I had been to Music Academy to listen Smt Ambujam Krishna's compositions rendered by smt. Bombay Jayashree, this Saturday, September 12, 2009 at 6:30 PM.
The concert was started with an introduction about the artiste, composer by none other than ambujam amma's son and daughter. That was a half an hour talk that carried our memories decades back.
Jayashree started the concert with a swift chakkaravAga rAga kriti, Ranganai thudhi seidhiduvOm, dedicated to Lord RanganAtha of Srirangam. The song's pallavi, adorned the lord with elements like kasturi, parimala which was evident from the singer calling Ranganatha as Kasturi Ranganai, parimala ranganai and so on. River kAveri's greatness was also specified in the anupallavi - "gangai nigar punidha kAvEri naduvilE pongaravadhanil pallikkoNda parimala ranganai thudhi seidhiduvOm". i.e we shall bow parimala ranga who is lying on the serpant on the banks of river kAvEri whose greatness is equal to that of the ganges. The composer has also explained about the way thiruppalliyezhuchi (procedure to wake up the lord in the morning) is done there. The charanam goes like this - "sruthi layam koodi veenai yaazhOdu thiruppalliyezhichi paadi paramanai - narumalar kondu nattral poojiththu - marugina
manadhinil urugi urugi.." - with fine tuned veena and yaazh (stringed instrument) we sing the thiruppalli yezhuchi (set of songs written for waking up the lord) and by offering good flowers we pray to the lotus feet of the lord. There was a quick kalpana swaras that was simply superb.
The second song was nindra thirukkOlam in the rAga kalyAni set to adi tAlam tisra nadai. It was a traditional kalyAni that I heard after a long time. The sangathis sung for the pallavi line was a wonderful experiment that was brought out excellently. And the rendering of the line "neela mEga vannam nenjai aLLidudE.." was really heartful. This song was dedicated to Azhagar kOil sundararaja peerumAL of her home town Madurai. It had descriptions about the chitra pournami festival when the lord descends down into the vaigai river. There was also description about the 5 weapons (conch, discus, mace, sword and bow - gathi saarngi shangi chakri cha nandaki) that Vishnu use to have with him.
The third was the soulful kAnadA. It was a telugu kriti parAmukhamu sAnurA neeku paritApamu lEdA. This was dedicated to lord Rama. The expression of "will you not grant boons to me?" was well captured by the artiste. This was a composition on par with Saint Tyagaraja when it comes for rAmabhakti.
Then came the beatiful nAtakkurinji. Jayashree sang sondham vEruNdO rAmA, set to rUpaka tAlam. The last few lines of the charanam was so nice - aNda brahmmNnda akhilANdam paNi kOdhaNdapANi uNNai nambi vandha pin. The complete saranAgathi thathvam was portrayed well in this kriti. Kalpana swarams were also rendered. Each aavarthi of swara ended with the swarams Ni Sa Ri ga sondham vErundo which was saying like, is there anyother relation apt than you rAmA?
Then was the delightful dharmavathi. Jayashree sang a sanskrit composition of ambujam krishna, Janaki vallabhAya namastE in misra chapu tAlam. In the anuppallavi, there came a line "mama hrudayAmbuja vAsa" that beared the composer's signature. I think this is a rare one. I could not see her name in any of the other songs sung. This too had a good set of kalpana swaras that was very innovative.
The main piece of the concert is surutti rAga kriti written in telugu, "rAmA neevE gathiyani nirathamu namminA nannubrOva thAmasama" set to Adhi tAlam. The song was rendered in a steady way and swarams were flowing like a water fall. There was a tani aavartanam by the mridangam and kanjira artistes which was a good support for the song. The artiste announced that she learnt this kriti from smt. kamala kailasanathan who spent most of her time at thiruvananthapuram. That was a good rememberence by Smt Jayashree.
This was followed by pozhudumiga vAcchudE in the rAga rEvathi. Believe me this was the only composition that I have heard before. All the others were entirely new for me. The way Jayashree expressed the lines yennai vittu pOna kannan innum vara kaanave portrayed the longing feeling that any krishna bhaktai (gopis) will have if krishna was not by their side.
Then was a hindi composition in the rAgA bhAgeshri, mil tEjA iqbar poojese. It was a soothing one.
She concluded the concert with a rAgamaLika that was written as a lullaby(thAlattu). Devaki than kula kozhundhai was the starting. It had rAgAs like Ananda bhairavi, vasantha, Abheri, paras and neelaambari.
The concert was completed with the mangala stOtram sri rAmachandra sritha pArijAtha in the rAga nIlAmbari itself.
That was a wonderful evening treat by Bombay Jayashree.