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Two legends on a wonderful
concert recording

This album brings you the first ever concert where the legendary mridangist Palghat Mani Iyer accompanied a woman vocalist. The 'hero' is still
D K Pattammal, who sings a rich variety of Thyagaraja compositions  with consummate artistry     

An excellent compilation of D K Pattammal's music




D K Pattammal
Great Masters Series
MDC 218/219
Dreams Audio

Rs 100 (two cassettes)

This double album is a wonderful representation of D K Pattammal's consummate delineation of Thyagaraja kritis. Ranging from the popular Sujana Jeevana (Khamas) and Vidulaku (Mayamalavagowla) through the poignant Toli janma (Bilahari) and Eti janma (Varali) to the rare Raksha bettare (Bhairavi) and Kaalaharana (Suddha Saveri), it will be difficult to find another album that depicts the saint composer in all his moods.

There is just the one composition by Muthusamy Dikshitar in this concert album, which the inlay card tells us was the first occasion that the great mridangist, Palghat Mani Iyer, accompanied a woman artiste. It would have been useful if the recording company had mentioned the year of the concert and where it took place.

The first volume begins with a varnam in Hamsadhwani, Pagavari, and proceeds to a racy rendition of Sujana jeevana. The following Kalyani alapana is not swara-based but raga-based and is followed by the Shyama Sastry kriti Birana varalichi.

The sahitya is delivered with absolute clarity. There are some energetic swaraprastharas sung in sequence by Pattammal and a male artiste whose name is not specified.

The second side begins with Vidulaku, also sung fast. The mood then changes to one of deep devotion for Mamava. The composition in raga Manirangu is known for its lyrical beauty and the singer captures every nuance of it.

Volume Two begins with a Bhairavi alapana, which though short, is majestic. The handling of the complex Thyagaraja Kriti Raksha bettare is a lesson for young singers. Kaalaharana is again rendered with liveliness. In fact, both cassettes are illustrations of how fast singing need not sacrifice gamaka.

The Bilahari is delightful while the Varali shows DKP essaying  effortlessly into the tarasthayi.

A well known Sanskrit sloka sung in ragamalika is attributed to Arunagirinathar, who only wrote in Tamil. These are aspects Dream Audio has to tighten up.

It would also have been appropriate to provide some more space on the cassette to Palghat Mani Iyer's mridangam accompaniment.

Ambujam Anantharaman 

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