Art

A collaborative effort

Best efforts (clockwise from top) Rendition of Tumu Narasimha Dasu’s compositions; Parthasarathy; Y Ramaprabha By arrangement

Best efforts (clockwise from top) Rendition of Tumu Narasimha Dasu’s compositions; Parthasarathy; Y Ramaprabha By arrangement  

Several music institutions across the city put up a united front to celebrate the works of Tumu Narasimha Dasu commemorating his birth anniversary

In a first of its kind initiative, drawing several music institutions in Hyderabad under one roof to celebrate the works of veteran Telugu poet Tumu Narasimha Dasu (originally Tumu Lakshmi Narasimha Dasu), Vagdevi Cultural Association and Saraswathi Sangeetha Nritya Sikshanalayam had organised a concert in the premises of Potti Sree Ramulu University recently. Till several years ago, the annual event to commemorate the birth anniversary of the poet had been quite restrictive in its reach. In what promises to be a regular series from now, each of the musical schools participating in the event was allocated to perform two songs each (rendered mostly by the students).

Music researcher, vocalist Y Ramaprabha gave the best possible start to the event, throwing light on Tumu Narasimha Dasu, the person and how his identity reflected through his literary works. She had particularly mentioned about the conversations the poet supposedly had with Lord Rama, which later found its way through his numbers.

Discussing how the ‘pancha chamara seva’ held every day at the Bhadrachalam temple (before the deity is put to sleep) was his brainchild after witnessing a similar seva at a temple in Sri Rangam, the singer had elaborated on the poet’s prowess with the kanjira too. He’s credited to have invented a new talam (julva), created new ragams like Konda Malahari to name a few as well. The focus on his kirtanas that also mentioned about danta dhavanam (cleaning one’s teeth) where he had named Rama as a ‘Danti Rakshaka’ (one who guards our teeth) created an element of intrigue.

The performances began with students from Saraswathi Sangeetha Nritya Sikshanalayam rendering Meluko Sugunalavala, a kirtana to awaken Lord Rama, as he is addressed through various names. In another innovatively lyricised kirtana, Nee Momu sung by the budding vocalists, the poet talks of how he feels richer by merely seeing the face of the Almighty. The pleasantness in the compositions was largely due to the tunes too, that have been standardised over the years.

With the performances from students of Durgabhai Deshmukh College to that of Swara Sahitya Gaana Kuteer, Vageswari Music School, Seetaramam Music Circle, Sammohana School for Vocal Music and Keerthana Institute of Music, the audiences were treated to an expansive lineup of songs that explored bhakti in various contours – through tattvas, metaphors and lullaby-like compositions intended to cajole the God before he calls it a day. Chinmayuni Padambujamulu, Aparadhinaparadhini, Niddura Pucchare were among the imaginatively structured and composed works of the poet that were sung in the event. The mangalam number (Jaya Mangalam) composed by Kamala Ramani was the icing on the cake.

The singing wasn’t always consistent, though the event’s purpose was noble enough. There was more to it beyond the music too. Composer and singer Nemani Parthasarathy at the event recollected an instance where the descendant of the poet (Krishnaveni Tumu) had introduced him to Tumu Narasimha Dasu’s works. He took to the stage to also announce the release of a music project as a composer, where veteran playback singer S P Balasubramanyam had given commentary to a series of 62 kirtanas of the poet. Another singer Pratima Sasidhar had highlighted the need for a standard notation of Tumu Narasimha Dasu’s kirtanas that most music students could refer to, alike Annamayya and Ramadasu.

Besides a well-informed anchor (Sirisha) who got her homework behind the event right, piquing the interest of the audiences about the poet, the presence of instrumentalists Vijay Kumar Acharya and Ogirala Guru Prasad on the tabla and keyboard ensured a strong musical foundation to the concert.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 3:46:15 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/tumu-narasimha-dasu-vagdevi-cultural-association-saraswathi-sangeetha-nritya-sikshanalayam/article30997731.ece

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