Remembering a Carnatic maestro

WIZARD'S WORTH Manchala Jagannadha Rao's admirers after garlanding the maestro's portrait  


The late Manchala Jagannadha Rao was fondly remembered by his associates on his birth anniversary.

The late veena maestro Dr. Manchala Jagannadha Rao who reached the pinnacle of both Carn atic and Hindustani systems even after being afflicted by blindness was remembered recently on his 85th jayanti at the Telugu University Auditorium.On the occasion, Ravu Balasarswathi the first playback singer of Telugu cinema, reminisced how Manchala co mposed a song and S. Rajeswara Rao set tune for it and how she sang that. The song Maa Manchi Papayi was used in a movie. Manchala sang and played his composition in concerts when he had just 10 percent vision. Later he became totally blind. Befor e his stint in radio, he composed music for films and occasionally was the lead veena player in orchestra. The people who made it to the memorial function included some who learned Annamayya Kirtanas in a TTD gurukulam under him. The commemoration functi on opened with his students rendering compositions taught by him. Vocal recital by Murthi, Indira, Leela and Radha together presented classical and light music compositions, with Sasibhushan on violin and M. V. Lakshman Rao on mridangam. The highlights w ere Shakti Sahita Ganapathi of Deekshitar in Sankarabharanam, rendition of Pantuvarali with rare Choochi Vani Piluvaboduna of Bhadrachala Ramadas, Kadale Vadu of Thyagaraja in rare Narayana Gowla and then, a comp osition of Kshetrayya in Yadukula Kamboji. The students of Telugu University rendered a few Annamacharya compositions. Between these sessions, personalities in music field hailed the contribution of Manchala to the world of Carnatic music. The spe akers included veterans who worked with him in Radio and outside like Balanthrapu Rajani Kanta Rao, Palagummi Viswanatham, and Ravu Balasarswathi. It was during Manchala's time that TTD brought out six volumes of Thyagaraja Krithis with notation, with ra gas and short notes on each. He also added to TTD publications, works on Kshetrayya Padams and Ramadasu Keertanaas. Manchala collected traditional tunes for all these from authentic sources, travelling all over the south for the purpose. These are in add ition to Annamacharya Sankeertans in two volumes, with notations and short notes. He trained batches of musicians in-group singing. On the occasion, the host organisation felicitated Puranam Purushothama Sastry, Ravu Balasaraswati Devi and Rajani. Refere nces were made to the late Purushotham, Manchala's younger brother and a great scholar himself who stood by Manchala all through his life.