As composers have brought out the kritis with infinite poetic imagination and sheer simplicity of expression, I believe, we must sing them by reflecting the ardent outpouring of the intense urge steeped in the Bhakthi Rasa, by understanding the meaning of the songs, emphasises, senior musician vocalist Sugantha Kalamegam, reflecting the thought process of her gurus, vocal maestro T K Govinda Rao and Trivandrum Venkataraman, a great veena exponent.
Vocalist Sugantha Kalamegam is an artiste of repute, one of the few top-graded artiste of All India Radio (AIR), well known for upholding the tradition of this art form.
With a totally sruti-aligned voice, Sugantha’s raga elaboration, neraval and swaram-singing have won her acclaim. It is no surprise that the Music Academy, Chennai, has chosen her as the best female vocalist of the year thrice. She has even performed in the UK, France and USA.
As a strong believer of Gurukula system, she is convinced that one can learn the nuances of music better through mano dharma sangeetham. She is emphatic when she says that musicians should concentrate on sahitiya bhava to appreciate the beauty of the composition keeping its meaning in mind, instead of solely concentrating on ‘musicality with a mellifluous voice’.
The subject of ragas fascinates this artiste, who affirms that only the time-tested ragas like Thodi, Bhairavi, Kalyani and Khambodi have a wide classical canvas and cannot be replaced by the ‘new ragas’ by singing in scalar module and traversing the notes up and down. She says that ‘aesthetics’ cannot be introduced, but only be infused’ as kalpana sangeetham (extempore) becomes kalpitha sangeetham (memorised). She prefers to preserve our musical heritage and is emphatic that one should not just aim at ‘mass appeal’, but deliver the kriti with proportional elaborations, revealing the divinity, with the development of a ‘voice culture’ that can produce dasavidha gamagams.
What are the most essential requirements in the musical arena that she would emphasis as a torch-bearer of this great tradition? “First is devotion to the guru and the other is great love for our imperishable heritage of Carnatic music and the desire to preserve this heritage for our prosperity,” she concludes.
We are in total agreement, indeed.