By Pooja Dev
Dayananda Saraswathi once said, “Though music transcends language, culture and time, though notes are the same, Indian music is unique because it is evolved, sophisticated and melodies are defined.” Thus, it is very clear that Indian music is the greatest asset that our ancestors have given us. And we, Indians are the ones, who can protect and nurture our very own art, which is into our blood. May be, it was this thought which provoked to bring ‘Swarashraya Gana Sabha’ into existence.
Swarashraya Gana Sabha, which aims to promote and propagate Indian Music – Vocal, was brought to life by the guidance and ardent support of K. Sandesh Bhargav — the pillar of Kala Sandesha Prathishtana with Harshini Purushotham as its Managing Trustee. Fostering the Indian culture, tradition, spirituality and to spread the fragrance of Indian Classical music are also included in the objectives of this organisation.
With a view to accomplish its purpose, this organisation had organised a two days’ festival named ‘Geetharnava’ where the 1st day was exclusively devoted for the senior Classical vocalist and 2nd day for two young Indian Classical vocalists. The festival took place in cultural collaboration with Kala Sandesha Prathishtana on Mar. 11 and 12 at Ganabharathi (Veene Seshanna Bhavana), Mysuru.
This festival, led by Harshini Purushotham, who undoubtedly had shadowed her Guru K. Sandesh Bhargav in organising a festival, marked its triumphant victory. Harshini is a software engineer working at Chennai, and as a matter of fact, she is a Bharatanatyam Dancer, who has taken up a step towards development of Indian Classical Music.
Striving to protect it, and demonstrating that, it is not impossible to nurture the Indian art, though out of your vicinity, is no easy task. Yet, Harshini was successful in proving her capability in way of organising a festival at Mysuru, being put up at Chennai.
The Trustees Kalavathi, Mamatha, Chandrakala and G. Manu, and the host of passionate and zealous Executive Committee Members contributed to the success of the festival.
Day-1: Geetharnava-2017 was inaugurated by a distinguished industrialist and a commendable art patron, K.V. Murthy. Sangeetha Kalotthunga Dr. R.S. Nandakumar (Renowned Karnataka Classical music scholar) and Prof. G.S. Ramanujam (Famous Mridangist of the city) were the chief guests. Natyacharya Prof. K. Ramamurthy Rao (Director, Noopura Cultural Trust, Mysuru) presided over the function.
The evening witnessed the Karnataka Classical Music concert by Dr. R.S. Nandakumar, who was inspired by the idea of doing something new within the periphery of the traditions.
Opening the concert with Varna, composed by Patnam Subramanya lyer, in one of the most exceptional Raagas — Devakriya, that too in Thrishra Jaathi was highly appreciated by the audience. Next, he took up the Keerthana in the composition of Mysuru Jagannath on Lord Ganesh, “Vethandasyam Tam Namami” in Naata Raga, which came out flawlessly in his voice. It was followed by “Devadi Deva” in Sunadavinodini Raga and “Bhajare Manasa” in Abheri Raga, the Keerthanas composed by K. Vasudevacharya, which were the treat to the listeners.
Subsequently, he took-up the ‘Pallavi’, the most difficult item, which challenges the proficiency of the scholar. He proved his expertise by implementing the ‘Grahabedha’ or ‘Pitch Transpose’ to the swaras of Mohana Raga, and transforming it to 5 ragas namely, Madhyamavathi, Hindhola, Atana, Bhoopaala and Neelambari, with the use of only two words, “Geetharnavodithe Mohanaangi.” This Pallavi was composed on spot and was dedicated to the Geetharnava festival.
Dr. Nandakumar has a proclivity for embellishing each number with a surfeit of swaras in order to paint the varied shades of the raga. The dawdling delineation of the raga highlighted its features while the artistically crafted swara-kalpanas flowed with ease. This session also consisted of scintillating “Endendu Intha Chodya”, a Mundige in the composition of Kanakadasa and Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi, “Pravisha Radhe Madhava” in Peelu Raaga. The concert which ended with Dashavathara Mangalam in Suruti Raga was thoroughly enjoyed and cherished by the art lovers.
Dr. Nandakumar was ably supported by Vidu. Veena Suresh on violin and Prof. G.S. Ramanujam on mridanga.
Day-2: On the second day, Geetharnava-2017 offered a platform to two young artistes to find their individualism in the field of Indian Classical Music – Vocal.
The first concert was by Vidu. Sumana Vedanth, a Karnataka Classical Music scholar. Vidu. Sumana started her rendition with a Kruthi, “Mahaganapathi Ni Mahima”, in Hamsadhvani raga. That was the perfect opening for her recital. She took up a Kruthi “Nasamani” in Nasamani raga in the composition of Muttuswami Deekshith, which was greatly admired by the audience. Subsequently, she chose the Kruthi, “Shrungara Shekara,” composed by Mysuru Sadashiva Rao in Poorvikalyani Raga, which proved to be the paramount in her voice. “Hyange Daasanaadi,” a Devaranama in Ahir Bhairavi raga, composed by Kanakadasa, and “Karedalu Magana,” another Devaranama by Helavanakatte Giriyamma in Raga Yaman, brought out the best out of Sumana’s voice.
She was accompanied by Vidu. M.A. Jyothi on violin and Vid. Malola Simha on mridanga.
The second and last concert of the day was by Pt. Venkatesh Kulkarni, a renowned Hindustani vocalist. He started his performance with a melodious evening Raga Yaman. The introductory ‘Auchar’ created the atmosphere of bliss and he started with Bada Khayal, with two Bandish, “Mera Mann Bandalino” set to Vilambit Ek-Tal and “Avagunana Kijiye” set to Drut Teen-Tal, that left the audience mesmerised.
Later, he proceeded towards another Khayal in Raag Bhageshri with “Binati Suno Mori” set to Madhyalaya Jhactal and “Kaun Karat Tore” set to Teen Tal came out with great ease. The Devaranama, “Hyage Mecchisali Ninna,” a composition of Purandaradas in Thodi Raag, filled the viewers soulfully satiated. The recital concluded with a Devaranama composed by Helavanakatte Giriyamma, “Honnu Tha Gubbi” in Bhairavi Raag.
Therefore, it is very evident that “Geetharnava-2017,” a festival organised by Swarashraya Gana Sabha was a great success, which initiated the step towards fortification of our very own Classical Music, which is losing its importance in the verge of modernisation. And yes, if the organisations like Kala Sandesha Prathishtana help these kind of Sabhas in accomplishment of their purpose, there is no doubt that Indian Art can spread its glorious tentacles throughout the globe.