Hyderabad Thyagaraja Aradhana Music Festival 2020 Music

With a larger focus on young blood

The fifth edition of the Hyderabad Thyagaraja Aradhana Music Festival was a democratic platform for musicians to unite in the name of the vaggeyakara

Shilparamam transformed into a destination for everything Thyagaraja to the delight of connoisseurs and musicians in the fifth edition of Sanskriti Foundation’s Hyderabad Thyagaraja Aradhana Music Festival, hosted over a five-day span last week. From felicitations of veterans to solo concerts of instrumentalists to that of the vocalists, there was ample diversity on offer in musical styles, celebrating the 18th century born vaggeyakara’s contributions in full glory.

While it’s true that the Aradhanas unify young and established names like no other event through the year, the challenge for musicians remain in putting their best foot forward in the limited time that’s on offer. If ace violinist Annavarapu Ramaswamy’s presence anchored the first day of the event, it was the young N C Kousik Kalyan’s simplicity and tenderness in his singing that did the balancing act. Approaching kritis like Anyayamu Seyaku Raa and Evarunnaru Brova with an honesty you wouldn’t associate with an emerging vocalist, he had rasikas rooting for him.

However, other popular names like the TK sisters (Saroja and Sujatha) in addition to the experienced duo of Indira Kameswara Rao-Neti Sarala disappointed with their efforts. The former’s rendition of unique kritis like Maa Paala Velasika, Sandehamunu Deerpumayya was fine in terms of technique but seemed strung together sans bhava. The Indira Kameswara Rao-Neti Sarala concert, in contrast, was an attempt to be soulful, yes, yet their shaky voice-quality barely matched their sincerity.

With a larger focus on young blood

The second day was a marked improvement in terms of the musical quality on offer, the icing on the cake being Annavarapu Ramaswamy’s violin concert. Hyderabad-based K Shyam Kumar utilised the platform to his advantage, where there was an old-school charm in his non-showy singing of the alapanas. The Maruvadhanyasi ragam explored through Mrudubhashana was his best effort for the day, as he also touched upon kritis like Nee Chittamu and Atu Karadani Balka.

Veteran’s memorable outing

N Rama Murthy’s precision and consistency in his concerts, backed by a dense voice, was a genuine value addition to the evening. The focus on the Ganamurthi ragam with Ganamurthe and Nanu Kanna Talli (in Trayi ragam) helped him shine, before Annavarapu Ramaswamy’s deft bowing on the violin across several sthayis won the attention of the audiences.

Sujana Jeevana, Chakkani Raja, Brova Bharama among many proved a cakewalk with his experience. More than his concert, it was the anecdotes about his guru Parupalli Ramakrishna Panthulu and Balamuralikrishna that stayed with the crowds. The Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram piece to end the evening was a relevant choice to remember one of Mahatma Gandhi’s fondest bhajans on his death anniversary.

Chaganti Ramya Kiranmayi’s second concert in Hyderabad in as many weeks proved fruitful for the listener on day three, on which another vocalist Mruduravali stole the honours with the panache in her rendition, empowered by an unusual self-assurance for her age. The flourishes of ragams like Jhankara Dhwani, Simhendra Madhyamam and Mukhari got a rare push on the concert stage. The no-frills singing across works like Needu Charanamule, Karu Baru was followed by the multi-faceted Manda Anantha Krishna’s concert on the flute.

The flautist adhered to the concert-structure for the major part of his renditions, dwelling upon the ragam as much as the composition. The healing quality of ragam Kapi came through in Intha Sowkhyamani, reminding the rasika about the tryst with the same ragam in Jo Achyutananda too. The pacier version of Niravadi Sukhada was worth the wait for being the last number for the day, with the presence of the morsing bringing in diversity to the musical result.

Imprint of youngsters

With a larger focus on young blood

The following day began with a local touch and a dash of young blood, where students of many music schools in addition to their gurus impressed with their collaborative efforts. The evening was a dedication to Modumudi Sudhakar in many ways. Besides his solo concert, his daughter Sruthi Ranjani and disciple U Venkata Mohana Vamsi (both vocalists) had performed in two exclusive recitals, consolidating the Vijayawada-based musician’s reputation as a guru.

With a larger focus on young blood

The imprint of the veteran was visible in both of his shishyas precisely for their selfless approach to the craft, the melodic twist to the singing, finding the right balance between grammar and popular appeal. Mohana Vamsi’s brief context to every composition rung in a personal touch to his concert and Sruthi Ranjani’s honey-soaked voice in Rama Ninne Namminanu left the audiences asking for more. Modumudi’s concert rung in completeness to the day, and his comfort with the haunting numbers like Entha Muddo Entha Sogaso goes without saying.

The Pancharatna seva on the final day got its deserved artsy twist with the presence of artist Kuchi. Stalwarts like Yella Venkateswara Rao, Hyderabad Sisters (Lalitha and Hari Priya), Ayyagari Syamasundaram in addition to Sudhakar Modumudi, Popuri Gowrinath lead a group of at least 400 musician rendition of the kritis, as Kuchi simultaneously wrapped a painting of Thyagaraja.

With a larger focus on young blood

Although a Sunday evening to the grand finale merited bigger names, the organisers opted to let the emerging lot gain precedence. The veena concert by an unnerved Padmaja Varanasi was like a popular bunch of kritis rolled into a single unit, with Tulasidalamulache and Bantureeti Koluvu standing tall among the rest.

One of the key architects behind the event, violinist DVK Vasudevan dug into the depths of the Chandrajyothi ragam under the moonlit skies of the amphitheatre (which is as literal as it could get) with Bagayanayya besides reminding rasikas of the largely-ignored Balahamsa ragam through Dandamu Pettenura.

With a larger focus on young blood

Composer, vocalist Popuri Gowrinath’s finishing touch accompanied by his better half Gayatri Gowrinath was memorable, retaining the original flavour of the compositions like Santhamu Leka Soukhyamu Ledu, (besides discussing the vritta anuprasa in) Rama Kodanda Rama. But it was his experiment to begin Jagadananda Karaka with its anupallavi ‘Gaganadhipa Satkulaja’ that took many by surprise.

Doing away with the usage of plastic at the venue by partnering with the NGO Bartan and ensuring a high-quality web streaming of the events were other important takeaways from the series. Though the event was inclusive of all the must-haves expected of a Thyagaraja aradhana, it could have worked more on making the vaggeyakara relevant for the times.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 11:35:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/the-hindu-friday-review-telangana/article30762323.ece

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