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Devotional singing The concert saw some impressive recitals.
Devotional singing The concert saw some impressive recitals.

Vigour and melody were in full form at a fest to celebrate Annamacharya jayanti.

South Indian Cultural Association (SICA) in association with Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams and the state Department of Culture celebrated the 600th birth anniversary of saint Annamacharya for three days at Ravindra Bharati last week.

This fest featured some talented Carnatic vocalists as also Kuchipudi dancer Anupama Kailash, who interpreted Annamayya’s compositions in the dance format. There were two sessions on each day.

SICA had invited noted Carnatic vocalists Malladi brothers of Vijayawada and Priya sisters of Chennai. Renowned singer of Annamayya kirtanas, Balakrishna Prasad, who is associated with the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ Annamayya project from its inception also graced the occasion. He has tuned more than 600 kirtanas of Annamayya and popularised them.

He was a major draw at the festival with the audience sitting through his devotional singing for long hours. Balakrishna Prasad’s many such compositions have made their way into the repertoire of Kuchipudi dancers.

He is accompanied by his son Anil who is also proving his mettle.

Balakrishna began with a varnam of his own in praise of Annamayya in Chakravakam. A Nata composition and then Rama Indivara Shyama in Nasika Bhushani and a Hindolam piece, Vachenu Alivelu Manga, were well received. Many more were to follow. Dinkar on the violin, M.L.N. Raju on the mridangam and Satyasai on the morsing lent adequate support.

Variety of expressions

The other versatile vocalist with a variety of expressions was Swetha Prasad. Hers was a concert redolent with melody. Purushothamuda Veevu in Revagupti, Itara Devatalu in Bahudari, Tane Tane Intati Gurudu in Suddha Dhanyasi, Sringaramuritivi in Khamas and Okaparikokapari in Kharaharapriya were some of her impressive numbers. She essayed a few ragas briefly and went for swarakalpana, too. M.Satyanarayana Sharma of Vishakhapatnam on the violin, I. V. Renukaprasad on the mridangam and Sridharacharya on the ghatam lent support.

The Malladi brothers of Vijayawada, Sriram and Ravikumar, added to the appeal of the festival with their classical vigour.

They chose apt compositions as concert pieces. Vade Venkatadri, tuned in raga Vasantha by Dr Pinakapani, was a big hit. Sakala Santikaramu in Bahudari and Antayu Neeve in Ananda Bhairavi were among the chosen numbers. Varadarajan was on the violin, Satish Kumar on the mridangam and Haribabu on the ghatam.

Kuchipudi dancer Anupama Kailash divided her presentation into three categories, those describing the beauty of the Lord, the srungara kirtanas of Annamayya, and the poet’s Adyatmikata in his songs.

She and her disciples interpreted the songs in the apt bhava. Swetha lent vocal support. Renuka Prasad conducted the performance.

Chennai’s Priya sisters’ rendition of Annamacharya compositions in concert format was another highlight of the festival. Shanmukapriya and Haripriya rendered Melukonave Neelamegha Varnuda in Bowli, Appani Varaprasadi Annamayya in Tilang, Alivelu Paripoorna Roopam with swara kalpana and Manasija Guruditadu in Reetigowla impressively.

M. A. Krishnaswamy on the violin, Skanda Subramanyam on the mridangam, Sundar Kumar on the kanjira lent support.

G.S

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