Veteran mridangam player Srimushnam Raja Rao is known for creating a magical effect with his playing on the percussion instrument. And it was interesting to listen to him present a musical discourse, which was recently hosted by Perambur Sangeetha Sabha. Scripted by A.V. Gopalan, a music connoisseur, the discourse was titled ‘SARAM,’ on Sankarar, Ramanujar and Madhwacharyar.
Raja Rao began with the Hamsadhwani varnam in tisra nadai in the slow speed and chathusra nadai in the second tempo. The sloka ‘Sruthi Smruthi Purananam’ that preceded this showed his talent as a vocalist. The way he treated the raga in this phase reflected his experience, gained as an accompanist to many stalwarts for over five decades .
Raja Rao’s programme that evening was rich with raga flavours. He was supported on the vocals by Vasumathy Desigan, Sankari Sathish Baradwaj, Kanakadurga Venkatesh and Rajasri Ram. The group singing in unison created a heavenly effect.
The highlight of the ‘Ramanuja’ segment was a kriti written by the renowned Tamil writer ‘Chandilyan,’ (a staunch Vaishnavite), which was set in raga Thodi by Raja Rao, his son-in-law.
Felicitation speeches, half way through the concert served no purpose, depriving the audience of some royal Kannada kritis of Dasar. Raja Rao had to rush through the points that he had planned for Madhwacharya as the crowd started dwindling. However, he presented a kriti on the Acharya tuned in Kiravani. Pappu Gyandev (violin) and B. Ganapathyraman (mridangam) played their part well unobtrusively.