Dr. K J Yesudas – Rama Seva Mandali – April 11, 2015

Dr. K J Yesudas (KJY) has always been my favorite playback singer along with the legendary singer of south India, Sri Ghantasala. My admiration towards KJY has gone up exponentially after I started following his Carnatic concerts and this concert happens to be one of them.

KJY, following his tradition for many decades, performed for Sri Rama Seva Mandali in Fort High School Grounds and was witnessed by a huge crowd. I guess the foot fall would have been no less than 1500!

KJY was accompanied by Sri S R Mahadeva Sarma (Violin), Sri K V Prasad (Mridangam) and Sri T N Radhakrishnan (Ghatam). A wonderful treat to the ears for more than 3 hours was planned with a mix of famous and rare compositions.

  1. Era Naa Pai – Todi Aadi tala varnam
  2. Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje – Hamsadhwani
  3. Gurunatha anugrahi – Pushpalathika
  4. Sri Rama Manohara Krupasagara
  5. Samaja Varagamana – Hindolam
  6. Rama nannu brovara – Harikambhoji
  7. Etula brothuvo – Chakravakam
  8. Govardhana giridhara
  9. Dasarathe Daya sarathe – Kokilapriya*
  10. Some bhajan on Sabari Ayyappa
  11. Alaipayuthe – Kanada
  12. Manninda kaaya Manninda
  13. Rama Rama Rama Seetha Ramana Papa Harana – Huseni
  14. Some Sai Baba bhajan on “Alla Malik…”
  15. A Bhajan on Guruvaayurappa
  16. Hari Haratmajam – Ayyappa Bhajan song
  17. Pavamaana suthudu – Sourashtram

While going to the programme, I was hoping for a Todi composition from KJY and guess what, he started with the Todi Aadi Tala varnam, Era Naa Pai. Even the rain god wanted to hear the Gaana Gandharvan live and started to pour down suddenly and heavily meanwhile. He ended the varnam with a few extra Kalpana Swaras.

Vaatapi Ganapatim Bhaje is a very famous krithi and that, with KJY’s fastest monadharma swaras felt very special. He then started the Pushpalathika aalapana and when everyone in the audience were wondering what Ragam it is, he announced the name and also explained the differences among Pushpalathika, Madhyamavathi and Sree Ragas.

I must admit I have become a huge fan of violinist, Mahadeva Sarma. The last time I heard him was also when he accompanied KJY and this time too, he was excellent! Samaja Varagamana was the best vocal rendition I heard till date. It was so sweet and was amazingly complemented by violin and percussion instruments for Niraval and Kalpana Swaras. A couple of rare compositions in Harikambhoji and Chakravakam followed before the Kokilapriya, which was the highlight and main composition for the night.

* KJY explained little nuances in singing Kokilapriya correctly. It was so heart-warming to see someone addressing students (he did the same last year too) amidst a majority crowd of grey hairs. He explained the right and wrong ways of using Gamakam on “Gandharam (Ga)” which lead to different expression and ragam. The composition was very well presented with Niraval and Kalpana Swaras. Tani avarthanam was one of the best I heard till date. Notable point is, this was ninth composition of the night and he presented Kalpana swaras to all but one.

The concert ended with a few KJY trademark bhajans on Sabari Ayyappa, Guruvayurappa (talks about him too, saying he is his Appa and is in his heart!) and Sai Baba. KJY ends the program with the traditional Sowrashtram Mangalam and rain got subsided too, slowly. Guess, why it rained? He wanted to attend the concert too and was expressing happiness by pouring like cats and dogs.

My heart wants to meet KJY now more than ever, and let’s see when and how it is set to happen! 🙂