T M Krishna – Sree Rama Seva Mandali – April 17, 2016

Disclaimer – I wrote in one of my previous posts in the last year that I was not going to write about concerts that my great Guru Sri H K Venkatram plays, because of two reasons. One, I can go on and on talking about his music & greatness, and two, I don’t want to give anyone a feeling that my posts are biased to someone. Having said that, I am amending it today, because I am afraid I will be missing out on gems of concerts (already missed a couple or more) like the one this post is talking about.

Sree Rama Seva Mandali organized Sri T M Krishna’s concert, accompanied by Guru Sri H K Venkatram on Violin, Sri Manoj Siva on Mridangam and Sri B S Purushottaman on Khanjira. Just for the kick of it, I am naming this concert, “Kaanda” (कांड, కాండ), which roughly translates to “a chapter”. In Ramayana, the story is divided into chapters, like “Aranya Kaanda”, talking about the part of the mythology when Lord Rama went for Vana vasam, etc. You will know more about the naming as you read this along!

  1. Sukhi Evaro – Kaanada
  2. Kaanada Tanam + Neranammithi (Kaanada Ata Tala Varnam)
  3. Sri Maatrubhootam – Kannada
  4. Entha vedukondu raghava – Saraswathi Manohari
  5. Kamakshi – Bhairavi (Swarajathi)
  6. Nee bhajana gaana rasikulane – Naayaki
  7. Ille vaikunta – Varali
  8. Enna tavam – Kapi
  9. Muchukunda varada – Sankarabharanam

The concert started with a wonderful Kaanada aalapana, very elaborative indeed and the krithi Sukhi evaro was a fabulous rendition along with amazing kalpana swaras. When everyone thought the composition was over, TMK started singing Tanam in Kaanada! To clear doubts of audience, he announced, “Kaanada is not over” and what a fantabulous Tanam it indeed was!! TMK always does the unthinkable – he started singing the Ata Tala varnam in Kaanada with a few extra swara patterns in the end, which were mind blowing! Another intriguing thing is that, he requested percussionists to play Tani avarthanam (typically very early in a regular concert), which was too good. He ended with a couple of more swara patterns and a round of Tanam! Hmmm… it was around 1 hour into the concert already!

A beautiful aalapana of the ragam called “Kannada” (thankfully he announced, I didn’t know this before) was followed by a delightful rendition of the krithi Sri maatrubhootam. What I noticed is, unlike many other singers, he enjoys the sahityam (lyrics) so much that he goes into a different world himself, immersed in the bhava of the sahityam. Fabulous swara exchanges by both TMK and Guru and I was awe struck when he sung non-stop at a lower octave that is very difficult to execute!

So, now you have the answer why I named this concert “Kaanda”.. derived from Kaanada and Kannada! Half of the scheduled concert time went in these two!!

TMK then requested Guru to play some ragam and my Guru played a majestic “Saraswathi Manohari”. It was as beautiful (manoharam) as Goddess Saraswathi will be while playing Veena (yes, she indeed will be – I have seen her!). The composition was easily guessed and a great presentation of it was a treat to the ears. The niraval “chintha teerchuta entha modi raa” was filled with so much of bhavam that I can’t express in words!

Kamakshi swarajathi in Bhairavi is one of the remarkable compositions in Carnatic music. A short aalapana followed by the TMK style of presentation of it just made the day which has already been excellent, even better (I am running short of words please!). He went on and on as he made a delightful recipe out of the composition and ragam for everyone present there. At one point when people started clapping acknowledging the happening on stage, TMK with folded hands said, “please.. please”. He was so much immersed in that and didn’t want to come out of it soon!

A very short aalapana of ragam called Naayaki (again first time for me) was followed by a wonderful presentation of krithi which ended with a mini Tani avarthanam. Ille Vaikunta in Varali was another great piece that everyone was mesmerized with.

There was a request for Enna tavam in Kapi.. I think he wanted to sing another composition in Kapi as he asked that person “do I have liberty to sing another composition in same ragam?”, for which I think the answer was “No”. So the Kapi aalapana followed. Although short, both Vocals and Violin touched the strings of many hearts and it was a sheer bliss! Enna Tavam was followed by Muchukunda varada, a Nottuswaram by Sri Muttuswamy Dikshitar and thus ended a great concert that will be remembered for long long time!

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