S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

MDR Day comes again and again

By Vimaladevi

A rare commemoration event named M.D.R. Day is being organised every year since 2003 in Thrippoonithura, near Cochin to pay homage to the legendary musician M.D. Ramanathan, under the main initiative and efforts of Krishnamoorthy, an ardent fan of the great artist.

It was held for the first time on 27 April 2003, when M.D.R's disciple T.K. Sethuraman recalled the memories and experiences of the days he spent with his guru and Aswathi Thirunal Ramavarma performed a concert of M.D.R's krities. Next year another disciple of M.D.R, M.V. Narasimhachari, an eminent dancer,spoke about M.D.R and also held a concert of his krities. Since then the function is conducted annually almost in the same format but with different celebrities delivering the commemoration speech and performing the concert.
This unceasing tribute to M.D.R has thus successfully completed its 14th year in 2016. This year's event was held on 25-02-2016, and the programme commenced with a homage to M.V. Narasimhachari, a close associate of M.D.R who passed away recently. Krishnamoorthy narrated his personal experiences with Narasimhachari who shared with him a lot of wits and humorous,of M.D. R that were made use of by Moorthy in his biographical novel 'Kedaram' on M.D.R's life. M.A. Sundareswaran, Thiruvaroor Bhakthavalsalam and V. Suresh together inaugurated the commemoration event.

M.A. Sundareswan recollected the fond memories of the days he attended M.D.R's concerts at Music Academy and elsewhere ,as a child along with his father M.S. Anantharaman. He recalled that the audience used to stand up in ovation and big applause as Ramanathan begins his recital with the first charanam of mangalam. The joyous listeners usually took their seats only when it was followed by the second one . The long rounds of applause and ovation continued till the last charanam. He narrated in detail how M.D.R conquered the hearts and minds of the rasikas during those good old days.

P. Unnikrishnan recalled that he came to know M.D.R closely when he was practicing music under Professor S.R. Janakiraman. While teaching keerthanams, M.D. Ramanathan used to sing himself to S.R.J the 'sangathis' that he wanted to be accurate and perfect. According to him M.D.R was not concerned with any thing other than music and Tiger Varadacharya.

P. Unnikrishnan began his concert with Narayana Theertha’s Natta raga kriti Jaya Jaya Swamin (Aadi). The atmosphere itself transformed into a typically traditional one as he sang Varalandu in Gurjjari raga. His rendering appeared as a souvenir of his guru S. Ramanathan. When M.D.R's kriti 'Velevane unakku' in Sahana raga was sung, it could give to one and all the real feel of M.D.R. Day. Brindavanalola in Thodi raga was presented with the introduction that it is a Thayagaraja krithi he liked to sing quite often'. With ragam, niraval, and swaraprastharam in proper 'alavu' , he made each keerthana a fitting tribute to M.D.R as well as a mesmerising musical worship before the listeners. M.A. Sundareswaran joined with his accompaniment,violin. Marathakavallim in Kambhoji, a Dikshitar's work was the key selection. Thiruvaroor Bhakthavalsalam (mrudangam) and V. Suresh (ghatam) presented a melodious thaniavarthanam. In short, Unnikrishnan and his troupe made the crowded rasikas spell bound for three hours with the popular Sagarasayana vibho (Bhagesree) and Kavadichinthu.

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