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Pantula Rama - depth and experience
25 December, 2019

The Music Academy at Chennai is an exalted seat of music where experts would be seated and the Ragam Thanam Pallavi (RTP) presented here has to be of exceptional quality. Appreciation and recognition at this sabha is something that is always sought for by performers.  Pantula Rama  had won the prize for the best pallavi last year and in keeping with the trend presented a pallavi in the raga Sahana in the RTP segment. Pallavi singing is both an art and a craft, to tell you the truth. Her pallavi went thus: Dasarathe Dhayasarathe Karunapayonidhe Saranam Thavacharanam (தாசரதே தயாசரதே கருணாபயோநிதே சரணம் தவசரணம்) During the alapana of this raga she presented the raga in a manner that bore testimony to the deep musical experience she has gone through over the years.

It all began with the customary varnam in Kalyani (Ata Thalam) following it with an alapana of Dhanyasi where the crystal clear phrases spelt the raga with its sweetness. The song was Thyagaraja’s Sangita Gnanamu. It had swaras for the anupallavi, and occurred at two places, Bringi Natesa Samiraja and Mathanga Naradhathulu, which looked different in its approach. Before launching her RTP her main raga happened to be Hemavathi. The alapana for this raga had its cadences and voice modulation techniques given efficiently with appropriate stress wherever warranted. There was no dearth of brigas, in a manner of speaking but not overdone and well within limits. The brigas as she presented them had a natural tendency of one chasing the other to establish a sense of continuity. The strength of her voice is seen to be more pronounced when it traverses the mandhra sthayi. It acquires a certain weight at these places and total involvement to her (and to you too). And the same applied to the kalpana swara segment. During all these phases one has to make compulsory mention about violin accompanist M S N Murthy.  Tell me, here I am, seemed to be his take. Whatever the human voice could achieve I will replicate it on my violin. He functioned in this manner adding lustre to the concert proceedings.

If you were searching for a Tamil composition from a Telugu praja, it came in the form a Thiruppavai, Male Manivanna ()in the raga Kunthalavarali. It was timed perfectly, one thought. The song selection was truly all-encompassing. Samsarulaithe a Thyagaraja composition where he adopts an “all-inclusive” stand and accepts even those following the family regimen to get to their journey to Moksha. Then came Syama Sastri’s Brova Samayamidhe Devivini in Punnagavarali. She finished her concert with a Thillana composed by N Ch Krishnamacharyalu in Atana. (He happened to be the Guru of the violinist)

Manoj Siva on the mridangam lived up to his standards while accompanying for the pallavi and was able to establish good rapport with fellow laya-man Venkatasubramaniam on the Ghatam and gave a thani of substance and grandness serving to enhance the value of the kutcheri.


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