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T S Sathyavathi, LecDem and Concert on the Compositions of Muthaiah Bhagavathar @Nadasurabhi 05 Nov 2017

Vocal : T S Sathyavathi

Vocal Support : Archana Bhoj

Violin : Nalina Mohan

Mrudangam : Tumkur Ravishankar

Ghatam : N Gurumurthy

Theme : Lecture Demonstration + Concert on the compositions of Harikeshanallur Muthaiah Bhagavathar

Vidushi T S Sathyavathi’s lectures are always a class apart from the rest. It’s her ability to communicate, the knowledge and capability, the presence and preparation, the on stage demeanor and the her persona makes it very memorable every time I had a chance  to listen to her. Yesterday’s concert was no difference.

I have attended many special programs on Muthaiah Bhagavathar, either as a thematic concert ( The one TNS did at Gayana Samaja years ago, is still fresh in my mind) and lecture Demonstration (Prof K Venkataramanan at Essae Music is one such) in the past. A few days ago, Vid Shyamala Venkatesan was singing at FM Amrutavarshini , an exclusive Muthaiah Bhagavathar concert. What am I coming to say is that it is not uncommon that a thematic presentation on the legendary composer/musician is planned and presented at many parts of the country.

Prof Sathyavathi’s talks are always unique. Instead of dwelling on the ‘Life&Times’ of the Composers and addressing the chronological importance of his events, she takes us to the music of the vaggeyakara, its lyrical beauty and structural and aesthetic brilliance.

01 On tat puruSAya (shLokam)

She started her talk by saying every  time she think of a composer and dig deep into his compositions, she gets disappointed as she cant reach the “unfathomable bottom” of  the vast reserves. Every time one think of the composer, it opens up in manifold layers. One will always be ‘wonder stuck’ on how could they be blessed and chosen by the GOD to contribute to the musical tradition and cultural values.

She said, she is not going through the biographical details, and her concern is primarily to unearth the beauty of his compositions , to analyse and appreciate. She said analyse is not in critical way, ‘no vimarshana, but darshana’.

As his background, she mentioned him spending two years in Chennai and 7  years in Trivandrum, before moving to Mysore under Nalwadi’s patronage. She also mentioned about the book on musical theory by him ‘Sangeetha Kalpadruma’.  He had  an outstanding voice , he had voice training for nearly three years. He was equally adept in all the three octaves, but was a master in tArasthayi singing. This is evident in his musical works. His practice as a Harikatha exponent , which he started at the age of sixteen -thus the ‘Bhagavathar’ name , must have helped and mandated ( to reach the masses in pre-amplification days) singing in tara sthayi. He was also an authority on languages and words. They were replete with meaning and spontaneous expression. Sanskrit and Telugu were the natural language of music and he was proficient in both, apart from his mother tongue Tamil. He learnt Sanskrit from his uncle ( she used the word sOdara mAma) Lakshman Suri. He was a very impressive personality and was well respected and honoured wherever he went. He traveled far and wide within India and outside ( Burma and Ceylon). He was a multifaceted personality in the musical field. A Bhagavathar, Singer, Vaggeyakara and writer. In the post trinity composers he is the one with pre-eminence. She said,  it is  not appropriate to compare different vaggeyakaras, but Sadashiva Rao, despite being a composer of equal if not better merit, did not receive as much popularity as Muthaiah Bhagavathar, for the latter was appealing to all ( aligned to all tastes). She also said, Thyagaraja is more popular than Shyama Shasthry through the vast spread of disciples. Muthaiah Bhagavathar, who was a Harikatha singer had his popularity with the masses. He also used this medium to popularise some of his compositions, as they were composed to suit the occasion.’ Valli Parinaya’ was one of the stories being told and many compositions like valli nayakane in shanmukhapriya ( and other Subramanya kritis) are sung during his harikatha kalakshepam.

Vaggeyakara, she said has to be an expert in 3 aspects. One should not forget the last ‘kara’ sound. He should be able to write,compose and sing. The lyrics and music has to blend. Each vaggeyakara will have his uniqueness, a stamp of individuality. If one has an ear and eye for identifying this, the vaggeyakaras approach to the rAga, tALa and lyrics can be seen as unique to him.

She quickly mentioned the compositions of Muthaiah Bhagavathar. He had composed around 400 kritis, 108 chmundamba ashtothara, 108 shivAshtothara, 7 vAra kritis ( each day of the week and not navagraha kritis), 10 thillanas, 10 varnams ( 5 in Adi and 5 in aTa, 5 pada varnam, 4 daru varnam and 1 tAna varnam).  Datu swaras, dvita , zig zag pattern, fleeting movements(flights to upper octave) and tara sthayi sancharas are some of the specialties of Muthaiah Bhagavathar.

01 mahiSAsura mardini ( varNam) – AndOlika – Adi

She illustrated the flight and dvita prayogas through the Andolika varnam. She said, HMB was very particular about each of his composition and would work until he was satisfied with it. She cited and example of him meeting Vasudevachar and requesting him to sing  Shankarabharanam. He continued this for around 6 months and during these meetings composed the Shankarabharanam kriti.

In his compositions, the ‘rAga bhAva’ shows up in the first sangati. She emphasized , it is not rAga but rAga bhAva, which comes with specific gamaka use. Raga is more than the scale, but not the soul. Muthaiah Bhagavathar also had an inclination towards holding on to a single note. She exampled with the hamir kalyani thillAna

02 thillAna ( uDanata tana ) – hamIr kalyAni   ( ta na na na na na  na na na  – 8 mAtra at Shadjam)

03 thillAna ( dhIm tana na na na dhiraNA) – vasanta – khaNDa Eka

tAra sthAyi sanchAra

All his compositions have tAra sthayi sancharas. He usually reached the tAra sthAyi madhyama/panchama in the anupallavi itself. This was largely influenced by Thyagaraja. She said, initially  he was highly influenced by Thyagaraja. The Pallavi,anupallavi & Charanam in all compositions, mostly in madhyamakala prayogas,  use of Adi and Roopakam for Tala etc. However, during the compositions of ShivAshtOthara kritis, the Dikshitar’s influence was evident. Mostly written in Sanskrit and in Vilamba kAla.

She sang parts from 3 compositions to illustrate the point.

04 kALarAthri svarUpiNi –  Urmika

anupallavi line ‘kALi karALi kapAlini shUlini’.

She said, the HArikatha vidvAn is singing here, whose voice is trained to sing at higher octaves and voluminous to reach the masses.

05 jAlandhara supIThasthE – valaji

anupallavi line ‘bAlArka kOTi prabhE’

06 ratna kancuka dhAriNi – kAmbOji

She said, rAga bhAva is replete in his compositions, and they offer many places for neraval.

‘mandagamanOllAsini, dEvEndranuta mrudubhASiNi’ from ratna kancuka dhAriNi

Who teaches neraval ? It’s the composer. The composer should allow the artist to elaborate, without disturbing the composition.

07 bhairavi paramEshvari – bhairavi

The singer should also have the ‘sAhitya jnAna’,to know where to sing neraval and where not to.

‘bhavarOga nivAriNi bhakta jana paripAlini from jAlandhara

She said, some people stop at bhavarOga in during neraval. Neraval should not be forced on the composition. As example she said some of the Dikkshitar’s composition. It is better not to sing neraval for certain kritis, else the vision of the composer is damaged.

Going back on the rAgabhAva in the first sangati or the pallavi line, she sang few  examples to clarify the point :

08 madhurApura nAyikE – chakravAkam

09 chakra rAja rathruDE – dharmavati

10 charAcharE jagad rUpE – nAyaki

11 shrI shivE jaya vaibhavE – AbhOgi

The composer has used the raga very judiciously , sangatis are apt. It is we, artists, choose to do gimmick.  One has to go closer to the composer, he will guide you and lead you. He will also tell you how much you can improvise, and whether the composition can take your innovation.

Rare Ragas

Muthaiah Bhagavathar has composed in many rare ragas, discovering them and giving them an identity. He has also brought some of the forgotten ragas to the forefront. Mohanakalyani is one prime exammple with popular compositions like bhuvaneshwariya and siddhi vinAyakam. Inspired by hindustani raga sOhini, he gave new dimension to hamsAnandi. There are as many as 30-40 compositions in rare ragas and she wanted to highlight a few of them.

12 tappu mannisO tAyE mahAmAyE – mAyapradIpam

Janya of kharaharapriya, but does not sound similar to the parent raga.

13 dEvi shrI mahAlakSmi dInapAlE rakSisO – harinArAyaNi (S )

Again a janya of Kharaharapriya. All his new ragas have scope for singing kalpana swaras

14 sArasamukhi sakalabhAgyatE – gauDamalhAr


He has written in Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. However, he was not very comfortable in Kannada. It was not considered as a language for compositions. Nalvadi was persistent in asking them to compose in Kannada language ( including Vasudevachar) and they were very reluctant. Vasudevachar finally relented and composed Karuniso tAyE. Muthaiah Bhagavathar, used words like ‘paripAlisO’ , mAtE, tAye etc in otherwise full of sanskrit adjectives. There could also be a possibility that some court poet has written some of them and he merely set them to tune ( if the name Devottama Jois, whom he praised in the mangala kriti is taken as a clue).

In the 108 Chamundi Ashtothara kritis, the opening line itself is the name of the dEvi on whom the composition is based ( I think she mentioned the devi stothram)

15 vijayAmbikE – vijayanAgari

She said, the version ( pAThAntharam) she learnt had the words kripashAlini, but it is sung as ‘gauri pAlisO‘ these days.

16 mAtE malayadhwaja ( daru varNam) – khamAs

ettugaDe swara patterns ni ma ga ma..dha ni sa ma ni ga ma.

‘Prasa’ usage was very common in his kritis. DvitiyakSra, Adi prAsa, anthyAkSra prAsa are used in various composition. Again we can see the inspiration from Thyagaraja with his own uniqueness. She used the word , ‘anusmaraNa and not ‘anukaraNa’, or we can call it ‘prabhAvita’ .

17 siddhivinAyakam – mOhanakalyAni  – anuswram ‘m’ comes through out the composition.

Niroshtaka ( she used the name as NirOshtaka instead of the familiar nirOShta) is another interesting ragam he composed. As the word indicates there are no ma or pa in the raga as well as in the composition,where the lips do not touch each other. It is also said to be an ‘ashAsthrIya’ rAga. According to the shAsthra, rAga should have either ma or pa as ‘ma’ is the prakriti svara ( mostly influenced by the vEdic music). She also mentioned Balamuralikrishna’s lavAngi as another raga without ma or pa. She also made reference to the ‘dashakumara charitam’ of Dandi where one of the prince, whose lips were bitten by ‘love’ and thus  could not speak those syllables where lips have to close, narrated his experience without using any words which force him to close the lip. She said, this probably the first ‘nirOStaka’ chapter in literature. As an aside, let me add the book of French Writer Georges Perec, ‘A Void’ is written without using the letter ‘e’ in its entire 270 odd pages.

18 rAja rAjArAdhitE – nirOSTha

She corrected the common error of singing ‘rAja rAja rAditE’. It is rAja ArAdhitE’ . I am corrected of my wrong understanding.

JayamAlika prabandha, originally  written in 8th century and has it commentary  in rAjamAnasOllAsa where the’jaya  lakSaNa is in the beginning of every sentence. Swathi thirunal has composed one such kriti in maNirang ( jaya jaya padmanAbha)

19 jaya mahiSAsuramardini – hamsadhwani

She said, one has to take breath after the complete line and not stop at ‘jaya mahiSAsura’, which created ‘apArtha or anartha’.

With this she decided to skip the rest of her commentary and present a short concert for 45-50 mins.


01 sudhAmayi – amrtavarSiNi – rUpakam – HMB ( O,S )

02 vAnca tOnu nA – karNaranjani – Adi tishra gati – HMB ( A )

03 Adityam dEvAdi dEvam – mAyAmALavagauLa – Adi x 2 – HMB ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘sakala charAchara karma sAkSinam’

04 shrI AnjanEya jagadEka vIrA – jhunjutti – Adi – HMB

05 shLOkam ( mangaLam kOsalEndrAya) – madhyamAvati

I was expecting some rare gems in the concert as well and I was not disappointed. After a brisk amrutavarshini, where she sang nice rounds of swaras, she sang a short karnaranjani alapana. Very nice and full of familiar passages  of the  raga. A detailed Mayamalavagaula alapana between both the singers before the ‘vAra’ kriti ( being the Sunday) was presented. Impressive neraval and good kalpana swaras before the percussion duo played a short tani. Both played simultaneously, as in the case of a Radio Concert. Another little gem of jhunjutti kriti on Anjaneya was sung before closing the day with a madhyamavati shlokam.

The supporting artists did a commendable job.On such a day of lecture one will be called on at random and have to stop/start as the main artist decide to stop and explain and take off from the same point.

Such programs , especially conducted by such eminent vidvans and vidushis are  instrumental in improving our appreciation of carnatic music. Vidushi Sathyavathi is one of the best in this department with her knowledge and music. Wonderful Sunday morning spent at Nadasurabhi.

PS : These are my observations from her lecture. I am sure, with my limited knowledge, I would have missed some of the points she mentioned or misunderstood a few here and there. These are my errors and not from the artist.  Corrections/ additions/suggestions are welcome.

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Posted by on November 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


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T S Sathyavathi , Lecture Concert on Mysore Vasudevachar @ Nadasurabhi 21st Aug 2016

Vocal : T S Sathyavathi

Vocal Support : Lavanya & Anjana

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrdangam : Tumkur Ravishankar

Ghatam: G Omkar Rao

Lecture on Compositions of Mysore Vasudevachar

01. shLOkam ( yo’ntaH pravishya mama vAcam imAm prasuptAm)

Dr.Sathyavathi, started her evening lecture with explaining the importance of understanding the composer in appreciating his music. Knowing the musical vision and the musical acumen of the composer can enhance our ‘joy’ of listening to his compositions. Getting closure to the composer, his sensitivity and sensibility in creating ( and our ability to interpret ) each sangati, is an experience to the listener. Vasudevachar’s 150 odd compositions with notation is available in Kannada, and now in English ( compiled by Sri Bangalore S Shankar and released recently) for everyone’s access. By following the notation you can only repeat what is created, but by studying the composition closely, you can give it a new dimension.

Mysore Vasudevachar is one of the most illustrious composer post trinity. In fact, he was one of the ‘Mysore Trinities’ of the 20th century – Sadashiva Rao and Muthaiah Bhagavathar being the other two, patronised by the Wodeyars. During Wodeyar’s time, all types of music was thriving in Mysore. Western Bands and Hindustani Music was also popular and had great influence on the carnatic music. The evident is in the increased use of hindustani originated ragas in carnatic music. Importantly, these hindustani ragas weren’t used as is, but were given a “new personality, new life and new shade” by Vasudevahar. He studied Sanskrit and Music were his elective during his education at Maharaja College. His Sanskrit was akin to Dikshitar’s. His music had a lot of influence from both Dikshitar and Thyagaraja. From Dikshitar, he followed the ‘madhyamakAla model’ and ‘the bhAva’ aspect and the use of ‘colloquial’ Telugu from Thyagaraja. He did not copy them , but created his own original versions. From Dikshitar, he also imbibed the use of variety of tALa. He composed in large number of irregular talas like chaturashra dhruva, khanda ata, mishra mathya, mishra jhumpa, khanda jhumpa, tisra triputa, mishra triputa and also in tisra roopakam ( different from khanda chapu and probably the only thillana in this tala).

Use of Chitta swaras ( Chitraswara)

He had composed 4 varnas in Sanskrit, including one in praise of Ganesha (probably the only one). Vasudevachar’s use of chitraswara (  she preferred the word chitraswara in stead of chittaswara , gave an explanation of the former and the possibility of the change over the period of time) were special. Each of them were beautifully designed and incorporated. They could have been the result of spontaneity or a deliberation from the composers part. She went on with few examples by singing them and explaining the nuances.

02 chittaswaram from kAnaDa varnam ( vAraNAsyam pranamAmi )

       She mentioned this as ‘sarva svara svarAnga??’ ( do correct me) where every swara takes one akshara.

03 chittaswaram from naLinakAnti varnam ( evarunnAru)

       She explained this can be sung in two modes, in ‘Ghana’ and in ‘naya’, singing the same set of swaras in two style with and without emphasis to give it a different feel.

She made parallel to the ‘Kadambari’ of Banabhatta here. Banabhatta after completing the epic, wasn’t happy with the ending and had requested his sons’ help. The story goes like this, he asked each of them to describe the dry tree. The elderly one came up with something like “shuSkaH kaSTaH tiSThaty agrE’ and the younger one came up with ‘NIrasa  tarUriha vilasati purataha’ and he supposed to have chosen the latter, even though both has the same meaning.

Note : I am gravely erred here to my confession, but it was nice way to describe the nuances of the changes in the way one can perceive and practice the swaras without any differences to the original meaning. I will seek help from ‘knowledgeable’ people and correct it soon.

04 chittaswaram from mandAri varnam ( vanajAkSA )

     This chittaswara traverse in 3 octaves, singing this is a good exercise to the voice.

Madhyamakala Sahityam

Vasudevachar composed many kritis with madhyamakala sahitya, similar to Dikshitar, but it was not a regular feature in his compositions. She explained some of the highlights of his madhyamakala sahitya with these examples

05 madhyamakala sahitya from ‘praNamAmyaham’ in ranjani.

     She explained how he adjust the sahitya to the tAla ( mishra triputa). She said, even if you are listening to the composition in Radio, one should be able to put tala to it,  such should be the placing of the sahitya in a composition.

06 madhyamakala sahitya from ‘mAmavatu shrI saraswati’ in hindOLam

   He was very keen in using the zig-zag pattern – vakra sanchara, here.

Chittaswaras in viLambakAla Compositions

Vasudevachar, spent nearly 6 years at the Kalakshetra, setting music for Dance. Rukmminidevi Arundale was the beneficiary. This stay, however,  helped in his popularity. People came to know about Vasudevachar and his compositions and artists and musicians started singing them in the concerts. She mentioned her own personal experience of a Lec-Dem in Chennai on Sadashiva Rao. She said, very few people knew about Sadashiva Rao and his compositions, where Vasudevachar on the other hand was very popular.

07 chittaswaras from ‘rA rA rAjIva lOchana’ in mOhanam

  She explained the patterns of 3 and 5 in the mukthai in both rA rA rAjiva lOchana’ and ‘chAmuNDEshvai pAlayamAm’.

 She mentioned an anecdote on GNB singing this kriti in front of Vasudevachar. GNB was hesitant, to sing it for obvious reasons,  but in the end with tears in his eyes Vasudevachar was magnanimous to admit that GNB sang the kriti better than he himself has composed. He said some thing in the lines of ‘what I gave you was a ‘nirAbharaNa sundari’ ( help needed !) but you presented it as a ‘sAlankita bhUSita kanya’.

08 chittaswaras from ‘shrI chAmuNDEshwari pAlayamAm’ in bilahari

    She sang the chittaswaras a couple of times and said until you reach the ‘ri’ you don’t know where is he leading you.

09 chittaswaras from karuNisau tAyE in saraswati manOhari

Vasudevachar composed only one kriti in Kannada Language. This was after much request from the King. After all other composers yielded to the demand, and after much persuasion he finally composed one in Kannada.

10 chittaswaras from ‘manasA vachasA shirasA anisham’ in bEgaDa

She said, it was the beauty and duty of him to enhance the lyrical vision of the kriti here. Same notes takes a different approach. She explained this change of ‘bhava’  of the raga at the charanam line karuNAnvitam

11 chittaswaras from praNatArthi haram in chenchurutti

Vasudevachar has many compositions on Vishnu and a few on Rama. He had composed only one or two kritis on Shiva.  Pranatarthi haram is one of them.

Rare Ragas

Vasudevachar composed in many rare ragas, or new ragas like kadanakutuhalam, sudha sALavi ( not heard this before) etc and in hindustani ragas ( 3 in hindustani kApi and 2 in behAg).

She said the version of the hindustani kApi kriti she was taught by Doraiswami Iyengar was a different pAThAntaram from what is popular now. Her version, did not have kAkaLi niSAda or anthara gAndhAra. It was a janya of kharaharapriya. But, she said, the current version is different and the book of Vasudevachar’s compositions is also with the new version.

12 bhajamAdhavam anisham – hindustAni kApi

Bhava aspect in his compositions

Sensitive and subtle interpretation of the rAga is essential to bring out the bhAva in the compositions. She explained this with shAradE pAhimAm in yadukula kAmbOji

13 shAradE pAhimAm – yadukula kAmbOji

She said, her Guru was the best in singing this kriti and she is only making an attempt to go closure to his singing.

Before concluding her lecture on the specialties of his compositions, she did give the statistical highlights for the record ( 8 jati swaras, 16 varna, 150 kritis, 10 thillanas,6 javali and 8 ragamAlika compositions including those in praise of each of the trinities). She said it is important to understand the composition and know the meaning for one to appreciate the composer. Otherwise, one will say ‘music is good’ but will not be ‘special’ to him. Grammar alone can’t help. Mere grammar is not poetry, it had to come from within. Its the same with music.

Note 2 : These are some of the points I ‘noted’ from a running lecture. There are many short comings in this update and it is my own limitation in capturing the essence of what was spoken. There are few mistakes above and I welcome anyone correcting me here.


01 evarunnAru ( varNam) – navarasakannaDa

02 mama hrdayE – rItigauLa  ( S )

03 bhajarE rE bhaja mAnasa shrI narasimham – mOhanakalyANi  ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @’paramAtbhuta rUpadharam karuNAkaram harim’

04 palukavadEmirA – dEvamanOhari

05 bhajarE rE mAnasa shrI raghuvIram – AbhEri ( A,S,T )

06 tillAna ( nadru dhIm nAdru dhIm dhIm taraNa dhIm) – kAnaDa

07shLOkam ( mangaLam kOsalEndrAya)

Concert was the continuation of the lecture. She explained each compositions ,its nuances, the specialties as she moved on. The selection of varnam, made my day. Beutiful reetigula came in with some memorable swaras to accompany.  But the highlight of the evening was the mohanakalyani kriti. A classy  alapana, allowing one of her disciples to pitch in occasionally, followed by probably the best kriti in mOhanakalyani ( my personal preference). An elaborate neraval at ‘paramAtbhuta’ was brilliant. I’ve heard this kriti from TNS (and fallen for its beauty ) many years ago at Gayana Samaja ( he sang neraval at ‘paramabhakta prahLAda) and again last year at Sanjay Nagar. The kalpana swaras were impressive too. Abheri was the main, and it had to be his masterpiece ‘bhajarE rE mAnasa’. Alapana was short, there was no neraval but had a detailed kalpana swaras.  Tumkur Ravishankar and Omkar played a delectable tani avartanam post main. The percussion, especially Ravishankar, was very good through out the evening. So, was Charulatha on violin. Her following for Abheri and Mohanakalyani was very good. She concluded her concert with the tillana in thisra roopakam set in kAnada. Very  informative session followed by a sweet and short concert.


Posted by on August 22, 2016 in Uncategorized


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T S Sathyavathi, Special RTP Concert , BTM Cultural Academy 23 Aug 2015

Vocal  : T S Sathyavathi

Vocal Support : Anjana P Rao

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

Ghatam : Sukanya Ramgopal


00 shrI gaNanAtha – malahari – Purandara Dasa    ( setting the amplifications)

01  praNavAkAram siddhivinAyakam – Arabhi – Oothukad Venkata Kavi  ( O,S )

02  RTP – shubha pantuvarALi – chaturashra triputa x 2 kaLai  +1 aksharam eduppu

parama karuNA sAgara, nannu brOva rAmA

rAgamalika swarams in malahari, bahudhAri, kApi, bEgaDa

03  thillAna ( nAdru dhIm nAdru dhIm, dhIm tana dhiraNA) – kAnaDa – tisra roopakam- Mysore Vasudevachar  ( O )

04  shLOkam ( mangaLam kOsalEndrAya) – madhyamAvati

The concert was announced as a special RTP concert. BTM cultural Academy conducts 2 such programs every year, one in Feb and the other in Aug. Each time, they bring artist of exceptional caliber to perform. Pallavi singing in the concerts have become a ‘tick in the box’ these days with artists unable to give it enough justice, after an elaborate main piece. The nuances and intricacies involved in singing a noteworthy pallavi is slowly loosing in the bargain. With the changing taste of the listeners, where virtuosity and speed/loudness receive maximum applause, it is not surprising that most of the pallavis are replication of another neraval singing. Only a few attempts the basic trikalam, and the creativity limits to singing ragamalika kalpana swaras.

Years ago, I had a chance to listen to a lecture demonstration of Vid Satyavathi at Indiranagar Sabha.  While the whole lec-dem had to be concluded without enough time for the pallavi part, it made a lasting impression on me. That memory, drove me towards BTM Sabha, in expectation of a grand pallavi.

A few lines of geetham was sung during the mike arrangements and tuning. She announced an Arabhi kriti of Oothukadu shifting through a few raga phrases to start the concert. Pranavakaram siddhivinayakam came with a few rounds of kalpana swaras. The ‘mike-asura’ played a few times, but settled as it progressed.

It was all set for the pallavi now. A grand 40 mins alapana came straight away. Starting at leisure, she slowly developed through building one passages to other many times to jaw dropping brilliance, many mesmerising sangatis after another , taking a break and letting charulata to go through them once again to recreate some of them. She allowed her disciple to start the phase two of the alapana. Ajana P Rao ( later announced) did a commendable job, before the boss took over the control and finished with a few cherish-able fast  phrases. Charulatha was up there with the main artist most of the time.

After a 40 min alapana, the tanam was shorter in comparison and my expectations – 15 mins or so, nonetheless. She demonstrated some of the trademark tanam singing ( I cant name all of them- ‘kukkuDa tAnam, mayUra tAnam etc ), each received enthusiastically by the audience.

Pallavi was set  to  Adi Tala in 2 kaLai. But the intricacies came in the way she explored the pallavi line neraval. She explained the neraval line will have a 3 stage ( or three part) elaboration. The ‘pUrvAnga’ was taken up in the first stage for trikAlam in the most common or traditional 4, 2,1 format moving up and down the speed. After the neraval and related kalpana swaras , she moved to the second stage. This time focusing on the ‘uttarAnga’, the same was done in tisra, khanda and misra ( 3, 5 and 7) variation and the related swaras.  The stage 3 of them, she said ( and did) , was by switching back to 1 kaLai, and doing the ‘pratilOmam’  ( if I understood it correctly) by doing the akshara based speed variations, again with its corresponding swaras. What was heartening to see was the entire team, including the young disciple, was prepared and delivered the whole concept impeccably. What a demonstration it had been. Brilliant stuff.

As expected there was ragamalika swaras to conclude the pallavi. The whole affair until now too nearly two hours. Jayachandra Rao and Sukanya Ramgopal, played a fitting tani avartanam after this. Again the focus was to keep the spirit of the pallavi intact. Some of the intricate patterns played was delightful.

A kAnada thillana of Vasudevachar was the only other kriti that was sung, which again being set in tisra roopakam was another speciality.

I am no expert in this subject and some of aspect she explained and demonstrated were beyond my grasp. I hope some one who attended this could throw some light on this in a better way. The mistakes here are my own, and if identified, I stand corrected.

All I can say is this, what an amazing artist and what an exhibition of knowledge, skills, preparation and meticulous execution.

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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