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Iyer Brothers Electrify With A Double Veena Concert

Sumeeta Srinivasan & Vikram Krishnamachari

The Iyer Brothers

The Iyer Brothers (Ramnath Iyer and Gopinath Iyer) preformed a double veena concert organized by Kalatarangini on April 6, 2013. Ramnath and Gopinath are disciples of Veena maestros Shri R. Pichumani Iyer and Trivandrum Shri R.Venkataraman.

The brothers began their concert with a brisk rendition of the popular Chalamela varnam in Nattakurinji. After a short Mayamalavagaula alapana, they played the Swati Thirunal kriti Deva Deva Kalayamithe, embellished with a short neraval and kalpana swarams. This was followed by Subbaraya Shastri’s Janani Ninnuvina, in Ritigaula. A short Varali alapana by Sri Gopinath was followed by Dikshitar’s Mamava Meenakshi in Misra chapu. A spirited Shobillu Saptaswara followed, with the chitta swaram displaying the artists’ mastery of technique.

The main piece of the night was Tyagaraja’s Evari Mata in the ragam Kamboji. It was preceded by a soulful alapana by Sri Ramnath. He gave a complete picture of the ragam while also showing its nuances in the pharans. One could almost hear on the strings of their veena Saint Thyagaraja’s pleas to Lord Rama. The brothers played kalpana swarams at the charanam Bhaktaparaa which concluded with a grand korvai in fives grsnd rsndp sndpm. Ullas then played a crisp thaniavartanam, which garnered much praise from the artists.

Gaanamurte in the 3rd melakarta Ganamorthi was followed by a Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Dharmavati. The tanam was exquisitely crafted by both brothers with intertwining swarams ending in a crescendo. The pallavi was “Maatangi Maragataangi Sundari Madashalini Maampaahi” in Khanda Jathi Thriputa Talam. The artists explored Dharmavati thoroughly in their neraval, trikalam, bedham, and swarams. Swarams were also rendered in Saveri and Revathi by Sri Gopinath and in Sahana and Hindolam by Sri Ramnath. Ullas accompanied them with great sensitivity during the Pallavi.

The last section of the concert featured the popular thukkadas Enna Thavam (Kapi) and Krishna Nee Begane (Yamunakalyani). The artists acknowledged the descendants of the legendary Veena Dhanammal in the audience by playing a padam in ragam Senchuruti “Sakhi Praane”. The concert concluded with a Thillana in Brindavani composed by Balamurali Krishna. The three hours flew by fast!

The ambience of Sumana and Anand Rao’s home and the youthful audience added an extra element of the personal touch to the concert. Kalatarangini should be congratulated on another successful effort to promote Carnatic music in Boston.

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