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Updated: October 11, 2012 18:26 IST

Namasankeertan and raga

Venkatesan Srikanth
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T.N. Krishnan in concert.
Special Arrangement T.N. Krishnan in concert.

While five Namasankeertan exponents were honoured at one event, at another, violinist T.N. Krishnan’s recital left audience hoping for more

The atmosphere at the Devi Kamakshi Mandir during the recently concluded Radha Madhava Kalyana Utsavam was jubilant, with devotees singing and dancing in ecstasy. Delhi-based P. Subbarama Bhagavadar was leading the proceedings of the celestial wedding on the second day of the Harinama Sankeerthana Aaradhana Festival, organised by the Harinama Sankeerthana Aaradhana Committee. It is heartening to note that on the first day of the festival the organisation honoured five exponents of Namasankeertan, namely, P. Subbarama Bhagavadar, P. Shankar Bhagavadar (the siblings are Delhi-based), N.K. Harihara Bhagavadar, N.R. Srinivasa Bhagavadar and N.H. Ananthasubramania Bhagavadar (the latter three are Palakkad-based) for their contributions to the field. This is the 6th Harinama Sankeerthana Aradhana festival conducted by the organisation in the Capital, which saw an overwhelming participation of devotees from various parts of NCR.

Sadly, at another venue, the Azad Bhavan, the violin recital of veteran T.N. Krishnan did not quite elicit a satisfying concert experience. Partly because it was of a short duration, partly because the structuring of the concert and selection of items and ragas seemed to be aimed at the cosmopolitan audience. In fact, Krishnan had almost concluded the performance in exactly one hour, which was his time schedule. Till then his concert was bereft of niraval (one of the improvisation techniques in a concert format) and tani avartanam (percussion solo).

Thanks to a love for music and a matter of chance, someone from the audience loudly requested Krishnan to play “Thaye Yashoda” (Todi raga). While honouring the request, Krishnan took up this composition of Oothukadu Venkatasubbaiyer in a somewhat detailed manner. It was then that a phrase from the song was taken up for niraval, which was followed by swaraprastaras and tani avartanam. The concert was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and Veena Foundation on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti (October 2).

Krishnan started his concert with Muthuswami Dikshitar’s popular composition “Vathapi Ganapatim” in raga Hamsadhwani. Tyagaraja’s “Nadatanumanisam” in raga Chittaranjani underwent fine treatment. Yet another Dikshitar composition, “Akhilandeswari”, in raga Dwijavanti was taken up for detailed rendition. Viji Krishnan, daughter and disciple of T.N. Krishnan, played along with her father in this recital. Together, they delineated this raga in turns. It was thoughtful of Krishnan to include the popular bhajan “Raghupati Raghava Rajaram”.

Though the pallavi of Subramanya Bharati’s ragamalika composition “Teerada vilayattu pillai” is set in raga Sindhubhairavi, one did not quite understand the necessity for the duo to take up the alapana of the raga before presenting the song.

Chennai-based Manoj Siva on mridangam and N. Guruprasad on ghatam provided understanding support in this concert, besides playing an enjoyable tani avartanam in Adi tala. As Krishnan was making an announcement about each item that he was playing, one felt that even if he had not swayed, his concert would not have been disappointing to the audience present there. One looks forward to such a concert from this veteran violinist in the Capital.

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