O.S. Arun’s inspiring Varamu raga essay

O.S. Arun with Patri Sathish Kumar, A.K. Pazhanivel, Karthick, Mullaivasal Chandramouli.

O.S. Arun with Patri Sathish Kumar, A.K. Pazhanivel, Karthick, Mullaivasal Chandramouli. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Singer O.S. Arun launched the Alapana Trust to bring joy into lives through music. For instance, it conducts shows for children with autism, or at old age homes. During one such programme, he was asked to sing ‘Oru naal podhuma’ (from Thiruvilaiyadal),’ by a member of an old age home, at the end of which he saw the woman’s face light up. It was then that Arun decided to conduct this event regularly to reach out to more people.

Along with music, Arun began to honour artistes at these shows. Instituted by G.R. Srikantan, the awards were given away at the 2022 edition held recently at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

On the first day of the festival, veteran thavil vidwan Achalpuram S. Sankaran received the award. The ceremony was followed by Arun’s vocal recital. He was accompanied by percussion virtuosos — Haridwaramangalam A.K. Pazhanivel on the thavil, Patri Satish Kumar on the mridangam, and Karthick on the ghatam. No points for guessing that the tani avartanam was marked by rhythmic brillliance. Well-known violinist Mullaivasal Chandramouli provided melody support.

The first piece of the concert was a Muthuswami Dikshitar kriti. Dikshitar’s kritis provide that wonderful resonance wherever they are placed in a concert — as a grand centrepiece, or right at the beginning.

The kriti chosen was ‘Sadachaleswaram’ (Bhupalam). The richness of the experience deepened as Arun rendered kalpanaswaras in medium tempo towards the end of the piece. The composition, replete with swaraksharam (when the note and the syllable in the lyrics become one) enhanced the joy of listening.

Next, Vanaspati, the fourth Melakarta raga, came through melodiously in the Tyagaraja composition ‘Pariyachakama.’ Once again, the swarakalpana in a soothing pace brought serenity to the rendering.

Creative patterns

Varamu is a raga that many well-known artistes have rendered in inspiring ways. So it was with the essay by Arun. His creative phrasings flowed seamlessly during the alapana. Violinist Mullaivasal Chandramouli's Varamu sketch was appropriate. A raga that closely resembles Hindolam, Varamu takes the Chatusruti Dhaivatam. Arun sang Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Thunai purindharul’. Once again, that medium-paced swarakalpana was lovely.

Setting the stage for the thani, Pazhanivel exhibited his prowess on the thavil with spontaneous and creative rhythm patterns. Both Satish Kumar and Karthick took up the challenge and came off with flying colours.

It was a concert that was wholesome and enjoyable in every way.

The Chennai-based reviewer is a trained musician.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2022 2:56:07 pm |