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In memory of a legendary guru

K.C. ASOK

The Chembai Music Festival saw veterans and youngsters paying homage to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar.


Chembai Bhagavathar's favourite kritis such as `Vatapi... ,' `Pavanaguru... ,' and `Bandurittikolo... ' being popularized by his shishyas, were rendered sonorously.



SCINTILLATING MUSIC: K.G. Jayan

The annual Chembai music festival, held in Thiruvananthapuram last week, was set-off by a scintillating Carnatic vocal recital by K.G. Jayan.

It was only fitting that he began the proceedings, because K.G. Jayan and his late brother K.G. Vijayan, who became popular as Jaya-Vijaya, are Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar's disciples.

Inaugural performance

The concert was noted for its style of singing and manodharma swaras that were almost synonymous with the name of Chembai. Chembai Bhagavathar's favourite kritis such as `Vatapi... ,' `Pavanaguru... ,' and `Bandurittikolo... ' were sonorously rendered. The Thyagaraja composition in `Kalyani' (`Sundari nee divya roopamu..') was the main piece followed by a few items that included semi-classical hits like `Nan padum patinile... ' and `Sree kovil nada turannu... ,' composed by JayaVijaya.

Aymanam Pradeep (on the violin), Aymanam Sajeev (mridangam), Kumarakom Ganesh Gopal (ghatom) and Kottayam Murali (moharsang) accompanied the singer.

The accompanying artistes, handpicked by the vocalist, seemed to be a mismatch for the experienced vocalist who had been groomed by a doyen like Chembai for about a decade. "Chembai had many gifts. Sometimes he was like a prophet. In the middle of a conversation, he would become silent for a minute and predict certain things, which often came true," said the vocalist in his recollections about his guru.

Organised by the Chembai Memorial Trust, the music festival was held in connection with the 109th birth anniversary of Chembai, at the Chembai Memorial Hall at Sreevarahom.

Well-structured concert

On the second day, Thrissur V.R. Dileep Kumar gave a well-structured concert and he maintained the right kalapramana till the end. The main composition was a Thyagaraja kriti (`Dharini telisukondi... ') in Suddha Saveri. The raga, akin to Arabhi, was dealt with ease.

The consummate ragabhava came out in his 25-minute exhaustive elaboration embellished with thanam.



Krishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan.

`Latangi' raga was also given a wider alapana to be followed by `Marivere... ' in Kandachappu tala.

He was accompanied by S. Eswara Varma on the violin, Vaikom P.S. Venugopal on the mridangam and Elanjimel Susil Kumar on the ghatom.

Exuberance of youth

The recital by Krishna Mohan and Ramkumar Mohan, the next day, was more than what one would expect from young musicians.

He was accompanied by S.R. Vinu, Thiruvananthapuram Surendran and Attingal M. R. Madhu on the violin, mridangam and ghatom respectively.

The ragas, Hamsanadam and Subhapanthuvarali were elaborated with elegance and the krithi, `Sree Satyanarayanam... ' in the latter raga was presented as the main item.

The good impression created by the Thrissur brothers, as they have come to be known as, seems to augur well for these up-and-coming musicians.

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