It was raining ragas here

Seven artists, one concert platform, rare ragas and two occasions, next to next – all at the same venue.

Published - September 11, 2014 04:50 pm IST



A series of music concerts by veteran musicians were organised as part of the 16th anniversary of Nadhadweepam Trust and the 106th birthday celebrations of Semmangudi R. Srinivasa Iyer. The event took place at the Sringeri Mutt (where). On the occasion the following veterans were honoured – mridangam vidwan Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman with the ‘Nadhadweepa Kalanidhi’ title, musician P. Unnikrishnan with ‘Nadhadweepa Ratnakara’ and Prof. S. Thyagarajan with ‘Nadhadweepa Seva Ratna.’ The title carried a gold coin and a cash prize.

Veteran flautist N. Ramani, along with Nagai Muralidharan on the violin, Mannargudi Easwaran on the mridangam and E.M. Subramanian on the ghatam provided the inaugural concert. Ramani began his recital with a GNB kriti, ‘Saraswati Namo’ in ragam Saraswati and followed it up with the Swati Tirunal kriti, ‘Pankaja Lochani’ in Kalyani with brilliant niravals. He took up Tyagaraja’s ‘Entha Mudho’ in raga Bindhumalini, a rare one on the concert platform, and explored it further to bring out the beauty of the raga. He concluded the concert with a Nalinakanti thillana. The violin support added momentum to the concert and the two veteran Tala vidwans on the mridangam and ghatam gave pleasing korvais and pleasant thani.

P. Unnikrishnan along with Nagai Muralidharan, Mannargudi Easwaran and E.M. Subramanian perked up the spirit of the audience at the open air auditorium of the Mutt. Commencing with a Thanjavur Ponniah Pillai’s ‘Maya Swarupini’ in Mayamalavagowla, this young master rendered a soothing Chandrajyothi in Tyagaraja’s ‘Baagaayanayya’ with elaborate alapana and a volley of swaras. His main stay was in Kiravani for the kriti ‘Karunakarane Sivasankarane’ of Papanasam Sivan. He brilliantly brought out the breath-taking brighas, carefully caressing the sangatis with telling swaras and anuswaras. ‘Pibare Ramarasam,’ Ambujam Krishna’s ‘Ododi Vandhen Kanna’ (Dharmavati) and Bharati’s ‘Eppa Varuvaro’ (Jhonpuri) were the tail-enders of this two-hour concert.

Blessed with a pleasant voice Gayathri along with T.H. Vasantha (violin), Salem Srinivasan (mridangam) and Krishnaswamy (ghatam) offered a rollicking performance. Starting with a fast varnam ‘Mathe Malayadhwajam’ of Harikesanallur Muthaiah Bhaghavatar in Khamas set to Adi talam, she held a complete sway over the audience by churning out Mayamalavagowla for the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Meru Samanam,’ Dharmavati for Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Bajana Seya Radha’ and Brindavana Saranga for Dikshitar’s ‘Rangapuravihara.’ Her mainstay in Thodi ‘Kaddanavariki,’ set to Adi talam was of a high quality. Her rendition of a Paasuram in Ragamalika was a class apart.

Young Shwethambari Rajagopal ’s concert with J. Anand (violin), Hariprasath (mridangam) and Harikishore (ganjira) was enjoyable. Her Kannada for Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Mathrubootham,’ Sankarabharanam for Swati Thirunal’s ‘Devi Jagath Janani,’ the extensive Pantuvarali (Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Sankara Ninne’) and the end Mukhari (‘Kasikku Poyyane’) were pieces aplomb.

A fast-paced vocal, interspersed with multi-layered and brisk swaras and sangatis, was the highlight of Swarna Rethas’ concert. Assisted by Pudukkottai Ambikaprasad (violin), Konerirajapuram Varadharajan (mridangam) and Rajaganesh (ganjira), this young and exuberant vocalist offered a sprightly performance. With a fast varnam of Karur Dakshinamurthy, ‘Sami Ninne’ in ragam Sri, Swarna Rethas handled Mayamalavagowla in the kriti ‘Polla Puviyen’ and a touching Malayamarutham in Tyagaraja’s ‘Manasa Etulo’ with resounding sangatis and pleasant niravals. He took up Begada for extensive treatment in the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Nadha Upasana.’ The tukkadas included Swati Tirunal’s ‘Kangeyavasana’ in Hamir Kalyani, ‘Karpooram Narumo,’ a Thiruppavai in Khamas and ‘Vitasala thura’ of Tyagaraja in Janaranjani, a rare raga. The concert ended with an enticing tillana in Sindhubhairavi.

Sriranjani Darbha , an up-and-coming artist from the U.S., was supported by Raghavasimhan on the violin, Hariprasath on the mridangam and Agasthiar G. Girish on the ganjira on the wings. Her hour-long concert was lively. Her fast GNB varnam ‘Amboruha Padhame’ in Ranjani, Subbaraya Sastri’s ‘Janani Ninnu’ in Ritigowla and the main - Sankarabharanam (‘Devi Jagath Janani’ of Swati Tirunal) were well received by the audience.

The last concert was given by Sunil Gargyan , disciple of vidwan P.S. Narayanasamy, engaged the rasikas throughout his two-hour presentation. N.C. Madhav on the violin and a full house of tala vidwans - Konerirajapuram Varadharajan (mridangam), Tiruchi Krishnaswamy (ghatam) and Vishnupuram Raghu (morsing) provided able support. Commencing with a fast Sahana varnam, Thiruvottriyur Thiagarajar’s ‘Karunimpa,’ this young musician scaled high and deep into Lathangi (Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Venkataramana’) and perked up the concert through his Khambodi (‘O Rangasayee’ of Tyagaraja), drenched with a neat cascade of swaras and effective sangatis and niravals. His poise and ease in lower and higher octaves in the sancharams was a bliss. The accompanists enhanced the quality of the concert and the thani of the tala vidwans stood out.

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