Chennai and Tamil Nadu
A popular journey
On Saturday last, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s main auditorium was almost full except for a few broken chairs. The programme was ‘Isai Payanam’ of Charulatha Mani, who took rasikas on a raga journey.
Charulatha had chosen two ragas for her discussion that evening. Sriranjani was the first, where a few lines from the kritis of Tyagaraja, Dikshitar and Sivan were sung. Explaining the nuances, Charulatha went on to detail film songs based on the same raga such as MSV’s ‘Nadham Ennum Kovililey’(‘Manmadha Leelai’), Sivan’s ‘Enna Seiven’ (‘Seva Sadanam’) and Ilaiyarajaa’s ‘Nadham Ezhundhadati’ (‘Gopura Vasaliley’). Hamir Kalyani was explained with kritis such as ‘Manamu Letha’ (Tyagaraja), ‘Parimala Ranganatham’ (Dikshitar) and ‘Venkatasaila Vihara’ (Subbaraya Sastry). Brief alaps were presented in Hindustani style. When Charulatha quizzed the audience for a famous film song in the same raga, the crowd promptly responded with ‘Ennuir Thozhi’ (MSV for ‘Karnan’).
Kalamandalam Kshemavathy is a dancer who has carved a niche for herself through her continued efforts in pursuing and popularising Mohiniyattom. Her contribution to the art was acknowledged by the Chennai-based institution, Saradhi, which honoured her at a function, which had T.V.Gopalakrishnan, Leela Samson and Nandini Ramani as the guests of honour. For the lighting of the lamp the caressing meditative sound of ‘Ohm’ rendered by a group of children lent a creative touch. A few young girls trained by Kalamandalam Kshemavathy performed ‘Ganesha Vandanam.’
Homage to Semmangudi
Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer held the world of Carnatic music captive for three-fourths of a century. His style and rare brilliance have made certain kritis his “exclusive domain.”
The unmistakable fulcrum of his singing was that it carried the stamp of quality irrespective of the composer. He has also left behind seasoned disciples, who are now gurus of repute and concern. They have imbibed a great tradition and willingly impart what they have assiduously learnt to the next in line.
V. Subrahmanyam, P.S.Narayanaswami and Seetha Rajan, with their respective groups of trained sishyas sang some of the kritis as homage to the “Pithamaha” of Carnatic Music.
The discipline that becomes the determinant factor for group singing and the unimpeachable patantara were to the fore. There was a unique and identical feeling even when different groups sequentially occupied the stage and rendered the songs from their professional heights.
Krupa Subramanyam, compere, in her brief speech, traced the evolution of Semmangudi as a musician. The doyen began his musical career in 1926, at the age of 18, and was committed to music till the very end of his life. She also mentioned the birth centenary of Semmangudi proposed to be held in July 2008.
R.K.Sriram Kumar (violin) and Kallidakurichi Sivakumar (mridangam) accompanied the groups dutifully. This shraddanjali was organised jointly by the Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer Golden Jubilee Foundation, Sri Krishna Sweets and Kartik Fine Arts, and was held at the Dakshinamurthi Auditorium, P.S.High School, Mylapore.
(Contributions by V. Balasubramanian, V. Balasubramanian, V.V. Ramani and S. Sivakumar)
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Chennai and Tamil Nadu