An all-Tamil concert by Varalakshmi Anandkumar

Varalakshmi Anandkumar.  

The all-Tamil concert hosted by Naada Inbam recently was a refreshing experience. The thematic concert was by vocalist Varalakshmi Anandkumar, whose Karaharapriya delineation still lingers in my mind. She painted an inspiring portrait of the majestic raga. Listening to this disciple of the legendary D.K. Jayaraman, the virtual audience must have guessed that she would take up Papanasam Sivan’s masterpiece ‘Senthil andavan’ (Rupakam), in praise of the deity of Tiruchendur. She certainly didn’t disappoint. Melakaveri Thyagarajan lent able support on the violin.

Proportion and restraint marked her music , especially in this composition. At the niraval of ‘Vadivelan valli deyvanai lolan,’ her creative visualisation found absolute manifestation in the phrasings. The swaras at atheetham brought out the essence of Karaharapriya. Thyagarajan’s swara statements were swift.

The piece de resistance of the recital was the evergreen ‘Kapali’ (Mohanam) by the same composer. The alapana in all three octaves was so comprehensive that not a single aspect of the raga seemed omitted. The response on the violin was also splendid. In the swaraprastara, Varalakshmi impressed listeners with her creativity by bringing to the fore the raga’s nuances. The thani by Neyveli Skandasubramanian (mridangam) and Madipakkam Murali (ghatam) was enjoyable, with many hints of their laya finesse. Their able support enhanced the concert’s appeal.

Varalakshmi had her initial training under her aunt Maragatham Ramaswamy, before her formal training under D.K. Jayaraman and later P.S. Narayanaswamy.

Soulful rendition

She began her concert with Gowri Shankar Sthapathi’s Abhogi piece, ‘Guru arulum’ on Vinayaka in a pleasant khanda chapu. Swaras were at the pallavi. This was followed by ‘Intha paramukham edhu’ in Purvikalyani on Lord Muruga by Sankar Das Swami. Some attribute this to Kavimani Desikavinayagam Pillai also. Her rendering of the charanam, ‘Nee oru silaiyo, nee en murai kettilayo’ was soul-stirring.

Syama Sastri’s Tamil composition ‘Tharunam idhamma’ in a gentle Gowlipantu was neatly done. Arunachala Kavi’s ‘Arivaar yaar unnai’ in Mukhari (misra chapu) brought out the devotional essence of the song. There are six charanams and Varalakshmi sang the fifth one, ‘Vedathin mele vedantha naadaththin mele.’ Madurai Sreenivasan’s popular piece ‘Karunai deivame karpagame’ on the goddess of Tirumayilai was a straight rendition. Her presentation of the Hamsanandi kriti ‘Muruga muruga ena nee sol’ was steeped in bhakti. The question of who composed this lilting song remains unsettled. Some attribute it to T.A. Sambandamurty, others to Gomathi Ramasubramaniyam.

Little wonder, the concert had several of Papanasam Sivan compositions. She succeeded in bringing out karuna rasa in the Harikamboji kriti, ‘Enadhu manam kavalai enum’ that describes a devotee’s appeal to the goddess to come to his rescue. The popular kriti ‘Enna thavam seidhanai’ (Navarasa Kanada) was an appropriate selection towards the end of the concert. ‘Maname kanamum maravadhe’ is a movie song (Savitri – M.S. Subbulakshmi) in raga Bhimplas and the lines, ‘Maaya vaazhvu thanile’ were beautifully rendered.

Varalakshmi concluded the concert with ‘Karpagame kann paaraai’ in Madhyamavati. The concert is available on Parivadinimusic YouTube channel.

The Chennai-based writer specialises in Carnatic music.

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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 4:55:09 AM |

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