Mumbai, 27 June-2014, IANS: Bollywood celebrities including his singer-wife Asha Bhosle, filmmakers Madhur Bhandarkar and Sujoy…
Thyagabrahma Gananjali recently organised the 62nd edition of its music festival. The ambience at the Sri Venugopalaswamy temple, Coimbatore, was charged with piety. The artists rendered the saint’s kritis as an offering, focussing on the kritis and ‘bhavas’ rather than on showcasing their own virtuosity.
During the music festival, one got a glimpse of the myriad facets of Thyagaraja’s personality –– a passionate ‘bhakta’, a friend of the lord (who could take liberties with Him), a linguist, a poet, a music composer, and a socially alert citizen –– through the kritis chosen by the artists.
On the inaugural day, Gayathri Venkataraghavan propitiated the dancing Ganesha, with ‘Sri Ganapathini’ in Sowrashtram. ‘Naradamuni Vedalina’ in Pantuvarali described the Saint’s joy at seeing Narada. ‘Raghupathae Rama, Rakshasa Bheema’ in Sahana, was full of praise for the Lord. But, ‘Maanamu Laedhaa Tanavadani Abhi- (maanamu)’ in Hamir Kalyani was an outright rebuke asking Rama whether he has no sense of shame that he ignores him like this. However, before the completion of the line, he makes it ‘Abhimaanamu’ (affection), as he can’t be angry with his Rama for long. And the main kriti in Kharaharapriya ‘Chakkani Raja’ was an address to his own heart –– ‘what is the need to enter narrow lanes when there is a straight road in the form of Ramabhakthi?’
Gayathri delineated the ragas with great care. The niravals and swaraprastaras added more beauty. Her karvais and brigas were pleasing to the ears and her clarity of diction was an added asset. R.K. Shriram Kumar on the violin provided an excellent feast in the form of raga essays and lively swaraprastaras. N. Manoj Siva on the mridangam and S.V. Subramanian on the ganjira were a source of tremendous support, and their remarkable thani was a bonus.
Ramakrishnan Murthy sang on the aradhana day of the saint and began with the Varali Pancharatnam ‘Kana Kana Ruchi Raa’, rendering it with admirable clarity. He also sang a few rare kritis such as ‘Tholinaenu Jaesina’ (Kokiladhwani) and ‘Badalika Theera Pavvulinchave’ (Ritigowla) – from Utsava Sampradaya kritis. Kedaragowla (‘Venuganaloluni’) and Bhairavi ‘Upacharamulanu’ were rendered with elaborate alapana and swarakalpanas. His lighter session comprised ‘Sri Rama Jaya Raama’, ‘Haridasulu Vedalae’ and ‘Karuna Jaladhae.’ Ramakrishnan Murthy was supported by M. Rajeev on the violin and N.C. Bharadhwaj on the mridangam.
V. Sankaranarayanan began with ‘Eevasudhaa’ in Sahana and moved on to ‘Sobillu Sapthaswara’ and the rarely-heard ‘Yae Paapamu Jesithiraa’ in Atana. The miniscule alapana of Hindolam before ‘Samaja Vara Gamana’ was delightful and Nagai Sriram’s violin made it glisten with liveliness. The leisurely depiction of Khambodi for ‘O Rangasayee’ had depth.
The concerts of Aravind Bhargav (mandolin) and A.S. Murali (vocal) were featured on the other two days. On the penultimate day of the six-day utsavam, Tyagaraja aradhana was conducted with unchavrithi, bhajan, abishekam and group singing.