Vocal : Gayathri Girish
Violin : B K Raghu
Mrudangam : H S Sudheendra
Ghatam : Phanindra Bhaskara
Theme : Varied forms of Lord Shiva
01. SrI mahaganapatiravatumAm – gauLa – Dikshitar ( S )
02. mArakOTi kOTi lAvaNya – Arabhi – Dikshitar ( A )
03. kAlabhairavam bhajE ham – bhairavam – Dikshitar
04 SrI pArvathi paramESwarau vandE – bhauLi – Dikshitar
05. gangAdhara tripura haraNa – pUrvikalyANi – Mysore Sadashiva Rao ( A,N,S )
neraval & swara @ ‘ sadASiva vinutAnanda sambhramachittAsura’
umA mahESwara mUrthy
06. chintayE mahAlinga mUrthim – paras – Dikshitar
07. Ehi trijagadISa – sAranga – Thyagaraja
08. chintaya mAkanda mUlakandam – bhairavi – Dikshitar ( A )
09. vIra vasanta thyAgarAja mAm pAlayASu – vIra vasanta – Dikshitar
10. akshayalinga vibhO – SankarAbharaNam – Dikshitar ( A,N,S,T )
neraval & swara @’badarI vanamUlanAyikA sahita’
11. pAhi gaurIsha panchamukhESa – nAthanAmakriya – Venkata Vittala Dasa
12. nAgEndra hArAya trilOchanAya ( Siva Panchakshari stotram) – rAgamAlika ( kalyani,revati) – Sankaracharya
13. mangaLam bhavatu tE mAtanga vadana jaya – pantuvarALi – Muthaiah bhagavathar
There has to be more of these kind. It is always interesting to attend a thematic concert. One, it move away from the predictable, both in terms of the kritis and the structure, experience. More over, if done with intelligence and thoughtfulness, this can provide a very enriching experience to the artist as well as the listener. Smt Gayathri Girish’s concert on the whole provided this refreshing experience, in terms of the kritis she selected to present. While, some of them did not live up in the presentation, especially in the initial stages, the attempt was laudable. Almost all the kritis were those which does not find a place in the typical concert list.
Before starting of the concert, she did elaborate on the theme and the reason to present a concert in the selected theme. Taking from the scriptures before the epics, she said, while there is always the ‘supreme power’ the ‘nirguNa brahma’ which is propagated through the ‘advaita’ philosophy, the earlier sages understood the need of having a ‘form’ for the infinity, the omnipresent, all encompassing ultimate power. That is the only way mortals, less educated, simpleton could approach the God.
In the world of music, ‘nadopasana’is pursued as a ‘sadhana’ for spiritual growth. Muthuswami Dikshitar, in particular, was an advaitin and this philosophy in evident in his 480 odd compositions.
Shaivite literature and writings give many forms for Shiva ( 108 in Shivapuranam, 64 in shiva parakramam), in a different approach, probably ‘agamic literature’ 5 faces of Shaiva murthy and 5 forms of each face thus resulting in a total of 25 forms were described. Apparently, 99% of Shiva temples are based on this 25 forms of Shiva.Dikshitar in his compositions, does not merely restrict himself at these forms, but goes beyond the form by describing the tale, the iconography, the geography and other aspect related to the temple deity in discussion.
While taking up specific form for discussion before delivering the kriti corresponding to the chosen form, she gave a specific explanation on the kriti, the temple and deity described in the kriti, its referential nature to the stories, the other surrounding aspect of the temple, the ‘prasa and alankara usage’ apart from pointing to the clever incorporation of the ‘rAgamudra’ ( arabhi, bauli, paras – pa riju’ etc) to educate the listener.
Concerts USP is the theme and the kriti’s selected to present. Somewhere in the beginning part, it did not seems to be coming off well in singing, partly due to the constant shifting from talk to singing. She indicated at bhairavam and paras kritis that she will adhere to the ‘Sangeetha Sasthra Pradarshini’ way of singing. But to me it came in as the regular bhairavam ( mariyada gada) and paras. The neraval of ‘gangAdhara’ kriti ( anothe gem of a kriti and fabulous choice), was also a bit awkward when she sang ‘sambhrama chttAsura’. I was wondering which ‘asura’ was this, until Keerthi came to my rescue with proper ‘padachEdam’ as ‘sambhramachitta asura madahara’ ( she did not sing the madahara part, which made it look awkward to end at cittAsura). Bhairavi was also very good barring a slip from ‘uttunga’ ( pun intended) once.
Her arabhi, pUrvikalyani and bhairavi alapana were decent, nothing to talk about. However, B K Raghu played a fantascit bhairavi with some brilliant takes in his return. Sankarabharanam was far far better and did show some brilliance. Akshaya linga vibho was grand, very detailed neraval, and elaborate swara prasthana , reminding of her Guru TNS to some extend, finishing it with grandeur befitting to the status of the main piece of the concert.
B K Raghu was good whenever he had solo chance. his alapana of bhairavi was top class and Sankarabharanam was very good. The playing along for kritis were disappointing. Most of them are not heard kritis and one can give him that benefit. Sudheendra dn Phanindra were as effective in their percussion support. The duo played out a well timed, pleasantly executed tani avartanam. Post main continued with the same theme, with a devarnama of Venkata Vittala Dasa, a stotram and a ‘shaiva’ mangalam of Muthaiah Bhagavathar.
While I have reservations on the way a few kritis spanned out, I am overall impressed with the attempt. Though the list is heavily leaned towards Muthuswami Dikshitar ( she did mention that in advance), it had many unheard kritis. The overall reception in the audience was also very enthusiastic to the credit of the artist.