|Aruna Sairam (Vocal)|
M.A. Krishnaswamy (Violin)
Tanjore Murugaboopathy (Mridangam)
R. Raman (Morsing)
Aruna Sairam is endowed with unique musical skills – a strong resonant voice at times with a touch of manly huskiness, a rich imagination, an awareness of the thick and thin (vallinam and mellinam) of enunciation, a willingness to emote with complete involvement and, last but not the least, an irrepressible spirit.
Her concert at the R.R.Sabha on the evening of January 2, 2004 was an amalgam of all these qualities and more. Yet, at time, she could be seen to be indulging in vocal acrobatics and attempting to scale the thara-sthayi and athi-thara sthayi sancharas. Traditionalists would frown at these and brand them as mere gimmicks. I would say Aruna Sairam uses her artistic license for such efforts and to give a rounded overall effect to her unique raga style of singing. If it jolts some, be it so. But as long as it shakes them up and makes them sit up and take notice, well, Aruna has achieved her goal.
Aruna took the Balamuralikrishna composition ``Amba Ananda…’’ in raga ``Gambira Nattai’’ for a starter and sang it with élan. The kriti is a beautiful elegy in honour of Goddes Parvati and the raga ``Gambira Nattai’’ has an ethereal grandeur about it. Aruna did full justice to the beauty of the raga and the kriti.
A brief look into the ``Atana’’ raga composition ``Nee Erangavidil’’ and then she portrayed raga ``Charukesi’’ in all its enchanting beauty. Of course, it was not sketched in the traditionally pure Carnatic style but Aruna embellished the raga with her sheer enthusiasm in discovering new melodic graces with some Hindustani classical music touches. Thyagaraja’s composition ``Adamodi Galate’’ was sung with great bhakti and bhava followed by compelling kalpana swara singing, indeed reaching out to the audience.
Devotion in her music came right upfront with a brilliantly portrayal of one of Dikshitar’s Navavarna composition in raga ``Anandabhairavi,’’ the kriti ``Kamalamba…’’ brimming with emotion palpably felt by rasikas. That is again the unique ability of the singer to reach out to the listener.
A beautiful Badrachala Ramadas composition ``O Rama Ni…’’ in raga ``Poorvi Kalyani’’ came soaked in true devotion. This was followed by a lively ``Madyamavati’’ ragam, tanam, pallavai. The pallavi ``Baghyatha Lakshmi Bharamma Nammama Nee Sowbhagyadha Lakshmi’’ had vignettes of swaras in several ragas in praise of Ashta Lakshmi, including Khamboji (Adi Lakshmi), Kurunji (Danya Lakshmi), Atana (Dhairya Lakshmi), Mohanam (Gaja Lakshmi), Sahana (Santhana Lakshmi), Ranjani (Vijaya Lakshmi) and Bhairavi (Aisarya Lakshmi).
Then Aruna came into her own forte – bhajans and abangs, all well rendered and well received by the audience. Also popular Tamil kritis such as ``Enna kavi padinalum’’ in Sivaranjani raga, an excerpt from 4000 Divya Prabandam, the virutam in Khamboji raga and the kriti ``Kuraivu ondrum…’’ in ragamalika featuring ragas Sivaranjani, Kapi and Sidhubhairavi and a rousing ragamalika tillana concluded what can be described as a truly memorable concert.
M.A. Krishnaswamy on the violin brought stature to the concert by playing softly yet bringing full grace and beauty to all the ragas and kritis. It was truly a wonderful effort by Krishnaswamy who has the great M.S. Anantharaman as his father and legendry M.S. Gopalakrishnan as his uncle. The Purur Sundaram School of violin playing is safe in the hands of Krishnaswamy. With time and experience, I am sure, he will embellish and enrich violin playing and carve a special niche for himself in Carnatic music.
Tanjore Murugaboopathy on mridangam and R.Raman on morsing gave admirable percussion support and contributed to the success of the concert in no small measure. The accompanists added to the liveliness of the concert and made it memorable.