Women power on stage

Enriching evening

These artistes were part of an exclusive women’s ensemble called Sthree Thaal Tharang.

The team was led by Sukkanya Ramgopal and accompanied by J Yogavandan on veena, Sowmya Ramachandran on violin, Ranjini Venkatesh on mridangam and Bhagyalakshmi M Krishna on morching.

The concert was a unique blend of melody and rhythm. The compositions had a mix of Taalas and Ragas.

While some of the musical compositions were played on the veena and the violin, accompanied by percussionists, the others were composed to be performed on the ghatam.

Says Sukkanya Ramgopal, “The ghatam is like a mud pot with a narrow mouth from which it slants outwards to form a ridge. The size of the ghatam varies according to the scale of the raga. It is necessarily the secondary percussion instrument played with the mridangam in Carnatic music but I have
tried to use it as a melodic instrument.”

The concert started with an invocation melody called Vathaapi Ganapathim, a prayer to Lord Ganesha set in Hamsadhwani Raag and Adi Taala. This was played on the veena and the violin. This was followed by Anandam which means happiness in Khuntala Varali raag set to Adi Taala.

This was composed by Sukkanya and played on the ghatam. The third composition was played on the other instruments. This was in Niroshta raag set to Adi Taala thisra ghathi. The next composition was the main piece of the concert and was played in raag madhu counts set to adi taala. This was performed spontaneously by the artistes.

Sukkanya says, “The speciality of this composition is that it’s very different from the adi taala which has eight beats. We improvised it so that on the eighth beat we give three karvais. So this made it a continuous composition, making it hard to differentiate where it starts and ends.”

The next one was a folk tune called ‘Rhythmic Rhapsody’ in Shuddha Dhanyasi raaga in Eka taala. The concert concluded with the piece, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baaramma as a prayer to Goddess Lakshmi. After every composition, Sukkanya explained to the audience about the song and the intricacies of the ragas.

Says Sukkanya, “All of us are very satisfied with the response we received from the audience. The infrastructure and the ambience was very good. Such programmes should be held more often to showcase the culture among the young.”

It was an enriching experience for many. Says Kavya Rao, a student, “It was a treat to listen to the different musical compositions. What made the whole concert meaningful was that the artiste took time to explain every piece in detail. So those of us who did not know much about Carnatic music could also relate to the artiste and enjoy the music.”

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