Vidushi Sindhu Balakrishnan’s Recital Enthralls the Music Lovers at Sri Meenakshi Temple


From left: Rajesh Salem ( mridangam), Sindhu Balakrishnan (vocal) Mahesh Iyer ( violin)

By Chittoor Ramachandran

PEARLAND: Sri Meenakshi Temple at Pearland (MTS) organized a great classical music recital listening opportunity on Saturday, June, 25. It was a special concert featuring Vidushi Sindhu Balakrishnan (Smt.Sindhu), a highly accomplished vocalist visiting from Ernakulam, Kerala.  She had her training in classical music at Maharaja’s College for Women at Thiruvananthapuram and holds a master’s degree in music awarded by the University of Kerala.   Houston’s well known Violinist Sri Mahesh Iyer and mridangist Sri Rajesh Salem were the accompanying performers.

As a musician extensively trained under the guidance of several top ranking stalwarts, Smt. Sindhu has gained reputation both as a vocalist and as a classical dancer in innumerable prestigious stages all over India.   The concert at MTS gave a glimpse of her prowess repeatedly commented by Indian press.

The concert started with the vibrant Kalyani varnam (Vanajakshiro) capturing the attention of the packed audience instantaneously. With excellent clarity in sahityam, especially the Sanskrit words, the musician maintained the perfect ambience to keep the audience’s attention.

Ganesha Sthuthi (Sri Ganesha Saranam (composer Papanasham Sivan) in raga tilang indeed brought in a joyful enthusiasm in the audience.

Smt. Sindhu’s wealth of knowledge in the unique singing style nurtured at the prestigious Swathi Thirunal College of Music in Thiruvanathapuram was obvious in every krithi she included in the well planned rendition.  Especially the two major Devi krithis (Sudha mayi in raga Amrithavarshini composed by Harikeshanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar) and Maharaja Swathi Thirunal’s 5th Navarathri composition (Janani mamava in Bhairavi) were elaborated beautifully.  The majestic bhairavi with predominant bhakthi bhavam in praise of Mother Goddess was sung in detail.  Bhairavi alapana created a mystical pleasure in the auditorium. The violinist Sri Mahesh Iyer added much to the concert especially in the alapana of several ragas in this concert. The mridangist Sri Rajesh Salem enhanced the concert elegantly. His classy Thani avarathanam (in misra chapu thalam) was delightful and praiseworthy.

One of the unique attractive features of Smt. Sindhu’s concert we noticed was that she does not fill the concert with repetitive brigas. She deserves our special appreciation for the ‘soukhyam ‘she brings in.   In the post thani avarthanam part of the concert, we felt as if she focused her mind and was absorbed totally into the meaning of the composition. It was particularly obvious in her rendition of Purandara Dasar krithi – ‘Jagadordharana’ (Kapi ragam,Vilamba kalam). The emotional feeling she could elicit was phenomenal. Similarly the Roudra bhavam in ‘Siva Shambho’  (Revathi) or the gambheera bhavam in  ‘Anupama’ (Atana). Being a well- trained classical dancer, Smt. Sindhu could convey the message the great composers had in mind very effectively through music.  The audience was fortunate to have the advantage of enjoying the beauty of the ragam and the meaning by listening to this talented artiste.