Sanjay Subrahmanyan's concert at the 42nd anniversary of the Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Satsangam, New Delhi, was a delightful treat.

The anniversary of Sri Vishnu Sahasranama Satsangam, New Delhi, is one of the events looked forward to anxiously every year by the Capital's rasikas as it includes a full-fledged Carnatic music concert by an eminent artiste. This year it was the 42nd anniversary of the organisation.

As always, the celebrations were spread over the weekend. The highlight was a concert by Sanjay Subrahmanyan — over three hours of sheer delight.

The Ata tala varnam “Sarasijanaba” in raga Kamboji which Sanjay presented in two speeds marked the start of the concert. The invocation song on Lord Ganesha, “Re re manasa bhajare Gajananam” in raga Natta contained some creative swara formats towards the end. Sanjay then took up Tyagaraja's composition “Marubalka kunnavermira” in raga Sriranjani for detailed presentation. Apart from a delightful alapana of the raga, further improvisations were in the form of niraval of a phrase and swaraprastaras.

Sanjay went on to present a slow tempo composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar, “Setha sree balakrishnam” in raga Dwijavanti. He handled this well and brought out the raga bhava embedded in the composition.

It was now time to take up another item for a detailed presentation. “Narayana divya namam”, a composition of Papanasam Sivan in raga Mohanam, was his choice. This became the central item of the recital. The raga underwent a detailed delineation. The phrase chosen for niraval was “Mara janakan karunalayan anbar thunbam akkala mangalam arulvaan”. This, as well as the subsequent swaraprastaras, brought out his command in creative music.


The central piece that contained the tani avartanam (percussion solo) was over quite early (within an hour and a half). It therefore appeared that a ragam-taanam-pallavi session was in the offing. Sanjay did include one, to the thrill of the audience.

Sanjay sang the pallavi “Govinda Alairmelmangai manala vaa thiruvenkata nadha” in raga Shubhapantuvarali, set to Khanda Jati Triputa tala. Earlier, he presented a fine alapana of the raga, bringing out its emotive aspects. He also excelled in presenting the taanam.

However, one felt that he did not do complete justice to the pallavi, which could have been further elaborated. Besides, the usual ragamalika swaraprastaras were conspicuously absent.

This was partly offset by the vrittams that he presented in three ragas, followed by “Narayana thudhiporkku”, in which Sanjay brought the devotional contents of the lyrics to the fore.

S. Varadarajan provided excellent support on the violin. His sketch of the ragas Sriranjani, Mohanam and Shubhapantuvarali were delightful, besides his excellent swaraprastara responses.

Neyveli B. Venkatesh on the mridangam and Trichy K. Murali on the ghatam were good in their percussion support. The duo played a captivating tani avartanam in Adi tala.

On the whole, a well structured concert which suited the celebrations.