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Nadasurabhi’s Concert by TVR enthralls all

Trichur Ramachandran Concert-web Trichur Ramachandran webBy Harini Raghavan
In order to begin the New Year in a novel way Nadasurabhi had invited Sangeeta Kalanidhi, Padmabhushan, Vidwan Trichur V Ramachandran to present a special concert highlighting the various facets of his legendary guru, Sangeeta Kalanidhi Vidwan G N Balasubramaniam, popularly called GNB by thousands of his fans.
January 6th this year was GNB’s 105th birthday and on the 18th it seemed most apt to dedicate this concert to GNB and Trichur Ramachandran (TVR) was most delighted to take up this task.
In the beginning he gave a brief sketch of the great achievements of his guru in the field of Carnatic music and his contribution to the field.  Before every song he explained in what way it connected with his master.
He started the concert with a Varnam ‘Kamala vaasini’ in raga ‘Gaavathi’ composed by GNB. Once when Pt.Bade Ghulam Ali Khan was invited to Chennai, he presented raga Gaavathi in his concert.  Impressed by this raga, GNB in his concert the next day added this raga in his ‘Ragamalika’ rendering and later composed a varnam in this raga.
TVR also demonstrated the Scale and sanchaarams of this raga. A brief swara prastharam for charanam was impressive.  This was an example of GNB’s appreciation of Hindustani music  and great skill in composing songs in new ragas.  The next song, ‘Swaminatha pariplaya..’ in raga ‘Nattai’ was GNB’s favourite.  This again was followed by swaras for ‘….Parvathi sukumara.’  This song was sung by GNB in the august presence of King Chitra Tirunal of Travancore with his mother Parvathi, the ocassion being the birthday of HH Chitra Tirunal- Parvathi sukumara meaning the good son of Parvathi, in this case the king himself.
The concert day here being ‘Pradosham’ day, TVR chose to present ‘Nada tanumanisham’ in raga ‘Chittaranjani’. The swaram at Pallavi was pleasing.  Next, singing the Alapana for raga ‘Pantuvarali’, he explained how his Guru insisted that right at the beginning by first singing the outline of the raga, the artist should clearly indicate which raga it is. He sang ‘Sundaratara deham’ which is a GNB speciality.  GNB was a specialist in singing ‘Neravals’ and that too at unexpected places in a song.  TVR did the neraval for ‘ragadi samharam’ and pepped it up with catchy swara patterns.
Of the varoius new ragas that were explored by GNB ‘Veenaadhari’ – a janya of ‘Chakravakam’ – was one and the composition was ‘Sharachchandra nibhaanana’ in ‘Rupaka tala’, well presented with swaras for the pallavi line by TVR.
It is very well known to most of us that ‘Brochevarevarura..’ in ‘Kamach’ was composed by Mysore Vasudevachar.  During one of GNB’s concerts at Mysore, where Mysore Chowdiah was accompanying him on the violin, Mysore  Vasudevachar entered the concert hall and  Chowdiah noticing this, started playing ‘Kamach’ and quickly grasping it, GNB started singing ‘Brocheva…’  At the end of the concert Vasudevachar emraced GNB and said, ” I composed the song but never knew it was so nice until I heard you sing it so beautifully”. Recalling this incident TVR presented ‘Brocheva…’ once again with swarams for pallavi line.  This was the pattern followed by GNB – swara pratharam for every composition in a concert.  GNB used to compose ‘chitta swaras’ for many compositions, these were sung by TVR also. Singing the raga ‘Hindolam’, TVR presented Thyagaraja’s ‘Manasuloni..’ which was originally composed in ‘Suddha Hindolam’ which GNB adopted to ‘Hindolam’, and with an elaborate swara prastharam, landing on and around the swara – ‘Ma’, he sang a number of ‘avartanams’ and moved by emotion, said this was how GNB would hover around ‘madhyamam’ – 50 to 60 avartanams!  This received a huge applause as well!
GNB was so pleased by the raga ‘Maalavi’ sung by Devakottai Subbaraya Bhagavatar, during one of their meetings, that he immediately composed ‘ninnuvina veravvaru’ in ‘Maalavi’ and this was sung by TVR with a crisp swaras at the pallavi. ‘Kaanada’ was GNB’s another favourite raga and he composed ‘Paramuka melaniah’ in this, starting at a high octave (higher shadja)  while most of the songs in’kaanada’ start at a lower octave.  This was yet another speciality of GNB.
While singing Ragam Tanam Pallavi, GNB would sing the raga following the ‘Sopaana Paddathi’ as per the “shastras” and also following the method of Mahavaidyanatha Sivan.  Also GNB was the pioneer in doing ‘Sruthi Bedam’.  TVR demonstrated these aspects while singing  the raga ‘Shanmukhapriya’ for RTP.  The pallavi lines were ‘Koniyaada tarama  nee mahima,  in Chaturasra Triputa, Tisra Nadai, which once again is very rare and a composition of GNB.  This was followed by Ragamalika swaras in ‘Sahana, Bhupalam and Behag’
GNB’s tukkadas were so popular that his fans would be waiting for this.  TVR sang some of them – Dikkuteriyaada .., Ninnu pogadatarama in kuntalavarali-a composition of GNB, kannane en kanavanm and Radha sametha krishna to conclude the superb concert.
He did the best by introducing almost all facets of his guru in his concert also giving explanations and demonstrations which enthralled the over flowing audience at the Indian Heritage Academy in Koramangala 6th Block.
Eashwaran Bhattadiri, TVR’s disciple gave able vocal support.  Mysore Srikanth gave an excellent following on the violin according to  the moods of the artist. Arjun Kumar on the mridangam almost sang the sangathis with his mridangam and with attractive embelishments raised the level of the concert.  Ranganatha Chakravarthy on Ghatam gave an understanding and calculated support.  The programme was well appreciated by all rasikas.

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