Ramakrishnan Murthy’s Tyagaraja Aradhana concert at Vani Mahal, February 19, 2023. Accompanied by RK Shriramkumar on the violin, NC Bharadwaj on the mridangam and N. Guruprasad on the ghatam. , Photo Credit: RAGU R
Ramakrishnan Murthy’s vocal concert on the occasion of Tyagaraja Aradhana 2023 at Vani Mahal was a significant tribute to the great bard. There was a notable, interesting shift in the young and popular vocalist’s presentation — the major raga and a regal kriti were the opening number sans an elaborate raga essay, but with a shloka in raga Thodi. The composition was the popular ‘Koluvamare gada’ with a surfeit of striking sangatis in the anupallavi and charanam. There was a swara segment set on the pallavi, covering both the lower and upper kala ranges.
The choice of main raga was Jaganmohini. Ramakrishnan Murthy’s raga exposition of Jaganmohini carried enough merit, touching the main features of the raga. The composition here was the beautiful ‘Mamava satatam raghunatha’ and the singer chose to go for the niraval and swarakalpana on the pallavi phrase itself. After a few rounds of swaras at two different speeds, the panchamam-centered notes culminated in a fitting finish.
The concert was an interesting mélange of some little-known and familiar kritis by Saint Tyagaraja. Earlier, a brief prelude of the raga Suddha Dhanyasi led to the famous ‘Enta nerchina’ with a few swara rounds, and ‘Narada gana lola’ in Atana with a gentle touch. The song list included a kriti ‘Vishnu vahana,’ another kriti in Sankarabharanam hailing Garuda, the sombre ‘Eti janmam’ in Varali, and the subtle ‘Vina rada na manavi’ in Devagandhari. The conclusion was prefixed with a shloka in ragamalika – Purvikalani, Nilambari and Kapi – and ended with the ‘Shobhane’ song ‘Vadana dyuti’ in Pantuvarali.
Ramakrishnan Murthy’s performance was bolstered by RK Shriramkumar on the violin—his performance was classy and there was finesse in his immaculate raga treats and swara sallies.
NC Bharadwaj on the mridangam and N. Guruprasad on the ghatam strengthened the concert with percussion that matched the tenor of the concert. Their soft start of the tani avartanam ended with great zest through sharp and impressive rhythmic exchanges.
A suggestion: Many a time, vocalists add a Tamil virutham or a Sanskrit shloka before the kriti to add value or beauty. The audience might not be familiar or understand the significance. Hence, the singer could mention a few lines about the specialty and significance of adding it to their rendition. This will help the rasikas appreciate it better.