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Aishwarya composes a special ‘pallavi’ on M S Subbulakshmi

9-concertaAs world wide celebrations marked the birth centenary of the legendary musician Bharataratna, Dr. M S Subbulakshmi, Nadasurabhi in its own way paid tribute to the first lady of carnatic music.  September being the birth month of MS, this month’s concert was very aptly dedicated to Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi.  Vidushi Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath, a young, highly talented musician was invited to present a vocal concert on this special occasion.  Years of training and hours of practice have shaped Aishwarya into a highly skilful artist.  She rightly chose to maintain her own style, not attempting in the least to mimic the legend.
Of the very many songs of different composers in different languages popularised by MS, Aishwarya made a judicious selection, that were popular and special, yet not very regularly featured in the concerts of MS!
The popular ‘Viribhoni’ varnam in ‘Bhairavi’, in two speeds for the first half and the ‘madyama kala’ for the second half with enriched ‘sangathis’ for the ‘pallavi and charanam’ lines were refreshing.  A brief sketch of raga ‘Goulipanthu’ for the song ‘Tera teeyagarada’, of Saint Thyagaraja followed by crisp swaras brought forth a satisfactory nod by the ‘MS fans’!    A detailed rendition of raga ‘Harikambhoji’ was neat and flawless with the optimal use of her voice range.
As the audience were making wild guesses about what the song would be, she shot a pleasant surprise, with the all time favourite song from the film Meera, ‘Vandadum Cholai..’ The joy of the audience knew no bounds!  She nurtured the song with superb neraval at ‘Madhavan madurai maindan’, and vibrant swaras.  She then traced the outline of raga ‘Chintamani’ for Shamasastri’s ‘Devi brova..’ She created a sublime mood by choosing a slow tempo which was very soothing.  She restricted to a few phrases of swara for the pallavi line in the first speed which was felt appropriate.
Her spirited youthful exuberance came out in the next song, a speedy ‘Bhogindra shayinam’ of Maharaja Swathitirunal in raga ‘Kuntalavarali’. She was bubbling with energy, particularly when she was at the ‘charanam’, ‘kalithanuti sanyasi…’ in ‘madyamakala’.
Her over all control on the ‘talam’, ‘lyrics’ and ‘sruthi’ gave it a bouncy, exultant effect!  As per the tradition since she started with a Bhairavi varnam, she took up ‘Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi’ in Bhairavi.  Both the ragam and tanam were of high standard, full of creativity, with intricate ‘sancharas’ and novel passages.  Ragamalika tanam in ‘Anandabhairavi’, ‘Natabhairavi’ and ‘Salagabhairavi’ were good.  The artist herself had composed the pallavi, “ Shubha pradaam, Shubha lakshmeem, Shubha sangeetha priyaam smarami”, in Sanskrit,  as a tribute to this great musician for whose birth centenary celebration she was singing!  Her interest was to have the entire pallavi in Sanskrit.  For that reason Subbulakshmi was made auspicious by making it Shubhalakshmi!    Pallavi was set to ‘Khanda jati, Triputa tala in 2 kalais’.  With the usual pattern of varying speeds she presented it accurately with good set of swaras that followed. The post ‘Tani avartanam’,  request from the audience for the lengthy  ‘ragamalika’ composition, ‘Bhavayamai raghuramam’ made her ponder for a while, then with the nod of the organisers, she came back with the original enthusiasm to sing it fully, with no compromise . ‘Jagadhodharana..’ in ‘Kapi’ bore the stamp of MS and she concluded with ‘Maitreem Bhajata…’of Kanchi Paramacharya. She is a confident, hard working, promising musician who will shine very well in the years to come.
As a senior violinist, Vidushi Nalina Mohan gave good support.  Her Bhairavi was good.  Vidwan Anoor Anathakrishna Sharma on mridangam proved his excellence and skill, playing melodiously, with good understanding and support.  Vidwan S N  Narayanamurthy on Ghatam was equally good, matching the challenges posed by AAK Sharma.  Both of them displayed mastery over their respective instruments in the tani avartanam.
– Harini Raghavan

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