Friday Review » Music

Updated: July 5, 2012 18:58 IST

Songs in praise of guru

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Sedate rendition: Sumitra Vasudev.
Sedate rendition: Sumitra Vasudev.

Listen to Sumitra Vasudev as she renders compositions extolling guru with exemplary diction

Sumitra Vasudev has, by her dedicated adherence to classical values, hard work and pleasing voice, reached a recognizable position in the current Carnatic music scenario. She is one of the younger generation vocalists, who have created a niche for themselves in concert platforms. Sumitra faithfully adheres to the style and beliefs of her guru R. Vedavalli and the music offered by her can seldom not attract the discerning rasika. In this audio disc Sumitra presents compositions extolling the guru or acharya. The singer is ably supported by R.K. Sriram Kumar (violin) and K. Arun Prakash (mridangam).

Thematic presentation

‘Sri Sankara Guruvaram’ (Nagaswaravali-Rupakam-Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan) is a perfect opening choice for this thematic presentation. The song is vocalised with energy adorned with attractive chittaiswaram. Sumitra, while singing the lyric ‘Guruvaram’ during the sangatis for the pallavi segment, wisely arrives at the gandharam vide the shadjam avoiding traces of the chatsruthi rishabam anuswaram.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Guruna’ (Paadi) is delicately handled by the vocalist with a few rounds of solfa passages. The arohana-avarohana krama of the raga never gets distorted with the singer’s rendering. A refined vinyasa of Dhanyasi offers sedate listening pleasure. The not oft-heard Tyagaraja kriti ‘Ni Chithamu’ is brightly rendered with niraval at the charanam. Incidentally Dhanyasi is one of the favourite ragas of Sumitra’s mentor Vedavalli.

The vocalist eschews an alapana of Sankarabaranam but renders a sloka as a preface to the Misra Jampa tala magnum opus ‘Dakshinamurte’ of Muthuswami Dikshitar. Sumitra selects all the four avartanas of the pallavi for her exposition of niraval. The kizh kala swaras brim with raga bhava, while the madhyama kala swaras exhibit a wee bit of anxiety.

The composition which follows is a Tulasidas creation which has been rendered in a true Carnatic style in Pantuvarali with no traces of Puriya Dhanasree.

Violinist R.K. Sriram Kumar has set to music quite a few of the compositions of the Sringeri mutt pontiffs. Sumitra renders ‘Gurupaduka Stotram’ in which the violinist has employed melodies such as Begada, Mukhari, Kalyani, Navarasa Kannada and Desh. The diction of Sumitra is exemplary. K. Arun Prakash’s accompaniment reveals his sound gnanam not only in laya but in sangeetham as a whole.

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