Season Reviews - Ramakrishnan Murthy

Ramakrishnan Murthy @ Bramha Gana Sabha


By Musical Musings


The morning concert on Christmas saw a packed house at the TAG Dakshnamoorthy Hall for Ramakrishnan Murthy, full of energy and anticipation.


Ramakrishnan Murthy, accompanied by Vittal Rangan on the violin and Anantha R Krishnan on the mridangam were an impressive team. They began with a brisk Ra Rama inti daka, which provided the perfect start to what turned out to be a blockbuster concert. It was a simple rendition at the right pace, yet it struck a chord as Ramakrishnan Murthy doesn't wait for the 'manodharma-time' to improvise. Manodharma is a constant even when he sings compositions. Each line has subtle variations, and he constantly looks for improvisation.

Sree Ramam Ravikula was a masterclass in Narayana Gaula, keeping the audience enthralled throughout. The kalpanaswarams were quick-paced and had many patterns, but neither he nor Vittal Rangan let that affect the leisurely gait of Narayana Goula.


Following this was Gaula. Amongst the five pancharatnas of Tyagaraja, Dudukkugala has always been overshadowed by the popularity of the others. And even during the aradhana, what brought joy was the vibe of singing together and the ambience. But when Ramakrishnan Murthy presented it here, one could pay more attention to the Gaula in the kriti. The slight variations, improvisations, and pauses (he chose the perfect places) made you see the kriti in a way you hadn't seen before.


The begada he presented for his main was unique; He did not emphasise the madhyamam – considered iconic to the identity of Begada; a novel approach. Despite this, he managed to set up a Begada beautifully and convincingly. In Kadai kann, he explored niraval to the fullest. The tani avartanam by Anantha R Krishnan was crackling with intricacies.


Next up was the popular Nagumomu in Abheri, an enjoyable rendition. Ragam-tanam-pallavi in Simhendramadyamam followed. Alapana then shifted to Nagaswaravali and Vagadeeshwari. The ragamalika tanam too was excellent, both by Ramakrishnan Murthy and Vittal Rangan. The pallavi - Koniyada taramaa Rama nee mahima. After short niravals, we were treated to ragamalika swaras in the choicest of ragas - Nattakurinji, Nalinakanti and Kapi. He then sang the pallavi again, but now in Sindubhairavi and gradually transitioned to Ramanai Taruvai in the same raga. The piece beautifully describes Vishwamitra requesting King Dasarata to send his sons with him. He then presented Barathiyar's popular poem Suttum Vizhi Chudar. The emotion, lyrics and his voice together melted hearts.


The moment of the concert was when Ramakrishnan Murthy was visibly trying to decide what to sing next, and a member of the audience requested Jingle Bells! Keeping up with the Christmas spirit, he joyfully sang a few lines with the audience singing along. After a sparkling Chenchurutti tillana, he ended with mangalam.

pc: Rajappane Raju