The timing was exceptional. There couldn’t have been a more apt way for Vidushi Aruna Sairam to begin the Season. She offered a well thought-out ‘Oruthi Maganai Piranthu’, a concert that captured the colours of Lord Krishna’s balaleela at the Margazhi Maha Utsavam.
The anchoring piece was a journey through Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi’s kritis. The alapana in Madhyamavathi was stimulating.
On the violin, B.V. Raghavendra Rao provided a gentle response. His inspiring contribution was an asset to the concert. ‘Aadaathu Asangaathu Vaa’ offered indefinable joy to the overflowing, discerning audience, judging by their spontaneous ovation.
In the niraval at ‘Chinnanjiru Padhangal’, Aruna traversed to Thodi ‘Kaalinil silambu konja’ (from Thaye Yasoda); to Bowli ‘Neela Roopena’ (from Kshanameva ganyam) to Atana ‘Bahuvidha Kalabha kasturi’ (from Madhura Madhura) to Jayantasri ‘Makarakundala Dharitha’ (from Neeradhasama neela). Thereafter, she traversed in the reverse ragamalika to conclude with a spell-binding swaraprasthara in Madhyamavathi.
Mridangam vidwan J. Vaidyanathan, along with Ganapathy (tabla) and Krishna (ghatam) offered a short and sweet thani. Their support throughout was brilliant.
Aruna commenced the evening with a Bhairavi piece (tisra nadai), ‘Mandha Maarutham Mella” followed by a verse from Srimad Bhagavatham, ‘Thamadbhutham Baalakam’ in Sahana. Then an Oothukkadu virutham in Bhupalam and Atana led to the Behag Thiruppavai, ‘Oruththi Maganay Piranthu.’
A Marathi song ‘Utee Utee Gopala’ in Misra Bhup recounted Yasodha’s efforts to wake up the little Krishna early in the morning. Swami Paramanand’s ‘Dekhori Dekhori’ in a folk tune (akin to Kaikottikkali of Kerala) followed.
In a sparkling Nadanamakriya, she rendered ‘Maatrariyaadha pasum pon thangame.’ Yasodha sings this song to Lord Krishna. She judiciously combined ‘Vrindavani Venu’, a Marathi gavlan, an Abheri-based piece with Oothukkadu’s ‘Manamayakkum’ in Brindavani. The four young singers who joined her in the programme enriched the vocal texture of the concert, especially in the Namavali, ‘Vittala Vittala.’
She rendered a rare Krishna Karnamrutham slokam, ‘Ramo naama babhuva – um’ in Hindolam.
Yasodha tells her child a bed time story — There lived a prince called Rama. The child responds with an ‘um’. He had a wife called Sita. The child again says, ‘um’. When they were in Panchavati forest as per his father’s orders, Ravana abducted Sita. The child then utters a dissenting ‘oom’ and cries out, ‘oh, Saumitri, where is my bow? Get me my bow’. Yasodha is stunned. One who reacted thus, let Him protect us.
She concluded her programme with a Navroj piece ‘Sama mudhal vedangalai’ in Khanda Chapu. One left the venue (Youth Hostel, Indira Nagar) with the thoughts and visuals of the leelas of little Krishna.