The workshop with Nedunuri Krishnamurthi turned out to be an awesome experience for learners.

If a refresher course were the need of the hour for all those who will be part of this music season, the Music Academy offered just that. On the eve of his 85th birthday celebrations held in Chennai on December 3, veteran musician Nedunuri Krishna Murthy appeared at the Music Academy in a three-day workshop. The rain of ragas on the large number of eager learners matched the downpour the city was experiencing. The Music Academy plans to bring out a CD of this workshop.

In tandem with disciples Malladi brothers - Sriram Prasad and Ravi Kumar - on the last day, the workshop turned out to be an awesome experience.

In true guru style, Nedunuri stressed the ethics of both concerts and raga delineation. “ ‘Don’t try to present all you know at one concert; hold some aspects for the next rendering admonished Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer at the end of one of my early concerts,’” smiled Nedunuri addressing eager learners at the workshop.

During the three days, a full auditorium of learners traversed the beauty of Annamacharya in the ragas Kharaharapriya (‘Sadanandamu’), Dharmavati (‘Hari golichiyu’), Kapi (‘Mokamotamulakella’), Behag (‘Nee Okadave’); and the effervescence of Bhadrachala Ramdas in raga Khamas (‘I vela nanu brovara’) and a padham in Khamas (‘Ramudu Gorapataka’).

He emphasised singing atmartham (self-realisation) rather than hankering after commercial rewards. ‘Ika Kavalanasinademi’ (Balahamsa) was a rare Tyagaraja piece he taught with the alert that ragas such as Balahamsa should be rendered with the vakra phrases in place with no penchant to skirt their intrinsic peculiarities.

Within the limited scope of such ragas, he said, lies a need to stress sangatis or variation. The purpose of sangatis is to bring out more and more emotional and aesthetic appeal and the learner should not overdo technicalities in such ragas as Balahamsa, the veteran said.

“Tyagaraja composed numerous pieces in Thodi because of its unlimited scope, whereas you rarely see kritis in ragas such as Balahamsa,” he said reiterating bhava, rakti, and traditional rendering within the framework of creativity.

The songs of the Music Trinity, besides those of Annamacharya, Purandara Dasa and Ramadas, bring out the best of “bhakti” at the heart of this kind of music. These composers blended our musical heritage into an exquisite melodious treasure not to be ignored, he said. With it, they raised human values that need to be preserved.

Singing should be the way in which each day begins for a singer, he pointed out. Even today, he greets each day with a song.

(renuka.suryanarayan@gmail.com)

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