Venue: Youth Hostel, 2nd Avenue, Indira Nagar, Adyar, Chennai
Date: 24 Feb 2007
Dikshitar Day Concert
Vocal: Sri T.N. Seshagopalan (TNS)
Vocal Support: Sri T.N.S. Krishna
Violin: Sri M. Chandrasekaran
Mrudangam: Sri Vellore Ramabhadran
List of songs:
1) srI mahAgaNapatiravatu – gowLai – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (OS)
2) shanka chakra – pUrNachandrikA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (NS)
3) kamalAmbA – Anandabhairavi – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (A)
4) ardhanArIshwaram – kumudakriyA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (A)
5) srI rAjagOpAla – sAvEri – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
6) sarasijanAbha sOdari – nAgagAndhAri – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (A)
7) trayambaka purAdhIsham (viruttam) – vasantA
hariharaputram – vasantA – kanDa Ekam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
8 ) saundara rAjam – brindAvana sArangA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (A)
9) ambA nIlAyatAkshi – nIlAmbari – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
10) bAlagOpAla – bhairavi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANST)
11) AnandAmrutakarshini – amritavarshini – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (O)
12) srI venkaTagirIsham – suruTTi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
13) srI kamalAmbikE – srI – kanDa Ekam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar
14) sarva mangaLa mAngalyE (slOkam) – srI
(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)
The time – 5.15 PM. The concert hall, if you could call it as one, is empty with just an old couple seated in one of the front rows. As I find a seat for myself, there is a suddenly a loud roar as though 20 Titanics have started their engines in unison. One glance to the left and one to the right confirms the source of the noise as pedestal fans planted at the end of some of the rows. As my ears start getting used to the noise, there is suddenly this strange but familiar noise of a different kind that is heard. Mosquitoes ….. those lil brats are here too and they are in large numbers. A battle then started that ended only with me running out of the battlefield after the concert got over. 5.30 PM … more mamas and mamis trickle in sporting their Hamsadhwani membership cards and start filling the rows in the front. The attention of the mosquitoes has now been diverted. They want fresh blood. A new kind of noise is heard now …. of loud gossip …. a mami is explaining how her son in LA found his mate on tamilmatrimony.com ……. another one is explaining her itinerary for the next two months …. she seems to be flying between countries much more than an air hostess of an international airline. Its 5.45PM. Official starting time for the concert. Sri M. Chandrasekaran is seated on one of the front rows. Someone has already taken a mrudangam to the stage. But there is no sign of TNS. There is a familiar odor emanating from somewhere …. Amrutanjan … looks like someone has discovered mosquito repelling properties in the balm and has applied a container full of Amrutanjan on himself/herself. 6.05PM …. I am about to doze off when a sudden calm descends. The mami in front of me proudly announces the arrival of TNS and his entourage to her husband. 6.15 PM … the curtains open. Sri Ramachandran (?), secretary, Hamsadhwani stands up on stage with a sheet of paper in his hand and proudly reads out what he has written about the day’s concert and about the artists. 2-3 lines of his are enough to send me scurrying to the nearby stationary store for a copy of the Oxford Mini Dictionary. Today is again one of those days when I wish he takes some ‘speech’ writing classes from my friend Vijay (for those of you who don’t know … Vijay is an extremely talented writer … one of the best in business 😉 ). Anyways … after praising the 3 Sangita Kalanidhis on stage for what seems like ages, Mr. Ramachandran is finally done. TNS is all set to begin his concert …….
11:30PM … I am sitting at home with the brindAvana sArangA alapana of TNS still running through my mind. I am in this state of bliss, a state of contentment. A state of complete surrender to the music of TNS. If he were to appear in front of me, I would probably fall down at his feet and implore him to take me along with him so that I could just listen to him sing for days and months and years to come and remain in this state of bliss forever.
Coming back at the concert, TNS started with “srI mahAgaNapatiravatu” in gowLai. Whatever little problems he seemed to have with his voice in the beginning seemed to become immaterial once he started the beautiful set of kalpana swarams in gowLai. Sri M. Chandrasekaran’s little kOrvai in the last round of the kalpanA swaram with a pattern of 5s got TNS excited and he went on to improvise the same kOrvai with patterns of 5, 7 and 9. “shanka chakra” came next with wonderful rounds of neraval and swarams when I was least expecting them at “bhajE pUrNachandrikAnga guruguhAntakaraNam”. The last set of kalpanA swarams was so full of rAga bhAvam. A sudden power cut happened just when TNS was reaching peak form in the kumudakriyA Alapana. Power came back only during the charaNam of the next song “srI rAjagOpAla”. Though I was sad at first when the power cut happened, the experience of hearing TNS sing without a mic was an excellent one in itself. I seemed to notice and appreciate many subtle things which would have probably skipped my attention had the mic been there. Wish more chamber concerts happen thse days without the necessity for amplification equipment. The return of electric power saw TNS launch into a beautiful raga alapana of nAgagAndhAri. The song “sarasijanAbha sOdari” seemed to stare at one’s face all through the alapana. The vasanta viruttam that followed later had this portion where TNS held his breath and launched a set of amazing patterns highlighting the raga so beautifully.
The raga of the day for me was brindAvana sArangA. The moment he started it, I knew I was in for a great experience. The wonderful 16 minute experience of the raga that TNS took me through is something I cannot capture adequately in words. It transported me to a different world altogether. A majestic rendition of “saundararAjam” followed. TNS finished the song just when I was expecting a long round of kalpanA swarams. Bhairavi was the main raga for the day. The alapana was beautifully done. The kriti was so well sung. The neraval and kalpana swarams were also great. Taniavartanam had a misra naDai with a short chatusra naDai prelude followed by a tisra naDai. The post tani portion saw TNS take up another one of my favorite ragas suruTTi. There was no alapana this time. The kriti “srI venkaTagirIsham” was rendered very well. TNS wrapped up the concert with “srI kamalAmbikE” and a slOkam in the raga srI.
Eagerly looking forward to the next concert of TNS.