A music fete held in the memory of Chathapuram Subbayyar featured some outstanding recitals by artistes of repute.

A three-day music festival was held recently as a tribute to the late mridangam doyen Chathapuram Subbayyar, as part of the Kumbha abhisheka day celebrations at Chathapuram Prasanna Mahaganapathi Temple. The fete featured performances by musicians and percussionists. The festival began with a concert by R.A. Ramamani. Ramamani who comes from a family of great musicians, proved to listeners that she has been able to carve a niche for herself through her creativity and command over Carnatic idioms.

Ramamani was accompanied by veteran percussionists Easwara Varma (violin), C.S. Krisnamoorthy (mridangam), Sukanya Ramgopal (ghatam) and Kangazha Vasudevan (ganjira). Ramamani started her concert with ‘Sarasuda’ in Saveri.

Dikshitar’s ‘Sidhivinayakam’ in Shanmukhapriya was suffixed with spirited swarakalpana. After Tyagaraja’s ‘Makelara’ in Ravichandrika, Ramamani took up an erudite Poorvikalyani for Mysore Sadasiva Rao’s ‘Gangadhara’, which had manodharmaswara at ‘Ahibhooshana...’

Swati’s brisk ‘Bhogeendra Sayinam’ in Kuntalavarali paved the way to the main number, a dexterous Thodi and Dikshitar’s ‘Sreekrishna bhaja’ on Lord Guruvayoorappan. Niraval and swaraprasthara was followed by a spectacular tani.

Sreyas Narayan took centre stage on the second day. He was accompanied by Easwara Varma (violin), TAS Mani (mridangam), Sukanya Ramgopal (ghatam) and Kangazha Vasudevan (ganjira). He began with a vivacious Navaragamalika varnam and ‘Siddhi vinayakam’which was appended with brilliant swara segments. A crisp rendition of Natta for Tyagaraja’s ‘Ninne bhajana seyu’ and dazzling swara strings showcased his mastery over his art.

‘Sama gana lolane’ in Hindolam and Tyagaraja’s eka raga kriti in Sindhu kannada, ‘Nannu Kanna Thalli’, were preludes to the highlight of the concert – an expansive portrayal of Kalyani, which brought to fore its various facets. The easy flow of gamakas and korvais were praiseworthy.

Easwara Varma’s essay on the violin was exquisite. Tyagaraja’s ‘Ethavunnara’ was decorated with delectable niraval at ‘Sreegarudagu....’ Rhythmic swara passages woven into various nadais and scholarly mukthayippu led to an outstanding tani.

Seasoned vocalist Ambikapuram Sivaraman regaled the music buffs on the third day. Kodunthirappully Subbaraman (violin), R. Rajagopal (mridangam) and E.M. Dipu (ghatam) provided adequate support.

He started the concert with Dikshitar’s ‘Vathapi Ganapathi’, which had a well-structured kalpanaswara. A fast-paced Tyagaraja kriti ‘Chinnanatena’ (Kalanidhi) was followed by a reverberating exposition of Athana, Tyagaraja’s ‘Narada gana lola’ and ‘Sree rama Jaya rama’, which was prefixed with a Varali ragalapana. ‘Varumo nin karunakataksham’ (Saranga) on Lord Guruvayoorappan was dedicated to his Guru.

The piece de resistance was a melting Madhyamavathi for ‘Palimsu Kamakshi’, sung in a tempo that captured the emotional richness of the composition. Subbaraman’s bhava-laden essay of the ragas evoked serenity. Deft improvisation and dashing kalpanaswara at ‘Kanthamathu...’ paved the way to a superb Tani. Even though it was his debut performance, Rajagopal handled the instrument, well.

Sivaraman’s presentation of ‘Govinda ninna’ of Purandara Dasa and ‘Hecharikka’ of Tyagaraja were flooded in devotion. He concluded the concert with a haunting sloka ‘Ekadantham’ in Surutti.