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Immersed in Dwijavanthi

THE RAGA Dwijavanthi was transplanted in Carnatic music from Hindustani music. In the north, it is known as Jaijaivanthi. In the princely state of Travancore, it was part of Kathakali music. It is said that even Kunjan Nambiar, known in the name of Ottan thullal, had composed a song in this raga. Though Swathi Thirunal too had composed a Krithi in Dwijawanthi, it was Muthuswami Deekshitar who popularized the raga in the South through krithi's like `Akhilandeswari' and ` Chethasri Balakrishnam'. But Dwijavanthi, which transmits bhakthi rasa in both lower and higher octaves, is rarely chosen as the main raga of a carnatic concert.

On June 7, Kavalam Sreekumar, established vocalist and Assistant Station Director, Akashvani, Thiruvananthapuram, cast a spell on music lovers with a patient elaboration of this delightful raga followed by Deekshitar's `Akhilandeswari'. The concert was presented by Dharani Cultural Society at the Kerala Fine Arts Society Auditorium, Kochi. Listening to Dwijavanthi for more than 45 minutes was a novel experience for listeners.

Kavalam Sreekumar is the son of well known playwright Kavalam Narayana Panicker and the grand nephew of Sardar K.M. Panicker, well known writer (in English and Malayalam), renowned historian and diplomat. But Sreekumar was on the music track from childhood days. He had learned music from Mavelikkara Prabhakara Varma and others. He is continuing the learning process under violinist B. Sasikumar. He has a penchant for devotional songs and has presented programmes in many places in India and abroad.

He was accompanied on the violin by Thrissur C. Rajendran. Thrissur Jayaram and Changanassery Krishnakumar played mridangam and ghatam.

The concert began with the varnam, `Vande Nanda Thanaya' composed by Sasikumar in Parpathi. This was followed by a delightful rendering of `Sidhi Nayakane' composed by Balamuralikrishna in Amruthavarshini. After `Balendu Bhushani' in Reethigowla and `Jagadi Siva Bhavani' in Bhavani by Deekshitar, the vocalist presented another Sasikumar krithi (Om Saravana Bhava) before taking up the main krithi.

The presentation of `Akhilandeswari' filled the air with bhakthi and violinist Rajendran joined Kavalam Sreekumar in guiding listeners to the ecstatic ranges of Dwijavanthi. After thaniavarthanam, Sreekumar concluded the concert with the Ashtapadi piece, `Lalitha Lavanga' in Ahir Bhairav and Swathi Thirunal's `Poonthen Nermozhi' in Ananda Bhairavi.


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