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Vintage collection of padams

PADAMS LEND aesthetic beauty to Bharatanatyam, unfolding from within the nuances of emotions, transforming the art form into a visual feast.

Some of the exponents from traditional families of dancers and musicians were renowned for their presentations of these bhava-filled musical compositions.

The most outstanding among these artistes belonged to the veena Dhanam lineage, known to cherish rare Padams and Javalis as part of family heritage. It is significant that three of the grand children from the Dhanam family — T. Balasaraswati, Bharatanatyam legend, renowned vocalist T. Brinda and reputed flautist T. Viswanathan, were conferred the Sangita Kalanidhi by the Music Academy. The late Brinda, grand daughter of Veena Dhanam, was an outstanding musician. So are Mukta, Brinda's sister and Vegavahini, Brinda's daughter. They were known for their impeccable adherence to Sampradaya and soulful rendition. The duo's concerts were memorable for their traditional excellence and the rich feast of Padams and Javalis.

Brinda taught several students in Chennai and Mumbai, and created a faithful guru-sishya relationship. Among those who have been sincerely holding the torch lit by Brinda are Mumbai-based Alamelu Mani, a respected musician-teacher and well-known as the mother of ghazal king Hariharan, and Kalyani Sharma.

Tribute to Brinda

Alamelu Mani and Kalyani Sharma have paid a fitting tribute to Brinda through a lively CD recording of Padams, including some of the immortal numbers of Kshetragna. The CD, in an attractive pack, containing a selection of Padams, a lilting Javali and a Tillana, will be of immense value to artistes, dancers in particular. Credit goes to Kriya Kriyative Sound Company, for bringing out this valuable edition of select compositions to add to every dancer's collection. Almelu Mani and Kalyani Sharma, bring back memories of those golden years of the music of the veteran Perfectly aligned Sruti, pace, and clarity in rendition make this recording a fine blend of raga-bhava and sahitya bhava.

The well-explored nuances of the typical Padam singing pattern of Brindamma, as she was fondly known in the music circles, pervade the entire range of compositions. The haunting melody of ``Valapu Dasa" (Varali), ``Yaala Padare," the majestic Begada piece, the well-known numbers like ``Poosadarama," ``Indendu," and the less-heard ones such as ``Pattakura" (Anandabhairavi), ``Ela Ontiga" (Punnagavarali), ``Talachu Konti" (Kurinji), and the mesmerising Behag Javali (Maharaju) with its typical touch of this School, and the concluding Tillana (Yadukula Kambhoji) of Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, make this collection a prized possession.

In harmony

A word of praise for the accompanying artistes who have followed the vocalists with great care and sound in absolute unison with the musicians — Ranjani Ramakrishnan (violin), P. S. Nandakumar (mridangam) and Satish Krishnamurthi (ghatam).

This worthy collection goes with a hand book, containing the text and notation of the songs prepared and printed in Mumbai. However, the transliteration of the Telugu text given in Tamil and English, contain Padachcheda in quite a few places.

The CD is priced Rs. 500 and is certainly a welcome addition to the growing needs of the dance scene.


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