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Raagamanjari 2009 – A Carnatic Musical Ensemble

Padma Sundareshan

The students of Aparna Balaji from Abhyaas and Learnquest presented Raagamanjari 2009 a carnatic classical musical ensemble a fundraiser event for the Hindu Mission Hospital, Trichy, India. A charitable society of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti peetam whose mission is to provide medical relief to members of the community without any caste or color differentiation.

The guests of honor for this event  were  Smt. Ranjani Saigal and Dr. Pradeep Shukla.

The concert started with a melodious  varnam in Gambeera Naattai “ Amma Aananada Dayini, set to Aadi taalam, composed by  Dr. Balamurali Krishna. On the  flute we had  Prayuth Naduthota the youngest of the group did a crisp aalapana before the varnam . It was then  followed by “ Gaayiye Ganapathi in raagam Misra Hamsadhwani. This composition of Tulasidas was well rendered. It was well accompanied by Vijay Ganesh on the Mridangam who highlighted the melody of the raga.

Next was one of the  great compositons of Sri Purandaradasa  “ Raama Raama “in Vasantha, in roopaka talam. Smt. Savita Keshav sang a short aalapana for the ragam .The rendition of the song was beautiful. The accompanying artists on the violin, veena and the Mridangam gave full support to bring our the melody and the rythm of the song. A nice set of  chittai swaram composed by Aparna Balaji was sung by two groups of singers on stage and it was well co-ordinated.

Dikkugal Yettum a raagamalika in Kapi and Panthuvarali, composition of Subramanya Bharati stole the hearts of the audience. It was a song on Thunder storm, and  it was rendered well with perfect co-ordination among the singers and the  mridangangist  brought the effects of thunder and lightning from his instrument. A short aapalapana was played by Smt.Vidhya Raman on the violin, for the ragam Poornachandrika. This was followed by Thelisirama another great composition of saint.Thiagaraja. This song was rendered well and the bhava of the song was felt by one and all. The Chittai swaram was sung with good energy.

A breif aalapana was sung by Smt. Deepa  Subramanian for  Thullumada- A thirupugazh on lord Muruga, in  Hamsaanandi . Thanam played beautifully by Soundarya Ganesh on the Veena.Swaras composed by Aparna Balaji blended well with the rythminc pattern of the song.

 â€œ Swaranjali”, a compositon of O.S Arun, sung in raagamalika was an interesting picece of the program.  Swaras started with Valaji , Hindolam, and slowly migrating to Rasikapriya, Neelambari,   Revathi , Madhyamavathi and ended with Brindavani, the alapanas were sung by a few singers- madhyamavathi- by Raghu Madyastha and Brindavani by Ashwini Venkataramani.

An ashtapadi by Jayadeva - Dheera Sameere in Raag Desh  was a slow melodious piece . This was followed by the all time favorite “Bhagyada Lakshmi baramma”  was interestingly sung in two ragas- Panthivarali and Madhyamavathi.

”Paarvai Ondre Podhume” in Surutti by Uthukaadu Venkata Subbaiyer  and the Thillana in Dhanashri by Swaati Tirunaal were filled with soulful bhava. Kurai ondrum illai- a famous composition by Rajaji was added in the program, which was a pleasant surprise to the audience.

A totally brilliant selection of songs by Aparna Balaji was commendable. All the accompanying artists supported very well for the program and it was well received. This was indeed a day to remember in the world of Carnatic Classical Music. Exceptionally done by Aparna Balaji and her students  for a great cause.

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