Listening to the music concert Manjunada, comprising compositions on Kshetra Dharmasthala, felt like going on a pilgrimage. Organised by Mani Krishnaswami Academy and Madhuradhwani, seven young women artistes presented the compositions. Before exploring the various aspects of the performance, two people associated with the event deserve a special mention. The first is Rajkumar Bharati, the great grandson of Mahakavi Subramania Bharati, who had tuned the varnam and three songs. His composing skills shone through these pieces.
The second is P. Nityananda Rao. Apart from conceptualising the year-long event, he had also penned the lyrics of the compositions.
The refreshing appeal of the opening Nattakurinji varnam, whose tune and lilting chitta swaras were set by Rajkumar, was maintained throughout. It was preceded by a crisp alapana by Shruthi S. Bhat (disciple of S. Sowmya). The varnam captured the essence of the raga through its swara patterns. This was followed by the rendering of a composition on Vighneswara in Chalanata raga (Khanda Chapu). This composition was also preceded by a sloka by Sruthi. Kalpanaswaras were rendered by Divyashree (disciple of Madhur P. Balasubrahmanya), and Medha Udupa (disciple of Shantala Subrahmanyam)
Medha and Aathreyee Krishna (disciple of R.K. Sriramkumar and Amritha Murali) shared an elaborate alapana in Revati. Shreya Kolathaya (disciple of R.K. Sriramkumar) and Divyashree shared a cadenced Thana. On the violin, Sreelakshmi S. Bhat (disciple of Sriram Parasuram) offered a soothing response. The kriti ‘Sri Dharmasthala Kkshetradhipathim’ (Rupakam) was excellently rendered by the team. The kalpanaswaras were rendered by Ashwija Udupa (disciple of Jayashree R. Bhat Perla) and Shruthi. The concluding swarakorvai by Shruthi was impressive.
Thodi was the main raga. A stirring, yet smooth raga elucidation was shared by Shreya and Aathreyee. The composition was ‘Sri Manjunatha swaminam sirasa namami’ (lyrics by Shathavadhani R. Ganesh). Neraval at the pallavi was sung by Shruthi and Divyashree with well-grooved phrasings. All the vocalists then shared the kalpanaswaras. Then came the kuraippu, which was initiated by Shruthi, and later, each singer took turns to render one with Shreya Kolathaya concluding it. The muththaayppu and korvai were rendered by the entire team. On the violin, Sreelakshmi’s raga elucidation and swaraprasthara were creative throughout.
Thani by Sarvesh Karthick (son and disciple of S. Karthick) on the mridangam and Sai Bharat on the Kanjira (disciple of Sunil Kumar) embellished the concert.
‘Yenitu janmada punyada phalavo’ was composed in the melodious Hindustani raag Patdeep (Rupaka tala). In Carnatic music, it is essentially Gowrimanohari without the rishabha and dhaivata in its ascent.
The team concluded the concert with the mangalam, ‘Dhareyolu’ , written by Kadatoka Manjunatha Bhagavatar and Muralidhar Bhat Kateel. This was tuned by Prarthana Sai Narasimhan in Madhyamavati. On the tambura was Sumedha Sai.
The six vocalists sang in perfect unison, with pleasant stage manners, an impeccable sense of laya and impressive manodharma.
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