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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carnatic vocal music - a grand idea

Vid. O. S. Thyagarajan – Ramanavami 1995

An R. Sachi Text

We are happy to present a fine vocal concert by Vid. O. S. Thyagarajan from the 1995 Ramanavami festival.

Every time a responsive rasika listens to good vocal Carnatic music, he cannot help wondering what a grand idea it represents in terms of a musical experience.

To begin with, its melodic canvas gracefully spans three octaves. A good vocalist has to sound melodious over a range. The tambura drone provides a vibrancy to the silences as well as the sounds throughout. The prayerful words take us right away to a different world of thoughts and sensibilities. Add to that the power of rhythmic structure and the accompaniment of a good violin and mridangam: a well presented vocal Carnatic music concert turns out to be a magnificent experience. And when a vocalist maintains that level for well over two hours, it speaks of mastery. We are reminded of all this when we listen to this very good concert of OST.

OST sets the stage with a beautiful rendering of Thyagaraja’s Meru Samana.

Everything about this song is grand- Mayamalavagowla, one of the grandest ragas in the Indian classical system (= Bhairav in HM); the tempo of the song that treads a regal pace; and the theme of Rama’s exquisite appearance. As the song progresses in this concert, we notice the excellence of the vocalist’s and violinist’s manodharma and attunement. The mridangam of Vid. Ganesh is also very responsive. We are surely going to have a grand concert. As they sometime advertise, “Satisfaction Guaranteed”.

After more Thyagaraja songs, OST takes up Kaddanuvariki as the main item with elaborate raga alapana, song rendition, and niraval and swaras. Vid. Nagaraj’s violin speaks eloquently and very melodiously throughout. Todi is a raga without parallel in terms of depth, musical possibilities and suitability for vocal rendering. In this song, Thyagaraja makes a point how a good musical rendition can be a grand devotional offering. So he hints that if you invoke the lord in the right way, He will surely appear to give you a grand experience.

( Both lyrical translations quoted above are from
The Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja )

Concert Details

Parvathi Ramanavami 1995 Mysore held on 16-4-95.
O.S.Thyagarajan ----- vocal
Mysore Nagaraj ---- violin
K.R.Ganesh ------ Mridangam

Song List

01 Meru samana- Mayamalavagowla-Thyagaraja*** 02 Sri Rama Padama-Amrutavahini- Thyagaraja *** 03 Ranjani Raga*** 04 Durmargachara-Thyagaraja *** 05 Orajoopuchu –Kannadagowla- Thyagaraja *** 06 Todi Raga*** 07 Kaddanu variki-Thayagaraja *** 08 Sloka-Sri Raghavam – Sahana –Vandanamu- Thyagaraja *** 09 Neene Anathabandhu – Shubhapantuvarali - *** 10 Uyyalaloogavayya – Nilambari- Thyagaraja *** 11 Mangalam***