Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Natana Raaja-Part VI

Looking at the Divine cosmic dance, the great Tamizh poet Karaikkal Ammaiyaar said ,

‘Melody of the seven swaras.. Resounding rhythm. He dances in this grandeur’.

துத்தம் கைக்கிள்ளை விளரி தாரம்
உழை இளி ஓசை பண் கெழுமப்பாடிச்
சச்சரி கொக்கரை தக்கையோடு
தகுணிச்சம் துந்துபி தாளம் வீணை
மத்தளம் கரடிகை வன்கை மென்றோல்
தமருகம் குடமுழா மொந்தை வாசித்து
அத்தனை விரவினோடு ஆடும் எங்கள்
அப்பன் இடம் திருவாலங்காடே.

This verse is very interesting.

Yes.. it does mention the name of all seven swaras as they are called in Tamizh.
Yes.. it does talk about the various melodic and percussion instruments of yore.

But what strikes one is way the poem depicts the relationship between Music and Dance.

Sometime back, I had explained as to how there is a dancer in every musician just as there is music in every dancer.

One may argue that dance depends on music while music does not depend on dance. While this statement may appear to be true, it should be understood that it is not dependency one is talking about. It goes much beyond that.

A true musician has a sense of dance. Just as a dancer has a sense of music.
A musician sings to the inward dance just as a dancer dances to the inward music..

Music and Dance have a symbiotic relationship. A relationship which is very special and divine.

In the last 3 months, we have been seeing the various forms of Classical dances of India with each post followed by a discussion on a composition of the Maestro in which dance is the fulcrum.

Starting with Bharatanatyam, we saw Kuchipudi, KathakaLi, Mohinaattam, Kathak, Odissi and Manipuri.

We saw the basic three N’s-Nritta, Nrithya, and Natya.
We saw the Adavus or the basic steps and the Hasthas or the hand gestures.

We also saw the format of a present day performance.

The series come to an end today with a wonderful composition of his.

It is a fact that not only is he Raaga Raaja and Laya Raaja but also Natana Raaja.

The compositions we saw in the last 5 posts stand testimony to this.

Today’s composition is unique.It is a competition between two sisters-one a dancer, and the other a musician.

The song is ‘Abhinayam Kaattu’ from ‘Vidiyum varai kaaththiru’(1981).
It is based on Simhendra Madhyamam.

Simhendra Madhyamam is the 57th melakarta.Its structure is: sa ri2 ga2 ma2 pa dha1 ni3 Sa/Sa ni3 dha1 pa ma2 ga2 ri2 sa.

Though it is the pratimadhyama ragam of Keeravani, Simhendra madhyamam has a beauty of its own and some prayogas/phrases have a melting quality.

It is also in the same Gruha Beda group as Mayamalavagowlai and Rasikapriya.

Let us now look at the composition.

We taste the quintessence of the raga in the beginning itself in the Aalap. A single stroke of a painter’s brush and we see an incredibly beautiful terrain strewn with glittering gems. The emphatic rendition and the beats of mridangam prepare us for a grand spectacle.

The Pallavi is threaded around mellifluent prayogas of the raga. The dainty Veena and the pulsating mridangam heighten the air of serenity.

The crystal clear Jalatharangam and the melodic Tabla tarang dance with dexterity as the anupallavi starts.

The sangati that lasts for 2 avarthanas following the first line of the anupallavi is soaked in classical melody.

The raga dances with the fleet footedness of a deer, with the elegant charm of a peacock and the flowing fish.

In the first interlude, the effervescent veenas play the poorvanga of the raga with the flowery violins, the captivating Tabla tarang and the matchless Jalatarangam smiling in appreciation. All of them join together in the end and play the arohanam of the raga in unison.

The first line of the beautifully structured first CharaNam is aesthetically elegant. The second line has purposeful deliberation with the swaras traversing the octaves. The third line and the sangati that follows show us the subtle nuances of the raga. The last line is as graceful as the movement of a swan.

The reflective veena at the end of the first line and the melodious flute at the end of the second line decorate the already beautiful CharaNam.

The composition gathers further sheen now as the intense violins, the regal veena and the lucent Jalatarangam delve deeply into the raga.

The second charaNam is etched with sensitive strokes...

The first two lines sparkle with effective permutations in the Tisram and the Chatusram gaits. We see the power, verve and the melody in the lines that follow.

There is a plethora of imaginative phrases encompassing all aspects of the loftiness of classical dance and classical music. Music walks, leaps, prances, and dances while the Dance sings with the arc of the raga’s radiance.

Cohesively designed jatis are festooned with glowing strand of swaras..
It is a linear and circular musical geometry..

Abhinayam paarththu nadai podum isai..

ps:This Natana Raaja-VI and the Tamizh version were specially written and read out to an invited audience in Chennai on the 29th of Aug 2010.

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