By Siddharth Vijayaraghavan
Curated by ArtEry, the Nuance Series commenced its first lecture demonstration on 16 February 2020, with Sangita Kalanidhi S. Sowmya’s presentation on Padams.
Vidushi Sowmya began by casting light on the etymology and the initial usage of the term ‘padam’ in Bharata’s Natya Sastra, and delved deep into the subject. She explained the various types of padams—from Jayadeva’s ashtapadis, padams of the Dasakoota, to sringara sankeertanas of Annamacharya. Sowmya then spoke about famous padam composers in Telugu -- Kshetrayya, Sarangapani, and Muvanallur Sabhapatiayya, and Tamil composers like Ghanam Krishna Iyer, Subbarama Iyer, and Mambazha Kavirayar. She even included specific compositions of Ramalinga Adigalar and Bharatiyar to illustrate the relevance of the padam as a musical form in modern times.
Throughout her presentation, Sowmya emphasised the importance of looking at the padam as a musical form far beyond the cliche of it being a slow, dense composition sung towards the end of the concert. Citing examples based on her learning from her gurus (vidushi T. Muktha, and Sangita Kalanidhi S. Ramanathan), she brought forth the padam as a musical form, highlighted its musicality, and told us how to apply it judiciously in practice. An engaging workshop by vidushi Sowmya.