Sri Sathya Sai Baba 94th birthday celebrations Music

Tribute to Sathya Sai Baba

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Sathya Sai Baba’s birth anniversary celebrations were marked by dance, music and instrumental rendition

Last week, a six-day cultural event to mark the 94th birthday celebrations of Sathya Sai Baba was held at Shivam, the spiritual centre where both philanthropic and cultural activities activities are organised. It featured both music and dance programmes by up-and-coming musicians and dancers, as well as well-known artistes. Given that well-known artist names like tabla artiste Muthu Kumar (disciple of Zakir Hussain); the brilliant, young Mandolin Saigovind; classical dancer-vocalist Smitha Madhav; and musician Sri Soumya Varanasi were on the schedule, the venue saw big crowds every day. The event was organised jointly by the Sri Sathya Sai Trust, and Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations.

On November 18, the festival began with a fairly well-choroegraphed Kuchipudi style programme titled ‘Hrudayanjali’ by students of Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Vihar school. Later, a team of talented instrumentalists presented raga Charukesi, and also a piece called Extreme Peace, mellifluous in quality. There was another item called Journeys in raga Bagashree and a composition in Raga Desh inspired by the Kumbh Mela, which was much appreciated.

The second day featured ‘Nrityanjali’, a Bharatanatyam performance by Smitha Madhav and team of Varna Arts Academy. Being both an accomplished dancer and classical musician, Smitha has the good fortune of being able to dance to her own recorded vocal renditions. The customary Pushpanjali was followed by a shloka on the greatness of India and its heritage, followed by a bhakti-bhaaava soaked ‘Thodayamangalam’ an intrinsic part of the bhajana sampradayam and an integral part of the Bharatanatyam repertoire too. The kriti Sharanu Sharanu Surendra Sannutha (Arabhi) was included in this offering. The lively Jathiswaram (Saraswathi) by the students showed coordination among the young dancers.

Smitha also presented Chittoor Subramanya Pillai’s well-known composition Maavalla Gadamma Devi Yashoda (Maand) a popular part of the Kuchipudi repertoire. The highlights of her recital were a shloka from Adi Shankara’s Sivananda Lahari, namely Margavarthitha Paduka choreographed by Smitha herself and the Shiva Thandavam. Smitha’s fine abhinaya, grace and fluid movements all contributed to the success of the programme.

A dance ballet titled ‘Shivaaradhana’ by Bal Vikas children stole the viewer’s hearts. On another day, two group music presentations, both marked by melodiousness and fine synchronisation — ‘Sanathana Vaibhavam by alumni of the Sri Sathya Sai Mirpuri College of Music, and ‘Ankitham’ by Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning — treated the audience.

On the penultimate day, children enacted a drama titled Geetha Sandesham woven around the theme of Thyagaraja’s composition Nidhi chala sukhama (Kalyani). It was short and crisp and the children delighted the audience with their confident stage presence and clear articulation of dialogues.

Sri Soumya Varanasi is one of the brightest talents in the younger generation of Carnatic musicians in the city. Her programme called ‘Sangeeta Vibhavari’ began with a Tulasidas composition Jaya Jayathi (Hamsadhwani). This was followed by Thyagaraja’s Marugelara O Raghava (Jayanthasri), Kannava (Madhuvanthi) and Sree Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana besides an abhang in praise of Lord Vitthala. The highlights of her concert were a very lively and rousing Shiva Thandava stotram (Mayamalavagowla) and a bhaava-rich Jagadhodharane (Kaapi). Sri Soumya was ably accompanied by Guruprasad on the keyboard, Ramachandra Murthy on the flute and Uday Kumar on the tabla. She was also accompanied in a few items by her students Himaja, Sanjana, Anjani and Manasa.

The festival concluded with Shivam Bhajan group rendering Sathya Sai O Pranasakha, in which, bhajan-style, everyone was invited to join in.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 8:56:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/tribute-to-sathya-sai-baba/article30106086.ece

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