Fete Music reigned supreme during the week-long Aradhana Mahothsavam of Saint Tyagaraja at Kalpathy.

The 165th Aradhana Mahothsavam of Tyagaraja was celebrated by Sri Thyagabrahma Aradhana Committee, Kalpathy, for a week. The 89-year-old fete in Palakkad featured stalwarts and young talents who paid homage to the saint-composer by rendering his compositions.

The Tyagaraja Aradhana at Kalpathy started in 1924, when the legendary Ramabhagavathar and Mridangam Subbayyar (guru of Palghat Mani Iyer) were not able to attend the festival at the place of the same Samadhi at Thiruvayyaru, as they missed the train. Along with other vidwans and music lovers, they started the celebration on the ‘Pushyabahula panchami' day, as is being done at Thiruvayyaru. The celebrations include ‘Unchavriti'

and singing of his Pancharatna kritis in unison at the Rajaramswamikal Madham.

This year's festival began with a nadaswaram recital by Vijayakumar and Suresh.

Carnatic concerts

A series of Carnatic concerts began from the third day of the fete. The first was a vocal concert by Ramakrishnan Murthy, who was accompanied by Rahul (violin), Sivaraman (mridangam) and Chandrasekhara Sarma (ghatam).

He started his concert with ‘Rama nee pai (Kedaram), followed by ‘Sobillu Sapthswara' (Jaganmohini) and a rare kriti, ‘Lekana ninnu' (Asaveri).

The main item was a grand Thodi that showcased his artistry and expertise. ‘Kaddanuvariki' had a delectable niraval and vibrant array of kalpanaswaras revolving around the higher octaves. After an impressive thani, a ragamalika Navarasa sloka and ‘Karunajaladhe' (Nadanamakriya) provided a serene finish.

On the fourth day, the Bombay Sisters – Saroja and Lalitha – presented a recital that was characterised by competence and strict adherence to tradition. Edappally Ajith (violin), N. Hari (mridangam) and Kovai Suresh (ghatam) were the accompanists.

They wove a beautiful garland of Tyagaraja kritis, beginning with ‘Ninne bhajanaseyu' (Natta), ‘Cheraravathe' (Reetigowla) and ‘Gnanamosagarada' (Purvikalyani). A lively ‘Natatinamata' (Janaranjani) was an apt prelude to the main raga Kamboji, which suited Saroja's timbre. ‘Evvarimatta,' decorated with well-articulated niraval and sprightly swarasanchara at ‘Bhakthaparadheenutanu,' led to an enjoyable thani.

On the fifth day, Mysore A. Chandan Kumar, an accomplished flautist and grandson of violin wizard Chowdiah, enthralled music buffs with his skill and musical acumen in handling the flute. R. Swaminadhan (violin), Surendran (mridangam) and Attingal Madhu (ghatam) provided able support. ‘Sreeganapathini' (Sourashtra), ‘Sarasasamadana' (Kapinarayani) and ‘Evarura ninuvina' (Mohanam) were some of the Tygaraja kritis that he included in his concert.

A super-fast number ‘Varanaradanarayana,' ornate with catchy swarasanchara, was a prefix to the main item, a melting Madhyamavathi that led to the kriti ‘Ramakatha sudha.' A superb thani led to the melodious and lilting ‘Seethakalyana vaibhogame.'

The sixth day of the fete saw T.M. Krishna enthral the audience with his classicism and pristine rendering in the majestic vilambakala. His exceptionally eloquent portrayal of ragas evoked a meditative mood.

He was accompanied by R.K. Sreeramkumar (violin), Trichy Sankaran (mridangam) and Anirudh (ganjira). ‘Nadathanumanisam,' in praise of Lord Sankara, the embodiment of ‘Nada,' in the nishadhandyaraga Chitharanjani, was adorned with exquisite patterns of innovative swarakalpana.

Emotive niraval

‘Oh Rangasayee' (Kamboji), studded with an emotive niraval at ‘Bhoolokavaikundha...,' and ‘Theliyaleru Rama' (Dhenuka) led the way to the main item – a scintillating Bhairavi alapana for ‘Rakshabettare.' Sreeramkumar's interpretation of the ragas was excellent.

Trichy Sankaran, torch bearer of the Pudukkottai bani, enriched the aesthetics with an emotive layer of laya in all the kritis. His thani was superb. Anirudh rose to the occasion admirably. Nalinakanthi unfolded, serene and majestic, and melodiously paved the way to ‘Manavyalakim.' A haunting Navaragamalika navarasasloka was followed by ‘Hecharika rara' (Yadukulakamboji) and the concluding ‘Rama Nee Samanamevaru' (Kharaharapriya).

The music concerts came to an end with a concert by Raghavendra. He was in the company of Trivandrum Sampath (violin), Jayakrishnan (mridangam) and Vazhappilly Ajith (ghatam).

Beginning with ‘Sujanajeevana' (Kamas), he proceeded to ‘Nee Dayache' (Yadukulakamboji) and a brisk ‘Vasudevayani' (Kalyani).

The high point of the concert was a melting Thodi and the composition ‘Kaddanuvariki,' which was decorated with niraval and lilting swarasanchara at ‘Needura nirakarinchi….' It was followed by a vibrant thani. Raghavendra wound up the concert with ‘Haridasulu' (Yamunakalyani) and ‘Nadupai' in Madhyamavathi.

The curtain came down on this edition of the festival with ‘Anjaneyothsavam' by eminent musicians and devotees and ‘Mangalathy' there on.