The success of a Carnatic live performance is attributed to quite a lot of components, and programming has at all times been a major issue. Because of lots of music aficionados, we now have scores of full reside live performance recordings within the public area, together with a number of that date again to the Nineteen Fifties. Like all fanatics, I too managed to take heed to fairly a couple of over time. One facet saved fascinating me on how some nice live shows had been long-established out of sensible programmes. Lest it’s misunderstood, programme isn’t just a listing of items in a live performance.
The listing is just one facet of a programme. One typically reads social media feedback about ‘how nice’ a live performance will need to have been on the idea of studying the listing. That’s being completely unfair to a musician’s sensible abilities in stitching collectively a live performance, particularly the nuances of it. An algorithm would get you a dozen ‘nice’ lists, if no more. Prime musicians have executed one thing higher. That they had the uncanny sense to understand that a couple of ragas made up for the grandeur of a live performance. Barring exceptions, one can name them the ‘Golden 30’ ragas. The intelligent musicians invariably packed a minimum of half a dozen of those ragas in virtually each live performance. I could have ignored one or two that deseve a spot on this listing, however right here is the listing that a lot of you’ll instinctively nod. Kalyani, Kamboji, Shankarabharanam, Bhairavi, Todi, Shanmukhapriya, Karaharapriya, Kiravani, Mohanam, Bilahari, Sahana, Suruti, Mukhari, Begada, Atana, Kanada, Sama, Sriranjani, Kamas, Hindolam, Arabhi, Darbar, Reetigowlai, Anandabhairavi, Pantuvarali, Poorvi Kalyani, Harikamboji, Varali, Saveri and Madhyamavati. Some might need to add a Huseni or Sri or Saranga or Sudha saveri to this, however not actually a Kanakangi or Kosalam. So, the frequency of a uncommon raga should be that – uncommon!
This data is barely a vital situation however not a adequate one. The selection of a kriti in these ragas, the position in a live performance, the quick or expansive therapy given to them, the surprises packed in, the decorative decorations in each bit, the smartness of drawing the perfect from accompanists and even the flourish of the end – are all a part of the live performance uplifting story.
Take into account these tasters – Semmangudi as soon as sang ‘Birana brova’ (Kalyani) because the second music in a live performance, with a short alapana and succinct swara appendage simply sufficient to make an lively impression. Alathur brothers as soon as sandwiched ‘Santhamu lekha’ in Sama proper in the course of a live performance, increasing it greater than common and Palghat Mani Iyer obliged with a tani after that! Voleti Venkateswarlu would start a live performance with a Begada kriti preceded by a teasing quick alapana and GNB has used a number of of those ragams to simply showcase swara scope (Reetigowlai and Saveri come to thoughts). Semmangudi’s piece-de-resistance of some live shows was his trademark ‘Marubalga’ in Sriranjani, though it was sung on a number of events. Madurai Somu would get you to a trance along with his inimitable Sankarabharanam or Bhairavi specials. T Okay Rangachari would sing a sustained niraval at ‘Seethapathiyani’ of Vadera in Pantuvarali whereas KVN typically sang an early Todi with a excessive octane ‘Amba Nannu brova’ at a busy clip. Madurai Mani Iyer would end a Bhairavi (like Koluvaiyunnade) on a excessive and interject a relaxing ‘Seethapathe’ (Kamas) at a horse-carriage tempo simply after. Ariyakudi’s wont restraint with even magnum opus kritis is in the identical intelligent realm. Ramnad Krishnan has sung a purely ecstatic ‘Bhajana Parula’ in Suruti with no alapana or swara! In every of those examples, there are novel expressions of drama, shock, new abilities, candy timing and musical savviness. It needn’t come from singing Nasikabhooshani for an hour! At the least, that’s what the stalwarts believed.
So, what does it take to belong to the ‘Golden 30’ membership? The one most qualification is the physique of kritis which might be composed in these ragas, by many composers. Every of the ‘Golden 30’ might rely a minimum of ten sterling kritis. That isn’t stunning. Ragams are formed by the kritis and never simply their scales – musicians know this nicely. Sportsmen are well-known for deploying the excessive frequency and time-tested mannequin, with élan on a regular basis. Gundappa Viswanath’s sq. cuts, Roger Federer’s again hand cross court docket cross are legendary and had been employed usually.
The subsequent time you take heed to a brand new or an outdated live performance, do that — you might tick the songs from the ‘Golden 30’ and whether it is above 5 – 6, and employed nicely, you simply know the the success of the live performance’s success is a could be a foregone conclusion.
The author is a classical music critic and commentator.
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