Sangeeta Lahari: A Worthy Ensemble of Geetham, Vaadyam and Nrityam

Sangeeta Lahari – Geetam, Vaadyam and Nrityam, is a rare synergy of artistic brilliance and a cherished possession for the dancer fraternity.

The audio CD “Sangeeta Lahari” is a set of eight songs for Bharatanatyam, composed by the internationally reputed Guru V P Dhananjayan and sung by the famous Carnatic musician and playback singer, P Unnikrishnan.

The introductory song Vishwa Shareera Vinayaka Thatha is an invocation to Lord Shiva in raga Natta. The song is rendered in viruttam and later in Adi tala. The essence of the raga is evident in the subtle nuances, with emphasis on Chaturshruthi Rishabham, which is unique to Natta.

The Nritha Swaravali in Todi and Adi is embellished with jatis. The singer was able to bring out the nuances of Todi in his mellifluous rendition. 

The shabdam Shree Ganesha Namostute in ragamalika is a well-conceived piece with ragas Gowla, Anandabhairavi, Poorvi Kalyani, Atana and Suddha Saveri. Interestingly, all these ragas have an individuality of their own and therefore their selection is an indication of the musical ingenuity of the composer. The composition is set to mishra chappu in praise of Lord Ganesha. The lyrics are beautiful and the lyrical structure merges enticingly with the tala. The transition from one raga to the other is delineated with consummate ease.

The fourth song, Mohana Krishna Modita Manava, titled Nrithyopaharam, is a piece in praise of Lord Krishna in raga Mohanam set to Adi. The lyrics of this song clearly demonstrate the literary prowess of Dhananjayan. The simple but powerful raga is sung with élan by Unnikrishnan. 

Expressive lyrics and apt ragas

Padam has a pivotal role in the dance. And the next three songs are padams in Neelambari (Ennu Varum En Kanthan) Todi (Enthu Pizha Njan Cheythu) and Abhogi (Prananathan Enikkavanennu). While the first two are in Misra chapu, the third is in Adi. The shringara rasa, which is the core of padams, is portrayed bewitchingly here. The simple but eloquent lyrics and the selection of ragas shed more light on the musical brilliance of the composer and singer. The padam in Abhogi stands out for its excellent structure. Admittedly, there are no padams in Abhogi in vogue and for the same reason, this one is very singular. The padams in Neelambari and Todi are adorned with apt phrases. The soft rendition of all the padams by Unnikrishnan is laudable.

The last song in the CD is a tillana Dheem Dheem Tanana Dheem (Nrithangaharam), in praise of Lord Muruka, in Shanmukhapriya and Adi. The mixture of swaras and jatis has been creatively executed. The last part of the tillana is a shloka in praise of Lord Muruka. This also has been set to the tala with dexterity.

This CD is a priceless possession for the dancer fraternity. Commendable is the skill in which the songs have been composed. So much so, even while listening to the songs, one can visualise the performance of a dancer on the stage.

Needless to mention that the contributions of the dancer-couple Dhananjayans to Bharatanatyam are invaluable. But their new venture of producing a CD containing the repertoire of a show of the dance form deserves encomiums. The scholarly and theoretically structured songs have a stamp of the genius of the composer. 

The rendering of the songs by Unnikrishnan in his soothing voice is an added attraction of ”Sangeeta Lahari.” The finesse in portraying the bhava of the ragas and the adherence to sruti makes this CD a worthy ensemble of Geetam, Vadyam and Nrityam.

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