Rare ragas and kritis were explored by Parur M.S. Anantharaman.

The 1940s. Pandit Ravi Shankar entered a by-lane in Chennai to meet Parur Sundaram Iyer, the doyen of the Parur School. He stayed on to play for four hours and later listen in rapt attention as the musicians in that home played. That friendship remained.

As a tribute to the maestro, Parur M.S. Anantharaman, M.A. Sundareswaran and M.A. Krishnaswamy sang and played on the violin ‘Shyam More’ in Desh. The precursor was a sublime Desh raga alapana by Anantharaman.

“There is no kaisiki nishada in Pt. Ravi Shankar’s version of Desh in ‘Shyam More’ and that’s the speciality,” commented the 90-year-old Anantharaman even as his fingers wielded the bow with practised ease.

The entrancing Desh was the concluding part of some rare compositions at the lec-dem at The Music Academy by the trio of the Parur School. Earlier Anantharaman rendered a pristine Hamir Kalyani while going on to demonstrate the song ‘Parimala Ranganatham.’

Mangala Kaisiki is rare raga in that it uses both the madhyamas (shudda and prathi). “If we go by its name, this raga must have been sung on auspicious occasions such the oonjal. This raga is more than a 1,000 years old,” explained Anantharaman. Mangala Kaisiki’s arohana and avarohana go like this… ‘srmgdpsns – sndpmgrs.’

The violin trio began with a Bhairavi varnam ‘Vanitha Ninne,’ containing rare phrases leaving out the panchama and the shadja. They went on to regale the audience with an uncommon Tyagaraja kriti in the raga Jhala Varali.