Nisha Nigalye excels
By MOHAN NADKARNI
The Economic Times, January 1, 1989
Looking to the unprecedented turn-out one witnessed at a week-end concert featuring a youngster, one was left in little doubt that happier days are here again for the emerging generation of youngsters who have been, by and large, denied their rightful opportunities to display their attainments’ on the public platform specially by major music circles for far too long.
The heartwarming spectacle induced much optimism in the minds of those who feel concerned about the future of traditional music that the trend would catch on – that the sponsors, no less than the audiences, will eventually overcome their collective obsession for high-priced celebrities and join in to fulfill their overdue obligations towards promoting the musicians of tomorrow.
I refer to the three-hour vocal recital by Nisha Nigalye, a young vocalist from Panaji. She was featured at a monthly concerte by the Dadar Matunga Cultural Centre, one of city’s leading institutions in the field.
Nisha, who is only 24, made her debut in the city barely a year ago, and it would be true to say that she has never looked back since. But till now, it was left to the smaller institutions to project her talent on their modest platform. Meanwhile, she has already had a string of concert assignments in several places outside Bombay – like Pune, Nagpur and even Varansi. It is all to the good, therefore, that leading music circles have now taken notice of her talent and featured her under their aegis.
Not surprisingly, Nisha more than fulfilled the eager expectations of her discerning at her last recital. Her repertoire was extensive, covering Khayals vilambiut and drut in Puriya Dhanashri, Bihagada, and the post-interval Hamir Chandrakauns, with a drut composition in Paraj. In between, she treated us to brief renditions in Mishra Pilu and two devotionals.
Nisha’s musicianly attainments incredibly sounded far beyond her age. What puts her in a class by herself is her utterly sonorous, well-cultivated voice, her uncanny knack for melodic visualisation, her command over well-known and less-known ragas, her fine grip over taaland laya and, finally, her versatility in the handling of light classical and popular genres. All these virtues were seen to advantage in her presentations.
Come to think of it, the credit for Nisha’s attainments should go in equal measure to her inherent gifts and to the kind of value dguidance she was priviledged to receive from acknowledged teachers from the age of 9. (Her foundation was well and truly laid by Sudhakar Karandikar, a noted local teacher. She then received definitive grooming from Pandit V.R. Athavale and S.S. Haldankar who have been associated as directors of the music wing of the Goa kala Academy and have earned high reputation as scholar-musicians and teachers.
There is something to be said for their catholicity of outlook that these veterans freely encouraged her to develop her own individual vocalism even while grooming her on modern scholastic lines. Which is possibly why one does not discern any evidence of dry, stilted regimentation in her style and approach as a classical vocalist. Electicism, indeed, is the word for it.
While the master harmonist, Tulsidas Borkar, lent the perfect sangat to the artiste, young Sunil Jaiphalkar on the tabla struck me as a percussionist to watch. His palying was, to say the least, superb, for he showed his insight into the role that an accompanist should play in our classical concerts.