Music

‘Sarvam Krishna Mayam’: Krishna bhakti through songs

Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam and Ragavan Manian presenting ‘Sarvam Krishna Mayam’ at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Chennai   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s three-day festival for Krishna Jayanthi began with ‘Sarvam Krishna Mayam.’ A thematic vocal concert by Vijayalakshmy Subramaniam and Ragavan Manian, it was a journey through forms of Krishna Bhakti — Krishna as sakha, Krishna as Venugopala, Krishna as shringara purusha, Krishna as a child, Krishna as a guru and more.

The most creative aspects of the concert were a conversation-style piece between the vocalist duo involving Ashtapadis, an ingenuous RTP in ragas Abhogi and Valaji, a tillana that emanated from Bhattathiri’s slokas, and a boat song of Kerala.

Senior vocalist Vijayalakshmy, delights in doing researched in-depth presentations such as this one. A disciple of Balamuralikrishna, Ragavan is also a composer and played flute interludes during the concert. At the heart of the programme were accompanists Kumbakonam M.R. Gopinath (violin), R. Ramkumar (mridangam/percussion) K. Surya (keyboard) who did an admirable job of adjusting to both singer’s pitch requirements.

Aptly beginning with Tyagaraja’s ‘Ganamurthe’ (Ganamurthi), the vocalists wove swaraprastara at different endings: ‘Ganamurthe,’ ‘Sri Krishna Venu’ and ‘Venugana.’ Next came the kriti ‘Paal vadiyum mugam’, (Natakurinji) showing how Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi used swara, jati and layam to portray young Krishna. Ragavan went on to explain how Subramania Bharati had dreamt of Krishna in ‘Kannan Paattu’ before the duo presented ‘Theerada vilaiyattu pillai’ (ragamalika). After this, Krishna’s Kaliyamardhanam episode came through in Bhattathiri’s verses woven into a tillana (Hamsavinodini) that was composed by Ragavan.

Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi, an epitome of Sringara rasa, came next as a conversation between Radha and Krishna, wherein Vijayalakshmy sang stanzas from ‘Yaahi Madhava Yaahi Kesava’ (Arabhi) and Ragavan alternated singing stanzas from ‘Charusheele’ (Mukhari). What followed was a boat song in a catchy folk tune in Malayalam, an apt selection for recounting the story of Kuchela. A Dasarapada ‘Tanu Ninnadu, Jeevana Ninnadu,’ was sung by Ragavan. To unfold Krishna Prema, there was Andal’s ‘Karpooram naarumo.’

The singers then went on to deliver an innovative RTP composed by Ragavan: ‘Jayam Vijayam Sri Jayanthi Vaibhavam Bhavam Vam’ (ragas Abhogi and Valaji, Tisra nadai, Damaru Yati). The creative capsule included trikalam and swaraprastara.

Other pieces included, Balamuralikrishna’s ‘Bangaru Murali’ (Nilambari), a Meera bhajan and the heart-warming Dikshitar kriti ‘Sri Venugopala’ (Kurinji).

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 1:28:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/sarvam-krishna-mayam-krishna-bhakti-through-songs/article29288331.ece

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