The rhythm for the 35th annual celebrations of the Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer Golden Jubilee Foundation was set by speakers who fondly remembered Chingleput Ranganathan. This year’s award given by the Foundation was conferred on Ranganathan, posthumously.
After the invocation by Vidya, V. Subramanyam welcomed the gathering. He said that the Foundation, formed in 1976, celebrates the festival, which commences on July 25, every year, to coincide with the birthday of Semmangudi. Cleveland Sundaram inaugurated the proceedings and observed that for Semmangudi singing was a continuous exercise.
P. S. Narayanaswami pointed out a strange coincidence. It appears that this award is being given away to the laya master Ranganathan, in its 35th year, as if to remind rasikas of the 35 basic talas in vogue.
T. R. Subramanyam chose the phrase. ‘Sathamaathramaa’ from the Sadguru’s kriti, ‘Entha Vedu Konthu Raghava’ to specially describe Ranganathan as one who had possessed the essence of goodness in him. Flautist Ramani and chitraveena Narasimhan mentioned their long and deep association with Ranganathan. It was in the fitness of things that the Foundation had chosen him for the award.
Ranganathan’s son, Sai Narasimhan, received the honour on his father’s behalf. The citation mentioned Ranganathan’s “signal and significant contribution to music”. Sai Narasimhan thanked the Foundation and said that he was standing before such exalted company to receive this award, only because of the immeasurable merit of his father. He referred to Late S. V. Krishnan of Nada Inbam who had been instrumental in organising many concerts of his father at this same Ragasudha hall.
The function was followed by a group-singing event – ‘Sadhasivendrathvam.’ Krupa Subramaniam gave an introduction to the slokas/hymns that were to be rendered. They had been tuned by V. Subramaniam, an ardent devotee of Sringeri Mutt and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer’s faithful disciple, and were in 17 ragas (kanda chapu tala). The performers were Meenakshi Ganesh and Bhavana (vocal), Sasidhar (flute) Jayalakshmi Sekar (Veena), Amritha Murali (violin) and Umayalpuram Mali (mridangam).