How Brinda blended ease and experience

Senior vocalist Rama Ravi unravelled the distinctiveness of the legendary musician’s artistry

Senior vocalist Rama Ravi unravelled the distinctiveness of the legendary musician’s artistry

T. Brinda was a musician’s musician. Doyens like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and stars like M.S. Subbulakshmi went to her to be taught items from her repertoire. Discerning rasikas turned her staunch followers. What have been the distinctive attributes of the Dhanammal bani that held all of them enthralled?

Rama Ravi, the flag-bearer of the bani, threw mild on this on the Archival Classic Live performance sequence, beneath the endowment of Rajammal Vijayaraghavan, on the Music Academy lately. Rama had delved deep into the archives to showcase some gems.

She had woven collectively vital biographical info to spotlight the background of sure elements of Brinda’s artistry.

Rama Ravi and Nanditha Ravi.

Rama Ravi and Nanditha Ravi.
| Photograph Credit score: Particular Association

Born right into a household steeped in music, Brinda and her sister Muktha have been despatched by their mom to vidwan Nayana Pillai at Kanchipuram to be educated to carry out concert events as a duo. His intensive repertoire of the Trinity and different vaggeyakaras turned the bedrock of Brinda’s musical edifice, together with the padams and javalis that have been their household’s treasure.

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A shock bundle

Whereas Brinda adopted the kutcheri paddhati of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, she would begin with the teaser of an Ata tala varnam in a brisk tempo in Yadukula Kamboji or a kriti in a uncommon ragam. Kritis like ‘Aparadhamula’ in Rasali or ‘Evare Ramayya’ in Gangeya Bhushani would make vidwans sit up in marvel.

Reposeful tempo was identified to be her hallmark as borne out by kritis like ‘Venkata saila vihari’ or ‘Tyagaraja yoga vaibhavam’. Her immersion in sluggish and stately padams was mirrored even in kritis like ‘Karubaru’ in Mukhari. Whether or not sluggish or quick, Brinda was in complete management over the tempo of the music.

Although tutored by laya maestro Nayana Pillai, she by no means opted for strident laya-based workout routines in her manodharma flights in niraval or swaraprastaram. As a substitute, she pitched on raga bhavam in each breath, which made her concert events wealthy, intense raga experiences. Niraval of the phrase ‘Kanna thalli gada’ (aren’t you my mom?) within the Thodi kriti ‘Ninne namminanu’, the excerpt performed, was an instance of the raga bhavam merging with the emotion within the lyrics, giving it a poignant enchantment.

Exploring lengthy karvais

What was the key behind such seemingly informal mastery? Rama demonstrated that the gamaka strategy to the raga was the cornerstone of the distinctive bani. Allied with excellent sruti alignment that nailed each observe, they revelled within the luxurious of lengthy karvais. They may discover and embellish the microtones that lent color to the raga. As an example, the gandharam of Kalyani within the kriti ‘Kanthimathim’ was someplace beneath madhyamam and definitely above the plain antara gandharam. This was their discipline of play, a monopoly Brinda’s household cherished and guarded. And who’s extra eminently suited to clarify this elusive, nebulous observe, than Rama Ravi, who was suggested by her information Viswa (T. Viswanathan), Brinda’s first cousin, to take up gamakas, or graces as the topic of her doctoral thesis?

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She laid stress on the breath management, modulation and innate musicality required to maintain the graceful and regular movement of the raga, like a thaila dharai (oil movement) . Phrase upon phrase adopted, every assuredly rising out of the earlier, in a seamless development. Making a point out of the padam, ‘Mera gaadu rammanave’ (anu pallavi mora thopu) in Sahana, Rama reminded that it known as for an incredible voice vary, stamina and power to even try it. Taking over such padams in direction of the top of a protracted live performance, Brinda and Muktha sailed via them with ease, with nary a touch of all the trouble and experience it known as for.

Ably assisted by her daughter Nandita Ravi, Rama performed excerpts of Brinda’s singing in addition to sang among the passages to elucidate the complexities and the consummate mastery.

The speak that day left everybody longing to take heed to a full-length live performance of Brinda and Muktha from the Music Academy’s archives. A solo listening expertise with earphones is not any substitute to listening with different rasikas in an auditorium.

The Chennai-based writer is a musician and bilingual author.

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