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Songs in praise of Rama

Music Today - C-02091 - Carnatic Classical Vocal - Ramayana - T. M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar - Rs. 65.

THE STORY of Rama, the Ramayana, has been sung by many divine poets in various languages. Valmiki, Tulsidas, Madhav Kambali of Assam, Kamban of Tamil Nadu, and almost all South Indian composers have been inspired to sing the glory of Rama who was an embodiment of virtue, valour, character, and in short, all human values. In this audio cassette released by Music Today, popular vocalist T. M. Krishna and talented Sangeetha Sivakumar have sung compositions of well known composers in praise of Rama.

Side A begins with introduction and a rendering of Tulsidas's bhajan ``Sri Ramachandra Kripalo" in Yaman. Vanamaamalai Jeeyar's ``Janaki Ramana'', in Kapi, an Utsava Sampradaya kriti by Tyagaraja; "Eppadi Manam Thunindado" by Arunachala Kavi, another bhajan of Tulsidas, a Tamil viruttam in ragas Kalyani, Bhairavi, Atana, Behag, Dhanyasi, Kamboji find melody ruling the stage. The sanskrit lyrics of Valmiki in ragas Vasanta, Mohanam by Krishna and Poorvikalyani by Sangeetha are ear friendly.

The evergreen "Sarasa Samadhana" in Kapi Narayani by Tyagaraja, the captivating "Mamava Pattabhi Rama", Dikshitar's masterpiece in Manirangu and Bhadrachala Ramadas's "Ramachandra Janaka," a mangalam in Kuranji, provide a soothing musical fare.

The inevitable compromise in terms of the modal tonic, when both artistes are singing in tandem, somewhat tones down the richness in Krishna's musical expression.

The accompanists for this harmonious volume are R. Varadarajan (violin), S. Srinivasan (veena), B. Ganapathi Raman (mridangam) and A. S. Shankar (ghatam). The credit for the narration is given to Neelakanthan.

Unusual combination

Dreams Audio - MDC 315 - Indian classical piano - Surya - Krishna - Rs. 50

KRISHNA FROM Bombay is a multifaceted artiste, with many accomplishments to his credit as a vocalist, flautist, percussionist, lyricist, music composer, and also a pianist.

In this audio volume, he has blended Carnatic music with the piano and vocals. A crisp essay of Bahudari and Tyagaraja's "Brova Barama" embellished with very pleasing kalpanaswaras give the programme a flying start. Karnaranjani, an attractive melody that is a derivative of the 22nd mela Karaharapriya, is sketched with sensitivity, faithfully adhering to the raga lakshana.

Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar was an uthama vaggeyakara par excellence, who garbed his lyrics with the rare enchanting tune.

"Vanchatonu" in Karnaranjani is a very appealing kriti of Muthiah Bhagvathar, and the artiste with his fluent playing has done justice to the beauty of the krithi and the lilting chithaswaram that has Madurai Seshagopalan's stamp, which adds to the charm. Krishna's own composition in Tamil, "Matha Nee Erungayo" (Bhageshri) has been given commendable oral expression.

The chittaswaram is imaginatively conceived with a fitting poruttam at the end to merge smoothly with the sahitya.

Lyrics in Sanskrit by Agastiyar are sung in two ragas, Bowli and Surya, in the form of a slokam.

Surya is a tune similar to Hindolam; but it sports the anthara gandharam instead of sadharana gandharam. Its original nomenclature is Sallabham Papanasam Sivan's "Enna Thavam" in Kapi, incorrectly mentioned as a song of Oothukadu Venkata Kavi in the inlay card; and "Madhav Mamava" in Neelambari by Narayana Teertha conclude an hour's music that well reflects the artiste's passion for the art form of south Indian music.

Vaikom Gopalkrishnan on the ghatam gives quite a dignified support.

S.P.

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