Shruti Laya celebrated the compositions of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal in a day long celebration on Dec.10, 2011 at Glen Oaks, New York. With over 100 participants belonging to almost twenty music and dance schools from the area, it was a great display of talent. These children, living thousands of miles away from India, yet managed to perfect and portray classical art forms that originated hundreds of years ago. For the space of a day, a visitor would have had the feeling that they were back in Chennai!
Maharaja Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma was a ruler of the Travancore dynasty, and ruled from 1829 to 1846. He was a great patron of music, and encouraged many musicians including the famous Tanjore quartet. He was also a great composer, composing in many languages including Malayalam, Sanskrit, Hindi, Telugu and Kannada. Shruti Laya's celebration showcased many of his compositions, both as vocal renderings and through dance.
The day began at 10:00 AM with a two hour music session by eight groups. There was a brief lunch break, with delicious home cooked food, followed by another two hour music session. The grand finale of the music portion of the day was a vocal concert by Smt. Bhavadhaarini Anantharaman. She was accompanied by Vivek Rudrapatna on the violin, and Shenthuraan Tharmarajah on the mridangam. This concert was especially notable because of the rare compositions of the Maharajah that Smt. Bhavadhaarini researched and learnt specially for this program from many vidwans in India, including the legendary Dr.Mangalampalli Balamurali Krishna.
The concert was followed by the Dance portion of the program. First the student groups presented some scintillating performances to the Maharaja's compositions. The grand finale was the Dance Ballet by the duo of Dance Gurus Smt. Sadhana Paranji and Smt. Satya Pradeep. They performed the Ramayana opus "Bhaavayami Raghuramam", bringing out all the beauty and majesty of the composition and the drama of the story of Rama with their perfect steps and abhinaya.
An event of this magnitude cannot be put together without the help of many people. Shruti Laya wishes to acknowledge and thank all the volunteers at the event and the generous food donors who lovingly prepared the delicious lunch. The main artists Smt. Bhavadhaarini Anantharaman, Smt. Satya Pradeep, Smt. Sadhana Paranji, Sri. Vivek Rudrapatna and Sri. Shenthuraan earned gratitude of all our rasikas for their remarkable performances. We also thank all the music and dance teachers who took great efforts to train their students and bring out the best in them, and above all, the wonderful students who made this day so successful with their performances.
Here are some photographs, audio and video clips to relive the events of the day ..
Sri Ramana vibho Ragam: Arabhi Talam: Adi
Vande Sada Padmananbham Ragam: Navarasa Kanada Talam: Adi
Visweswar darsan kare Ragam: sindhu bhairavi Talam: Rupaka
Aaj Aaye Shyam Mohan Ragam: Mishra Pahadi Talam: Adi