Today mom and I attended our neighbour and Singer Sri Mathumitha’s Concert at Thiruvanmiyur ISKCON arranged for Janmashtami. Her sister & classical singer Charulatha Mani had arranged a 7 day Janmashtami Celebration concerts. Today is the last day and we went mainly for Madhumitha. Ya, she’s Sri Mathumitha now, but I like her as Madhumitha from her childhood days when she participated in A.V.Ramanan’s Saptha Swarangal. She resembled my cousing Bala then and we used to mention her as Bala lookalike. She has come a long way from Mudhal Mudhalaai in Laysa Laysa, Kana Kaanum kaalangal in 7G Rainbow Colony till Damma Damma Damma in Kalvani. I feel if Shreya Ghoshal has a bit bass voice, it would be like Madhu’s voice. Since the ISKCON is next to our compound wall, we could hear it from outside of our flat. It was started before we reached.
The first song was the evergreen Kaatrinile Varum Geetham written by Kalki Krishnamurthy and popularized by M.S.Subbulakshmi in Meera. Though we didn’t reach the place, we listened to it in our way. Since there was less audience we could find seats. Next was a bhajan based on the raga Gowri Manohari/Patdeep. Since it was drizzling I thought of Ilayaraja’s evergreen Gowri Manohari “Ponvaanam panneer Thoovudhu Inneram” and also thought of his Patdeep “Kanna Varuvaaya…” from Manadhil Urudhi Vendum. Next she announced that she’s gonna sing a Meera Bhajan based on the raga Shubha Pantuvarali. Immediately i told mom it would be Nanda Nandana. Mom was blinking and I referred to Cindhu sorry Sindhu Bhairavi. Bhairavi grinds the paruppu podi when JKB listens to Lata Mangeshkar’s Meera Bhajan. Mom got it then. (Can’t forget the innocent Bhairavi when she says “Lata Mangeshkaraa ungalukku paruppu podi arachu tharaporaa?”). The guy who played flute excelled in the song. Meanwhile Charulata Mani was taking snaps of her sister and also managing her kid.
Next came a Bhajan in Pantuvarali. Since both the ragas resemble each other, it was like the former’s extension. She could have avoided that. Then she was announcing that she’s gonna sing a verse from Naalayiram Divya Prabandham. She could have stopped with that. She went on and gave introduction to the Alwars, the greatest devotees of Lord Krishna. She had mentioned the count of Alwars as 63 instead of 12. But unfortunately none corrected her. Very few older maamas & maamis at the back were laughing and making fun. When she started singing the Periyazhwar’s Krishna Lullaby “Manickam Katti...” I was thinking of my friend Aishwarya who was regretting and tweeted/buzzed of not getting the song sung by Bombay Sisters and desperate to listen to it since morning. I sent an SMS to Rachana that I’m listening to the song and asked her to tell Aishwarya.
Next came a Meera Bhajan which was very peppy and I haven’t heard that before. It was like a Marathi Abhang. Then she started saying about her next song that was composed by M.S.Viswanathan and sung by S.P.balasubramaniam. Mom told Pullanguzhal kodutha Moongilgale. I told her it was sung by MSV himself. The song is Aayarpaadi Maaligayil. It’s an evergreen lullaby often sung by my dad to make my brother sleep. Even now he listens to the song st times when he doesn’t get sleep. But Mathumitha sang in such a fast tempo that Kutty Krishna might wake up from sleep. Then came Annamacharya’s Sanskrit composition and M.S. favourite Bhavayami Gopaalam in Yaman Kalyani. It was soothing. Most of the maamis joined Mathumitha and sang along with her. Meanwhile she sang a song in Kalyani I guess. But I went out that time as I got a call. Next was Purandara Dasar’s krithi “Baro Krishnaiyya...” in Maand. As usual my Mandu mom couldn’t identify the Maandu ragam.It’s a Ragamalika though.
Then came the highlight of the concert. She was correcting and adjusting her pitch and shruthi box. I got it as Madhuvanthi/Dharmavathi scale and expected she would sing Jayadeva Ashtapathi “Pashyathi dishi dishi..” or “Ododi Vandhen kanna” in Dharmavathi. I was wrong. It was a Thillana in mesmerizing Madhuvanthi, my 2nd most favourite ragam after Sahana. Mom too identified it as Kanda Naal mudhalaai ragam. I felt my transition to another world or heaven and thought of beautiful songs. Ilayaraja’s “Meendum Meendum Vaa, Ennullil Engo engum geetham, MSV’s Oru Naal Iravu Pagal pol Nilavu, SPB’s Nandha Nee En Nila and Vidyasagar’s Thavaminri Kidaitha Varame. I always love listening to Madhuvanthi from Madhumitha. I still remember Abaswaram Ramjhi’s Isai Mazhalai programme in Podhigai TV where Madhumitha (around 12-14 then) sang an awesome Madhuvanthi aalap for nearly 15 to 20 min. I became her fan from that day. Even Kana kaanum Kaalangal is also in Madhuvanthi and the final aalap is just vow. I applauded so loudly after she finished the song. She made my day with her Madhuvanthi.
Next came a Purandara Dasar krithi based on Kalyana Vasantham raga, again one of my most favourite ragas. In the beginning I thought it as Chandrakauns. Mom too had the doubt and asked me whether it is “Azhagu malar aada” ragam. I told it’s Nadaloludai ragam. Ilayaraja has done an excellent Kalyana Vasantham “Ninnaye radhiyenru ninaikkirenadi kannamma… ” from Kanne Kaniyamudhe. Next when she started Dolaayam in Khamaas the audience were so happy and started clapping. Unfortunately the concert was over by that song. None of Oothukkadu Vekata Subbiyer’s song was sung, not even Alaipayuthe Kanna, Thaye Yashodha nor Papanasam Sivan’s Enna thavam seidhanai. I expected Purandara Dasa’s most famous Krishna nee begane baaro. Atleast she could have ended with the immortal “Kurai onru Illai...” It’s a great kurai Madhumitha. At the end I was thinking to ask to Madhumitha and Charulatha Mani about the composer of Madhuvanthi Thillana and her mistake – 63 Alwars (Naan Nakkeeran Peran! :-)) But we came back with the prasadham without talking to them.
P.S Now trying to record Kurai onrum illai in my voice. But I don’t lose the breath control when the pitch goes to its crescendo at kundrin mel kallaagi. Will try to get it right tomorrow🙂