Bhagini Ramotsava – Music Festival: Carrying the legacy of artistic excellence
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Bhagini Ramotsava – Music Festival: Carrying the legacy of artistic excellence

May 6, 2024

City’s Bhagini Seva Samaja has organised a week-long music concert series ‘Bhagini Ramotsava’ at BSS Vidyodaya in Krishnamurthypuram, Mysuru.

On the first day of the series on Apr. 5, Sri Vishwaprasanna Teertha Swamiji of Sri Pejawar Mutt graced the occasion with his holy presence and blessed each one of the audience personally with ‘phala mantrakshate.’

The first day of the concert series was in the loving memory of city’s well-known, renowned violinist Vid. Mahadevappa. There were two concerts arranged on the day. For both the concerts Vid. K.U. Jayachandra Rao accompanied on mridanga and Vid. Roopak Kallurkar on tabla.

The first concert, which lasted for almost an hour, was a violin duet by the kids Vid. Sumanth Manjunath and  Vidu. Malavi Manjunath.

Sumanth and Malavi hail from a family where almost every second member of the family is trained in music. No wonder these kids have taken music seriously, especially when they see the huge success of their father Vid. Manjunath and uncle Vid. Nagaraj in the field. Their grandfather, known for his strict discipline in training and teaching, would surely have ensured that the kids take music seriously, especially when the people at home had created an ambiance filled with Karnatak music to build their interest.

Pejawar Seer Sri Vishwaprasanna Teertha Swamiji lighting the lamp to inaugurate ‘Bhagini Ramotsava – Music Festival’ yesterday.

The siblings commenced the concert with ‘MahagaNapatim Manasa SmarAmi’ by Muthuswami Dikshitar in Nata set to Eka tala and embellished it with brisk swaras. Little Malavi, hardly thirteen years old, surprised the audience with her Kanada ragalapana which led to ‘MAmava SadA janani’, a composition of Sri Swati Tirunal.

Sumanth’s delicacy of form and rhythmic spontaneity were evident in the kalpana swara structure. In the next composition Sumanth excelled in his brief but good alapana of Bahudari leading onto the popular composition of Tyagaraja ‘BrovabArama Raghu RAma’ and decorated it with charming and lively swaras.

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Sumanth’s assuring smiles thrown frequently at his younger sister was appreciative. On request, the kids played ‘PAhi mAm sri rAja rAjEshwari’ at the   end of the concert.

In a very short span of time, Sumanth has shown tremendous improvement in his playing. His constant exposure and concert experience with his father are carrying him to greater heights in the field. Young Malavi has had her maiden performance at The Yathiraja Mutt, Bengaluru, recently. This was her maiden performance in Mysuru with her elder brother.

The brothers Nagaraj and Dr Manjunath have not only made a mark in the traditional concert style but have also worked to broaden audience appeal by creating collaborative projects with world-renowned musicians while retaining the spirit of the art form. Deeply rooted in classical vocabulary, their cheerful mood, right from their opening ‘NArAyaNa ninna nAmada smaraNeya’ by Purandaradasaru in Shuddha Dhanyasi was enjoyable. Kalyani awoke the rakthi in the raga, producing charm and tranquility. The composition chosen was ‘EtAvunnarA’ by Tyagaraja, in which Tyagaraja asks Rama where he is located — whether he is located in the embodiments of Mahalakshmi Seeta, Gowri and Saraswati… or in the great elements – earth, water, fire, air and space.. or in the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva..?

The composition with the raga dissertation glowed with pride in the brothers’ hands, as they traversed the octaves with dedication and enterprise. The swarakalpana also included ragamalika swaras in Kannada by Nagaraj, Shahana by Manjunath and Shuddha Sarang by both giving space for taniyavartanam.

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Having a tabla for a Karnatak concert is rare and unusual. Percussion artistes Jayachandra Rao on mridanga and Roopak Kallurkar on tabla not only played the Tani with good karvais but also were very encouraging and supportive to the young   violinists throughout. 

The flag end pieces were ‘Tamboori Meetidava bhavAbdhi dAtidava’ by Purandaradasaru in Sindhu Bhairavi and ‘Vande Mataram’ in Desh.

—Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan

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