Sri Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer Golden Jubilee Foundation is conducting a four-day music festival, July 25-29 to mark its 34the anniversary. The venue is Ragasudha Hall, Luz Avenue. K. Srinivasa Raghavan, Station Director, AIR, Chennai, will inaugurate the celebration.
The Foundation will honour Sembanarkoil S.R.D. Vaidyanathan, nagaswaram maestro, rakti melam expert. K. Bharat Sundar will present a vocal recital at 6.45 p.m., after the inauguration. Jayalakshmi Sekar (veena), Radha Parthasarathi (vocal), Prasanna Venkataraman (vocal) and M. Narmada (violin) are the other artists line up on the next three days. Explaining rakti melam, V. Subrahmaniam, senior vocalist and disciple of Semmangudi said that it was a precursor to pallavi, created by the nagaswara vidwans of yesteryear. It had “Thathakaram” akin to “Dheem–thaka-tha-Dhith-thai,” the sounds that emanated from the divine dance of Lord Nataraja. This was tersely woven into highly intricate “tala” patterns built into a raga, expertly rendered by the nagaswara vidwans with the full understanding of the accompanying tavil vidwans to make the exercise scintillating and thrilling. The talams chosen included all the 108 varieties and the Thirupugazh talas.
In the early 1900s, Sembanarkovil Vaidyanatha Pillai and his son Ramaswami Pillai were nagaswara vidwans of unmatched calibre in rakti and pallavi. This virtuosity passed on to further generations in the family, rakti thus becoming their family treasure. “The prowess of S.R.D. Vaidyanathan, an octogenarian, in chaste raga alapanas and rakti melam is par excellence and his grip over laya extraordinary,” added Subrahmaniam speaking about the expertise of the awardee. He regretted that rakti and palavi are slowly fading from the scene.