Captivates with moving Tamil songs



Vijay Siva drew from a broad spectrum of composers keeping the devotional content in focus.

The Temple Works Trust featured a concert by Vijay Siva at the Srinivasa Sastri Hall recently. On the artiste's part, there was an attempt to present a concert with a difference. Except in the main piece, Khambodi, the familiar and reassuring presence of raga alapana as a prelude to compositions, was noticeably absent. Yet, the concert maintained a consistently high standard of classicism with viruttams supplanting alapanas and serving as mini-repositories of raga lakshana. By drawing from the works of a broad spectrum of Tamil composers including Andal (Tiruppavai), Arunagirinathar (Tiruppugazh) and Gopalakrishna Bharati, whose devotional outpourings manifest as deeply moving expressions of faith, the artiste succeeded in holding the audience captive for the more than two-hour duration of the programme. Meticulous preparation left nothing to chance and effective compilation of compositions paid rich dividends.Koteeswara Iyer's `Vaaranamukha'(Rupakam) with chittaswaram afforded a promising start. The Tiruppugazh verse, `Apakaara nandhai pattuzhalaade' in Malayamarudam (Chatusra jhampa) with well-conceived neraval and kalpanaswaras at the line `Japamaalai' registered with force and power as did `Paadhimadhi' in Kharaharapriya (Misra chapu) with the neraval at `Kaalan anugaamal' doing justice to the emotive content. The viruttam `Oru kaalil sangu' encapsulated the essence of Poorvikalyani, moving beyond the prosaic to unearth poignant shades of the raga which constituted a preface to the Tiruppavai `Koodarai vellum Govinda' set to Misra chapu tala. Dhanyasi is a raga in which the softer emotions inhere. It lends itself only too readily to a tone of entreaty or compassion. Surprisingly, the artiste did not allow himself to surrender to its insidious pull. The phrases of the viruttam `Pullai pirandhaalum' were couched as an authoritative statement or demand, where a touch of subtlety could have imparted delicate undertones.

Admirable clarity

Gopalakrishna Bharati's `Kanakasabhapathy darisanam' (Adi) showcased the artiste's admirable clarity of diction. The verdant strains of Vasantha moulded the viruttam preceding the composition `Sri Kamaakshi kataakshi' (Adi, 2 kalai) with chittaswaram. Kizhkala swaras replete with gamakas and spirited melkala swaras completed the picture. In his peregrinations across the raga expanse of the main piece in Khambodi, the artiste opted to steer clear of run-of-the-mill phrasing and instead pursued his rewarding acquaintance with more adventurous sancharas. The frequent use of `akara' lent weight and lucidity to passages, especially in the tara sthayi. The artiste also resorted to madhyama kala phrases which allowed him to dwell upon the inherent bhava highlighted by intricate anuswaras. The kalapramana chosen for Paapavinasa Mudaliar's `Nadamaadi thirindha' was especially felicitous for negotiating the word-packed neraval at `Shakthi Sivakaamavalli' and helped map a leisurely route to the finishing line during swaraprasthara. R. Hemalatha's violin accompaniment was distinguished by empathy and insight. Manoj Siva's playing on the mridangam was commendable throughout and especially noteworthy in the main piece, where he went the extra mile to pep up the composition with an array of arresting laya patterns.