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GLAC Navaratri Festival Writeup

by Vijay Anand

GLAC Navarathiri Function, Oct 6, 2007 – An Appreciation

GLAC organized the annual Navarathri festival on the 6th of Oct, 2007 at the Bharatiya Hindu Temple in Troy, Michigan. The 10 hour function was a success in many ways and included the rendition of Navavarna Krithis, the performance of our community kids, and the main concert in the evening and was also helpful in raising a sizeable amount as donation to the temple’s building expansion project.

After the invocation pooja and bhajans, the function continued with the rendition of selected navavarna krithis by the Detroit area musicians, trained by Sri. Madurai Sundar. The Nava-Avarna krithis are special and beautiful compositions of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar on the goddess Kamalamba, the celebrated deity of the Tyagraja temple in Thiruvarur in South India. Given the time constraint of only 30 minutes, only 4 krithis were rendered. The selected compositions for this year were the Anandabhairavi, Kalyani, Sahana and Sriraga

Then the festival continued with the performance of our local community kids. It was particularly heartening to see about 50 kids beautifully singing and performing carnatic music compositions. It was also inspiring to see them perform the works of various great composers in different languages. The effort that they all put together to perform during the function is commendable and should be encouraged by our community to continue learning our greatest art of Indian classical music. This part of the day’s function was concluded by a short and sweet solo violin performance of popular evergreen melodies by Sri. Mani Bharathi and the audience were taken back in time listening to the chosen songs.

After a complete dinner, with all tasty dishes prepared and served by our generous community volunteers, the audience was entertained by a full-fledged carnatic music concert by Smt. Sangeetha Swaminathan and party. Smt. Sangeetha Swaminathan, a disciple of the famous Smt. Sudha Raghunathan, lived to the full expectations of the knowledgeable Detroit area community, delivering a wonderful performance and provided the audience with enjoyable listening pleasure. All the compositions rendered were in the praise of
goddesses, thereby highlighting the theme of the day’s function. The concert started with a flowing varnam in the ragam Mayamalavagowlai set to Adhi talam. This was followed by a soothing rendition of Sri. Shyama Sastry’s “Marivere” in Anandhabhairavi, set to Misra Chapu talam with kalpanaswarams in two speeds. Then came the short and crisp rendition of St. Thyagaraja’s “Maravairi Ramani” in Nasikabhushani set to Rupaka talam. This rendition was particularly attractive with all the special brigha-filled sangathis and any carnatic music fan would have instantly recognized that the artist was in the disciple lineage of the great MLV. This was followed by a detailed rendition of the raga Suddha Dhanyasi followed by Sri. Harikesanallur Mutthiah Bhagavathar’s “Himagiri Tanaye” set to Adi talam and fast kalpanaswarams. Then the artist delivered the one and only GNB’s “Mangala Vara Dhayaki”, a fast composition in Kadhanakuthoogalam set to Adhi talam with a well designed chitta swaram.

The artist then chose Dikshitar’s “Meenakshi Me Mudam” in Poorvikalyani set to Adhi talam as the main krithi-piece of the evening. The piece began with the artist’s controlled portrayal of the wonderful ragam in detail. She slowly but surely brought out the various nuances of the ragam in a confident way and the piece was complete with neravals and kalpanasawrams at the line “Madurapurinilaye”. After a quick rendition of GNB’s “Kavalaiellam Kalaindhidum” in Saraswathi ragam and adhi talam, the artist moved to the main piece of the evening, the ragam tanam pallavi. This particular piece brought out the brilliant creativity of the artist. This essentially was a R2TP, if you may call it, as two ragas, namely Madhyamavathi and Dharmavathi were chosen to be part of the piece. The choice of the two ragas was very interesting and as the artists creatively switched between the ragas, it produced an enigmatic feeling particularly due to the two different madhyamams. The alapana of the two ragas was followed by a pristine tanam in the ragas. The pallavi, set to Khanda Triputa talam, was rendered with the poorvangam “Palinchu Bangaru Kamakshi” in Madhyamavathi and the utharangam “Bhagavathi Gunavathi Dharmavathi” in Dharmavathi. The artist also beautifully blended in the ragas Nalinakanthi, Saramathi and Revathi during the kalpanaswarams. After a brief ragamalika piece, the artist concluded the concert with a brisk thillana in Mand.

Sri. Jayshankar Balan provided top-class accompaniment on his violin. His response to the main artist, whether being the alapana or the kalpanaswarams was simply magnificent. Particularly, his rendition of Suddha Dhanyasi, Poorvikalyani and his combined presentation of Madhyamavathi and Dharmavathi was superb.

Sri. Vinod Seetharaman was once again stellar in his Mridangam accompaniment. He was able to mind-read the artists and guess the tala structure to the swarams and deliver an amazing well-synchronized performance. His thani avarthanam again clearly showed the artist’s control on the instrument, delivering various mathematical aspects of laya on the mridangam.

Overall the concert was a grand finale to GLAC’s annual navarathri festival.


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