A filling feast

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Concert Trichur Ramachandran’s rendition was marked with classicism and adherence to lyrical content. RANEE KUMAR

Rich repertoireThrichur Ramachandran
Rich repertoireThrichur Ramachandran

The South Indian Cultural Association’s 54th anniversary festival opened with ‘Sangeetha Kalanidhi’ Trichur Ramachandran, who was bestowed the ‘Sangeetha Chakravarthi’ title by Sica. The veteran musician, the foremost of GNB sishyas, obviously did not have an orthodox style but was traditional to the core going by today’s standards. The ragas emerged in an auspicious manner beginning with the Kalyani ata tala varnam Vanajakshi ninne… a Pallavi Gopala Iyer composition and moving on to the Jaya jaya Janaki kantha… (Purandhara Dasa) in Nata (another raga which is usually sung at the beginning of a concert) and then to the Thyagaraja Pancharatnam in Sri Endaro mahanubhavulu… They marked a neat rendition with a good grip that reined in excesses either by way of show of classicism or any other technical aspects of music. The adherence to lyrical content and its meaningful pauses were very well adhered to, which is why veterans’ music always appeals to the cross-section of audience. So we had optimum alapana, kalpanaswara and neraval — the three creative facets of a kacheri, while we had a fairly filling feast by way of sangathis which form the crux of a proper kriti.

Unlike others of his age and style, Ramachandran believes in educating his audience in order to enhance their enjoyment, hence he made it a point to announce the ragas before he undertook the rendition. The audience experienced the flavour of the Gamakakriya/Purvikalyani in the wondrous Meenakshi mey mudham dehi… a kriti which was stated to be sung by Dikshitar’s disciples on the day of his last sojourn on earth. M.A. Sundaresan gave a beautiful exposition in the base on his violin.

The well-laid out sangathis brought out with pathos, the profound philosophy underlying the composition. At the mitram, the stress on the last word, hridaya-sadaye; sodhari-shatodari.. not only emphasised the alliterative quality but also the deep love of the deity who reigns upon Madurai (Madurapuri). For the veteran musician, manodharma was of course a child’s play, an effortless execution.

What was remarkable was that his support singer/disciple, Ishwaran Bhattatiri’s strong tonal quality and its flexibility to merge with that of his guru’s when it was needed and also come out in full when he had to take it up individually. We will not find a gentler mridangam player than K.V. Prasad. It’s a pleasure to keep an ear open to his rhythmic accompaniment. A stylistic exposition of a GNB composition in Malavi with the violin tracing it to a T was lovely but the composition went more or less in the lines of Shyama Sastri as far as the content went ( Mari vere gathi naaku evvaru… ). But for the raga, we would not find any singular distinction or mark of the poet-musician in penning this lyric.

He took up Sankarabharanam for elaboration with enduku peddala vale… where the neraval was extremely meaningful. Prasad’s nimble fingers made for a deft tani avarthanam which later turned into an enthusiastic but smooth conversation between Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan (ghatam) and the mridangam artiste. The concert was hosted at Ravindra Bharathi.



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