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A memorable musical fiesta

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Violin serenade: Lalgudi Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi.
Violin serenade: Lalgudi Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi.

S. RAMACHANDRA IYER

The annual Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar Music Festival in Thiruvananthapuram is an important event for music buffs.

The Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar Music festival held annually in Thiruvananthapuram is an important event in the musical calendar.

This year marked the 111th birth anniversary of the doyen of Carnatic music and the 10-day festival provided a feast for enthusiasts of classical music. The festival started on an auspicious note with a violin concert by the Lalgudi siblings.

It was followed by a recital by Devi (Chennai). She is the disciple of T.V. Gopalakrishnan. She began her performance with a Bharathiar lyric set to music in Hamsadhwani by Prof. T.V. Gopalakrishnan. ‘Vallabha Nayakasya,’ a Begada kriti of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, evoked images of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer in the listener’s ‘mind’s eye.’

She chose raga Sourashtram for the Pattanam Subramania Iyer composition ‘Ninnu Juchi.’ The Purandaradasar Devar Nama ‘Enu Dhanyalo’ in Hindolam was short and sweet.

Keerthanams by Dikshitar and Syama Sastri, ‘Sri Vaidyanatham Bhajami’ in Athana and ‘Meena Lochani’ in Dhanyasi built up the tempo of the concert. ‘Gangeya Vasandhara’ in Hameer Kalyani, composed by Swati Tirunal, was appreciated by the audience.

Devi’s training in Hindustani music helped her in elaborating this essentially Hindustani raga. There were occasional flashes of Parveen Sultana in the quality of the voice and the style of rendering.

The artiste’s versatility

The main item of the concert was the Mysore Vasudevachar ‘Sahityam Bhajare Re Manasa’ in Abheri. ‘Radhika tava virahe’ in Shivaranjini, an Ashtapadi by Jayadeva, brought out the beauty of the lyrics and the ragam. A Meera bhajan, followed by the Bigag piece ‘Thu thano thillai thalam’ (Gopalakrishna Bharathi) and Thiruppugazh highlighted the artiste’s versatility. The concluding piece was a thillana in Kannada Kuthuhalam composed by T.V. Gopalakrishnan.

Varkala C.S. Jayaraman’s vocal recital lived up to the expectations of the members of the audience. ‘Sarasuda nine kori,’ a Saveri raga varnam composed by Kothavasal Venkataramayyar, was the opening piece.

A Thulasivanam composition in Hamsadhwani – ‘Bhajamahe Sri Vinayakam’ was the next item. After a brief and sweet ragalapana of Nattakurinji, the popular Swati Tirunal composition ‘Ma Mavasada Varade’ was taken up. One’s memory went back to the inimitable Madurai Mani Iyer at his best, hearing ‘Nada Thanu Manisam’ in Chitharanjini. The Dikshithar kriti ‘Bhajare re Chitha’ in Kalyani was handled in some detail with ragalapana, niraval and swaraprastharam. ‘Mariyemi Kavalena,’ an Ambujam Krishna composition in Kannada, was rendered briefly before going to the main item of the evening in Thodi, the famous Tyagaraja kriti ‘Kaddanu Variki.’

The Malayalam lyrics of ‘Karuna Cheyvanenthu Thamasam’ by Irayimman Thampi in Shri had the audience appreciating the raga and the bhava of the song. A Thiruppugazh in Sindhubhairavi concluded the performance, which, in its entirety, stuck to the noble traditions of Carnatic music.

Rudrapattanam Brothers (R.N. Thyagarajan and R.N. Tharanathan) are nephews of the famous Carnatic music singer R.K. Srikantan.

Together they constitute a duo in the musical world, known for their perfect understanding and coordination.

A well packed Chembai Memorial Hall listened expectantly to the opening Sarangaraga varnam composed by Thiruvottiyur Thyagayyar (son of Veena Kuppayyar) ‘Intha Modi.’ ‘Deva Deva Kalayami,’ the popular Swati Tirunal composition in Mayamalavagowla, followed.

Another Swati Tirunal classic ‘Narasimha Mamava Bhagavan’ in Arabi treated the listeners to the beauty of the ragam. Thrissur C.Rajendran’s violin support in this keerthanam was admirable. ‘Mamava Meenakshi,’ a Dikshitar composition in Varali in slow tempo, gave plenty of opportunity to the brothers to captivate the listeners. Kharaharapriya is a ragam in which Tyagaraja excelled in. It was Swati Tirunal, whose ‘Sathatham Thavaka’ is well known, who tried his hand in composing a piece in Kharaharapriya.

‘Natachi Natachi’ by Tyagaraja was the Kharaharapriya krithi chosen by the brothers. The audience appreciated the rendering of the Malayalam song ‘Kinthu Cheyvoo Njaninnaho’ in Kalyani by Swati Tirunal.

Thiruppugazh in Huseni and the Purandaradasar ‘Devarnama Kelano Hari Thalano’ in Surutti brought the curtains down on a memorable concert.


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