Youthful Honor of 16th Century Poet

SRI PURANDARA VITTALA!

Devotional hymns of the Father of Carnatic Music stole the hearts of Sydney. In celebrations of its 10th year, the Sri Purandaradasa Aradhana in Sydney was conducted in an exquisite manner spanning over 5 continuous days. The proceedings of the festival kicked off with the singing competition on Wednesday 3rd and Thursday 4th March. 17 children (ages from 9 to 21) participated in the competition and they were judged by the renowned overseas visiting artistes Smt. Mysore Nagamani Srinath and Sri BU Ganesh Prasad. The organisers had arranged a special concert on Saturday 6th March to commemorate the 10th year. The renowned vocalist from Bangalore Professor Mysore Nagamani Srinath was accompanied by Shri BU Ganesh Prasad and Sri Ravichandra (Melbourne).

Professor Nagamani Srinath commenced her concert with the well-known Purandaradasar composition ‘Gajavadanabeduve’ in raga Hamsadhwani. During the rendition, she vouched into full throttle neraval and kalpanaswarams in the charanam line “Sarisajanabha Sri Purandara Vittalana” much to the joy of the audience. With a short raga delineation, she then ventured into a breezy Needayarada of Saint Thyagaraja in raga Vasantha Bhairavi. It was during this rendition that the audio system started producing sounds of its own! Professor Nagamani then took up a lengthy alapana in ragam khamboji and despite the continuing audio system problems, constant haltages and echo issues she still managed to render a complete alapana displaying all the major trademark phrases of Khamboji. The extremely rare Sri Muttiah Bhagavatar kriti “Ratna kancuka Dharini ambA” was rendered with some embellishing neraval and kalpanaswarams. The audio problems seemed to have then finally ceased and what followed was a truly soulful exposition of the ragam Hindolam. The speedy sancharas especiallly at the mandra and tara stayi provided reminiscences of her guru the “Great Sri Ramnad Krishnan”. She rendered the Tamil composition MaaRamanan. Smt Nagamani then took up a lengthy Simhendra Madhyamam alapana and for the next 20 minutes, the audience were completely immersed in this exposition. Meditatively, she rendered a vrittam and then took up a Haridas Bhajan and embellished this devotional piece with neraval and kalpanaswarams. It was a very unique rendition filled with devotion and flair. The thani by Sri Ravichandra was presented with a touch of class and simplicity. Professor Nagamani concluded the majestic concert with her own ragamalika thillana composition and mangalam. In summary, the concert was a very enjoyable one despite a low attendance and several problems with the sound system.

The Purandaradasa Aradhana celebrations were held on Sunday March 7th and hallmarked with the group rendition of the “Purandara Vithala Navaratnamalika” to the accompaniment of violin, flute, and mridangam. Unfortunately, not much of an audience was seen during this vibrating rendition the next morning. Sydney’s carnatic students then took to the stage to present some of the compositions that they had learnt from their gurus. It was during this time that the crowd slowly trickled in. The organisers then decided to play an interesting and informative DVD presentation on the life and teachings of Saint Purandaradasar. This set the mood for the audience and they were able to immerse themselves in the glories of Saint Purandaradasar. Senior local artistes then took turns to present various compositions. The renditions were based on the following kshetras:

• Badravathi

• Udupi

• Thirupathi

• Pandrapur

• Kumbhapura

• Shingeri

The beautiful “BhagyadaLakshmi” krithi and mangalam concluded this segment and rapped up a memorial 10th year anniversary of the Sydney Purandaradasa Aradhana. The organisers deserve a tremendous applause for the hard-work and dedication in commemorating this festival. Sydney rasikas will be certainly looking forward to next year’s Aradhana! More Photos Here