Follow us on
join us facebook
Sudha reveals her indefatigable spirit
It was a grand evening on January 24, 2009. Senior Carnatic musician Sudha Ragunathan gave an absorbing presentation for Abbas (Kalai Vizha) at the Kamarajar Arangam. The off season concert drew a very large audience. Sudha was in great form. It was a dedicated and effortless rendition by the artiste. It is remarkable to note that Sudha had given around seventeen concerts during the season. It reveals not just her popularity but also the discipline of the artiste. In the midst of a busy season, Sudha also makes it a point to sing at Tiruvaiyaru Tyagaraja aradhana every year.

Musing over the number of concerts
A few years back this writer had an opportunity to meet the then Secretary of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha late Yagnaraman at the Sabha in T.Nagar. He had mused over how in those days great stalwarts such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar took up less number of concerts and ensured that there was at least a gap of one week between concerts. According to him, the artistes of yester-year had followed strict time schedule. The bonhomie between artistes was quite remarkable. Yagnaraman, who had been the secretary of Sabha for over fifty years, had also recalled the good relationship that existed between artistes and cited the examples of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Musiri Subramanya Iyer and others.

TNS's view on concerts
Stalwart T.N. Seshagopalan (TNS) was also asked how musicians these days were able to handle so many concerts. We see these days many artistes perform without break. According to TNS, it all depended on the caliber of an artiste. If artistes were really fit, then they could perform on consecutive days as well, he said.

Now the reach of Carnatic music is enormous. Hence, younger artistes in recent times are sticking to a busy schedule to meet the demands of the rasikas from all over the world. This is a positive reflection on our rich Carnatic classical music, which traces back to the vedic age. The ragas, swaras and talas were mentioned in the upaveda, known as Gandharva veda. The promotion of this great art by the younger generation artistes is most welcome. The foundation for the Carnatic concerts had long been laid by yester-year greats such as Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Madurai Mani Iyer, M.L.Vasanthakumari, G.N.Balasubramaniam. They are all gone into the pages of history. Yet, they continue to play a major role in making the Carnatic music popular world wide.

Sudha's concert for Abbas
Sudha Ragunathan, the torch-bearer of the MLV tradition, made a striking impact on the audience by making the evening pleasanter with an Abogi varnam "Evari Bodha" in medium and fast tempos. Dikshitar kriti "Vatapi Ganapatim" in Hamsadwani was preceded by a slokam "Gajananam Butha Ganadhi Sevitham". This Hamsadwani kriti was made popular and attractive by her guru MLV with her charming voice. Sudha made this kriti richer by improvising it with kalpanana swaras and niraval at "Pranavaswaroopa Vakratundam".

Sudha chose to sing a Mysore Vasudevacharya kriti "Brocheva Evarura" in Kamas and the rasikas instantly joined her in singing. Many of them were humming this kriti. It surely was a listener's choice. She made an incredible alapana in rakti raga Hamsanandi, bringing out the subtle nuances of the raga. She further embellished the raga with captivating brighas. Violinist B.V. Ragavendra Rao followed her with dedicated attention and displayed his prowess in a controlled manner. Sudha followed it up with a Muthiah Bagavathar kriti " Sachamara Ramavani" . This kriti was impressive and Sudha made it enjoyable with some scintillating swaras. Alaypayude (Kanada) of Uthukadu Kavi brought cheers from the audience, who again joined the artiste in singing. Akilandeswari (Dvijavanti) of Dikshitar was rendered with poise. The most impressive part of the concert was when Sudha made an elaborate alapana in Keeravani. It was fantastic, as she explored the raga with attractive sancharas and reached the upper octaves with effortless ease. She revealed her guru MLV's style on many an occasion during the concert. Sudha sang the Tyagaraja kriti "Kaligiyunte gada" and made a niraval at ``Baguga Sri Raghu Ramuni Padamula". There was an interesting taniavarthanam session between mridangist Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan and morsing artiste Raman. After this, Sudha went into light classical songs and brought delight to the assembled audience with songs such as "Vishamakkara Kannan" (Chenchrutti), Jagadhodarana (Kapi) etc. She led the audience to a bhakthi sangeet by singing "Madhava Murali". She also sang "Kanda Naal Mudal" in Maduvanti and Kurai Ondrum Illai (ragamalika). Annamacharya's "Brahmam Okate"(Bowli) saw her giving good expression to the lilting lyrics. She signed the more than three-hour concert off with a Sai Bhajan "Man ke Anke Kolo" (based on Vakulabharanam) and a Mangalam.