June 2009 Kacheri review

caitanyam sarva bhUtAnAm,
nivrutir jaga dAtmAnAm,

Suma started her concert with a melodious rendering of a beautiful verse from the Sangeeta ratnAkaram, in mAyA mALava gowLa.

caitanyam sarva bhUtAnAm,
nivrutir jaga dAtmAnAm,
nAda brahma tadAnandam,
advitIyam upAsmahE

I worship that (advitIyam) unique (tat- Anandam) bliss and (nAda- brahmam) eternity of music, (chaitanyam- sarva bhUtAnAm) which is the life/consciousness in the entire universe, (nivrutir jagadAtamAnaam) and which manifests itself as the soul of the universe. Sangeeta ratnAkaram was the first comprehensive text on music, written by Saaranga dEva in around 13 century A.D.

After the SlOkam, Suma moved on to the traditional Ganesha stuti, “charaNe ke namisuvE gaNapatiyE”, in rAga pUrvi kaLyANi, preceeded by a melodious prelude. The composer of this song is unknown and any information about this is welcome. “Chalamela jesevura”, varnam in darbar, a composition of Tiruvettiyur tyAgayya was rendered effortlessly in both the kAlAms.

Isa manohari is an interesting rAgam. A janya of hari kAmbOji (HK) it uses all the seven notes in HK, but is a vakra raga (S R2 G3 M1 P D2 N2 S’, S’ N2 D2 P M1 R2 M1 G3 R2 S). “manasA, srI rAmachandruni maravakE, EmarakE” is a tyAgarAja Kriti in Isa manohari. Most of the tyAgarAja kritis consist of full fledged sentences and breaking them at convenient points to give sangatis, without distorting the meaning is quite a difficult feat. Suma did a commendable job, putting in that effort to make the song convincing and a pleasure to listen to.

She then moved on to give “annapoorNE viSAlAkshi”, a dIkshitar kriti in sAma raagam. The song’s complex phrases in Sanskrit gave a nice contrast to the previous tyAgarAja kIrtana in simple Telugu. “Sarasamukhi sakala bhAgya dE” in gowda malhar, a Muthiah Bhagavatar keertana was sung comfortably next.

Suma then went on to the main piece of the evening, Madhyamavati. The pentatonic scales have some alluring quality about them! The unhurried alaapanai suited the mood of the evening very well. The keertana chosen was her personal favourite, “paarthasaarathi nanu paalimpa raada”. The composition is by Ramanadapuram Srinivaasa Aiyyangar. He was a student of Patnam Subramanya Iyer and a teacher to Ariyakkudi. Lot of interesting information about the genius composer can be seen here . Suma gave a crisp and neat swara kalpana.

“Mahalakshmi, jaganmAtaa”, a Papanasam Sivan’s compostion in Shankarabharanam followed. “kaayararenu Krishna,” a purandara dAsa composition in Hamsanandi was sung with devotion. The next one too was another dAsara kriti, “paavana guna nama”.

“Geet dhuniko taka dheem”, a Swati Tirunal’s thillana in dhanashree was sung next. Dhanashree sounds close to Abheri sometimes, but is quite a different rAgam in its own right. A derivative of 20 th Mela karta naTa Bairavi, it uses N2 S G2 M1 P N2 S’ and S’ N2 D1 P M1 G2 R1 S. Obviously the similarities between Dhanashree and Abheri arise due to their similar Arohana structures. (Abheri, derivative of 22 Karahara priya has S G2 M1 P N2 S’ as its ascending scale). The Shudha dhaivatam and Shudha Rishabham (D1, R1), however differentiate dhanashree from Abheri (which uses Catusruti dhaivatam and Rishabham D2 and R2).

On popular demand Suma sang another thillana in Hamir Kalyani, a muthiah bhagavatar’s composition. She concluded her recital with another Purandara dAsar kriti in Shree rAgam, “bandanEnE ranga bandanE”.

Arvind gave a spirited performance and the evening was certainly an enjoyable one.


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