The second day of the Tamil Isai Vizha at Rajah Muthiah Mandram in Madurai began with an instrumental concert by veena exponent Shanthi Mahesh, the tenth in a long generation of Vainikas. She added lyrical power to her virtuosity by playing well-loved Tamil devotional songs such as ‘Alai payudhe,’ ‘Gana mazhai,’ Vadavarayai mathakki,’ along with Azhwar Pasurams and Thiruppugazh.
Her repertoire did well to highlight the theme of the festival — to recapitulate for a cosmopolitan audience the remarkable extent to which musical masterpieces in the Carnatic tradition were composed in Tamil. The prime time was reserved for professor of music vidwan Ranganatha Sharma who made good use of his first opportunity in Tamil Isai Sangam to sing entirely in Tamil. T.V. Ramanujacharulu provided accompaniment on the violin, while Palladam Ravi and Alathur Rajaganesh provided percussive rhythms on the mrudangam and ganjira.
The singer showcased Tamil kritis that lent themselves to depth and complex presentation even during the initial stage of the concert by selecting gems such as ‘Maa Ramanan’ in Hindolam and ‘Karpaga Manohara’ in Malaya Marudham, both by Papanasam Sivan. His main song in Purvi Kalyani was adorned with excellent phrases of alapana which were well supported by the violinists and percussionists to whom the singer gave ample time to express their stage craft. The song ‘Thillai Chidambaram’ by Gopala Krishna Bharathi has not been heard on this stage for quite some time.
The excellent team work was once again at work during the Chatur Ragamalika RTP, with the singer and violinist coursing through Sankarabharanam, Todi, Kalyani and Darbar, and the percussionists following suit with excellent solo performances.
The final pieces included ‘Enna thavam,’ ‘Irakkam varamal’ and Lalgudi Jayaraman’s Thillana in Desh.
The Sangam has utilised its stage propitiously by organising quality concerts in traditional music.