Sowmya was determined to set a new benchmark for bhakti sangita in her recital.
In concerts, in general, while rendering the kritis of Sri Tyagaraja, display of intellectual vidwat gains dominance over bhakti contents or sukham. But, rasikas with highly refined aesthetic instincts have always felt the compelling attraction of the saint’s utsava sampradaya and divyanama songs. In them they discern the unique balance between the saint’s heart of sangita and the action of his devotion to Sri Rama.
Sowmya, in her recital of select items for the Carnatica Bhakti Utsava programme in association with Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, unlocked the treasures of the richness and grace of Tyagaraja’s genius to mesh simple sahitya and sangita. An occasion like that served to stir one’s anubhava that the core of Bhakti culture was to realise that life can never be estranged from thoughts of God. The spiritual splendour of the rendered pieces pervaded the hall for an hour and a half, as was intended.
Sowmya’s singing technique enabling quick access to subtlety and sweetness gave lift to her emotive interpretation. It looked as if she was determined on that day to set a new benchmark for bhakti sangita. Music is a world of grace and when Sowmya gained a glimpse of it she was able to realise the true purpose of Sri Tyagaraja compostitions.
Primarily the programme woven round the Sita kalyanam with some divyanama in between carried all the familiar items from ‘Hechchariga Garara’ (Yadhukulakhambodi) to ‘Lali Yugave’ (Nilambari) and ‘Badaligati Ra’ (Ritigowla) – an epitome of serene music. They all conveyed what really brought peace to the mind. A lilting elegance in presenting ‘Nagumomu’ (Madhyamavati) and ‘Poola Paanpu’ (Ahiri) and the reposeful ‘Ksheera Sagara Vihara’ (Anandha Bhairavi) laced the recital.
When a musician experiences music in its true perspective, particularly the utsava sampradaya and divyanamas of Sri Tyagaraja, inner peace gets manifested. That was precisely what Sowmya achieved both for herself and for the rasikas. Would it be far-fetched to expect that the same bhakti mood would inspire the regular concerts as well?
R.K. Sriramkumar (violin), Manoj Siva (mridangam) and K.V. Gopalakrishan (ganjira) proclaimed that they were quite aware of what their role was in accompanying bhakti sangita.