Remembering Ariyakudi

Vidwan Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar was responsible for setting up, what is now called the concert paddathi. According to those who have heard him in person, he always sang for the crowd satisfying both the learned and the uninitiated among them. But this did not mean any compromise on the quality of music.

His concerts used to be a bouquet of madhyama kala kritis. His raga alapanas were usually restricted to about seven minutes while his kalpana swaras were never about mathematical calculations. In short, his performances were like a crash course in concert aesthetics.

Kanyakumari, veteran violinist, presented a solo concert in memory of the great Ariyakudi at Raga Sudha Hall recently, sponsored by ICCR and Shri Ariyakudi Music Foundation.

She was ably supported by her disciple Priyamvada on the violin. Bearing in mind that it was a tribute performance, Kanyakumari presented befitting fare. After the Nattai raga pancharatnam of Thyagaraja, came a brief alapana of Reetigowla, where the extract of the raga with musical glow and depth showcased her years of experience. The pace she chose for ‘Janani ninnu vina’ was just right. Veteran K.V. Prasad’s imaginative playing for this mishra chapu tala kriti of Subbaraya Sastry further lifted the mood. Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan, another veteran, followed suit on the ghatam.

Thyagaraja’s ‘Hecharika ga rara (Yadukula Khambodi), a kriti popularised by Ariyakudi, had the emotional touch notwithstanding the slightly faster pace she chose for it. Andal Thiruppavai, consisting of 30 Tamil hymns , (part of Naalayira Divya Prabandham) were set to 30 ragas by Ariyakudi at the behest of the Mahaswami of Kanchi mutt. The tunes have stood the test of time, so much so that it is hard to hear them if they are rendered in a different raga. Kanyakumari chose the third pasuram ‘Oongi ulagalanda’ in Arabhi. Her sensitive portrayal of Dwijavanthi was the high point of the concert, with crucial notes of the raga handled with aplomb. Akhilandewari was played especially for rasikas. She forayed into ragamalika kalpanaswaras in Valaji, Thodi, Sankarabharanam, Varali and Ananadabhairavi.

Prasad and Gopalakrishnan’s thani was full of innovative approaches. Kanyakumari concluded with raga Narayanadri (her invention) and a lilting Thillana in Sindhu Bhairavi, also composed by her.

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Printable version | Jul 18, 2021 10:47:44 PM |

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