Every ragam carries a certain emotion says Ranjani Sivakumar

Smara Sada Manasa in Bilahari ragam, a composition by Swathi Thirunal, captivated the audience with its enchanting sangathis and tunes.
The various and distinguished sangathis, ragalapanas, gathis, and swaras, created a trance of joy for music lovers.
The various and distinguished sangathis, ragalapanas, gathis, and swaras, created a trance of joy for music lovers.

HYDERABAD: The chirping birds, the swaying leaves, the light breeze, and the flowering tree dropping its petals as gracefully as a drizzle of the oncoming monsoon — all these elements came together to create an enchanting setting at Saptaparni, Banjara Hills. This picturesque ambiance celebrated the art of Carnatic vocal music with exponents Ranjani Sivakumar, Dinakar Ramaraju, and Chilumula Ramakrishna, merging to create an evening of unparalleled delight. The mridangam struck endlessly in rhythm, perfectly complementing the gamakams of the vocals, while the violin briskly swayed through its splendid tunes, enhancing the exemplary performances. It was a sight to behold and an art form to experience.

The various and distinguished sangathis, ragalapanas, gathis, and swaras, along with the intense involvement and enjoyment of the audience, frequent and endless applause, created a trance of joy for music lovers. The concert opened with a varnam, an important part of Carnatic music, in Darbar ragam — Chalamela Chesevu. The expertise, gamakams, perfectly placed notes, and unshakable rhythms set an energetic vibe for the concert’s commencement.

The songs presented showcased a rich diversity of languages including Telugu, Malayalam, Sanskrit, and Hindi, with compositions by Tyagaraja, Muthu Swamy Dikshitar, Swathi Tirunal, and Soordar. This musical bonanza amused the audience, catering to diverse tastes. “The beautiful thing about the Carnatic music design of a concert is that we are able to present different things like how you would in a bouquet. You bring the beauty of many things together and try to complement them. If a particular song has a certain quality, the song that follows will offer a different variety,” said Ranjani Sivakumar.

Smara Sada Manasa in Bilahari ragam, a composition by Swathi Thirunal, captivated the audience with its enchanting sangathis and tunes. “Any religion asks to make us better people, but strangely, it’s going off-tangent these days. I think when we immerse ourselves in an atmosphere of goodness, it brings out a desire to be better. Smarasada Manasa means ‘always remember, oh my heart,’” shared Ranjani, praising the lyrics.

Vakulabharanam, a ragam common in many cultures yet rarely chosen by artistes for stage performance, was presented in a keerthanam by Tyagaraja, Ye Ramuni. Adding a cherry on top, Ranjani explained the raga to the audience and sang excerpts of Asaan and Hava Nagila to provide a clearer understanding. “The concept of melody in music is so universal that it transcends human-made boundaries,” she said.

A “Western Note by Waltz” was then sung with a Carnatic makeover. The audience was asked to sing notes of PGG-SGG, making the evening lively and engaging. Many young singers from various colleges and bands enjoyed this interactive session. “Having the audience as passive listeners is one way, but building small bridges of interaction goes a long way,” Ranjani exclaimed.

The concert concluded with a fast-paced, vibrant thillana in Khamas ragam. Each song painted a vivid image in the listeners’ minds. The perfect synchronisation of the vocals, violin, and mridangam provided an enthralling experience for the rasikas.

When asked about the trajectory of Carnatic music among upcoming young artists, Ranjani remarked, “I feel the trend is only positive. There are so many collaborations happening on stage, not just on Instagram. Different artistes are collaborating with dancers to present something unique. I myself have done storytelling with dancers.”

She further emphasised an artist’s duty, saying, “We must ignite the spark of joy that music can bring. In whichever way you can do it, you should. Be it Indian music or any other music.”

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