Garimella Balakrishna Prasad rendered some rare compositions of Annamacharya. A.D RANGARAJAN

Noted classical singer Garimella Balakrishna Prasad gave a marathon concert at Mahati auditorium, Tirupati last week to popularise the lesser-known compositions of saint-poet Annamacharya. As many as 300 compositionswere sung on the occasion.

Titled ‘Annamacharya Sankeerthana Mahayagnam,' the programme was conducted by the TTD's Annamacharya Project, which continued for 12 days. It also got the recognition for bringing out an incredible number of 300 songs of a single Vaggeyakara, to which tunes were set and sung by a single exponent.

An expert on Annamacharya compositions and an Asthana Vidwan of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Balakrishna Prasad performed his eighth such Maha Yagnam this year in a decade. This time, he accorded equal importance to compositions in the classical, light music and folk styles, singing them not only in rare ragas like Bhavapriya, Ganamurthy, Rasikaranjani and Nasikaabhushani, but also in those he had created such as Sundara Ranjani and Sumagandhi.

Noteworthy among the compositions were Naatiki Nadu Kotha (raga Valaji), Anninta Bhagyavanthudavu (raga Hari Kamboji), Chelivampu Sethala (raga Saama), Thathigani napaatu (raga Ramakriya) and Ayyo Poyekalamu (raga Mukhari). His son and upcoming artist G.V.N. Anil Kumar also joined him in the mammoth task.

It was a one-man show, wherein Prasad himself composed the notation for the background music, rhythmic cutting, playing the style of percussion and giving side-effects and fixing ghamakams (modulation) to suit the classical, light music and folk style. While the overall preparation itself took three months, training the orchestra alone took 45 days.

As effective accompanists, K.V. Krishna, Palaparthy Nageswara Rao and S.V. Sudarsan all on violin, M.L.N. Raju on mrudangam, Panduranga Rao on tabla and Bharadwaja on keyboard, added grandeur. Another highlight of the event was the short musical notes played by the orchestra between songs to retain the interest of listeners.

Playback singer ‘Kalaimamani' S. Janaki and film critic V.A.K. Ranga Rao were among the audience. On the final day, Balakrishna Prasad was honoured with a gold medal and shawl by the TTD Joint Executive Officer P. Venkatrami Reddy and Annamacharya Project director Medasani Mohan.