A Princely Fare
- Prince Rama Varma sings for RFA anniversary concert
Date &Time: March 12th, 5pm
Vocal : Vidwan Prince Rama Varma
Vioiln : Vidwan Awaniswaram Vinu
Mridanga : Vidwan Trichy B Harikumar
Ghata : Vidwan Dr S Karthik
What a pleasant evening it was to walk into Prince Rama Varma’s concert. The concert exalted the rasikas to a totally different plane of serenity and enjoyment.
The hall was packed full and people were flowing in much to satisfaction of organizers who were fully busy bringing in more chairs to accommodate the influx
He started off with saveri varnam rendering it in a very amicable manner. His next song was ‘Gajavadana maam pahi ‘ in Hamsadhwani on Lord Ganesha, by
the legendary musician Vidwan M.D. Ramanathan. It was rendered with mesmerizing, bursting kalpanaswaram. Vinu, on the violin, followed suit with a
kalpanaswaram that was spellbinding.
He paid homage to his ancestor Maharaja Swati Tirunal with his composition ‘VandeSada Padmanabham’ in raga Navarasa Kanada. The liveliness and verve of the ragam and the composition was brought out very well by the entire team on stage.
The majestic Bhairavi swarajati on Goddess Kamakshi by Shyama Sastri was sung with bhava and complete involvement. He took time to explain the speciality of the swarajati where each cittaswaram followed the bhairavi raga avarohanam. The “Veena bani” of singing, of which Prince Rama Varma is an ardent practitioner, helped bring out the beautiful nuances of Bhairavi, in much the same manner the legendary composer would have envisioned!
Every song had a brief introduction to encourage and interest the audience. It was a very blissful experience. His rendition of Telisi Rama Cintanato in raga Poornachandrika was followed by laughter invoking joke about how one can accidentally trespass into raga Janaranjani, while singing raga Poornachandrika. It
was thoroughly enjoyable as evidenced by the crowd which sat there till the very end of the concert.
The song ‘Omkaara Karini’ in raga Lavang,i composed by his guru Dr. M Balamurali Krishna, had pleasant exchanges of swaras between the vocalist and
the violinist. He took time to explain the differences between ragas Saveri, Malahari and Lavangi and the magnificence of the song with its extraordinary
cittaiswarams. The kalpanaswaram was brilliant bringing out the raga with slow pairing notes transitioning into a deluge of musical creativity. The thani
avartanam was electrifying with the audience joining in with their hands. Ghatam thani avartanam was specially captivating as the artist, Dr. S Karthick rendered the konnakol with precision. It was very innovative – felt like jathis conversing with you. The audience did not budge from their seats during the taniavarattanam – a fitting tribute to the great percussion artists Harikumar and Dr. Karthik The song ‘Yoga Nidreya’ in Neelambari was very soothing. He preluded the song with a brief explanation of the song – describing the yoga nidra of Lord Sri. Venkateshwara. He presented the next song ‘Ikkalare Kai Anchalu’ with a poignant story of the Lord testing one of his devotees, who is an difficult situation managing several day-to-day challenges. The philosophical import of the dasara pada was quite moving.
The concert had something for everybody. Immensely popular with children, he had catchy songs with swara and sahitya and an energetic folk song that was very upbeat. Diskshitar’s nottuswaram “Pankaja mukha” had all the children (and adults) engulfed in magical melody. The concert came to an end with a brisk
thillana in raga Kadanakuthoohalam exploring the nuances of the raga. All the adults and children in the hall sat spellbound till the very end and that was the
magic that was Prince Rama Varma!
Apart from the rich musical experience, the concert was very unique for the insightful explanations into each of the compositions that helped the layman and
erudite rasikas involved in the music. His passion at ensuring janaranjakatvam while singing at the highest level is commendable. The teamwork of Prince Rama Varma, Vinu, Harikumar and Dr. Kartik was phenomenal, each artist enhancing the rest. What a brilliant team, like the Windies cricket team of the 1980s!
-- Smt. Ramya Ramprasad