The Navarathri season is special and unique all over India. In South India, it reminds one of the bomma kolu (done in various themes these days), delicious varieties of sundal, chanting of devotional hymns like Sri Lalita Sahsranamam and Soundrya Lahari, and of course, Carnatic music concerts!
Ranjani Fine Arts had the privilege of hosting a veena recital by Vidushi Bagyalakshmi Chandrasekharan on Oct 12, 2013. It was a fitting finale to a great Navarathri season, to have a concert featuring Goddess Saraswati’s instrument, that too on Durgashtami day.
Vidushi Bagyalakshmi started off at 5 PM sharp with the majestic Viriboni varnam in Bhairavi, followed by Dikshitar’s melodious Siddhi Vinaayakam in Shanmukhapriya. The first few notes were enough to hold the audience captive. Her Gayaki style of veena playing, marked by fluent and delicate fingering replete with gamakas, enchanted the novice as well as erudite listeners. Next came an unforgettable alapana in Dwijavanthi, full of bhava-laden gamakas of the poignant raga. As anticipated, Dikshitar’s Akhilandeshwari Rakshamam followed, and Goddess Akhilandeshwari manifested herself in all her magnificence to the listeners’ ears, through the sublime bhakti and bhava of Vidushi Bagyalakshmi’s veena. All were treated to this “sharkaramadhusamyuktam payasannam” of melody and Devi bhakti. What a fitting tribute to the great devi upaasaka Sri Mudduswami Dikshitar!
Saraswati Namostute (Saraswati) and Sri Dum Durge (Sri Ranjani) were rendered subsequently, completing a worship of Devi in all her forms. The sequence of Dwaijavanti, Saraswati and Sri Ranjani was particularly beautiful as each of them portrayed a unique flavor of melody. Four short, rare musical treats followed - Matadade Mannaru Krishna (Behag), Arula Vendum Taaye (Saramati), Rama Krishna (GauliPantu) and Bhuri Bhagya Lahiri (Pratapa Varali). The main piece of the concert was a Raagam Taanam Pallavi in Kiravani. An elaborate alapana brought out all the various shades of this majestic Melakarta ragam. The tanam was another rare musical treat, which included a Ghana raga taana maalika, comprising the five Ghana ragas. The Pallavi phrase “Vani gIrvANi kIravANi vINApANi mam pAhi “ was set to Khanda Triputa with eduppu in mukkaledam (third beat of the laghu). The smooth and chaste rendition of ragamalika swaras in Valaji, Hamsanandi, Desh and Revati was amazing. Vidwan Cheluvaraju (mridangam) and Vidwan Gurumurthy (ghatam) matched the skill and brilliance of the veena rendition and completed the party with a brilliant tani avartanam.
The tukkadas section of the concert was equally brilliant and variegated. Tarangampadi Panchanada Iyer’s 12-raga ragamalika, Arabhi Manam, was one of the highlights. It was just amazing to watch Vidushi Bagyalakshmi transition from one raga to another with such precision and clarity. Karunaa Jaladhe Daasarathe (NadhanamaKriya) and Devi Bhavani (Jog) were the other pieces. The mangalam - Ramachnadraya Janaka (Kurinji) - was followed by a Mantra pushpam recital.
Vidushi Bagyalakshmi’s concert was a musical and spiritual journey nonpareil. All rasikas were immersed in melody and bhakti and the music kept ringing in their ears for long. It is said that an accomplished instrumentalist often becomes a part of the instrument that he or she plays. Vidushi Bagyalakshmi is one of the finest examples of this tenet. Her dedication and total involvement in playing the Veena is indeed something to be emulated.
- Santosh Narayanan
Date: 12th Oct 2013, 5pm
Venue: Sobha Lake view Club, Bengaluru
Veena: Vidushi Bagyalakshmi Chandrasekharan
Mridangam: Vidwan Cheluvaraju
Ghatam: Vidwan N. Gurumurthy