She breathes life into every raaga

She breathes life into every raaga

Sukanya Prabhakar sings at a concert held at Veene Sheshanna Bhavan at Ganabharathi in Mysore. Photo by the author

An ardent teacher, she is guiding countless disciples and refining the minds of young and old alike and spreading both the practical and theoretical knowledge whole heartedly.  Her concert at Veene Sheshanna Bhavan on  October 28 for Ganabharathi proved her mettle as a musician par excellence.

On the occasion of Muthuswami Dixitar’s  and the Bhavan’s day, her preparation and planning for the concert spoke of her commitment and dedication to music. She did justice to every piece that was sung. In an unhurried manner, she successfully built a bridge between the composer and the listener.

Pleasant music

‘Maathu’, the lyrical beauty was unveiled through a clear enunciation and the ‘Dhatu’ touched every heart through pure and pleasant music. The creativity of high order unleashed in alapana, neraval and kalpana swaras.

In all, it was a dignified expression of chaste Karnatak music.

Sukanya was accompanied by C N Tyagarajan (vioin), H L Shivashankaraswamy (mridanga) and S Manjunath (ghata) who contributed immensely for the success of the concert. Except a Devaranama composed by Veene Sheshanna, all the other compositions she sang were of Muthuswami Dixitar. Interestingly, the opening and the end pieces were  the first and the last of navavarana kruthis.  Sukanya also sang two or three slokas composed in praise of Muthuswami Dixitar by Neeragantam Ramakrishna Shastri.


After the invocatory ‘Shri MahaGanapathi’ in Gowla, she saluted Goddess Saraswathi in ‘Sharade Varade’, a Kannada Devaranama in Kalyani. Again one of the nine gems was ‘Manasa Guruguha’ in Anandabhairavi, set to Tisra Eka taala. The alapa of Amruthavarshini was a lively blend of notes that danced in fast sangathis to create different designs of the raga. (It is interesting to recall that it was the vibrations of these very vibrant notes sung by the very same composer that once caused heavy downpour in a draught struck area.) ‘Himagirikumari’ was neatly presented in this raga.

Another highlight of the day was a ‘chaturdasa Ragamalika’- ‘Shree Vishwanatham bhajeham’ that has six ragas in pallavi and anupallavi, while the charana has the other eight ragas.


The different ragas are sung both in ascending and descending order. Shree, Arabhi, Gowri, Nata, Gowla and Mohana form the first half. Sama, Lalitha, Bhairava, Saranga, Shankarabharana, Kambodhi, Devakriya and Bhupala form the second half.

Many ragas carry the ragamudras too. Dixitar has filled  the gist of each raga in just two or three sangathis. Sukanya breathed life in to it and brought out the ragabhava in every phrase.

‘Sadachaleshwaram bhavayeham’(bhupala-adi) was a real musical treat. The flow of raga rasa with its jeevaswaras to extract the required emotion was awesome. The kalpanaswaras were nothing but a continuation of the same serenity.

The main raga was Gamakakriya (Purvikalyani) which again was pleasant and embraced the listeners to experience the aesthetics. ‘Meenakshi memudam dehi’ blossomed utilising every sangathi.

The neraval or the kalpana swaras were never a duel between the singer and the violinist. The last of navavarana kruthis ‘Shree Kamalambike’ in Shree raga was fitting finale for the day.