Sydney Music Circle
Thyagaraja Aradhana 2012
Saturday, February 25 and Sunday February 26, 2012
Dundas Community Centre, Sturt Street, Telopea, NSW
Ramayana, is inextricably linked with music. To begin with, the entire Vaalmiki Ramayana is written in verses as a poem. Sri. Hanuman’s method of rendering of music, well known as Hanumad-gaana is one of the most melodious forms that has formed a basis for present day music. Naarada-gaana is another. Lord Hanuman renders the entire Ramayana in a musical form in Sundara Kaandam.
Lava and Kusha, when they render Ramayana, the whole assembly in the court of Lord Sri. Rama’s is mesmerised. Sage Valmiki writes that Lava and Kusha followed Marga music which is designed to please god and relies on strict adher¬ence to rules related to raga and tala. They were well versed in Morchanas(modal shift of the tonic, similar to present day Sruthi bhedam and Graha bhedam), all considered to be quite advanced techniques in the realm of carnatic music. Even Ravana is known for his musical abilities in that he was adept at playing Veena.
It is said that when Saint Thyagraja sang, Lord Rama with Seetha and his brothers, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrugna used to appear and listen to the compositions. Most of Saint Thyagaraja’s compositions are on his favourite deity Lord Rama.
In tribute to this saintly poet, the Thyagaraja Aradhana payes homage to the great saint composer of Thiruvyaar, Satguru Sri. Thyagaraja. It is one event that has been bringing Sydney’s entire Carnatic music community together with a religious fervour for over 28 years. More than 125 Students and 50 senior artistes supported by a host of accompanying artistes performed this year. As usual, the Pancharatna renditions filled the hall with reverberating energy.
Logistics of putting together an event of this magnitude that runs for two days including catering for over 500 people is by no means a simple task. It takes a lot of planning and effort from the organisers and the volunteers.
Sydney Music Circle’s youthful members adopted a thematic format for its annual flagship event Thyagaraja Aradhana this year. Choosing the theme was not a simple task. Finding the right number of compositions which are popular and fitting into the theme in a proper sequence in the time available is an achievement. The story telling had to be complete.
The thematic format provided an incentive to senior performers to enhance their repertoire by learning new compositions and to work with each other and render the song in groups, getting the Sanagathis right and encouraging discussions on the variations of their Patantharams and achieving consensus.
People also used modern web based technology to practice in groups, due to paucity of time and minimise travelling long distances. This format also provided an altogether new perspective of looking at the timeless compositions of Saint Sri. Thyagaraja.
The Sydney Music Circle now has a professional web site, on-line registration facilities, state-of–the-art sound system and the organisers send out prompt broad-cast emails.
But for the fact that there was a paltry audience of ten for the last singers of the two day event the Aradhanai was a roaring success.
The promising young and enthusiastic team of organisers this year did a commendable job by coming up with yet another surprise in choosing the theme of Thyagaraja Ramayana. Music–Thyagaraja–Ramayana. It just couldn’t be more appropriate!