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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Core of Carnatic Music’s Appeal is the Krithi



We feature this time a typical ebullient concert of Vid. Maharajapuram Santhanam. Vid. Santhanam established himself as a classical concert crowd puller in the ‘70s and ‘80s with his virtuosity, voice timbre, and concert repertoire. He was particularly popular in rendering the songs with sowkhyam and madhuryam, especially the ragamalikas. In this concert, we have a major example, Nalinakanti-mati, with a huge bouquet of ragas.

Gurvayoor Dorai, H.P.Ramachar, Maharajapuram Santhanam, M.Chandrasekharan

We feel that the principal appeal of Carnatic music lies in its ocean of krithis or lyrics. The krithis, especially of the Trinity, Purandara Dasa and other great composers, provides an incomparable fund of joy, with devotional meaning as well as musical richness. Many musicians confess that to master a raga, what they must do is learn and practice well the major krithis in that raga. So the krithi goes beyond just wordy delight. The krithi is in fact the infrastructure of Carnatic music.

Vid. Santhanam covers a wide array of krithis in this concert. From his favourites like Mohana and Garudadhwani, he also forays into many other popular numbers. His obvious delight in rendering the “Nalinakantimati” ragamalika is infectious. The accompanists- Vid. M. Chandrasekharan and Vid. Guruvayur Dorai, have provided spirited, innovative accompaniment. As we have said in this blog elsewhere, it is not difficult to understand why Vid. Chandrasekharan has been a perennial favourite for violin accompaniment. His totally committed, virtuosic, tonally nectarine, accompaniment has made many a concert in Parvathi memorable. Similarly, Vid. Dorai is a very solid mridanga vidwan and his deep and measured strokes always enhance the musical impact.

We also want to quote the translation from The Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja for the Garudadhwani song. Like many others, this song’s musical appeal somewhat hides the deep spiritual import of the saint composer’s thoughts:

It is only fitting that Saint Thyagaraja’s image adorns the stage in the photo of this concert.


Ramanavami Festival, Parvathi (3 April 1977)

Vid. Maharajapuram Santhanam – Vocal
Vid. M. Chandrasekharan – Violin
Vid. Guruvayur Dorai – Mridangam
Vid. H.P. Ramachar – Khanjira

Song List

01. Seetapate----- Khamach- Thyagaraja *** 02. Samajavaragamana-Hindola- Thyagaraja *** 03. Tatvamerugatarama-Garudadhwani- Thyagaraja *** 04. Evarura-Mohana- Thyagaraja *** 05. Sloka & Lalgudi Tillana – Brindavani*** 06. Nalinakantimati-Ragamalika- Madurai T Krishnaswamy *** 07. Ragamailka – continued *** 08. Tungateera- Salagabhairavi – Kamalesha Vitthala Dasa*** 09. Bansiwale – Mohanakalyani – Swati Tirunal *** 10. Mangalam ***