A vocal concert by Sudha Raghunathan at the 21st annual music festival of cultural association Nayaki at Abhirami Chidambaram Hall was a memorable one that enthralled the rasikas. Senior vocalist K R Saranathan was honoured by Nayaki with famed danseuse Padma Subrahmanyam extolling the services of the veteran.
The ambience of the auditorium helped ‘concentrated listening’, conducive for critical appreciation which is essential to furthering the art. If the opening composition, particularly Karunai Seivai composed by Papanasam Sivan in the raga Hamsadwani, rendered on the Sampradaya mode and the beautiful swara pattern, twined with the lyrics, gave a charming glory to the rendition. The Mariada Khaadaiya in the raga Bhairavam composed by Thyagaraja that followed, with an extensive alapana, tinged with layam, was of high merit.
Her elaboration of the composition reflected the mood of the composer and was marked by musical imagery.
When she transcended to raga Nagesvarali of Maha Vaidyanatha Iyer, its emotive facets embedded in the kriti was portrayed. Towards the end, she explored the potency of Thodi raga, within the confines of sampradaya, in a modulate style of her own. On the whole, the concert showed her music consciousness with bava-laden music, adding grace. But I felt the exuberance of delivery was wanting, and we could appreciate the entire presentation, with lessened exhilaration. We admired the robustness of classicism of this famed vocalist.
It is no wonder Nayaki has lived up to the ideals it set for itself and has registered an impact on the cultural life of Chennai.
Carnatic music must be preserved to bring out a variety in this art form. We need to appreciate that creative performances are presented at the altar of this great art by votaries like Devaki Muthiah who was awarded a doctorate by University of Madras for her thesis on Tamil literature recently. We are witnessing a renaissance in this cultural era, and let us hope the musical ambience pervades throughout the year via the institutions like Nayaki.