Raga Sudha

Concert Sudha Raghunathan's evocative singing transports listeners to a melodious world. Damodar Narayanan

T he Thirumurugan Music, Lecture and Dance Art Festival 2010 in Thiruvananthapuram culminated in a memorable concert by Sudha Raghunathan.

The concert started with a varnam ‘Nive gathiyani' in sparkling Nalinakanthi, Adi tala, a composition by Lalgudi Jayaraman in praise of Lord Muruga. The soft rendition of the swaraksharam ‘Ni' created a feeling of devotion amongst the audience. This was followed by the kriti ‘Sree Mahaganapathim Bhaje' and the evergreen ‘Swaminatha Paripalaya' set in the majestic Atana and Natta, respectively. The Virutham that came next was a perfect prelude to the poignant Papanasam Sivan composition ‘Pazhanimalai Urayum Muruga va va' in Varali. The kriti, which was sung immaculately, was ornate with the typical ‘Varali Madhyamam' usage.

Meticulous glides

The meticulous glides through the chromatic notes of Rasikapriya in the kriti ‘Arul seyya vendum' brought celestial pleasure to the listeners. The short and sweet raga elaboration coupled with expressive niraval and the kriti ‘Muruga' essayed Harikamboji beautifully.

The main kriti ‘Karthikeya Gangeya' by Papanasam Sivan was in Thodi. The nuances of this raga were deeply explored. The improvised swara and niraval structures also enriched the composition. Accompanying the vocalist on the violin was Raghavendra Rao who nourished each phrase with precise interludes throughout the concert.

Neyvelli Skandasubramaniam on the mridangam and R. Raman on the morsing enlivened the evening.

The fine finishing, crisp muthaips and timely pauses accompanying the vocals were the highlights of the mridangam-playing. The tonal innovations and the groovy triplet patterns on the morsing added a new dimension to the percussion. The golden touch in Sudha Raghunathan's voice and her distinctly profound singing style enthralled listeners. They relished the soulful rendition of the familiar Tyagaraja kriti ‘Nagumo.'

An audience choice, ‘Om Namo Narayana,' a lovely composition by Ambujam Krishna in Karnaranjini, was rendered with a lot of feel, unfurling all the possibilities of the raga, through the rich sangathis.

Towards the end, everyone was pepped up when the bhajan in Kaapi, the Marathi abhangam in Mand, and the Kavadi Chinthu in Chenchuruti were sung. She aptly concluded the concert with a Thiruppugazh in Chakravakam .

The concert was organised by Thirumuruga Bhaktha Jana Sangham and it was the grand finale of a six-day music fete.

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