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Pancha Bhoota kritis in CD, a Kala Mandir tribute to a music connoisseur
CHENNAI, October 28: A compact disc titled “Ekam” was released here on October 23 by Kala Mandir Trust to celebrate the 75th birthday of its founder late S. Viswanathan.

The album comprises select compositions of Muthuswamy Dikshitar on deities who symbolize the five elements of the nature.

Late Viswanathan’s father K.R. Sundaram Iyer, it is said, used to invite many a great musician to his house and served them with superior South Indian lunch in talavazha ilai (plantain leaf). Later, they used to gather at the hall for rendering their choicest alapanas and rare kritis. Many musicians of repute such as M.L.Vasanthakumari, Semmangudi, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Umalayapuram Sivaraman and others have provided a grand music feast. After seeing musicians of repute as guests at his house, Viswanathan himself became a connoisseur and promoter of music. He formed a music organization, Kala Mandir Trust, to promote arts. Viswanathan, who served a Chairman of the Bullet-maker Enfield India, had sponsored concerts and conferences. He had even helped struggling musicians by offering them stipends and, in some cases, jobs as well in his company.

The album Ekam begins with an invocation kriti on Lord Ganesh “Panchamatangamukha Ganapatina” by Neyveli Santanagopalan in Mallari ragam. Santanagopalan has rendered this with dedication. This kriti is in praise of Ganapathy, reflecting the composer’s command over music and Sanskrit language. It is said that Dikshitar’s kritis have curative powers. One can experience a tranquilizing effect even while one listens to these kritis. The first composition on water “Jambupathe” (Yamunakalyani) is rendered by Vijay Siva. It invokes bhakthi rasa and takes one to the Tiruvanaikaval temple near Trichi. The next kriti is on “Arunachalanatham” (Saranga). It is on the deity of Tiruvannamalai and deals with fire. Nityasree Mahadevan has sung this kriti, which is laden with attractive sahitya, in her unique style. The third kriti is on “Srikalahasteesa” (Useni). O.S. Thyagarajan has rendered this one in his vibrant voice. This is on the Kalahaseesha Kshetram deity near Tirupati. It is on the element Vayu or the wind. The fourth is on the element Earth “Chintaya Makanda” (Bhairavi) on Kanchipuram(pritvi lingam) and is sung by Sudha Ragunathan with her inspiring voice. The final one is: “Ananda Natana Prakasham” (Kedaram). It is a composition on the Sky. This kriti is very well rendered and beautified by Bombay Jayashri with her absorbing voice. This kriti is composed on the Chidambaram temple, Nataraja.

The album is not for sale. You can pick up your copy of the album at the Kala Mandir office in Adyar.