/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": In love with the tambura: Vid. K.V. Narayanaswamy, the master musician

Thursday, January 21, 2016

In love with the tambura: Vid. K.V. Narayanaswamy, the master musician

'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert 1981

In deep admiration from R. Sachi

Whilst offering our best wishes to all our listeners worldwide for 2016, the new year, we share a wonderful concert of Sangita Kalanidhi K.V. Narayanaswamy, held in 1981 in Parvathi, Mysore. He is accompanied in the concert by two great artistes, Vid. Chalakudi Narayanaswamy, and Vid. Palghat Raghu.

The featured concert has many gems of songs, several of them embellished with the trademark KVN niraval and swaras, with the equally admired Raghu mridangam anticipation and embellishments. Throughout the 2½ hour concert, the voice, violin and mridangam are in such sweet synchrony. Dhanyasi, Athana, Shankarabharana, Yadukulakambhoji, Todi, and Khamach are among the lovely renditions.

Trying to describe Vid. KVN’s music is like holding a candle to the moon. He is the perennial favourite of all rasikas who look for melodious, truly classical, music full of sahitya bhava. In this concert, Vid. KVN sings an elaborate Todi followed by the Thyagaraja classic, Kaddanu Variki.

It is germane to reflect on the lyric of this song. The following translation (courtesy: Sri VG Govindan) gives the musical values cherished by the saint composer:

"O Lord well-praised by this tyAgarAja! Can the words of wise men, who declare that, ‘You are surely there for those who believe in You’, become untrue now?

You are such a merciful Lord who nourishes the devotees chanting Your names without wavering from their vow by even abandoning sleep, singing in a fine tune, with the voice resonating in alignment to the tambura being strummed well, with a pure mind.

Why would You not come near me in whom the wisdom has arisen to behold Your charming face shining with mirror-like cheeks? "

It is no coincidence that Vid. KVN also espoused similar musical ideals as Saint Thygaraja. In a detailed interview to Sruti magazine (Issue 27/28, December 1986) the vidwan speaks his mind clearly:

"Sruti is probably the most important thing to a musician. For getting sruti gnanam, there's no better method than tambura-playing. But the alignment of a tambura is a technically difficult task for new learners. Such people can use electronic sruti boxes, which are easy to handle, or even the plain old-fashioned sruti box with bellows. Staying perfectly in sruti and practising-that's all there is to good music.

There are many overtones in the sound of a tambura. Therefore there is need for one to be finicky about the wires to be used in the tambura. While I was teaching in college, I used to devote one whole class-period to train my students in this. I would say everyone should know how to handle a tambura and align its sruti. Just as a mridangam vidwan attends to his mridangam and keeps it correctly tuned and serviced, the vocalist should regard the tambura as his instrument and keep it perfectly aligned and neat. The tambura and sruti are what make the music possible.

I had once been to AIR-Bangalore where I met this tambura artist--I'm sorry I don't remember his name. It was a joy listen to the sound of his tambura, such was the flawless perfection with which he had both maintained it and tuned it. He said to me: "This [keeping perfect sruti] means much more to me than just a job."

On another occasion, a disciple of Pandit Jasraj strummed the tambura for me at a radio recital in Bombay. After finding what my sruti was, he got the tambura aligned in less than two minutes. It was absolutely miraculous, even divine. I confessed to him: I can't do it so superbly or so quickly."

It is interesting to note that the home of Parvathi was vouchsafed his personal tambura by Mysore Vasudevacharya and the family preserved it and donated it to Vasudevacharya Bhavana (Nadabrahma Sabha) in Mysore some years ago.

Concert Details:

K.V.Narayanaswamy -------------------- Vocal
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ---------- Violin
Palghat Raghu ----------------------------- Mridangam

on 14-4-1981 at 'Parvathi" during Ramanavami.

Song List:

01. Evari Bodhana- Abhogi – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 02. Saketa nagaranatha- Harikambhoji-Sadashiva Rao *** 03. Nee Chittamu- Dhanyasi- Thyagaraja *** 04. Bhakti Bhiksha- Shankarabharana- Thyagaraja *** 05. Ela Nee daya- Athana-Thyagaraja *** 06. Ora Jupu- Kannadagowla-Thyagaraja *** 07. Todi alapana *** 08. Kaddanuvariki- Todi- Thyagaraja *** 09.Sukhi Evvaro- kanada- Thyagaraja *** 10. Broche varu- Khamach- Vasudevacharya *** 11. Entanuchu- Yadukula Kambhoji- Thyagaraja *** 12. Janakiramana- Kapi- Vanamamaliya Jeeyar *** 13. Dasharathasuta- Jaunpuri- Vanamamaliya Jeeyar*** 14. Janati Rama –Shloka*** 15. Yake Bande- Sindhubhairavi- Vijaya Vitthala dasa *** 16. Kandu Dhanyanade-Behag-Kamalesha dasa *** 17. Kanada Tillana- Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar *** 18. Mangalam