Dedicated to Narayana Tirtha

Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan rendering tarangams. — Pic. by S. R. Raghunathan.

Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan rendering tarangams. — Pic. by S. R. Raghunathan.  

Pic. by S. R. Raghunathan.

NARAYANA TIRTHA, a saint-poet, was born in 1675 in a village near Guntur. He, by divine decree, later came to the south and settled down in the small town of Varahur.

Tirtha was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, and his Krishna Leela Tarangini tells the story of the Heavenly Flautist since his birth, till his marriage to Rukmini, in 12 tarangams. The literary beauty and devotion embedded in these compositions reveal Narayana Tirtha as a true bhakta and a composer of undisputed versatility.

Thirupoonthuruthy Venkatesan, a senior musician whose reverence for Narayana Tirtha is well known, presented a two-hour concert comprising songs from the Krishna Leela Tarangini, under the auspices of the Music Academy on March 17. "Jaya Jaya Gokula Bala," a ragamalika in Bhairavi, Atana, Kambhoji, Kalyani and Surutti with chittaswaram for each raga was a pleasant introduction to the cutcheri.

A scholarly alapana of Bilahari, the song "Bhavaye" and the brief spell of swaras were as enthusiastic as the zeal of an evangelist. "Brindavana'' in Mukhari had a brisk demeanour, rather unusual for the innate nature of the raga — violinist M. A. Sundareswaran's alapana drew a spontaneous round of applause.

The singer's delineation of Hindolam had catchy, innovative sancharas and the dexterous essay on the violin true to the Parur bani, showcased the artiste's masterly control of the instrument. The Kambhoji expansion with a solid classical base, and "Sripati" with commendable niraval and kalpanaswaras had depth and relevance. Tiruppunturuti Viswanathan on the mridangam played a tani avartanam with rhythmic precision and `sunadham.'


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