Spirited Celebrations of Swathi Thirunal

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By Krishna Ramarathinam

The annual Maharaja Swathi Tirunal Jayanthi is one of the most anticipated festivals for Sydney carnatic music rasikas. Year after year, the festival glows with increased intensity, vibrancy and provides a unique opportunity for Sydney rasikas to pay their tribute to one of the most influential Travencore composers.

On Sunday 25th April 2010, Sydney rasikas gathered in masses to witness a virtuous and spectacular display of Swaati Tirunal Maharaja’s compositions. The festival commenced with Thalippoli and the group rendition of “Bhavayami Raghuramam” to the accompaniment of mridangam, flute, violin and keyboard.

Following this, over 25 compositions including varnams, thillanas and bhajans were skillfully presented by students and local senior artistes. Some of the popular krithis presented included Devi Jagajanani Amba, Pahi Parvata Nandini, Janani Mamava, Bharathi Mamava and Rama Rama GunaSeema. But much to the delight of the audience, there were also some vary rare compositions presented including Vande Maheswaram (Arabhi), Pahimam BrihannAyike (Huseni), VihAra Manasa (Kapi) etc.

Maharaja Swaati Tirunal was an ardent devotee of Lord Padmanaabha and this “mudra” has been exemplified in many of his compositions. In addition to this, his Navaratna Malai kirthis, bhajans and thillanas have been widely popularised by past and present vidwans.

The Jayanthi celebrations concluded with the group rendition of the Thillana “Gita Duniku” in ragam Dhanasree and “BhujagasAyino” in ragam Yedukula Khamboji.

The Swaati Tirunal committee deserves a tremendous applause for their hard-work and dedication in commemorating this festival. And a huge kudos to all community volunteers for their assistance with catering, sound/audio/microphones, lighting and cleaning. The day was not only about Swaati Tirunal Maharaja, it was also “true community spirit” on display!!!