Classical Arts Society Held 38th Tyagaraja Aradhana at MTS


Unchavrithi – Enactment  of the daily routine of Saint Tyagaraja door to door singing Sankeerthanam

By Chittoor Ramachandran

PEARLAND: Classical Arts Society together with Sri Meenakshi Devasthanam presented the enthralling first part of the 38th annual Tyagaraja Aradhana last weekend (Jan 10 – 11) at MTS Kalyanamandapam.  Carnatic musicians of Greater Houston, youth and adults, trained at various levels offered their respect to the composer- Saint Tyagaraja by rendering his compositions.

The event began with traditional Unchavrithi, an enactment of the daily routine of the saint Tyagaraja going door to door along with his disciples singing devotional songs.  (Note.  Respectfully offering a fistful of grains to the singing bards used to be considered a moral deed). Several musicians joined the procession  singing Tyagaraja’s devotional compositions along with the accomplished musician Sri Vatsa Kumar dressed as Tyagaraja.

The  2015 Aradhana commenced  with an invocatory puja by the priest followed by a welcome speech by Smt. Prabha Bala, CAS  Founding member and Board President  and a  brief inaugural address by the MTS Board chairman Dr.Vadugunathan. The CAS Board member Dr. Ganesh Balasubramanian,  introduced as the coordinator of the 2015 Tyagaraja Aradhana was in charge henceforth.

The well-coordinated joint rendition of Tyagaraja’s majestic Ghana raga Pancharatna Krithis by dozens of vocalists, violinists and percussionists filled the air with bhakthi as the first event.


Group rendition of the majestic Pancharathna keerthanam

The two-day Aradhana  gave opportunities for more than two hundred individuals to pay tribute to Saint Tyagaraja by singing one of his compositions.

The melodious Tyagaraja krithis played by Smt. Manjula Rao (violin) and Charan Rajan ( mridangam) added vigor to the festive ambiance. The first day concluded with a splendid mini concert of Uma Ranganathan who made an impact in the audience very quickly.   By the time she reached anupallavi of Anuragamule (Raga Saraswathi) the audience had already been mesmerized with her extraordinary style. Uma elaborated Kaligiyunte (Keeravani) followed by Muthuswamy Dikshtar krithi Mamava Pattabhirama (Manirang), and concluded with   the serene  Geetharthamu in Surutti.    The seasoned violinist Smt. Manjula Rao was in her best form in the concert.   The amazingly talented Karun Salvady (mridangam) enhanced the concert noticeably well.   Uma introduced periodic narration of brief incidents in the Saint’s life related to the krithi which made her presentation informative and enjoyable.

The vocal concert presented (on Day 2) by the accomplished youth Shilpa Sadagopan was  delightful.   Her inherent talent, superb training by top notch teachers and passion for music were all visible during her hour-long rendition.  Starting with the krithi in Poorvikalyani (Gnanamo sagarada) Shilpa  proceeded with a great confidence and elaborated the krithi  Kadanavariki  (Thodi).   That was followed by Telisi Rama (Poornachandrika), Gurulekha (Gowri manohari) and a Dasar krithi in Ameer kalyani.  Her distinctly melodious concert was a treat. The violinist Deepa Ramachandran added much to the quality of the concert.  Karun Salvady provided excellent support.

Sandhya Raghunathan’s choreography of Tyagaraja compositions was remarkably ingenious.  She could convey the meaning of several krithis instantaneously and effortlessly to the audience very effectively.  With her high quality of abhinaya and perfection in dancing, Sandhya enchanted the audience.

Second part of the Aradhana will be held as a grand Musical Fiesta in April (Sat 24 and Sun 25). The world class performers scheduled are Malladi Brothers and Sanjay Subramanian. For more information: