The Chennai Margazhi music mela provides a stage for everyone who has a flair for music. So there is no wonder that we have umpteen slots where music is being served somewhere in the city corners. Since Andal’s Tiruppavai shares a lot of lyrical and religious zeal with Margazhi month one can hear at least one number from the 30 different verses of hers even in the main slot concerts of star singers in all sabhas.
However, it was appropriate to create an air of piety, musical ambience and mood before the discourse on Sri Srinivasa Kalyanam. Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha conducting its 109th year of music festival in Triplicane arranged for Padma Krishnan’s discourse on Tiruppavai at the NKT School grounds on the New Year’s Day.
Padma with her fairly pliable voice rendered the Tamizh verses of Andal or Kodhai, the icon of love and devotion. The venue had been fixed with a make shift stage, a shamiana to protect the audience from the morning sun and number of plastic chairs for the elders who couldn’t sit on the ground as they form the sizeable chunk of the crowd.
Padma started her recital with a few rasikas but they started trooping in as the concert progressed. Padma opened with a viruttam on Srivilliputtur and ‘Anna Vayar Puduvai Andal Arangarku’ in Nattai followed by the first Tiurppavai ‘Margazhi Thingal’ in a stately way. There were some brief sketches of Sankarabharanam (‘Pullum Silambinakan’) and Anandabhairavi (‘Ungal Puzhakkadai’) and systematic addition of assorted numbers, such as ‘Ongi Ulagalatha’ in Arabi, ‘Mayanai Mannu Vada’ in Sri, ‘Yeatra Kalangal’ in Nadanamakriya, ‘Angan Maa’ in Yamuna Kalyani. A considerable attempt was made to delineate Kalyani through professional dignity. The verse here was ‘Ambarame Tanneerae’ with a niraval and swaras at ‘Sembor Kazhaladi Deva’ also.
The more popular ‘Oruthi Maganai’ in Behag and ‘Male Manivanna’ in Kuntalavarali came towards the end. T. Hemamalini gave graceful touches to ragas and swaras on the violin while G.K. Ganesh on the mridangam took care of the rhythmic aspect.
Towards the end of the concert, the venue was almost overflowing with rasikas for Velukkudi Krishnan’s discourse.