That mathematics has a greater role to play in Carnatic music came to fore during a recent concert of the Andhra Pradesh-based Manda Sudharani. Using her mathematical skills, especially during the kalpanaswaras and also during the Ragam Tanam Pallavi session, Sudharani’s melodious singing mesmerised music lovers. Sudharani’s concert was organised by the Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Sabha at Amaltas Hall of the India Habitat Centre.
Manda Sudharani started her concert with an adi tala varnam, “Intha Chalumejesithe…”, a composition of Veenai Kuppaiyer in Begada. She sang this in a brisk tempo. She followed it up with “Pranamamhayam”, a composition of Mysore Vasudevachar in Gowla Ragam in a delightful way.
Later, the artiste presented “Seethapathe”, a composition of Saint Tyagaraja in the raga Khamas. A scintillating alapana preceded this song. The neraval of the phrase “Premajoopinaapi” that she sang brought out the emotive aspects of raga. Besides the sahitya bhava and lyrical beauty of the composition too came to the fore. She sang the kalpanaswaras to the delight of the listeners.
Sudharani took up another Tyagaraja Kriti, “Telisi Rama Chintana…” in raga Purna Chandrika. She experimented with Chitta swaras by singing half a line in thisram and the remaining line in second speed, which bore testimony to her skills of integrating musical and mathematical thoughts.
Sudharani’s central item was a Swati Tirunal composition “Pankaja lochana” in raga Kalyani. She sang this song in a detailed manner and brought out the features of the raga blending with skillful permutations and combination of notes in an unhurried manner. In the process, her brilliant exposition of the raga resulted in a delightful experience to the music lovers.
She also sang Swati Tirunal’s composition “Bhogindrasayanam” in raga Kuntalavarali. Once again she depicted her mathematical genius while singing Khanda chapu Tala in Chaturasra gathi, which requires tremendous control on the rhythm. The beauty of Sudharani’s style of singing is based on mathematical skills.
In the RTP session, Sudharani presented the pallavi “Gopika Manohara” in raga Hindolam set to Adi tala. The ragamalika swaraprastharas were Valaji, Sucharitram and Shahana. Earlier, she sang the pallavi in four speeds in a brilliant way.
One could notice a drupad style of singing in the thanam portion, which added beauty to her rendition. At times one felt vocalist and violinist were engaged in giving out their best on their part. She concluded her concert with Annamacharya’s Keertana “Paluku Tenela Talli” in the raga Abheri.
Delhi-based R Sridhar on the Violin and Kumbakonam N Padmanabhan on the Mridangam provided excellent support. While Sridhar’s take of Kalyani was delightful, Padmanabhan’s elegant rhythmic touches was a treat to the ears. Sudharani’s concert will be long remembered by music lovers of the Capital.
Manda Sudharani, from Visakhapatnam, is a disciple of Ivaturi Vijyaeswara Rao of Dwaram tradition. She is a top-ranking artiste from AIR. Sudharani is an exponent of pallavi singing and has specialised in singing Shatkala pallavi. Recently, the Madras Music Academy, Chennai, awarded her for the best pallavi singing.