Ragas and kritis were rendered with due dignity by the musicians at the 60th Tyaga Brahma Gananjali, held in Coimbatore.
N. Vijay Siva literally lived the lines, ‘Naabhi Hrit Kanta Rasana Naasaadhulayandhu’ as he rendered ‘Sobillu Saptaswara’ in Jaganmohini. As he sang, one realised the meaning of the line that describes how the seven notes of music originate in the navel and travel through the heart, neck, tongue and nose. He opened his concert at the 60th Tyaga Brahma Gananjali, held in Coimbatore, appropriately with ‘Thera Theeyaka Radha,’ pleading with Lord Venkateswara to remove the screens of greed, envy and anger that obstruct His view.
The concert had great variety. Harikhambodi, Hamir Kalyani, Kharaharapriya and Mohanam came alive in Siva’s vocal portraits. If Tyagaraja’s quarrel with Rama was brought out in ‘Maanamu Ledhaa,’ the bard’s gratitude to the Lord came out in ‘Nannu Paalimpa.’ The niraval for the lines, ‘Manasuna Dalachi Mai Marachi…’ (in the kriti, ‘Pakkala Nilabadi’), created a meditative mood. ‘Ramabhi Rama,’ ‘Evareni Nirnayinchithira’ and ‘Geetharthamu’ were presented with due dignity. Siva concluded his musical offering with ‘Dasaratha Nandana Daanava Mardhana’ in Asaveri and ‘Nee Dhayache Raamaa’ in Yadukula Khambodi.
The notes on the violin by Mullaivasal Chandramouli were like the swift flow of a glistening cascade. His delighted responses to Vijay Siva’s swara challenges were interesting. Umayalpuram Mali and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan made their presence felt throughout the concert, besides offering an enjoyable thani.
Pantula Rama’s concert was marked by her ease of poise and presentation. Her intoxicating alapanas of rare ragas such as Kalavati (‘Ennadu Juthunu’) and Kanthamani (‘Paalinthuvo Paalimpavo’) saw smooth brigas raining effortlessly. She touched very low octaves and lingered there, mesmerising the audience. The popular ragas were no less impressive. After delineating Kapi in detail, she sang ‘Meevalla Gunadhoshamemi’ and decorated it with exquisite swaras. With a masterly alapana and a sweet tanam, she unfurled Sankarabharanam before beginning ‘Endhuku Pedhalavaale Bhudhi Iyavu.’ This kriti stands out for Tyagaraja’s modesty (he feels he does not have enough maturity and asks the Lord why He has not bestowed him with the wisdom of the great ones). As expected, Pantula Rama gave an elaborate niraval for the line, ‘Veda Sastra Purana Tatvaarthamu,’ concluding it with intricate combination of swaras. The thani that followed was filled with sowkhya bhava. ‘Venu Gaana Loluni’ in Kedaragowla was presented in honour of the residing deity, Venugopalaswamy. ‘Rama Rama Sita Ramana Paapa Harana’ in Husseini and ‘Navaneetha Chora Devaki Vasudeva Nandanaa’ in Chenjurutti formed the lighter session. Right from her first song, ‘Giriraja Sutha Thanayaa’ in Bangala on Lord Ganesha, to the mangalam, she held the rasikas in thrall. M.S.N. Murthy succeeded in bringing out the depth and beauty of the ragas with his mellifluous strokes and added dazzle to Rama’s singing. Thanjavur Muruga Bhupathy and Alathur Rajaganesh sounded soothing even as they presented crisp laya phrases.
The concluding concert was by Neyveli Santhanagopalan. His voice was not as cooperative as he would have liked it to be, but his skill superseded that and made a favourable impression on the listeners. After a spirited Pantuvarali alapana, he presented ‘Vaaderaa Deiyvamu,’ declaring beyond doubt that ‘He ( Lord Rama) alone is God’. Santhanagopalan showered torrential swaras for this kriti. The sober ‘Mundhu Venuka’ in Darbar followed. He expanded Hamir Kalyani with subtle layers and presented ‘Maanamu Ledhaa.’ The centre piece ‘Intha Sowkhyamani’ in Kapi articulated the joy one felt during the tanam. The melodious version on the violin by Vittal Ramamurthy only added to the bliss. The happy mood on the stage was infectious. Arun Prasad’s mridangam and Sridhar Kumar’s ganjira blended beautifully, gratifying the audience.