37th year Art festival 2011
Day 8 of Kartik Fine Arts fest - Thirukkarthigai day it is. Hundreds of rasikas put their domestic rituals and celebrations of the Deepa Thirunaaal on the back burner, and had hopped into the sabha hall. They perhaps did not want to miss the two precious concerts on their list.
'Isai Chudar' Sikkil C Gurucharan performed on the first slot of the evening. Starting his recital with Nalinakanthi varnam (Lalgudi composition), he then sang 'Intha paraka'. This krithi is originally sung in Nadanamakriya. Gurucharan chose to sing it in Mayamalava Gowlai today. Next he rendered Narayani raga alapana and sang 'Rama neeve' of Thyagaraja.
Now, Gurucharan planned to take the audience on a trip to Thiruvannamalai for the darshan of Annamalai Deepam happening around the same time.
It was soul stirring rendition of 'Arunachala nadham' in Saranga of Dikshithar's Panchalinga kshetra krithis first. Next with a elaborate Keeravani ragam, he sang Appar's Thevaram as the main piece of the concert. 'Vanane manisoodiya maindan....thenane Thiruvannamalai...' was the Thevaram. Gurucharan said that the Thevaram with the sweet rhyming lyrics was tuned by musician T M Thiagarajan. 'Thiruvannamaiyanai veeranai....' was the phrase for the neraval and swarams.
Then was Lord Muruga's darshan for Karthigai. A virutham from Kandar Anuboodhi, a Thiruppugazh ' Saravan jatha....' in Sindhu Bairavi touched the rasikas' hearts.
S Varadarajan on the Violin gave good support. Arjun Kumar on the Mridangam and Guru Prasanna on Ghatam gave a coordinated percussion support and rendered a thani, for this krithi set in Misra Chapu talam.
Gurucharan wound the concert with Hamsanandhi thillana composed by Srimushnam Raja Rao.
Many who had not heard vocalist Dr Pantula Rama so long must have been a curious lot today. The 'Isai Peroli' award conferred by Kartik Fine Arts this year on this great talent during the inaugural celebrations, had surely made many heads turn at her.
The concert of Pantula Rama is one, any rasika cannot afford to miss. She is bestowed with a mellifluous and rich voice. Many in the audience appreciated her indepth knowledge and effortless singing.
'Saraseeja' varnam in Arabi, 'Sriganapathim' in Saurashtram were the initial krithis she sang. The keerthanam that followed - Mukahari (Sivakamasundati), Pantuvarali or Kamavardini (Raghuvara) highlighted the capacity of her powerful voice and were absolutely delightful. 'Eppo varuvaro.....' in Jonpuri, 'Kanaka saila...' in Punnagavarali added to the grand display of her talent.
Her voice was as smooth as whipped cream, throughout the concert.
She sang a rare krithi of Thyagaraja in Kolahalam ragam (She said, this is a janya ragam of Sankarabaranam). The krithi, ' Madhilonayochana...'. according to her, means, 'Rama avathara is the most appealing of the dasavatharas for Thyagaraja'.
After pantuvarali krithi, the main piece of the concert, she sang a RTP, in Arabi ragam once again. 'Giriraja sudha thanaya sadhaya lambodara' was the pallavi set to Tisra Roopakam Kanta nadai talam. Her voice without the slightest strain traversed the depth and showed us the expanse of Arabi. She sang the pallavi in a few more ragams, with brisk and 'Super swarams' as remarked by a senior citizen in the audience.
M S N Murthy, Pantula Rama's husband was on the Violin support and his handling of the ragas blended well with her manodharma. Manoj Siva's beats on the Mridangam and Alathur Rajaganesh's on the Kanjira enhanced the appeal.
The final piece was a Hamsanandi raga thillana, a different rendition this time for the evening. She sang the full 'pavamana' krithi as the mangalam.
Many in the audience would love to hear Pantula Rama yet again!