Song of Surrender

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A divine aradhana

By Usha Bharadwaj

Come January, and the air in the South gets filled up with Tyagaraja’s pancharatna kritis. At the Sri Jayendra Golden Jubilee Sankara School, Tirunelveli, Tyagaraja Aradhana was organized in association with The Music Forum, Chennai, on 27 January 2012. Isaikavi Ramanan spoke beautifully about the saint composer and the mood for the aradhana was perfectly set. Dr. S. Sunder and his Music Forum started the aradhana soon after the arrival of the living legend, composer Tanjavur Sankara Iyer. So fragile he could barely stand, he had to be carried on a chair to the dais. Once there, his face lit up and he started singing the raga Sourashtram. Even as he signalled to the accompanying artists to go soft on their playing, we wondered if he could draw the strength to sing. He lost himself in the words of Guruleka etuvanti and so did the other artists and the audience. He took care that every song began in the kalapramanam best suited to that particular song and kept the beat throughout. It was an amazing feat for the 87 year old whose eyes were filled with tears.  He explained it was out of his ecstasy over the neat rendition of the kritis by Dr. Sunder and his team, and the opportunity to be present on the occasion.  He surprised everyone by singing Namoralakimpave in Devagandhari and went on to explain that it was a tradition in his time to sing the kriti during the aradhana. The artists sitting close to him were all in tears and those who were blessed to be there experienced divinity in the atmosphere.

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