Rama Navami 2021 – A Majestic CelebrationSwar Aalap
This year’s Rama Navami witnessed an extraordinarily grand celebration that saw over 100 artists coming together in 7 ensembles within an hour, to present 7 Bhajana Marga Kritis, composed by Sangeet Samrat Chitravina N Ravikiran. This event by Mani Krishnaswamy Academy was interspersed with Ravikiran’s insights into the Bhajana Sampradaya tradition.
As Ravikiran explained, Bhakti (devotional) movement has been there for several centuries in all parts of India led by Azhwars, Nayanmars, Jayadeva, Haridasas of Karnataka, Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadasa, Abhang composers in Maharashtra and brilliant people like Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas, Tyagaraja and so forth.
Many of these devotional works were categorized about 300 years back by Bodhendra Saraswathi, after which his contemporary Sridhara Ayyaval and Sadguru Swamigal carried it forward. They are considered as the Trinity of devotional music.
Bhajana Sampradaya is a very inclusive approach to music as well as worship. It does not require listeners to have formal training or grammatical knowledge of classical music. They can intuitively participate in the choral renditions of these catchy, easily accessible songs.
The first song of the concert was the mesmerizing ‘Ramachandra’ in Raga Hamir kalyani, presented by Acharyanet and led by Sowmya Acharya. This piece created a serene meditative atmosphere with its captivating melody, reflecting upon the ideal qualities of Lord Rama.
The second Kriti ‘Niratishaya’ in the soothing Raga Kurinji, led by Apoorva Ravindran had charming rhyme while the third piece, by Anahita Ravindran’s ensemble created a brilliant ambience in the Raga Sindhubhairavi, ending vibrantly with the speed accelerating.
The Ensemble led by Bhargavi Balasubramanian rendered a lovely composition in the Raga Jhunjooti, which was followed by ‘Sri Ramam Bhajare’ in the enchanting Raga Kapi, led by Vishaal Sapuram. Both pieces were wonderful amalgams of Chitravina and vocal, and other instruments.
‘Narayana’ in Punnagavarali was showcased by Vanitha Suresh along with several talented artists, after which the event concluded with the captivating composition ‘Rama rama’ in the Raga Purvikalyani rendered in unison by senior disciples of Ravikiran.
The organizers asked Ravikiran what message he had for culture lovers? He said, “The best values of our country come from our culture, which is the strongest glue that holds any country together. Even as we respect other countries, cultures and wisdom from any source, we need to take a lot of pride and passion in what our great people have contributed. If we know a Michael Jackson, then we must equally know a Tyagaraja or Tansen. Today, the very identity of our country is fogging up and everyone passionate about our culture should get together to arrest this trend in order to ensure the strength and stability of this great country”.
The event received a phenomenal response the world over, and the artists held the listeners spellbound, rendering the beautiful compositions with dazzling perfection. Due to the fantastic audio and video editing, the program felt miraculously live, despite being virtual. The synchronization and harmony were greatly appreciated and most of all, the brilliance of Ravikiran’s compositions.
This program is available online and can be viewed on: