OST @ Odukkathur Mutt, Bangalore

I simply do not have words to describe the quality concert I attended yesterday at the Odukkathur Swamigal Mutt, Bangalore. Every artist on stage was an accomplished one and each one had his own unofficial fan club, if you could term it so, in the audience. The concert was a Carnatic Classical vocal recital by Sri O.S. Thyagarajan (OST). He was accompanied on the violin by Sri. Mysore M. Nagaraj, on the mridangam by Sri Karaikudi R. Mani and on the ghatam by Sri V. Suresh.

List of compositions sung by OST is as follows:

1) viribOni (varnam) – bhairavi – kanda ata – pachimiriyam AdiyappA
2) mudumOmu – sUryakAntam – Adi – thyAgarAja
3) nI bhakti – jayamanOhari – rUpakam – thyAgarAja
4) nEmamu tO – latAngi – Adi – tiruvotriyUr thyAgaiyyer (?)
5) srI rAma pAdamA – amrutavAhini – Adi – thyAgarAja
6) dIna dayAlO – varALi – misra chApu – bhadrAchala rAmdAs (?)
7) paTTi viDuvarAdU – manjari – Adi – thyAgarAjA
8) smara sadA – bilahari – Adi – swAti tirunAl
9) sadA yenna – behAg – rUpakam – vijaya vittala dAsa
10) pavamAna (mangalam) – sowrAshtram – Adi – thyAgarAja
followed by mangala slOkam in rAga madhyamAvati

Both Sri OST and Sri Mysore Nagaraj excelled in the rAga AlApanas, neravals, kalpana swarams and kriti renditions. Incidentally, OST chose varAli rAga for the sub-main piece at his previous concert a few days back in Bangalore Gayana Samaja too, though he sang a different composition Eti janma there. One more good part was that except for sadA yenna in behAg, there was no repetition of kritis in this concert, when compared to the previous one. In fact, I would rank this concert of OST higher than his Bangalore Gayana Samaja concert.

The organizer said “while organizing a concert series, organizers try to think of a combination of artistes that can take the listeners to exotic heights and today’s concert has one such combination”. While praising Sri Mysore Nagraj the organizer said “In the words of O.S.Thyagarajan, innikki Nagaraj madhiri vAsikkarthukku yaar irukka (who is there today who can play like Nagaraj)”.

But for me, the artist of the day was Sri Karaikudi R. Mani on the mridangam. Though there were so many accomplished artists in today’s concert, he was the main reason behind my attending the same. There were at least 9 pairs of eyes around me in the concert just watching how he played the mridangam. Many youngsters learning the art came to watch the master perform.

Generally in carnatic concerts, the percussionists are given a chance to show their mettle in what is called as a taniavartanam. This usually happens either after the main composition and/or after a ragam tanam pallavi, if it is sung. The taniavartanam, unfortunately, is usually also the point in time where many people in the audience suddenly get nature’s call or leave for their homes. I have read that when Sri Palghat Mani Iyer, considered as one of the greatest mridangists of all times by many, used to play the taniavartanam, the audience used to be spellbound and would stay glued to their seats. I witnessed the same today. The entire auditorium/hall was watching Sri Karaikudi Mani and Sri V. Suresh play the taniavartanam and was enjoying every bit of it. After the taniavartanam got over, the audience clapped for Sri Mani and Sri Suresh for more than 1.5 minutes continuously. When the organizer took Sri Karaikudi Mani’s name while talking about all the artists one by one, the audience again clapped non-stop for about 30 sec. When Sri Mani signalled to the organizer to continue talking and not praise him, the organizer said “ennoda azhaga avaa solra illiya {aren’t the audience (through) their claps conveying everything more beautifully than I am?}”. Such is the respect and admiration Sri Mani commands. The organizer summed up Sri Mani by saying “Creativity and perfection are the two sides of Sri Karaikkudi Mani”.

When the concert got over, many people went to the stage to say namaskaaram and congratulate Sri Mani. I heard him addressing a few young musicians who had come up on stage to talk to him. He said “Show your creativity not through the dress you wear or through your hairstyles but through how you perform. That is what is more important”. How true !!

Today is yet another one of those concerts that promises to be just too good. Like yesterday’s concert of Sri OST, all artists in today’s concert are also very famous and greats in their field. My all time favorite singer, Sri Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan (TNS) is scheduled to sing. He will be accompanied by all veterans – Sri M. Chandrasekharan on the violin (unfortunately, he can’t see as he is blind but you should hear him play … he is too good), Sri Umayalapuram K. Sivaraman on the mridangam (another one of the all time greats) and Sri E.M. Subramaniam on the ghatam. Though TNS is no longer in the form he used to be in his younger days, I just hope his voice is in good form today so that he can again deliver a gem of a concert.

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9 thoughts on “OST @ Odukkathur Mutt, Bangalore

  1. visu says:

    I must say that your concert reviews are extremely well written and very informative. Reading them one gets the feeling of having attended the concert itself. I have been visiting your blog ever since you started posting on odakuthur mutt concerts and have read each one of your reviews with great interest. It also shows the amount of knowledge you have about what you are writing. I see that you have also done very well in academics also which is commendable.

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  3. G.Sriram says:

    Typical OST list perhaps with out Kalyai Raga for the first time. He seems to repeat quite often the same songs . Particulary Bilahari ( smara sada). have not heard any other Bilaari Krithi from him. For info this krithi was rendered a week back at Krishna Gana Sabha chennai besides Gokulashtami festival last year and also at Music Academy in season 2004.

  4. Hari says:

    I happen to visit your site today, and read reviews of OST & TNS concerts. Though i didn’t attend the concert (I live in bangalore), i really enjoyed reading your reviews. Thanks a lot of reproducing the talks of UKS & TNS

  5. Chandan says:

    Hi All,
    Can some one take up the initiative of providing the schedule of carnatic music concerts in and around Bangalore..

    Regards,
    Chandan

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