Slow and beautifully
MDR slowly unravels the delicate nuances of two ragas -- Bhairavi and Anandabhairavi
For those who thought Karnatak music
was all take-out style concerts of 20-odd items
performed with dizzying efficiency, M D Ramanathan's concerts would
have been a revelation.
Gitaa Cassettes' live recording of one of MDR's concert has just
two compositions in it, the grand pada varnam by Syama Sastri
in raga Bhairavi, Kanchi Kamakshi, and O Jagadamba
Anandabhairavi by Dikshithar.
Never mind that the inlay card mixes up
the composer's names, does not bother to tell you who is
accompanying MDR (I suspect it is Lalgudi Jayaraman or T N
Krishnan on the violin and Palghat Raghu on the mridangam) and does
not care to mention the year or venue of this precious live
Just listen to the deep voice booming out in contemplation of
This pada varnam unfolds each minute gamaka of Bhairavi. Each of
its stanzas starts on a consecutive note of the raga, the first
on sa, the second or ri and so on, and each stresses one
aspect of this magnificent raga. MDR's gamaka on ga, typical of
Bhairavi and reaching out tentatively to ma, is like the Golden Gate
swaying gently in the buffeting breeze over the Bay. For those who
would like to appreciate Bhairavi, or learn more about its slow
grace, this tape will come in handy.
Anandabhairavi is another treat.
Traditionally used for lullabies and for wedding songs, it takes on an
exploratory inflexion with MDR, who digs deep with the kriti O
Jagadamba. Starting with the
mandra sthayi, the composition slowly proceeds up the scale and
charms out the tender nature of the raga.
Going by its website, Gita Cassettes
seems to be interested in selling paraphernalia for Hindu
rituals. Those who had despaired of ever finding MDR recordings
will be grateful to the label, even if the quality of the recordings
is not the best.
As we pursue speed, the very nature of music, that is contemplation, discovery and exploration, is lost. MDR will take you to an artistic region where the joys of slowness can be savoured.
S Suchitra Lata
Posted on 18th August 2001
Write to the author
to the editor