The doyen’s spirit was perceptible throughout the concert.

This is Madurai Mani Iyer Centenary Year and appropriately the Sabha had dedicated the concert of his nephew and disciple T.V. Sankaranarayanan, to that great musician, who, for decades charmed the young and old alike. At the outset Sankaranarayanan recounted an incident during his uncle’s concert in this very Sabha in 1961 on the third floor of Triplicane Hindu High School. When Mani Iyer took up niraval at ‘Kapi Varidhi Datuna’ (without Rama bhakthi, how can a monkey cross the ocean?), in the Tyagaraja kritkhi ‘Appa, Ramabhaktiyentho,’ there appeared a huge monkey in the hall, TVS recollected.

Naturally, Sankaranarayanan, who carries on the Mani Iyer legacy, rendered the kriti elaborately. Throughout the concert the spirit of Mani Iyer was perceptible; yet it was not a carbon copy. Credit should be given to TVS for adding his own individuality and originality in every piece that he rendered. His Pantuvarali alapana was a fountain of melody and Avaneeswaram Vinu on the violin produced a pleasant elucidation.

Mahadevan, son of TVS who offered vocal support, excelled in swaraprasthara on his own in all the kritis extremely well. Endowed with a good voice, the boy has a bright future.

The piece de resistance was ‘Sukhi Yevaro’ in splendid Kanada. The alapana was rich and lively. The swaras, most of which were in sarvalaghu ending with ni-pa-ga, created a placid impact. Little wonder, the rasikas went into raptures. Some of young Mahadevan’s sancharas were exquisite too. In thani, the all-rounder genius K.V. Prasad (Mridangam) and Bhargava Halambi (ganjira) created a gorgeous rhythmic garland. The thisra nadai needs special mention.

TVS commenced the recital with ‘Vathapi Ganapathim’, the ever-green Hamsadhwani kriti of Dikshithar with a few lilting swaras. ‘Sri Parthasarathina,’ again of Dikshitar was salute of sorts. As a mark of respect to the late secretary, K. Hariharan, TVS rendered ‘Harihara Suthane’ of Periyasami Thooran in Abhogi which was Hariharan’s favourite raga. Swaras were at Pallavi.

‘Barayya Venkataramana’ of Purandara Dasa in Saveri was pleasant. So was ‘Thaye Yasoda’ (Oothukkadu) in Thodi. The niraval at ‘Kalinil Silambu Konja’ was fabulous.

Through Mani Iyer’s all-time favourites – ‘Orajupu juchedi’ (Tyagaraja), ‘Sarasamukhi’ (Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhagavatar), ‘Eppo Varuvaro’ (Gopalakrishna Bhaati), the note swaram and the Tiruppugazh ‘Erumayileri’ TVS sang his way into the hearts of the rasikas, who wanted even more! The most important aspect of TVS is that he enjoys singing.

(ramakrishnan.h@gmail.com)

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