Another Marghazhi has arrived, bringing with it mellifluous voices and twinkling bells along with the moody mist. The city of Chennai is busy and abuzz with music everywhere. The ‘Season’ has begun and another round of concert hopping, generous appreciation, critical view points, comparing notes and musicians, but all in good stead – for healthy competition and greater variety, larger repertoires and newer explorations. The Chennai rasikas have always been stoic pillars to keep this festivity continuing with the same spirit and ardor.
Sudha began her musical musings as early as the first week of December, 2007. It began with a very encouraging note, with her being awarded the Gaana Padmam on 3rd December by the Brahma Gana Sabha.
The next day, 4 December was Sudha’s first musical (re)treat at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.The auditorium overflowed and the late comers had to be content being seated on the steps outside or stand right up to the portico and gate and watch the concert on a TV screen in the lobby.
The performance at Meenakshi College on 6 December was again to a packed auditorium, but this time mostly for the students. Sudha was delighted to see the rising level of interest in Carnatic music, with the students, who simply swarmed around her after the concert, loading her with love and affection.
The Marghazhi Mahotsav on 8 December was again a battle of wits for the audience where seating was concerned. The hall overflowed but the strains of music, the depth in depiction and diction, simply took over and made the ones standing, unmindful of the discomfort. The theme of ‘Narayana’ saw some deep emotions running…’Sriman Narayana, Om namo Narayana, Narayana nimma..’. The question and answer session was sprightly and interesting.
The 9th of December saw Sudha at Pune for the Sawai Gandharva Festival, details of which feature in Season’s Flavour.
The recital for Brahma Gana Sabha at the Sivagami Petachi Auditorium was on 10 December. ‘Eranapai, Vara Vallabha Ramana, Kaa va va, a detailed alaapana in Ananda Bhairavi, a Dikshitar kriti in Ramamanohari’…a variety fare indeed.
Over to Narada Gana Sabha for Kartik Fine Arts on 12 December, this again was another action packed evening. With a tussle for place and the best seats, the entire clamour settled down and a pin drop silence took over when the curtains went up. A varnam in Pantuvarali, a rare Yemani Pogadodura, GNB’s Mangala Vara Dayaki….another bouquet of surprises.
It was Vani Mahal on 15 December and Sudha, fresh after just receiving the Gowri Manohari Award from Sruthi Laya Kendra at Asthika Samajam, got off to a splendid start with Vanajakshi gajananam. Raaga sudharasa, Nandana raghunandana were flavours of the evening.
The next stop over was at Asthika Samajam on 16 December for Guru Shri Karaikudi Mani’s Sruthi Laya Kendra. Our Gowri Manohari sang ‘Pranammyaham Sri Gowri sutham’ and had heads nodding for ‘Aananda nadanamaduvar thillai…’ Devotional fervor prevailed over ‘Muralidhara Gopala.
A day’s break in between to then move on to a concert for Sri Rama Samaj at KK Nagar on 18 December. The heavens had opened and there was a downpour in the evening. But the rasikas braved the weather and Sudha and the organizers were most pleasantly surprised to see the auditorium packed to capacity. The devotion to music displayed by the rasikas was truly encouraging and Sudha expressed her gratitude to the audience, for whom the rains were certainly not a deterrent!!
Over to Parthasarathi Swami Sabha on 22 December. A hall filled to capacity again and rasikas continuing to trickle in well after the concert has begun. After a detailed Karaharapriya alapana, it was Tyagaraja’s ‘Chakkani Raja’. The RTP in Hamsanandi kept the audience on their toes and the heads swaying for ‘Paadame Thunai Paramasiva…’
23 December dawned to an early evening concert at the Music Academy. The tempo was kept in continued fervor with Shyama Sastri’s ‘Nannu brova Lalitha’ and Dikshitar’s ‘Kamalamba bajare’, bringing the curtains down with a grand finale of Purandara Dasa’s ‘Yaadava raaya’.
Christmas day of 25 December saw Sudha singing in the morning at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha – a yearly ritual. The curtains rose to a brimming auditorium and then began an eventful morning…Pallandu Pallandu, Renuka Devi Samrakshithoyam, a short aalapana in Deva Manohari, many more listeners’ choices…..Chakkani Thalliki Chanu Bala, Dikkutheriyatha Katil, Venkatachala Nilayam…….a bhakti soaked morning indeed! Sudha had to openly declare that the concert had come to an end as there were ensuing programs and the audience was in no mood to disperse. She was truly overwhelmed – it was a joy to sing to such an appreciative and learned audience but the time constraint curtailed her happiness too..
The evening of December 25 saw a historic scene after the concert for Chennaiyil Thiruvaiyaru.. An overflowing auditorium, rasikas in rapt attention, Sudha cascading to her fans all their favorites – it was rhapsody and rapture all over…After the concert, it was a good half an hour before Sudha could descend from stage, obliging for pictures and autographs all the way. Because of the milling crowd, she had to be escorted out of the auditorium by the Security personel. Details of the festival can be viewed at http://www.lakshmansruthi.com/chennaiyil_thiruvaiyaru/sudha_ragunathan_concert.asp. The link in Audience Speak, above this page also has rasikas’ observations.
After a hectic Christmas Day, 26 December was at Mylapore Fine Arts Club. It was a shower of Gajavadana Beduve, Madhurya Bashana Sudha, and a short aalapana in Malayamarutham, Karpaga Manohara, Kuni Kuniyo Nee Charanam Bhuja Kela Nammitha and a great RTP…yet another concert to a full house!
The Tamil Isai Sangam concert at Rajah Annamalai Mandram on 27 December brought out the patriotism in Sudha where she began and ended the concert with Subramania Bharathiar’s songs, Om Shakthi and Vazhiya Senthamizh, respectively. The other Tamil gems were Kaaranam ketu vaadi, Naan oru vilayatu pillaya, Vishamakkara Kannan, Kanda naal mudhalai.
It was Narada Gana Sabha again on 30 December, this time for the Sabha’s very own festival. It was a concert that evoked bhakti and surrendering at the feet of Lord Rama – Sundara Raghurama, Vida jaaladura, an alaapana in kamboji, Emayya Rama….
Over to Valliammal College Grounds, Anna Nagar for Kartik Fine Arts on 31 December, a fitting closure to the year 2007.….Arul seivai, Kanna katharul manivanna… and to close the year with a prayer, in gratitude to the Almighty, and quite naturally it was Kurai onrum illai.
Sudha’s New Year always begins at the Sri Anjaneyar Temple in Nanganallur, Chennai. So, thus began the heralding of a new year with obeisance to Lord Anjaneya. Sudha began with a composed Nagumomou, followed by Maamava Pattabirama. The evening’s recital shimmered with a lot of listeners’ choices…Naan oru vilayattu bommaya, Alai paayuthe, Hanumane, Brahmam okkate, Paarkadal alaimele and a wind up with Man ki aankhen, the soul stirring Sai bhajan. The recital concluded with Sudha wishing all her rasikas a great year ahead, thanking the Almighty for the blessings showered and praying for peace prosperity and happiness to reign supreme always.
3 January saw Sudha at Rama Rao Kala Mantap for Nungambakkam Cultural Academy. The evening’s selections began with the all time favorite Dharu varnam Maathe malayadhwaja which saw Sudha at her best. Entharo mahanu bhavudu touched newer heights. Parama purusha hridaya in raagam Lalitha panchamam, a kriti of Swaathi Tirunal was a mellifluous addition. She moved on to Mayil vaahana manamohana and Yaaaro ivar yaaro enna pero. Shri Kanthimathi Shankara yuvathi in raagam Hemavathi had the audience nodding. Then began the cajoling…Kondal vannanai and Enna thvam and Purandara Dasa’s Yaake nirdhayanadhiyo…. just for the endearing Lord Krishna…
The last in the Marghazhi series was for Bharat Kalachar. It was a hectic month but Sudha is simply incapacitated to express her joy and happiness at the response, the warmth, affection and the support and encouragement from her rasikas and the audience, during each of her concerts.
She feels blessed – a mission at hand, to reach out to the world, in the name of the Lord, to delve deeper into the soul through the pristine art form of music, to generate bhakti, the divine moment, through each of her concerts…Sudha ends her communion to the world, during Marghazhi, with gratitude to her rasikas and well wishers, dear friends and her precious family, and indebtedness to the Lord, in all humility. Thus came down the curtains on the mystical Marghazhi of 2007.
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