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Friday, September 14, 2012

A Rare Artiste – N. Ramani

The festive season has begun. After Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi and Navarathri will follow soon. No better time than now to feature a beautiful flute recital of Vidwan N. Ramani! It is drawn from the treasure trove of Parvathi. In this concert of 1972, Vid. Ramani has been ably accompanied by Vid. Chalakudi Narayanaswamy, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran and Vid. H. P. Ramachar. 

(Courtesy: kutcheris.com)
 Abheri, with the evergreen favourite Nagumomu, takes centre-stage. Vidwan Ramani elaborates the raga with varied hues. There are ample Hindustani touches as well as solid Carnatic nuances. The vision built up is one of vivacity, richness and elegance. Vid. Narayanaswamy responds with an extremely sweet touch. Nagumomu, with all the paraphernalia of an elaborate and brilliant swara dialogue, follows. 

This is only a truncated set of excerpts we have been able to retrieve. But some gems shine therein. Dharmavathi, with the rare krithi Bhajana Seyaradha of Mysore Vasudevachar, follows. This raga has an unusual stimmung, with dark corners and lush foliage. Perhaps the Dandakaranya forest in Rama’s time would have been vibrant with this raga. Dharmavathi seems very well suited to sing Rama’s praises, and we give below the sahitya and translation. Vasudevachar sings of Rama in the raga Dharmavathi. Rama, the crown prince who stands as the epitome of Dharma, even when wrongfully banished into the forest for fourteen years.

 Bhajana seya rada (Dharmavathi, Rupaka) – Mysore Vasudevachar

P: bhajana sēya rādā ō manasā śrī rāmuni - Can you not sing the praises of Rama, O Mind?

AP: aja bhavēndrādi nutuni sujanāvana lōluni (bhajana) - The one extolled by Brahma, Siva and Indra; one who enjoys protecting the noble.

C: paranārī sahōdaruni paripūrṇa kāmuni dharaṇijā manōharuni para vāsudēvuni śaraṇa janādhāruni sarasīruha nētruni niravadhi sukha dāyakuni paramātmuni bhakta pāluni - The brother to others' wives; fulfiller of desires, stealer of Sita's heart; the great Vaasudeva, Supporter of those who take His refuge; lotus-eyed, giver of boundless comforts; Supreme Lord, protector of devotees. 

We came upon an exposition of this same Dharmavathi krithi by Vid. Ramani elsewhere , dated as during 2008 Ramanavami. The mood and vibrancy in that rendition is identical to the one here during Ramanavami at Parvathi in 1972. Dr. N. Ramani is truly a rare artiste with such a wonderful mastery over this difficult instrument and an exemplar of the classical idiom for over over 5 decades! No wonder Vid. Ramani has been a great favourite with rasikas in Parvathi. This is in fact the fifth concert we feature here. 

What follows Dharmavathi is quite interesting. Bhaja Govindam, in the tune made popular by MSS. Then comes a beautiful Behag tillana composed by Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman. And finally a rare Thiruppugazh in Kannada raga! A truly fulfilling listening experience in the festive season. 

Concert Details
(Ramanavami Concert at Parvathi, on 25 - 3 - 1972)
N.Ramani ------ Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ----------- Violin  
Vellore Ramabhadran ------------ Mridangam        
H.P.Ramachar ------------- Khanjira 
Song List
01-Evarani-Devamruthavarshini-Thyagaraja-6.39 ***02-Nagumomu-Abheri- Thyagaraja - 36.28***03-Bhajana seyarada-Dharmavathi - Mysore Vasudevachar-16.53*** 04-Bhaja Govindam - ragamalika - Adi Shankara-8.03***05-Jagadoddharana - Kapi - Purandaradasa-4.47***06-Tillana- Behag- Lalgudi Jayaraman-4.42***07- Thiruppugazh - Kannada - Arunagirinathar-1.39***08-Pavamana- Saurashtra-Thyagaraja-0.24