Classical Music.
Two days ago, I attended a concert by Shrimati N.Rajam. It was not the first concert by her which I attended. Two years back she had given a wonderful performance along with her daughter Sangeeta Shankar and two grand daughters. N. Rajam had played Raga Jog there. The performance was a unique example of coordination between four classical performers without damaging the melody. These four artists together had sculpted out the beautiful persona of Raga Jog.
The concert which I attended two days ago, was a free concert organized at Garware College. It was a two days music concert featuring four artists. I could attend one artist each day- N. Rajam on first day and Sarod maestro Vishwajeet Roy Chowdhury on the second.
I was quite curious about which Raga N. Rajam would choose to open the concert with. She announced that she would be starting with Raga Miyan Ki Malhar. I have listened to different renderings of Miyan Ki Malhar by different artists on different instruments. This was the first time I was about to listen to it being played on violin.
N Rajam is quite famous for playing violin as per the Gayaki Ang (similar to the way vocalists sing.). She started with a composition in Vilambit Ektala (slow12 beats cycle). It was one of the finest vilambits I ever heard in Miyan Malhar with all the nuances of the Raga captured very well. It was very delicate and at the same time roaring as the clouds are.
The vilambit composition was followed by a drut composition. Though played with equal mastery, it could not do justice to the flavor of the Raga as much as the slow composition did. Respecting the request made by audience, she played a dhun and then finally concluded the concert with Bhairavi.
Mr. Pathak accompanied Dr. N. Rajam on tabla. Mr. Pathak is a disciple of the great Pt. Kishan Maharaj. Though he thrilled the audience with his art, I was expecting much more. Mr. Pathak has good Riyaz and command over the instrument but I could not find the gentleness and patience in his playing which one finds in Kishan Maharaja’s style of playing.