Compositions in praise of Lord Rama reverberated during the three-day concert held in connection with the Sreeramanavami fete at Kalpathy, Palakkad.

For three days, the streets of the agraharam at Kalpathy, in Palakkad district reverberated with melodic and rhythmic hymns on Lord Rama. The concerts were held in connection with the Sreerama navami celebrations at the two-century-old Rajaram Swamikal Ramadhyanamadam (at present a Hanuman Temple).

Kanhangad Sankaran Nampoothiri, accompanied by Kodunthirappully Subbaraman (violin), Ayyappan (mridangam), and Parameswaran (ghatam), showcased his wide repertoire and judiciousness in the selection of ragas and compositions. An enlivening ‘Sri Sakala Ganadhipa' (Arabhi) was tagged with sprightly swarakalpanas. Tyagaraja's ‘Manasa edulo' in Malayamarutham (Roopaka tala) was followed by an exquisite alapana of Amruthavarshini, soaked in ragabhava for Dikshitar's ‘Ananthamruthakarshini' (Adi tala). A sloka, ‘Sreeraghavam…,' in Atana was a prelude to Tyagaraja's ‘Anupama gunambudhi' (Khandachappu tala).

Then came a chain of Tyagaraja's unique eulogies on Sreerama, rich in devotional content such as ‘Manavyalakinjara'(Nalinakanthi-Adi tala), ‘Ramabhirama'(Darbar-Misrachappu), a choukkakala composition, ‘Ennalu urake,' followed by a poignant Subhapanthuvarali, a brisk ‘Niravadhi sukhada'(Ravichandrika), and the main item, ‘Enduku pethalavale.' An expansive ragalapana of Sankarabharanam, defining its characteristic features, was followed by a well-articulated niraval and swarakalpana at ‘Vedasasthra…,' which captured the spirit of the melody.

Savitha Sreeram, an exponent of Marathi abhangs, captivated rasikas with her full-throated voice and her presentation that was soaked in devotional fervour. Kodunthirappully Subbaraman (violin) and Palakkad Ganesan (mridangam) provided able support.

Savitha flagged off the concert with ‘Samidayajooda,' an Adi tala varnam in Kedaragowla, followed by a lilting Purandaradasa kriti, ‘Jaya Jaya Janakikantha,' in Natta (Khanda chapu tala), decorated with spirited swarasanchara. Tyagaraja's ‘Brovabarama' (Bahudari) led to a melting ragalapana of Hamsanadam. A bhava-laden ‘Kalyanarama' and a lyrical improvisation at ‘Mallikadi…' provided a picturesque portrayal of Rama as a bridegroom.

Charming alapana

Savita sang a charming alapana of Syama with aesthetic sancharas for Patnam Subramania Iyer's ‘Maravakave' (Roopaka tala). The main item – a booming ragavistharam of Kharaharapriya, and Tyagaraja's famous ‘Pakkala nilabati,' garnished with a glowing niraval and manodharmaswara at ‘Manasunya…,' were impressive.

After the tani came Dikshitar's ‘Mamava Pattabhirama' in Manirang (Misrachappu tala). A haunting virutham from the Kambaramayanam, ‘Nanmayum selvamum' in Desh, and ‘Rama namame thuthi maname,' soaked in devotional fervour earned the appreciation of the rasikas. An abhang, ‘He Dayaluva,' and a mangalam in Surutti, ‘Sreerama jayamangalam,' created a serene ambience.

On the final day, three faculty members of the Sri Venkateswara University, Thirupati – Vandana (vocal), Krishna (violin), and Ramesh (mridangam), along with Ernakulam Kannan (ghatam), provided a sumptuous feast of ragas.