Bhavya Hari, Vidya Kalyanaraman, and Sandhya Ramaswamy rendered six Kandapuranam kritis and associated Thiruppugazh verses for his or her at a well-executed thematic rendition concert

Bhavya Hari, Vidya Kalyanaraman, and Sandhya Ramaswamy rendered six Kandapuranam kritis and associated Thiruppugazh verses for his or her thematic rendition

Sri Guhadasa Trust paid a becoming tribute to musician and composer Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan on his 178th jayanthi by organising a thematic concert of Kandapuranam kritis, composed by his youthful brother Ramaswamy Sivan, and related songs from Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh. The Sivan brothers had been musicians and composers of the nineteenth century. Both learnt music below Anai and Ayya brothers and Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbaiyer, a direct disciple of Tyagaraja.

Bhavya Hari, daughter and disciple of veteran vocalist T.V. Sundaravalli, who specialised in Thiruppugazh; Vidya Kalyanaraman, disciple of Suguna Varadachari, and Sandhya Ramaswamy the good granddaughter of Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan, presently below the tutelage of Suguna Varadachari, offered these compositions.

They aptly started with ‘Pankajakshi’, the Kamboji pada varnam, and ‘Sri sankaraguruvaram’, the Nagaswaravali kriti (Roopakam), each by Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan. In the latter, the trio sang kalpanaswaras, appropriately responded to by Usha Rajagopalan on the violin.

Ramaswamy Sivan had composed concise Kandapuranam kritis, 40 of which had been printed by Annamalai University in 1948. The vocalists selected to render six kritis.

In the principle section, Vidya began with the Sriranjani raga Vinayaka sthuti, ‘Kunjara mukhane’, by Ramaswamy Sivan, set to Chathusra Matya tala. She rendered the associated Thiruppugazh, ‘Umbartharu’ in Gowlai (Chandam metre), on the elephant-headed god.

Bhavya sang the second kriti, ‘Avadharitthaanae dheenargalai aadharitthaanae’ in Vasantha, with kalpanaswaras shared by the three. It describes the avatara of Arumugan. She then supplied the related Thiruppugazh, ‘Aalametra vizhiyinar’ in a melodious ragamalika (Sama and Shanmukhapriya) in (Chandam metre).

Pranava mantra episode

The third kriti ‘Vedhanai sirai seythaan’ (in Suddha Saveri, Ramaswamy Sivan) was rendered by Sandhya. This tune refers to the well-known story of Muruga detaining Brahma for not having the ability to clarify the importance of the Pranava Mantra ‘Om’. In the Rameswaram Thiruppugazh, ‘Vaala Vayathaagi’, Arunagirinathar mentions this episode. Sandhya rendered this in a delicate Ragamalika (Simhendramadhyamam, Begada and Bowli) set to Khanda Chapu tala.

At the request of Devas, Shiva sends Muruga with a robust military to destroy Soorapadman. This occasion is described by Ramaswamy Sivan within the kriti, ‘Vidai Kodutthaan Vidayaan.’ Vidya sang this kriti within the nice Kurinji raga, and adopted it up with the related Thiruppugazh, ‘Nirudharaarkkoru kaala jayajaya’, which mentions this episode, in a Ragamalika (Navaroj, Kavadichindu , Sindhu Bhairavi and Madhyamavati).

To reward Muruga, who protected the Devas by defeating the soorakula, Indra provides his daughter Deivayanai in marriage to him. At the celestial marriage ceremony held within the presence of Devas and Saints, Shiva and Uma arrive in particular person to supply their blessings. Ramaswamy Sivan describes this occasion in his kriti ‘Singaathanattirunthaan shivaperumaan’. This pretty Nattakurinji (Khanda Triputa tala) composition was rendered with devotion by Bhavya. She then sang the associated Thiruppugazh ‘Vandu thaan’ (Khanda Chapu) in Ragamalika (Pantuvarali, Kalyana Vasantham and Atana).

Celestial marriage ceremony

For the sixth kriti, they selected ‘Arul seithanan’ in Malayamarutham. The composer describes how Muruga married Sri Valli with the assistance of his brother Vinayaka. A transient however complete alapana was rendered by Sandhya Ramaswamy, with an equally good elucidation on the violin by Usha Rajagopalan. The kalpanaswaras had been shared by the trio. On the mridangam was Kumbakonam Swaminathan, disciple of Poongulam Subramaniam. His thani was performed primarily in Tisra Nadai. In the associated Thiruppugazh, ‘Thoalelumbu’, Arunagirinathar mentions this theme. Sandhya rendered it in Ragamalika (Ranjani, Durga, Dwajavnti) set to Adi tala (Tisra Nadai).

A lot of effort and observe should have gone into this splendidly deliberate and skilfully executed thematic concert. Valayapettai Krishnan had achieved in depth analysis on the topic.

The trio aptly concluded the night concert at Arkay Convention Centre, with Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan’s Simhanandana thillana in Kanada. The concert, that conveyed the spirit of the songs and feelings of the composers, left lasting impression on the viewers. The concert is out there on Madhuradhwani’s YouTube channel.

The Chennai-based author specialises in Carnatic music.

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