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Sowmya sings Padi
23 December, 2019

The Music Academy is celebrating its 93rd music festival and concerts, conferences and lec-dems are the order of the day at its premises. Sowmya, Sangita Kalanidhi designate this year, sang for the Music Academy last Saturday evening. This award would be bestowed on her on January 1st, 2020. A sizeable crowd had therefore gathered with a lot of expectations. She lived up to what was expected of her by singing a Ragam, Thanam and Pallavi in the raga Padi. This raga has to the best of one’s knowledge, only one krithi of Muthuswamy Dikshithar, and songs in this scale have not been sung often and for this reason resembles Ghanta, said Sowmya by way of introduction. There are many of Annamayya krithis in this raga and it is a raga that can be classified as one of the oldest. She built an alapana that had fitting usages that characterized this raga and in the thanam that followed gave us all the possibilities that served to heighten the peculiarities found. The line for the pallavi went like Padi Mukthi Pera Vendum, Iraiyai, Guruvai, Isayai (பாடி முக்தி பெற வேண்டும், இறையை, குருவை. இசையை’)

Earlier she started in a customary manner with the Thodi varnam rendering it in two kalams and then took up the song Mariyadha Kaadhayya in Bhairavam. This song questions Rama’s indifference to his disciple (Thyagaraja) and the bhava in framing of these were brought out succinctly by imparting complete attention to the lyrics. Eppadi Manam in Useni of Arunachala Kavi was adding to the quietude to the atmosphere and when she gave Brovabarama, of Thyagaraja krithi in Bahudhari, at quite a break-neck  speed and an array of swaras to match it. It came as a contrast number, quite unlike the manner in which this singer has established herself among her favourites.

Her main for the evening was Khambodhi, the song being Thyagaraja’s Evari Mata. This had a thought-provoking alapana that took a different course though the raga was a familiar one. One or two stock prayogas were present but it carried an altogether different stamp.  

The later part of her concert had a stunning variety of songs perhaps giving a glimpse of her repertoire. Look at the range: A padam (பதம்) Iddari Chanduna in Kalyani, a famous Javali in Khamas “Nareemani Nee Kainathira” of Dharmapuri Subbarayar, the fine verse of Appar “Kunitha Puruamum” (குனித்த புருவமும்) that came as a ragamalika virutham (விருத்தம்) beginning with Hamsanadhi leading on to Brindavana Saranga, Behag and Suruti. The last raga graciously dove-tailed to Adidum Arase (ஆடிடும் அரசே), a composition of Sangita Kalanidhi S Ramanathan. Bharathiyar’s Kavadichindhu “Villinayothth Puruvam” (வில்லினையொத்த புருவம்) gave a sense of completeness to the concert.

R K Sriramkumar, musician-scholar in his own right who accompanied on the violin was able to match the Padi essay with aplomb and played for the other ragas and swaraprastharams with complete confidence. Neyveli Narayanan on the mridangam had a style that was his own and together with Chandrasekara Sarma on the Ghatam gave a thani that was marked by some winsome rhythmic structures.

This concert was held on 21st December, 2019.


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