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Songs of devotion

G. JAYAKUMAR

Thirumurugan Music, Lecture and Dance Art Festival, 2008, had a mix of vocal and instrumental music.



Classical tunes: (clockwise from left to right) M.S. Jayshri Prakash, Mambalam Sisters – Vijayalakshmi, Chitra and Hemalatha, Trivandrum P. Padmesh, Trivandrum K. Krishnakumar and Surya Prakash.

It was a grand finale for Thirumurugan Music, Lecture and Dance Art Festival 2008 as R. Surya Prakash wowed the audience with excellent breath control, voice modulation and smooth swara sancharam. Sticking true to his guru T.V.Sankaranarayanan’ s style, Surya Prakash enthralled the listeners with his manodharama sangitham.

Perfect swara sancharam

He began his two-and-a-half-hour-long concert with an invocation to Lord Ganesha. The composition was ‘Swaminatha paripalaya sumam’ in Natta. The highlight of the concert was Muthuswami Dikshitar’s ‘Sree Subramanyaya namasthe’ in Kamboji set to Roopaka tala. The rendering stood out for perfect swara sancharam and apt oscillations while singing the neraval.

Kasaragod K. Ganaraj highlighted the beauty of the raga as he presented a short sketch of it on the violin.

Yet another important piece of the evening was a ragam tanam pallavi in Shanmughapriya set to Adi tala. The taniavarthanam was performed by Kadakkavur G.S. Rajesh Nath on the mridangam and Trivandrum Karthikeyan on the ghatam.

Earlier the six-day long festival began with a vocal concert by M.S. Jayshri Prakash.

The main item of Jayshri’s kutcheri was a ragam tanam pallavi in Sudhadhanyasi set to khandajati triputa tala. After elaborating the raga with felicity, she moved on to the tanam. The pallavi was ‘Sree Padmanabha’ with a ragamalika that comprised Nalinakanthi, Sivasakthi and Revathi. Padma Krishnan provided able support on the violin. The taniavarthanam was performed by L. Gopalakrishnan on the mridangam.

‘Sikkil singara velane,’ one of her own compositions in Kalyani, was music to the ears and it brought the vocalist and the violinist applause. She ended her concert with a tillana of Maharajapuram Santhanam.

Trivandrum P. Padmesh, disciple of N. Ramani, began his flute concert with a Navaraga varnam ‘Vallachi’ and followed it with the evergreen ‘Vatapi Ganapathim bhajeham’ in Hamsadwani.

The major attraction was ‘Subramanyane rakshitoham,’ a Dikshitar kriti in Sudhadhanyasi wherein he exposed the intricacies of the raga. Uduppi S. Balasubramaniam supported the flautist on the violin. The taniavarthanam was performed by Uduppi S. Balakrishnan.

Family affair

It was a family affair on the fourth day as the Mambalam Sisters – Vijayalakshmi, Chitra and Hemalatha – and their father, Rangachary, performed. Vijayalakshmy and Chitra are renowned vocalists while their sister Hemalatha is a gifted violinist. Rangachari is an ace ganjira player.

The Mambalan Sisters began their concert with ‘Kaitha niraikani,’ a tiruppugazh in Gambhiranatta set to Adi talam. Vijayalakshmi and Chitra’s talent was brought to fore in Pappanasam Sivan’s kriti ‘Saravanabhava’ in Madhyamavati, set to Adi tala as they carried the rasikas to sublime heights with their manodharma sangitham.

Hemalatha, the youngest of the sisters, proved her talent as an accomplished violinist as she infused a touch of class and clarity into the swaras. The taniavarthanam saw smooth and skilful exchanges between Rangachary on the ganjira and Nanchil Arul on the mridangam.

Trivandrum K. Krishnakumar, trained under Neyyattinkara Mohanachandran and M. Balamuralikrishna, is known for his expertise in laya and manodharma sangitham. He began his vocal concert with a varnam in Hamirkalyani composed by T.R. Subramaniam. The audience enjoyed the smooth glides of his rendering. This was followed by a Balamuralikrishna composition in Tamil, ‘Pirayaniyum perumal,’ eulogising Ganapathy. The main piece of the evening was a ragam tanam pallavi in Dharmavati. Krishnakumar brought forth the inherent qualities of the raga. S.R. Vinu provided excellent accompaniment on the violin. The pallavi was rendered with aplomb by the vocalist. The taniavarthanam was performed by Cherthala S. Dinesh on the mridangam.

Krishnakumar concluded his kutcheri with ‘Ninnaikathu neram elai’ (Ragasree), a Lalgudi tillana in Desh and a tiruppugazh in Manirang.

The festival also featured a couple of concerts by up-and-coming artistes like Jayashree Jayaganesan (vocal) and Vibha Balasubramanian. The festival was organised by Sree Seetha Rama Bhaktha Sabha and Thiruppugazh Anbargal at Sri Chembai Memorial Hall, Thiruvananthapuram.

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