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Melodious notes of homage

Jaya Narayanan Pisharoty
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Concert Pala C.K. Ramachandran's recital in Thrissur was a sincere tribute to his illustrious guru and mentor, Semmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer. Jaya Narayanan Pisharoty

S emmangudi Sreenivasa Iyer's death anniversary was observed in Thrissur with Smrithi Vandanam, a concert in his memory by one of his closest disciples, Pala C.K. Ramachandran. It was a fitting homage by a disciple who had accompanied his legendary guru for about 40 years.

He began the concert with ‘Gajananayutam,' composed by Dikshitar in raga Chakravakam, set to Adi tala. Manodharma swaras and niraval were sung at ‘Ajendra Vigneshwaram.' The next composition was ‘Nenentu vedukura.'

Songs of devotion

In his kriti in raga Karnataka Behag set to Adi tala, Tyagaraja pleads with Sri Hari to appear before him though he has been a sinner. The innovative input at ‘Illalo Bhakti' in the form of niraval and manodharma swaras was impressive. ‘Mariveragathi' in raga Anandabhairavi, Mishrachapu tala, was a melodious rendition of Syama Sastri's prayer to his deity, the ‘Saranagatha rakshaki' or the saviour of the oppressed. The swaraprastharas were numerous and varied at ‘Marivere.' ‘Janakiramana' (Shudha Seemanthini-Adi tala-Tyagaraja) was presented without much embellishment.

A cursory alapanam introduced ‘Ksheenamayi,' a Tyagaraja kriti in the slow moving Mukhari, set to Adi tala. The concert moved to a more enhanced level with the detailed delineation of raga Kalyani. The violin alapanam outshone the vocal as the lively raga vistaram proceeded. ‘Pankajalochana,' that grand eulogy by the composer- king, Swati Tirunal, set to Mishra chapu tala, was enjoyable.

The innovative swaraprastharas at ‘Vrindavana' testified to the measure of the artiste's grasp of the medium.

‘Teliyaleru Rama' (Dhenuka-Adi tala-Tyagaraja) was a good effort at showcasing the raga with manodharma swaras at ‘Vegalechi Neeta.' ‘Harihara putram Sastharam' was a pleasant rendering of raga Vasantha in the offbeat Ganda Ekatalam. Main raga for the day

The main raga of the concert was ‘Kharaharpriya.' Ramachandran sang ‘Samanamevaru,' a Tyagaraja kriti (set to Roopaka tala) a masterpiece of his legendary teacher. The vocal alapanam was adequate, but strained. Once again, the violinist, Tiruvizha Sivanandan, stole the show with his inspired musical phrases. The niraval and manodharma at ‘Paluku paluku' were the high point of the concert.

The vocalist adorned the piece with innovative swaraprastharas.

Tani avartanam was played by Trivandrum Surendran on the mridangam and Trivandrum Karthikeyan on the ghatam. ‘Saravanabhava Enna Tirumanthiram' in raga Shanmugapriya (Aditala-Mysore Sehanna) pleased with its buoyancy and brightness. The popular ‘Manasa Sanchara Ray' (Syama Sastri-Aditala) composed by Sadashiva Brahmendra was rendered with feeling.

Swati's ‘Taruni Njaan Enthu Chaivu' in ‘Dwijavanthi' and Purandaradasa's Nanakubadava' in Behag was followed by a sprightly Tillana in raga Chenchuruty and the mangalam, ‘Bhujagasayana' in raga Yadukula Kamboji. From start to finish, Ramachandran maintained a high degree of solemnity.

The enjoyment quotient could have been enhanced with a more vivacious presentation. However, it was a sincere tribute to an illustrious guru by his devoted disciple. The concert was organised by Rasikapriya.


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