A slice of the past

Dedication: Mudicondan S.N. Ramesh.

Dedication: Mudicondan S.N. Ramesh.   | Photo Credit: Photo: B. Velankanni Raj


Mudicondan Ramesh presented a veena concert in memory of S. Balachander.

Veena Vidwan S. Balachander Trust has been organising concerts in the vainika’s memory on April 13 (every year), the day he passed away 19 years ago. While it used to be a combination of vocal and instrumental concerts in the earlier years, this time round, the concerts on both days (April 12 and 13) at Srinivasa Sastri Hall, were totally dedicated to the veena.

Mudicondan S.N. Ramesh, son and disciple of Mudicondan Narayanaswamy Iyer, commenced the proceedings with a brief but catchy alapana of Hamsadhwani, which preceded ‘Moolaadhaara Moorthy’ (Adi-Sivan). The swaraprastharas were on predictable lines yet interesting. A neat rendition of ‘Naadatanumanisam’ (Chittaranjani-Adi-Tyagaraja) preceded Lalitha. This raga, always close to the heart of SB, was approached with serenity. The alapana sent some rasikas into a reverie.

SB, while performing in this very hall in the late Seventies, noticed some metallic sound constantly emanating from his instrument. He just signalled to the audience for a two-minute reprieve. Opening his mini tool box, he pulled out a length of plastic wire, cut it into small pieces and inserted them at the junction on the bridge where the strings pass over. Strumming several times to make sure that the offensive sound had vanished, he permitted himself a sabaash, flashing a smile towards the audience. A true perfectionist indeed!

With bhakti

Returning to the present, Ramesh interpreted ‘Hiranmayeem’ (Rupakam-Dikshitar) with total bhakti. Taking up Saaramathi, another SB favourite, Ramesh continued with his sedate effort. The silent intervals between phrases were soul stirring. A slow paced ‘Mokshamu’ (Adi, Tyagaraja) with perfect sahitya meetu complemented the alapana.

Ramesh wound up his concert with a kriti of Annamacharya in Kapi. K.R. Ganesh (mridangam), who had accompanied the maestro in many of his concerts, demonstrated the art of accompanying a delicate instrument like the veena. B. Shreesundarkumar (ganjira) was his usual self, playing with utmost caution.

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