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Sowmya’s vocal concert in Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Jaya TV, 2013
When analyzing the concert of Sowmya in Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Jaya TV, 2013, we may get acquainted with the superlative compositions of Sri, Swathithirunal, the art-loving King of Travancore who spared major part of his life for music. The theme ‘Swathithirunal Vaibhavam’ she chose was influential for me, being a Malayali. Sri Swathithirunal was the King of the State of Travancore who ruled Kerala during the early period of 19th century. He was a great patron of music, especially Carnatic Music of South India. His proficiency in many Indian languages led to the creation of several musical compositions in them. They are in Malayalam, Sanskrit, Telugu, Hindi and Manipravalam (a combination of Malayalam and Sanskrit).
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Sri Swathi thirunal was musically talented and proficient in many languages. He has composed a variety of songs in Malayalam, Telugu, Hindi, Sanskrit and Manipravalam. They have a veritable melody and lyrics that mesmerize the listeners to a higher depth.
Swathithirunal kritis in the concert
The concert started with the song ‘Gopalaka Pahimam Anisam’ in the raga Bhupalam. Then ‘Sarasasamamukha’ in the raga Khamas uplifted the entire mood of the audience with its ‘Shringara’ Rasa (attractive flavor). When she was asked about the reason behind choosing such a theme, Sowmya replied that it was the variety of compositions that made her stuck on Sri Swathithirunal.
‘Utsavaprabandham’ is a group of musical compositions of Sri Swathithirunal from which one song is sung each day when Lord Sri Padmanabha is taken out riding in Ananthavahana. Sowmya’s rendition of the song ‘Pankajakshanam Ramesan’ in Thodi raga from this Prabandham was beautiful. She didn’t leave singing one of his ‘Padams’ too. Alarsaraparitapam in the raga Churuti also added to the ‘Vaibhavam’. The concert ended with the Thillana ‘Geetha dhuniku thakadheem’ in the raga Peeblas written in Hindi language.
Sowmya popularized the Kritis of Sri Swathithirunal further more by choosing such a theme. Listening to Malayalam compositions after a long time made me nostalgic. In the Kannankulangara (Lord Krishna) temple Utsavam (festival) days in my native place, these songs were played in dance forms Kathakali, Mohiniyattam and in vocal concerts. The concert theme was indeed a balanced feast to the enthusiasts of Carnatic Music.
A short note on Sowmya
Sowmya is a Carnatic vocalist who is also a vainika. Her initial trainer in Carnatic music was her own father Dr. Srinivasan. Later, under Dr.S.Ramanathan's tutelage, she grew into a matured singer and further learned from Smt. T. Muktha. Carnatica, an institution meant for Classical music & dance learning online, talent search, archival and others was co-founded by Sowmya. She is also the co-author of Nadanubhava, the first comprehensive digital reference CD-ROM on Carnatic music.
Sowmya's concert in Margazhi Maha Utsavam, Jaya TV, 2013
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© 2014 Radhika Sreekanth