A Slow and Sweet Rendition of the Ragas

Narayana Vishwanath

She is an artist with fine awareness and grip on the idiom of ragas and rich repertoire of classical compositions, with a mind, open to new ideas, all of which

has given an innovative and interpretative, quality to her rendition with a fine blend of aesthetics. 

She is none other than Saraswathi Rajagopalan, the leading Veena artist with years of experience in AIR, Delhi. She hails from a music loving family, who started  her solo performance from the age of 12, having been, trained by stalwarts like Sangeetha Kalanidhi KS Narayanasamy and Radhamani Sharma of Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer School. As she began, it was revealing, that her agenda was to distil the essence of the ragas. The navagraha kriti, in raga Atana of Deekshitar, taken up, provided her the best prospects for slow and sweet rendition.

The Vagadeeswari kriti of Thyagaraja, taken up next, with a well knit  swara passages, paved the way for bringing out the intent of the composer.

The piece-de-resistence of the evening was in Dhamavathi Ragam, Tanam, Pallavi (Kandajathi Triputa Thalam), with suitable and scholarly neraval, and a charming spell of swaras landing on an interesting pallavi with Trikalam Tisram and Neraval, in Ragamalika, (Dharmavathi Behag, Dwajavanthi,  Hamsanandhi and Valaji).

Her playing carried sensitivity, speed, depth and the swiftness, never made the swaras, fall out of the line.  Her careful watch and control on this,  provided more comfort  for the artist, in performing strategy. Her music  undoubtedly reflected the core values of the Sampradaya of carnatic music and is known for her strict, adherence to classicism particularly, her ‘Vilambakala  expositions, were soaked with Bhakthi and Bava, that left the audience spell bound. She is a founder member of the National Veena Foundation, a top grade AIR artist, a receipient of the Kalaimamani Award for 2006 and winner of several awards, including from Music  Academy.

Sri Annamacharya Project of North America felicitated Saraswathi for her significant contribution to classical music, in promoting cultural heritage and performing arts of India in the US, during their fifth  veena conference in 2013. She has been responsible in organising veena festivals in Delhi, when many Vainiks got the opportunity to perform and this has caught on very well, and  many have started organising veena festivals else where also.

She explains that, as veena combines very well with the instruments like sitar, flute, sarod and rudra veena, the ‘Jugal Bhandhi’ concerts have always provided her with wonderful experience in interacting with different artists.

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