Soulful Concent by T.M. Krishna

HYMA 1 in

By Uma Ranganathan

STAFFORD: The great poet Rabindranath Tagore once said, ‘The measure of a singer’s liberation is in his own creative personality. He can sing the composer’s song as his own, if he has the power creatively to assert himself in his interpretation of general law of the melody which he is given to interpret’. These words came alive on October 12 at Stafford Civic Center, when Vidwan T.M.Krishna rendered a soulful concert in his mesmerizing, yet commanding voice. Renowned for his distinctive style and creativity, TMK swept the audience with an ambience of divine music, which kept ringing in the listeners’ ears, long after they left the concert. But what was truly most inspiring, was his unending passion towards every note he delivered, oozing with purity.

This concert was organized by the Houston Youth Music Association, a group of musically inclined youth who have come together to promote music by hosting Classical Music Concerts featuring young and experienced global musicians, conducting workshops to enrich the musical knowledge of young enthusiasts, and encouraging the youth to embark on a rewarding musical journey. It was a milestone in HYMA’S journey to have T.M.Krishna’s grand vocal concert. Commencing the program with a Swarajathi in the majestic Thodi raga, his musical voyage knew no boundaries to expedition. Following the swarajathi, the viruttam ‘Pullagi Poondagi’ written by Manikkavacakar, was a perfect gateway to the krithi ‘Srinathadi GuruGuho Jayati’. The viruttam explains that the human birth is extremely precious, because it is bestowed upon a soul after going through enormous births, as a grass, a worm, a tree, a reptile and so on. However, this human birth is only worthy if dedicated to the one who creates and preserves it. Hence, Dikshitar, in his krithi aptly weaves a beautiful description of the creator and preserver, to whom we owe all our births.

TMK thoughtfully tied the two into a moving piece, with the neraval at one of the most powerful lines ‘Maayaa Sabalitha Brahma rupo’. Unlike the form or swaroopa of the Creator is veiled by Maaya or illusion, TMK’s neraval unveiled the grandiosity of the phrase as well as the nuances of Mayamalava Gowla. A brief but very fitting tani avartanam by Vidwan Arun Prakash felt like a poetic completion to the swirls of Neraval. Thereafter came a surprise treat to the listeners, a melodious Javali by Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar in Kamas raga.

While the audience was dwelling in the romantic air of the Javali, TMK presented an ice-breaking Ragam and Tanam in Salaga Bhairavi, awakening the audience to Tyagaraja’s call, ‘Padavini Sadbhakti’, stating that the real status of an individual is not contingent upon wealth, fame, royalty or wishes, but only on the intensity of devotion to Lord Rama.

It was then, a moment of calming down with Shankarabharanam, rendered very pertinently and gracefully by R.K.Shriram Kumar on the Violin. His expressions, both facial and on his violin, were demonstrative of his unison and bliss with the notes, so much that TMK decided to abandon his presentation in the same raga, and went on to another Tyagaraja krithi explaining a sweet problem,’Dwaitamu Sukhama’.  Hence, TMK covered Tattvam through Dikshitar’s Srinathadi, Jnaanam through Tyagaraja’s padavini, and landed on Bhakti, while singing Dwaitamu Sukhama.

T.M.Krishna’s crescendo was at Bhairavi, while relishing Amba Kamakshi, the last words of which, he improvised into a Pallavi. The audience held its pulse when he stood still at the high notes, it felt like an outright silence before a heavy downpour of swarams and tani.

Thereafter, relaxing numbers ‘Baro Krishnaiyya’ and ‘Irakkam Varaamal’ were a calming lullaby to a restless mind. The accompanists too, waved in enjoyment of the tukkadaas, making the exemplar rapport between the three very visible to all listeners, to the extent that it was three Musicians, but just One music that flowed through the theatre.

TMK’s next big surprise unfurled in the Behag tillana, when singing Neraval for the Anupallavi. The sollu kattu got a life and emotion of their own to be proud of. The concert ended with a feeling of satisfaction, as well as the craving for a greater appetite of such moving music. Darshak Thacker (Krishna Sounds) provided an excellent acoustic for the concert.

The concert was presided by the gracious presence of Parvathaneni Harish, the Consul General of India to the United States of America and his wife Nandita Harish. Also, the renowned Violinist Vidwan Vittal Ramamurthy marked his company with his encouraging words. HYMA is not just proud to have hosted such a successful event, but is extremely optimistic about its vision to take music to the next level of appreciation, learning and sharing.