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An ideal start to the annual Sangeet Samaroh of Bhartaiya Vidya Bhavan

Music is great leveller, healer and in this world of so many conflicts and turmoil it is a great force of national integration. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has been truly fostering this through education and culture for the last 80 years since Kulpati K M Munshi founded this great institution in 1938 at the instance of the Father of Nation .

The annual Sangeet Samaroh of BVB Delhi has been a very important event in the cultural calendar of the National Capital for the last 10 years. This year’s fest, in tune with the stature of the institution, featured a Carnatic vocal, followed by a Kathakali recital– the latter for the first time ever on the inaugural day .

Opening with Mallari

Saketharaman provided an ideal start to this year’s fest by his vibrant Carnatic vocal concert. This dynamic young musician, a disciple of legend Lalgudi Jayaraman, has been creating waves in music circles in India and abroad over the last few years and has emerged as one of the brightest stars for the future of Carnatic Music in India. He carries lightly on his crown several laurels, including the prestigious Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar of Kendriya Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Saketharaman opened his concert with a Mallari in the majestic raga Gambhira Nattai. It was brisk and set the tone for the evening. Mallari heralds the procession of Utsav Moorti of God during the night procession accompanied by Nadaswaram in the temples during bygone era of last few centuries. There was an ebullient flow of swaras beautifully echoed by the violin player, the well-known Akkarai Subbalakshmi and percussion artiste Neyveli Venkatesh. Saketh chose one of the gems of saint Tyagaraja’s compositions in the raga Saramathi – Mokshamu Galada where the saint spells rather philosophically the route to attain salvation is music and devotion. These inherent nuances were brought out beautifully by Saketh who coaxed his powerful voice to subtle melody singing and soaring to portray the sanctity of this masterpiece

A brief alaap of Sudhasaveri wafted in next and the song on Tripurasundari was bestowed with dexterous Chittaswaras. The piece de resistance of the evening was Deekshitar’s profoundly scholarly Sanskrit composition “Sri Satyanarayanam Upasmahe” preceded by a charismatic alaap when raga Sivapantuvarali enveloped the audience. Saketh lavished his reverence for Deekshitar in this piece, giving away a secret that the composer claims ownership of the singer in a symbiotic divine connection through music.

As a nice innovation, a soft and sober Thanam was nicely sandwiched in between and rendered exclusively and exquisitely by Subbalakshmi. The kalpana swaras that Saketh sang showed his manodarma. He concluded his concert with a bajan and tillana of his Guru.

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