Chennai and Tamil Nadu
Photo: B.Jothi Ramalingam
Malladi Suri Babu’s offering was educative, providing rare details about the kritis of Annamacharya.
Laudable effort: Malladi Suri Babu.
Malladi Suri Babu judiciously allocated precious time to provide well-sorted details about Pada Kavitha Pithamaha, Tallapakka Annamacharya, and briefly explained the unwritten sub-text that related to the songs he rendered. He lauded the efforts of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam for popularising the songs but cautioned that this had also resulted in songs being rendered in non-standardised tunes. Annamayya, he said, could be called the forerunner to the Trinity and one should therefore never associate his songs with light music.
He saluted the genius of Dr. Pinakapani, Voleti Venkateswarlu and Nedunuri Krshnamurthi for having melodiously tuned some of these compositions in chosen ragas without diluting their Carnatic flavour — a realistic conjoining of Sampradaya Sangeetham with Sugam Sangeetham.
List of songs
The songs Suri Babu rendered were ‘Vade Venkatadri’ (Vasantha), ‘Anthayu Neeve’ (Anandha Bhairavi), ‘Konaro’ (Mohanam), ‘Chandamama’ (Behag), ‘Inthakante’ (Navarasa Kannada) – tuned by Pinakapani — and ‘Gummanieti Sruti’ (Purvikalyani), ‘Soridi Samsarambu’ (Mukhari), ‘Kandharpa’ (Kalavathy), ‘Ithanikante’ (Surutti), ‘Nagavulu Nijamani’ (Yamankalyani) – by Voleti.
Suri Babu mentioned that Annamayya used a tambura that supported twelve strings. The Purvikalyani song itself visualises perfect sruti-aligned sangeetham comparing it with the “suvasam” (aroma) of well-made ghee, to use his own simile. ‘Nagavalu Nijamani’ decries our mundane activities as sheer untruth.
The Saindavi composition, (‘Indhukuga Kobincha’) was recovered from the “remains of transcription services” of AIR and the original was sung by Voleti Venkateswaralu and Srirangam Gopalarathnam. This song was rendered without rhythm accompaniment to bring forth the full impact of the sringara rasa.
Suri Babu is known to have built his manodharma on the inspirational base of Voleti. This became self-evident in his raga alapanas for Purvikalyani, Surutti and Mohanam, where a cascade of single-breath akara curls progressed, a la Voleti, creating an exhilarating aesthetic effect in the listener.
The Mohana alapana was conceived differently and the swaraprastaram saw the use of ‘ga pa dha,’ with a long stress on the ‘dha’ done with keen musical sensitivity. Suri Babu also included the all-time favourite ‘Muddugare’ (Kurinji–Nedunuri) and ‘Maya Mohamu’ (Jog, Suribabu) and concluded with a mangalam of Annamayya.
Akkarai Subbulakshmi (violin) proved her mettle in the presence of this seasoned singer and brought forth telling phrases during the raga alapanas.
Raju (mridangam) and Krishnan (morsing) were supportive and unobtrusive as accompanists and gave a thani of value and vidwat.
This informative concert held at Kasturi Srinivasan Hall, the Music Academy, was part of the Annamacharya Jayanthi celebrations organised by Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha.
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Chennai and Tamil Nadu