/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": Manasuna Talaci Mai Maraci – The Wizardry of Vidwan Chittibabu

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Manasuna Talaci Mai Maraci – The Wizardry of Vidwan Chittibabu

It is well known that in the sixties, Mysore was a paradise of regal beauty, verdant quietude and social graces that people from Madras and Bangalore would love to escape to. The quiet nights would be free from auto rickshaw noises. In fact we children could occasionally catch the distant roar of big cats from the Mysore Zoo! One so inclined could meditate, or listen to choice music, or read a book, and dissolve into sleep in a tranquil mood.

The home of "Parvathi", accustomed to the continual flow of great music, had a preference for aural treats, and many a great musician would be on hand to perform for the family in a soiree. Those fortunately present would later recall with a faraway look these musical experiences. So transpired also this episode that we are delighted to share.

[ Vidwan Chitti Babu in "Parvathi" 1960s ]

A young and handsome prince of a vainika started making waves in Madras during early '60s. Mr. Srikantiah's brother, Mr. K. Lakshminarayana Rao ( who in those days lived in Mylapore, Madras in the shadows of The Music Academy ), introduced him to the family and thus came the vainika to stay in Mysore for a few days. The gracious hospitality of the family to this charmer was rewarded by some veena music that was truly a treat for the gods. Hardly 30 years of age, Vidwan Chittibabu was different from run of the mill musicians. He was bold in his veena play, and emphasized melody uniquely. His music had instant appeal to the layman as well as connoisseur. During his stay, he would play inside the house, without accompaniment, for the delight of the family.

It was one of those quiet nights. Mr. Srikantiah and family were oblivious to their surroundings. Nobody looked at the clock. Vidwan Chittibabu was in his element. He played a glorious ragam tanam pallavi in Kambhoji. And proceeded with his famous songs- Kommalo Kokila, Veda... Mr. Srikantiah was highly impressed with his melodious playing, soft strumming, faultless notes and perfect laya gnana. Forcing himself out of his thrall, he whispered a blessing to the young maestro. He predicted a very bright future for him and said that there was no doubt that he would reach the peak of success and popularity in the music world. Just then, the clock struck twelve, and Time nodded its “Tathasthu” to the blessing.

This, luckily, has been captured on tape. And we are pleased to share this with rasikas.

When Saint Thyagaraja says, with envy, how Seetha and Lakshmana are fortunate to serve Rama, standing on either side, and as a result find themselves in enthralled reverie, we can relate to his sentiments. Pakkala Nilabadi, in the Kharaharapriya raga that is so intrinsic to Parvathi concerts, is the next item we feature. Vidwan Chittibabu, in the company of Vidwan Palghat Raghu, has excelled in this song. He has brought out the majesty of Kharaharapriya, as well as its rich melody. The song, with interesting swara dialogue, makes this a feast. What Thyagaraja says of the good fortune of Seetha and Lakshmana (Manasuna Talaci Mai Maraci) to lose themselves in devotion, applies to our feelings when we listen to Vidwan Chittibabu.

Vidwan Chittibabu was a rage in the Carnatic music world in later years. He played at Parvathi during various festivals more than a dozen times. His concerts drew full houses and the pandal had no standing space even. Unfortunately we do not have all those concert recordings. But we do have some more items on tape and we are happy to share some of them this time. More, later!

The audio in this posting

1. Informal recording during Chittibabu's first visit *** 02. Pakkala Nilabadi – Kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja *** 03. Govindam iha – Bageshri – Narayana Tirtha ***


Item 02: Palghat Raghu - K.S.Manjunath (Ramanavami -- 20-4-75)
Item 03: Vellore Ramabhadran - Vaidyanathan - H.P.Ramachar ( Ganesh Festival - 31.8.68 )

There is a beautiful article on the Mellifluous Veena by Mr. B.M.N. Murthy below (click to magnify). It explains the endless charm of this divine instrument.

And, who is author Mr. B.M.N. Murthy? The Hindu (click here) chooses to characterize him as "The man who knows everything".