Dominated by bhakti

The kritis showcased the variety in the compositions of Tyagaraja. B. Ramadevi writes.

February 09, 2017 04:29 pm | Updated 04:29 pm IST

D evotion and nostalgia were the hallmarks of the 63rd Thyagabrahma Gananjali, held at Sarojini Nataraj Auditorium, Coimbatore. The absence of musicologist S. Vaidhyanathakrishnan (who passed away last year), the spirit behind this music festival for nearly five decades, was deeply felt by all.

The inaugural concert was by Ramakrishnan Murthy . He began with a Guru sloka followed by ‘Endhuku Pedhala’ in Sankarabharanam. His sincerity and involvement were visible in the way he depicted the ragas and rendered the kritis. The delineations of Gangeya Bhushani for ‘Nee Sari Evvarae Ramayya’ and Kalyani for ‘Sundari Nee Divya Roopamu’ deserve special mention. The niravals and swarakalpanas were refreshing and impressive. He included many Tyagaraja songs such as ‘Raghupathae Rama’ (Sahana), ‘Padhavini’ (Salakabhairavi), ‘Ragasudharasa’ (Andholika), ‘Vinaradha Naa Manavi’ (Devagandhari) and ‘Haridasulu Vedalae’ (Yamuna Kalyani) showcasing the variety in the compositions of the saint. R.K. Sriram Kumar on the violin gave melodious support. Melakkaveri Balaji on the mridangam and S.V. Subramaniam on the ganjira added vibrance to the concert.

Prior to S. Saketharaman ’s concert the following day, Tyagaraja’s Pancharatna kritis were sung by local musicians. Saketharaman presented songs that were rich in bhakti His raga delineations (Pantuvarali, Ritigowla and Thodi) were aesthetic. The niraval for the lines, ‘Aagamanulanuthiyinchi’ (‘Siva Siva Siva Ena Radha’) and ‘Aasakonnatti’ (‘Jesinadhella Marachitivo’) were full of raga bhava. ‘Nannu Vidachi Kadhalakuraa’ in Ritigowla and ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana’ in Sahana were intensely moving. The thoroughly enjoyable RTP in Hamsanadham with the pallavi, ‘Tyagarajam Upasmahae, Rama Bhaktam Bhajamahae, Manasa, Vachasa’ was set to Khanda jathi Ata talam, tisra gathi. He began with a pleasing alapana and decorated his pallavi with a lovely niraval and ragamalika swaras. B.U. Ganesh Kumar followed Saketharaman in each of his moves, adorning each phrase with his melodious violin. His raga delineations were aural treats. Neyveli Venkatesh on the mridangam and Kovai G. Suresh on the ghatam completed the vibrant team with their lively support.

Padma Sugavanam ’s tasteful selection of songs brought out Tyagaraja’s closeness with the Lord that enabled him to complain, demand, argue and also, surrender. She had planned her presentation well, with enough scope for raga delineations, niravals, swaraprastaras and a good number of kritis. There were rare kritis such as ‘Gattigaanu Nanu Chey Pettaedennatiko’ in Begada. The main kriti was in Kalyani, ‘Endhuko Nee Manasu Karagadhu’ (Why will your heart not melt?) The niraval for ‘Raagarahitha Sri Rama’ showcased the intense longing expressed in the kriti. ‘Challarae Ramachandrunipai Poola’, ‘Yaemani Vaeginthunae’ and ‘Tava Daasoham’ were sung with feeling. V.V. Ravi’s violin blended effortlessly with Padma’s involved rendition. Young masters N.C. Bharadwaj on the mridangam and Chandrasekhara Sarma on the ghatam vied with each other in adding sparkle to the concert.

O.S. Thyagarajan ’s concert was heart-warming and his explanation brought the rasikas closer to the saint. The first three songs, ‘Hari Naenendhu Vedhagudhuraa’ (Harikhambodi) ‘Kanu Kontini’ (Bilahari) and ‘Ra Ra Maa Inti Daaka’ (Asaveri) told the story of Tyagaraja’s misery when he lost the idol of Sri Rama, his ecstasy when he found it and his joyful welcome to his Lord, respectively. Tyagarajan rendered many songs such as ‘Isha Paahimaam’ (Kalyani) ‘Sundaratara Deham (Pantuvarali), ‘Bhakti Bhichamiyyavae’ (Sankarabharanam) and ‘Raagaratna Maalikache’ (Ritigowla) –– some with niravals and some with easily flowing swaraprastaras. His main kriti in Kharaharapriya ‘(Sow)Mitri Bhagyamae Bhaagyam’ was perfect with a lovely alapana, niraval and kalpanaswaras. He sang ‘Adigi Sukhamu’ (Madhyamavathi) as an example for Nindastuti - asking Rama, “Who has ever enjoyed any comfort by entreating you?” Thyagarajan concluded his fulfilling concert with ‘Uyyaalaloogavayyaa (Nilambari) and ‘Vinaayakuni Valanu Brovavae’ (Madhyamavati). Mullaivasal Chandramouli on the violin, Umayalpuram Mali on the mridangam and Anirudh on the ganjira performed with involvement and commitment.

On the concluding day, Vijay Siva began his concert with ‘Dasaratha Nandana Danava Mardana’ in lilting Asaveri. ‘Maamava Sathatham Raghunatha’ in Jaganmohini was a rare delight. Raga Darbar appeared majestically before ‘Mundhu Venuga’ and a hearty Hamsanadham heralded ‘Bantureethi’ . Bhairavi gushed through, brimming with energy , as a greeting for ‘Yae Naati Nomu Palamo’.

The niraval for ‘Sundaraesa Suguna Brinda’ and the swaras that followed were enriched by Embar Kannan’s mellifluous violin. ‘Padhavini’, ‘Paramaathmudai’, ‘Emani Vaeginthunae’ and ‘Mokshamu Galadha’ comprised the lighter session. ‘Pavanaja Stuthi Paatra Paavana Charithra’ formed the grand finale. J. Vaidhyanathan on the mridangam and Alathur Rajaganesh on the ganjira enhanced the mood of devotion with their sensitive accompaniment.

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