134th Sri Ramothsava Sangeethothsava-2024 : Popular compositions come to life again on Kanyakumari’s violin
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134th Sri Ramothsava Sangeethothsava-2024 : Popular compositions come to life again on Kanyakumari’s violin

April 23, 2024

On the fourth day of the music series of Ramabhyudaya Sabha, Srirampet, senior violinist Vidu. Kanyakumari gave a violin concert with her student Dr. Nishanth Chandra on violin accompaniment, Vid. Sai Giridhar on mridanga and Vid. Vyasa Vittala on kanjira.

Kanyakumari has been playing violin for more than half a century now. She was the favourite accompanist for the legendary MLV and even as a child I remember attending MLV’s concerts with her accompaniment. But what is amazing is the same zeal and strength with which she plays the instrument for hours together even at the age of 72 years. Her fingers move with the same speed and clarity as it used to fifty years ago!

Kanyakumari had chosen a number of popular compositions for the evening. Except the first composition of Papanashanam Shivan ‘Sri Ganesha’ in Tilang, all the other compositions that followed were well-known compositions. ‘RAmabhakthi sAmrAjya’ in shuddha Bangala by Tyagaraja was buoyant. She intelligently used the technique of playing a series of short ragalapanas prior to presenting Swati Tirunal’s BhAvayAmi RaghurAmam’ in the same order of the ragas as they occur in the composition, which was impressive.

After a short preamble of Kamas, she asks the audience whether they want SeetApatE’ or “BrochevarevarurA’ and the audience opted for ‘BrOchEvArevarurA’ by Mysore Vasudevachar. For swarakalpana she chose a unique place – the first line of the chitteswara and here she made use of MLV’s technique of playing second speed swaras to the first speed of the sahitya chosen and vice-versa, which was unique.

Vidu. Kanyakumari giving a violin concert at Smt. Alammana Choultry in Srirampet on Apr. 20 as part of 134th Sri Ramothsava Sangeethothsava organised by Sri Ramabhyudhaya Sabha Public Charitable Trust, Mysuru. She is accompanied by Vid. Sai Giridhar on mridanga, Dr. Nishanth Chandra on violin and Vid. Vyasa Vittala on kanjira.

Kanyakumari was interactive with the audience throughout the concert and so there was no dull moment anywhere. For example, On playing a short ragalapana of Dhenuka, she extracted the name of the raga from the listeners before playing the Tyagaraja composition ‘Teliya leru RAma BHakthimArgamunu’ (Aditala). The  composition that followed was the most popular one for instrumentalists-‘Raghuvamsha sudhAmbudhi chandra’ by Patnam Subramanya Iyer. A short ragalapana of Chandrajyothi of course led to Tyagaraja’s ‘BAgAyanayya’.The main raga of the evening was Kharaharapriya which brought another popular composition of Tyagaraja ‘Chakkani rAjamArgamu yundaga’.

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Prior to the composition, Kanyakumari also played tanam, which she allowed her favourite disciple Nishanth to share. The clarity with which the senior artiste played the tanam even at the top speed was unbelievable. Swarakalpana was in ragamalika in ragas Revati, Hindola, Valachi and Shahana also played by Nishanth and Kanyakumari played the round-up swaras in all these ragas in the reverse order, which was a tip-of-the-finger play for her. Taniyavartanam was great with Sai Giridhar and Vyasa Vittala and won immense appreciation from the listeners.

After the taniyavartanam, the artiste played half a dozen compositions — ‘Pibare RAmarasam rasane’ by Sadashiva Brahmendra, ‘Meera Bajan ‘pAyOji maine Ram Ratan’ , ‘Si RAmachandra kripALu’ bhajan by Tulsidas, ‘Seetamma mAyamma’ by Tyagaraja on request, ‘Govinda Hari Govinda’ in accelerating speed and Purandaradasaru’s ‘Venkatachala nilayam’ in Sindhubhairavi.

—Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan

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