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Stringing together rare concepts

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For her newest undertaking, violinist Kanyakumari focuses on Tyagaraja’s ekaika ragas

Last December, A. Kanyakumari started a thematic collection to showcase Tyagaraja’s ekaika ragas – these with just one kriti. She started the collection with ‘E daari sancarintura’ in raga Srutiranjani. The veteran violinist had envisioned it as a three-week undertaking for the 2019 music season, however the overwhelming response has made her proceed. So far, 49 ragas and kritis have been premièred, one every Friday.

Stringing together rare concepts

“I wanted to take up a theme not dealt with earlier. Tyagaraja’s appeal lies in his compositions with lyrics that are simple and comprehensible ,” she says.

That instrumental music shouldn’t be given its due within the current day was additionally a difficulty she wished to deal with. “Nadam comes from instruments. The tambura too is used for that. Lyrics can be faithfully replicated by instruments while conveying the appropriate bhava. Instrumental music should be on a par with vocal and instrumentalists should be given their proper due,” she says.

For novices

Besides being a reputed violinist, Kanyakumari is a famend trainer who has been constantly grooming proficient kids. Her rationale within the collection of the items, and the order of presentation, displays this understanding of assorted age teams, ranges of musical competence, and a focus span. “I began the series with catchy ragas to pique interest. One cannot exclusively present rare songs or only vilamba kala kritis. If we force beginners to learn larger chowka kala kritis, they will get disheartened and lose interest in the music itself. There is immense variety in Tyagaraja’s compositions. ‘Ramincuvarevarura’ in Suposhini, for example, is composed in a Western style, in a fast tempo, but with a simple structure that allows even beginners to learn it. This type of kriti can also be sung in a group. Then there are heavier and slower kritis. It is important to bring in variety by playing popular pieces, rare songs and by playing in fast and slow tempos to cater to every type of learner and enthusiast,” she says.

Stringing together rare concepts

Before launching the undertaking, she went via the huge repository of Tyagaraja’s compositions, in search of ekaika ragas, and has gathered 134 to date. While she knew a few of them already, she needed to be taught others. For that, she listened to recordings of yesteryear stalwarts and, wherever potential, of a number of artistes. She says that a lot of the composer’s items are simply understandable, particularly since Telugu is the violinist’s mother-tongue. She sang every freshly learnt piece a number of instances, adapting it to her fashion, and setting some sangatis in the event that they appeared applicable, all of the whereas retaining in thoughts the sanctity of the lyrics and adaptableness for each vocal and instrumental music. Only then did she try and play it.

Many solitary songs

She has been assisted considerably on this endeavour by her disciples Vittal Rangan, Sayee Rakshith and Mallajosyula Srikanth who, in addition to taking part in alongside, have additionally helped produce the completed audio. Others disciples like Mudicondan Ramesh, Embar Kannan, L. Ramakrishnan and Shilpa Venkatesh additionally lent assist.

“Contrary to what might be assumed, only single pieces are available even in some common and popular ragas such as Abheri, Bahudari, Brindavana Saranga and Hemavati,” says Kanyakumari. There are different ragas which are so rare that no different composer has set items in them — Raamamanohari (to be distinguished from Ramaamanohari, a raganga ragam within the nomenclature adopted by the Muthuswami Dikshitar parampara), Gundakriya, and even Suposhini are amongst them. Kanyakumari factors out how Tyagaraja brings out the raga essence and bhavam even in these kritis. She additionally observed the appropriateness between the ragas chosen by the composer and the lyrics of the kriti. “Of course, how a musician renders the piece is a key part of conveying the message the composer wants to. For instance, in ‘Nenendu Vetukudura’, Tyagaraja laments about where he can search for Rama’s idols that have been thrown away. This emotion cannot be conveyed if played in a fast or aggressive manner, it should be rendered with the required pathos.”

Kanyakumari hopes to proceed the collection so long as she will be able to. “I will be releasing notations for all the songs to make it easier for students to learn. I hope it serves as a resource through which more songs and other facts about Tyagaraja can be learned,” she says.

The creator writes on classical music and musicians.

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