What with the homage to Tyagaraja and a 15th anniversary, Delhi's Carnatic music lovers had lots to celebrate.
It was a celebration time in the Capital past this week. Vasundhara Enclave Sarveswara Samaj organised a Tyagaraja Aradhana festival at its Sri Sankatahara Ganapathy temple premises.
Eminent artistes of the city, including Radha Venkatachalam, Vasantha Sundaram, P. Kannakumar, and Santha Nagarajan, participated in the group rendering of Tyagaraja's Pancharatna kritis.
After the invocation song “Sri Ganapatini” in raga Saurashtram, the group rendered the Pancharatna kritis of the legendary composer, namely “Jagadanandakaraka” in raga Nattai, “Dudukugala Nanne” in Gaula, “Saadhinchane” in Arabhi, “Kanakanaruchira” in Varali and “Endaro Mahanubhavulu” in Sri.
A host of supporting artistes, including Subramanian on the violin, K. Sreeram and P. Vetri Boopathy on the mridangam and Radhakrishnan on the ghatam, made the session lively. It was indeed a spirited arrangement by the organisers.
The permanent construction of the temple is going on. In spite of this, it is heartening to see the organisation conducting the aradhana to Saint Tyagaraja under a makeshift tent.
Elsewhere, Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Satsangam, Noida, as part of their 15th year celebrations, organised a Radha Krishna Kalyana Mahotsav, featuring namasankeertana exponent Sethalapathi Soundararaja Bhagavathar. It was a three-day festival based on Dakshina Bharata bhajana sampradayam, a tradition established by Bhodendra Sadguru, Sridhara Sadguru and Marudanallur Venkatrama Sadguru.
The organisation wove in a Tyagaraja aradhana on the second day of the celebration. Delhi's Vasanthi Krishna Rao along with her eight disciples rendered the Pancharatna kritis. It was a neat and synchronised presentation, with the able support of K. Sreeram on the mridangam.
Soundararaja Bhagavathar and his team of artistes were spirited and untiring in their performance on all the three days. Despite his old age (past 60), his energy levels were brimming even during the last session. He enthralled the devotees during his rendering of namasankeertanas, astapadi, Krishna Leela Tarangini, besides many other compositions. These included compositions of Bhadrachala Ramadas, Purandaradasa, Sadasiva Brahmendra, Gopalakrishna Bharati and Tyagaraja. Namaavalis during various sessions were captivating. Rendering of shlokas in a host of ragas that included Sankarabharanam, Kalyani, Todi, Bhairavi, Kanada, Kamboji, Yadukulakamboji, Dhanyasi, Kalyana Vasantam, Manirangu, Shanmukhapriya, Ranjani, Kapi, Hamir Kalyani and Madhyamavati were noteworthy. However, at times in the upper octave, it wasn't all that pleasing. That the hall was packed with devotees till past midnight on the second day was testimony to the powerful presentation of the veteran, who has been performing bhajans for four decades.
Soundararaja Bhagavadhar was assisted by a team of Delhi and South-based musicians. Kappanamangalam S. Venkataraman provided vocal as well as harmonium support. His sketches of several ragas were delightful. Similarly, Delhi-based J. Ramakrishnan provided vocals as well support on the flute. At times his sketch of ragas on the flute overlapped that of the harmonium artiste. These two artistes could have taken turns alternatively for each sketch of the raga. The other vocalists include Thiruvaiyaru R. Hariharan, Angarai Vijay, Delhi-based O.V. Ramani and Krishnamurthy. Sethalapathi B. Ganapathyraman provided excellent mridangam support. Delhi-based percussionists included Rangarajan, Kesavan and Anand. The festival was conducted at the premises of Sri Adi Sankaracharya Temple, Noida. On the whole, a spiritually uplifting week.