The songs you love and take to singing on a regular basis, I now believe can show the essence of the person you are. Well at least in Pranati, the orchestral tribute to the founder of the Temple of Fine Arts, Swami Shantanand Saraswathi, I saw this theory come alive.
The charismatic personality of the late swamiji, for whom the central VIP seat was reserved at the Shantanand Auditorium where Pranati, Homage to the Master premiered last night, was resurrected for the audience through the heartfelt recitals put up by the institute’s music faculty.
I heard an elderly TFA member waiting at the TFA building entrance after the show softly singing Ganga Ki Naare her eyes moist with reminiscence. She probably had many times personally heard and sang along with Shantanand and other followers, this lovely bhajan in glorification of the swamiji’s guru Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh.
Picking up slowly with the Ganesh Pancharatnam, Jai Shree Ganesha the orchestra crescendoed with the numbers, Shivashankari and Tuhi Ram He. But I personally felt the loud plonking of the piano and somewhat disruptive cymbal sounds of the electronic percussion pad in these two meditative songs could have been softer or absent so as not to drown the beautiful vocals.
However the role of the piano and percussion pad together with the quivering violin music of senior violinist Hariraam Tingyuan Lam in the feet tapping and lilting English numbers, I Ask From Thee Oh Lord, Deep Deep Within Me and Thou Art The Sculptor – was most substantial.
The bows of Hariraam and fellow violinists, Abbirami Balachandran and Sharma Saravanan Pillai were kept busy throughout the show lending credence to the renditions of the alternating teams of vocalists. They were ably backed by the sitarists, keyboardists and percussionists.
It was a memorable night as we left the auditorium, our beings still reverberating with the musical ambience of Swami Shantanand’s legacy. Pranati’s second staging at TFA will be on today.
Review by R. Sittamparam
File Picture courtesy of Temple of Fine Arts.