CHENNAI: The Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust, which was established at Chennai in 1986, with musician Thirupoonthurthi Venkatesan, recently organised a memorable concert series on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the trust, whose most significant achievement has been the construction of Nama Sankirtana Mani Mandapam near the Jeeva Samadhi Temple.
Participating in Naarayana Thirtha’s festivals at Chennai, vocalist Sumithra Vasudev, a senior disciple of vocal maestro Vedavalli, gave an exclusive treatise of Narayana Thirtha’s songs. She rendered a spirited version of raga Ahiri (Viksheham) in misra chapu, revealing the intent of the composer in making the fusion of bhava, naya and raga, into an organic unit.
She settled into a comfortable position to give her best to her avid listeners. No doubt, the raga Bilahari that followed (Purya na Kamam) was rendered with full throated expressions, making full use of her manodharma, confining herself to the specified contours.
If (Bhavaye) on Todi, was imaginatively rendered to bring out the sentiments expressed by the bard, what caught our attention was her rendition of Vrittam from Krishna Leela Tarangani, which reflected the Nishkamya Bhakthi of the composer. Certainly this concert put her on a plank, with others of her class to reckon with.
In a chat, she shares her steadfast commitment to an uncompromising attitude towards musical aesthetics, and combining it effectively with creativity, and the intuitive ability as taught by her Guru Vedavalli Amma. For me, she says, “Classical music represents the right balance of rules and grammar, that set the framework of classicism.”