As we live our mundane existence, occasionally a voice shall rise from its very depths and challenge us. It grabs us forging forward compelling us to look anew, exceed our expectations, extols and excels. Its sweet challenge shall shake deep seated convictions and practices making us take a harder, longer and closer look at what it is that made and makes the fiber of carnatic music today, in a grand way setting a grand example.
This voice belongs to the musician singer scholar, Thodur Madabusi Krishna. This month Sydhwaney has spent hours documenting TM Krishna’s musical explorations in Australia with delight and awe. But it is not over. Enough and more cannot express the unfathomable heights reached by TMK at the recent concert organised by Swaralaya called ‘Pallavis‘. As the name suggests TMK clearly established the format for the evening will be Carnatic Music in a new skin seen through his clear intellect.
Accompanied by Murugaboopathy on the Mridangam, whose complimenting beats never over powered TMK’s theme. Shriram Kumar Violin well established partnership with TMK flowered even more through the concert. TMK commenced with a rather short rendition of a ragam thanam pallavi in Hamsadhvani. This was followed by an complicated Kanda Jathi [swing of 5 per beat for 16 beats] adhi thalam in Gowri Manohari were he explored a ragamalika in the pancha ratna ragas, Aarabi, Natai, Varaali and Sri . After various scintillating and notable explorations, it was Murugaboopathy’s turn to take the swing to the next level with his rhythmic play on the Thani.
TMK explained his next piece set to a very slow rendition of ragam thodi in Adhi Thalam, the Naal Kallai Pallavi. Twice slower than the norm. The ragam and thanam that followed was entrancing. His voice touched the shadaj of the lower octave and went further down… then came up resounding in its majestic treatment. The slow rendition of the pallavi, in telugu, which TMK announced as a composition of Ariyakudi Ramanujam was excellent. The slow walk of the Naal Kalllai Pallavi is something I had only heard about. It was the first time I was listening to a real one. Meditative, consoling, cajoling, challenging Thodi rose taking TMK and his listeners like a tide into eternity.
The final composition also in a Ragam Thanam Pallavi was set to Bihag and Kafi, swapping playfully between the two ragas, TMK Sriram and Murugaboopathy, concluded a grand concert of Pallavis. Connoisseurs who were not into carnatic music stopped me on my way and said, “I dont know much about Carnatic Music but that was awesome and unforgettable. Need I say more, TMK does not just sing he gives you the full experience of his musicianship, his music and the depth of his relationship with it.
Yet another unforgettable concert held in a modest hall in front of a modest group of listeners !! For me and many in the audience little do we realise that in that small hall history was made and shall remain engrained in our minds as we tell the story that the rise and rise of TMK’s Naal Kallai Pallavi started here in Australia as the rest of the world awaits …