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Friday, December 23, 2022

The Excellence of Flute in Carnatic Music - Vid. N. Ramani

Vid. N. Ramani - Sri Ramanavami 1980

The world of Carnatic music is best described in two words - Sangeeta and Sahitya. The compositions of the great vaggeyakaras are like mantras that invoke the Nada Brahmam in us as we listen to a chaste rendition of their songs.

But as सङ्गीतरत्नाकर declares, गीतं वाद्यं तथा नृत्यं  त्रयं सङ्गीतमुच्यते - the trinity of Song, Instrument and Dance is Sangeeta.

The Srimad Bhagavatam declares that as soon as Sage Narada received spiritual instruction from his father, Lord Brahma, he began travelling the three worlds, singing the glory of Sri Hari, accompanying himself on the Veena!

But what about pure instrumental music? The instrumental soloists have etched a permanent place for themselves in Carnatic music. Notable among them, and the favourites of the home of Parvathi, were Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, Vid. Chitti Babu, Vid. Mandolin Shrinivas, and, last but not the least, Vid. N. Ramani.

The Wikipedia informs us that Vid. Ramani was born into a musician family in Tiruvarur. He learnt the art of the flute from his maternal uncle and legend Vid. Mali, and carved a significant place for himself with the best of the gayaki style of Carnatic music combining his instrumental virtuosity with adherence to the Pathantara of songs rendered by the best vocalists of the time.

In this concert, Vid. Ramani is accompanied by the maestro Vid. M. Chandrasekharan on the violin, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam and Vid. M.A. Krishnaswamy on the ghatam. The repeated exclamations of "Bhale", 'Bhesh", and "Kya Baat Hai" can be heard peppering the wonderful flow of music. Notable renditions are Hindolam, with wonderful essays by the flute and violin, and also Kharaharapriya, an eternal favourite of Sri. K. Srikantiah.

Concert Details

Ramanavami 1980
N. Ramani - Flute
M. Chandrasekharan - Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam
M.A. Krishnamurthy - Ghatam
Date 26 March 1980

Song List
1. Chani Todi Teve - Harikambhoji - Thyagaraja
2. Sri Narada Nada - Kanada - Thyagaraja
3. Enta Muddo - Bindumalini- Thyagaraja
4. Manasulo Ni Marmamu - Hindolam - Thyagaraja
5. Palintuvo - Kantamani - Thyagaraja
6. Rama Nee Samanamevaru - Kharaharapriya - Thyagaraja
7. Ni Dayache Rama? - Yadukula Kambhoji - Thyagaraja
8.  Bhajan- Shivaranjani
9. Bhajan - Sindu Bhairavi
10. Arumugam Arumugam - Kuntalavarali- Arunagirinathar (Thiruppugazh)

(The recording is 42 years old and any shortcomings may be kindly excused.)