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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vidwat and Manodharma in the Carnatic Tradition

Vid. Saketharaman, K Puttu Rao Memorial Festival 2013

Narration by R. Sachi

We are happy to share with rasikas an excellent concert of the young vidwan Saketharaman from the 2013 festival.

As Jon Higgins once explained why he chose to learn and sing Carnatic music, our classical tradition seems to clearly emphasise first and foremost Vidwat and Manodharma. The voice is important of course but comes as a secondary attraction. This thought comes as we listen to Vid. Saketharaman. He has developed a strong vocal style with the energetic Manodharma of a Semmangudi and the solid classical vidwat of the Lalgudi bani. A professional “techie” ( M. Tech in software engineering), he also performs as a top artiste on the radio, TV and all major music festivals. He is one of the foremost disciples of the legendary maestro Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman.

Wikipedia: Saketharaman's mother, Vijaya Santhanam, is a postgraduate in Chemistry and an ardent follower of Shri Shri Krishna Premi Swamigal. His father, Santhanam, is a Chartered Accountant. His elder sister, Vishaka Hari is a well-known Harikatha exponent. His wife, Vidhya, is a doctor. The couple reside in Bangalore.

Coming to the present concert, the two major pieces are an elaborate Brindavana Saranga (“Ranga Puravihara”) and Shanmukhapriya (“Marivere”). The way Vid. Saketharaman presents Brindavana Saranga is fascinating. It is very Carnatic and yet brings out all the rakti in this raga which composer Muthuswami Dikshitar imported from the north of the Vindhyas into Carnatic tradition. Vid. Nagaraj, a stalwart accompanist on the violin reigning at the top for some decades now, wields the bow to further that exotic feeling invoked by this very appealing raga.

Shanmukhapriya is the main piece. Lasting over an hour, it gives an extremely wholesome feeling. This raga seems to have been a favourite of the guru Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, and you will find his splendid RTP in the Parvathi archives. A raga with limited representation of compositions from the Trinity, it has found very high popularity thanks to the efforts of post-trinity composers starting with Sri Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer. The raga features at the top among choices for RTP and major krithi renditions in almost every other concert these days. Vid. Saketharaman brings his stamp of manodharma and paints a very evocative canvas of this raga. Vid. Nagaraj is also in his element. The percussion duo of Vid. Ravishankar and his brother Shashishankar have added lustre as usual to the concert.

Sri. K. Srikantiah in his valedictory speech at the conclusion of the third annual Puttu Rao festival, thanks the audience for their enthusiastic support and also compliments the young Saketharaman for his brilliant Shanmukhapriya, especially the unique swarakalpana. Mr. Srikantiah also compliments the highly successful Nagaraj and mentions how he gave him a break by featuring him with Yesudas some 25 years ago.

Concert Details

Saketharaman ----vocal
M.Nagaraj ------violin
B.Ravishankar ----Mridangam
on 4-9-2013 during K.Puttu Rao Festival, Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore

Song List

01 NeeveGatiYani-Lalgudi Jayaraman-Nalinakanti Varnam*** 02 Pranamamyaham -Vasudevachar-Gaula*** 03 RangaPuraVihara-Muthuswami Dikshitar-Brindavanasaranga*** 04 Toli janma-Thyagaraja-Bilahari*** 05 MarivereDikkevarayya-Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer- ShanmukhaPriya*** 06 KandenaGovindana-Purandara Dasa-Chandrakauns*** 07 Enna Tavam Saidanai-Papanasam Sivan-Kapi*** 08 Sri. KS Speech*** 09 Tillana-LGJ-Shivaranjani***