Eminent musicians shared the same platform to pay butes to the bard of Thiurvaiyaru during the 59 Thyagabrahma aradhana that took place in Coimbatore recently.
Age has not shriveled the musical impulses of the Bombay siblings – C. Saroja and C. Lalitha – whose years of experience and expertise were evident in the 59 annual Thyagabrahma aradhana celebrations held under the aegis of Thyagabrahma Gananjali at Sree Venugopalaswami temple, Sullivan Street, Coimbatore. Their kutcheri, to the accompaniment of Balasubramanian on the violin, Swaminathan on the mridangam and Suresh on the ghatam, was a grand feast of nada and laya on the opening day. After an invocation to Lord Ganesa with ‘Raghunayaka’ in Hamsadhwani, their rendition of ‘Paramathmudu’ in Vagadeeswari struck the right chord for the occasion.
The brief alapana of Pantuvarali by Lalitha for the kriti, ‘Naradamuni Vedalina’ with swaras was predominant with bhava. Saroja’s raga vinyasam of Khambodi for the Lalgudi Pancharatnam, ‘Sree Mahita Pravrddhe’ and Lalitha’s portrayal of Bhairavi for the kriti, ‘Sreemathi Lalithe Sree Pravrdde’ gave a wholesome picture of the ragas with azhutham. The niraval at ‘Kannathalli Subhavadane’ for the latter revealing the myriad colours of the raga showed their tremendous imagination. Balasubramanian’s responses to the swaras and raga essays were impeccable. Swaminathan’s (mridangam) and Suresh’s (gahtam) lent dignity to the recital with a vibrant thani.
The festival was inaugurated by Nandini Rangan, director, Amrita Nrityaksharam, Amrita University, Coimbatore. On the second day eminent musicians, led by Kannan Bhagavatar and Sankari Krishnan, rendered the soulful Pancharatna kritis of Tyagaraja as a tribute to the bard of Tiruvaiyaru.
Melody and serenity marked the vocal concert of Sankari Krishnan in the evening. Devotion, sweetness and tranquility underscored the music session from her interpretation of ‘Isa Pahimam’ in Kalyani followed by ‘Maakelara’ in Ravichandrika. Her alapanas of Mayamalavagowla for the kriti, ‘Vidhulaku’ and Janaranjani for the kriti, ‘Vidajaladura’ had flashes of good sangatis. Her raga portrayal of Kalyani for the kriti, ‘Ammaravamma’ in the higher octaves with effortless ease was pleasant. The niraval and swaras delighted the listeners.
The highlight of the recital was the Thodi alapana rich in lakshana to bring out the beauty of the raga bhava. The song, ‘Gathineevani’ was treated with deep commitment. ‘Chelimini’ (Yadukulakhambodi) and ‘Sogasujuta Tharama’(Kannadagowla) formed part of her musical agenda. The manodharma swara exercises and solo versions of ragas by Chandramouli on the violin were melodious revealing his vidwat. Palladam Ravi (mridangam) and S.V. Subramanian (ganjira) backed up the main artist by providing appropriate beats for every item. It was the percussionists’ delight with an enjoyable thani.
Vijay Siva always sets an uncompromising standard for his concerts. Well-aligned to sruti, his music, full of sahitya bhava, was presented with consummate ease characterised by sobriety on the third day of the saint’s aradhana. Flagging off with the bard’s ‘Theradeeyakarada’ in Gowlipanthu, the characteristics of Sriranjani were brought out in the niraval and swaras for the following ‘Sogasuga’ piece. Unusual prayogams were woven into the sketch of Rishabhapriya for the kriti, ‘Mahimathakkinchu.’ The unfolding of Vasantha for ‘Seethamma Mayamma’ and Mukhari for ‘Muripemukalige’ was underlined with a few exotic shades which were awesome. Sankarabharanam – the crest jewel of Sankara- was the piece-de-resistance of the recital for the kriti, ‘Manasu Swadeenamai.’ His graphic picture of the raga from the madhyama sthayi phrasings and taking them to the tara sthayi regions with passion and deep commitment not only brought out the best of the raga but also the performance skill of the artist. The niraval and swara session added lustre to the whole exercise. ‘Nannukannadalli’ in Sindhukannada was a brisk rendition. ‘Grahabalamemu’ (Revagupthi), ‘Emaniveginthune’(Huseni) and ‘Sree Rama Jayarama’ were the other items in his list. Vittal Ramamurthy on the violin added sheen to Siva’s efforts in the raga essays and swara forays. Mali (mridangam) and Sridharkumar (ganjira) with their tonal variations matched the festival mood of the kutcheri in their tani avarthanam.
The soothing strings from the Lalgudi siblings – Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi – on the following day witnessed a perennial flow of manna. The duo’s proper planning for the concert adhering meticulously to the time factor demonstrated their unswerving faith in musical values. The curtain raiser, ‘Nadasudharasa’ in Aarabhi and the following ‘Srikantha Neeyeda’ (Bhavapriya) showed their absolute control over their instruments. Krishna’s alapana of Durbar for ‘Munduvenuka’ and Viji’s portrait of Sahana for ‘Ee Vasudha’ were presented with high sense of timing with arithmetical acumen. Their play of ‘Bhaja Maanasa’(Kannada) was sublime. Whenever Krishnan touched the top shadjam, it was a smooth glide from nishadham in his raga exposition which was song soporific to the listener. Shanmukhapriya was the main and the kriti ‘Vardhanevaru’ with melodic intensity was an aural treat. ‘Paryachakama’ in Vanaspathi was reflective of its emotional content. The percussion duo, Praveen (mridangam) and Mohanram (ghatam) favoured the main players and their thani was neatly divided and assembled.
Murali’s concert on the final day was a rewarding experience for the listeners. His receptive audience gave him a wide scope for depth and expansiveness required to showcase his multidimensional creativity. Beginning the recital with ‘Girirajasudha’ (Bangaala), the following ‘Merusamana’ in Mayamalavagowla with niraval and swaras was gripping. His raga elaborations of Nilambari (though brief) and Dhanyasi were copious with exhilarating crests and well-modulated nuances. The main raga Mohanam for the kriti, ‘Nannupalimpa,’ whose subtle and delicate beauty came to the fore through the vigour and carrying power of his trained voice and manodharma was a continuum to the raga alapana and the kalpanaswaras were impressive. Gopinath (violin) shone with the depth of his bowing and played the ragas with honeyed phrases of sterling quality. Ranganathan (mridangam) and Krishnan (morsing) fitted the bill admirably.