OCCASION Music concerts and award ceremony marked the 18 {+t} {+h} Pongal Music Festival of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore. B. RAmadevi

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Coimbatore chapter dedicated its 18{+t}{+h}Pongal Music Festival to Swami Vivekananda as it was his 150{+t}{+h}Jayanti. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Platinum Jubilee and the 125{+t}{+h}anniversary of its founder Kulapati Dr. K.M. Munshi coincided with this, making this year’s festival special. Coimbatore rasikas were treated to a rich music fare, presented by eminent as well as aspiring musicians at the Bhavan’s premises with the majestic picture of the Swamiji in the backdrop.

On the inaugural day, Guruvayur Dorai, the veteran mridangam player was awarded the title, ‘Sangeeth Samrat’ in appreciation of his long service to Indian classical music. Rajalakshmi Padmanabhan, composer and teacher of Carnatic music and veena, received ‘Kovai Subri Muruga Gana Award.’

Later, Malavika Sundar , disciple of Padmavathy Ananthagopalan, gave a pleasing concert. She began with the Ata Tala varnam in Kanada, and moved on to ‘Deva Deva Kalayami’ in Mayamalavagowla. Her raga delineations and swarakalpanas were proof of her hard work. Sriranjani (‘Marubalka,’ Tyagaraja) and Thodi (‘Gathi Neevani,’ Lalgudi Jayaraman ) were presented in depth. She included a compact RTP in Kalyani with the pallavi, ‘Kamakshi, Mathangi Bovave Kamala Nayane Kanchi.’ The lighter songs, ‘Poonguyil Koovum,’ ‘Idathu Padham Thooki’ and the tillana were enjoyable.

The young and talented team comprising K.J. Dileep on the violin, Sumesh S. Narayanan on the mridangam and V. Sai Subramaniam on the morsing gave an excellent support to Malavika’s music.

That V. Sankaranarayanan has been fortunate to be moulded by the likes of Vaigal Gnanaskandan, T.R. Subramanian and T.V. Gopalakrishnan, shows in his music. After propitiating Ganesha with a sloka, he began with ‘Gana Murthe’ in Ganamurthi by Tyagaraja. The pleasing kriti came alive in his pleasant voice and soulful delivery. In ‘Evarikai Avathaaramethidhivo’ (Devamanohari), Tyagaraja wonders for whom Sri Rama incarnated Himself and without trying to find an answer, simply expresses his immense gratitude to that great soul for whose sake He came down to the earth. Sankaranarayanan delivered this kriti with a lot of emotion. Before etching the beautiful ‘Varamu’ for Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Thunai Purindharul,’ Sankaranarayanan announced the name of the raga, in case people mistook it for Hindolam. ‘Yaarendru Raaghavanai’ in Yadhukula Khambodi by Arunachala Kavirayar extolling the greatness of Sri Rama was enjoyable. The main piece was in Kalyani and the vocalist embellished it well and presented ‘Etavunara.’ He started the RTP in Nattakkurinji quite late, but kept it brief and brisk. His concert made one admire his skill as a musician. However, a little more variety would ensure a wider reach.

Nagai Sriram’s violin was delightful. He had absolute control over his racing fingers and combined melody, speed and imagination in the right measure. As an accompanist, he was great and when he essayed the ragas, he was greater. During the swarakalpana session, he gave a magical twist towards the end that was enthralling. Thani by Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira was lengthy but impressive.

On the second day, Coimbatore’s music gurus, their disciples and the public gathered at the Bhavan’s premises to offer homage to Sadguru Tyagaraja by singing his Pancharatnams. In the evening, Sneha Sivakumar gave a vocal recital in the junior slot, followed by U. Shrinivas ’s mandolin concert.