This midweek saw the music recital of the elderly vocalist Radha Padmanabhan staged
as part of the monthly concerts of music, dance and drama of the Cultural Department.
Her deep voice carried that seasoned grace and weight, and so she was aptly titled
"Gayana Pattu" by none other than the doyen Mangalampally Balamurali Krishna.
In that heavy accent that Tamil vocalists carry, Radha Padmanabhan commenced with
"Venkata Ramana Nadai" in Nata, a rare song of Cheyuru Changaleswara Sastry. Without
missing the repertoire with the celebrated Annamacharya Keertanas, the vocalist
chose to render "Deva Devam Bhaje" set to Hindolam, gently attributed to the high-minded
image of Rama.
Radha Padmanabhan, a chief disciple of Sarvasri B V Raman and B V Laxmanan, who
belong to the fifth generation of disciples of the saint Thyagaraja, has been
given the position of 'Aasthana Vidhushi' at Ahobil Matt. And so her rendering
is poised with a rare reverence that comes from practicing regularly in temples.
"Devotion while rendering is most the important aspect of my singing, more important
than the embellishments like 'gamakas', 'neravu', 'swarakalpana' and so on. These
special effects will anyway, and naturally, come in as you sing, while devotion
is something that you feel and believe in. The rendering is nothing but your offering
to the Divine and the guru," says the vocalist who soulfully renders Muthuswamy
Dikshitar's "Shankha Chakra" in the Purna Chandrika raga.
The central song of the evening's recital, "Sundari Nee Divya Roopamu" of Thyagaraja,
was seen with that rare blend of embellishments and perseverance. Concluding with
an intense and high-pitched Sindu Bhairavi, "Venkatachala Nilayam Vaikuntha Pura
Vasam", a composition of Purandara Dasa, Radha had orchestral support by violinist
Dwaram Satya Narayana Rao, percussionist P Srinivasa Gopalan and kanjeera artist
The evening also saw a light music concert staged by Sista Annaji Rao, Surekha
Murthy and Madhavi. The group chose to render songs like "Pari Pari Nee Padame"
of Bala Murali Krishna and "Pibare Rama Rasam" of Sadasiva Bramhendra, which were
the high lights of their concert.