A Musical Offering to Sri Rama
[Review By Namrata Pulapaka]
On Saturday 28th March Smt. Sangeetha Ayyar, accompanied by Sri Mohan Ayyar (synthesiser) and Sri Sivakumar Sethupathi (mridangam) presented a thematic concert as part of this year’s SMC Ramanavami celebrations, which coincidentally fell on the auspicious date. The audience were treated to a lovely selection of krithis by various composers, each portraying Sri Rama in a different light. She commenced the concert with ra ra ma inti daka, a beautiful composition of Sri Tyagaraja in Asaveri where the youthful Lord Rama is “welcomed” to ‘our houses’. She kept up the tempo with some brisk kalpana swarams.
Next, she presented a short but sweet Kambhoji alapana for Bhadrachala Ramadas’ emayya rama. This krithi is a challenging one as it is pitched primarily in the higher octave and despite being set back with the flu Smt. Sangeetha was able to execute the song very well. For the nereval, she expanded on the charanam line sutudanucu dasarathudu, hitudanucu sugreevudu.
As she gave us a flash of Abheri, the audience was left anticipating bhajare manasa and Smt. Sangeetha did not disappoint. This melodious composition of Sri Mysore Vasudevachar entreats the mind to pray to Rama, the hero of Raghuvamsha, and describes his countless good qualities.
She then launched into an exploration of the very pleasant Sri Ranjani ragam through an elaborate alapana. The krithi sri ramachandra rakshatumam is truly a hidden gem of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s that displays the full swaroopam of Sri Ranjani in all its glory. This item was surely the highlight of the concert, where the fusion of vocal, synthesiser and mridangam were able to build up the festive mood in the nereval line sita kalyana mahotsavam vaibhavam.
Following a brisk rendition of ramanukku mannan mudi, a composition of Arunachala Kavirayar in Hindolam describing the coronation of Sri Rama, she presented an appealing Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Simhendramadhyamam. The pallavi line was kodanda kalyana Ramachandra, hare rama hare set to Khanda jati Triputa talam. Smt. Sangeetha and Sri Mohan did justice to the RTP, and following the ragamalika swaras Sri Sivakumar Sethupathi delivered an excellent taniavartanam.
Concerts presented by this couple are always a delight to attend because they always strive to bring something new to the audience. The thillana was composed by Sri Mohan Ayyar himself, tuned in the popular Kalyanavasantam ragam and set to Adi talam. It was a very apt concluding piece as it incorporated a slokam on Sri Hanuman, Sri Rama’s prime devotee. The lyrics are below:
yatra yatra raghunathakirtanam
tatra tatra krtamastakanjalim
marutim namata rakshasantakam
The concert ended on an auspicious note with the mangalam sri ramachandranukku in Madhyamavati. Congratulations to the whole team on a well-orchestrated concert!