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Fourth Mridangam Thaniaavarthanam Programme

Introduction by Mannargudi Shri. A Easwaran


Our Fourth Mridangam Thaniaavarthanam Programme was held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Chennai, on September 2nd, 2006.

Given below is a review that appeared in "The Hindu".

The 'Mridanga Tani Avartanam' that M.S.Suriya Narayanan and T.Sampath presented recently under the aegis of Swaralaya raised some pertinent if truly troubling questions about the extent of appreciation among music lovers of the intricacies of 'layam' and 'talam,' beyond the bare bones of the rhythmic cycle. The efforts of M.N. Hariharan, young disciple of Karaikkudi Mani, who has been propagating the concept for the fourth year running and authored a book "Korvais made easy," possibly flow from the need to address some of these concerns.

Suriya Narayanan and Sampath, science and software professionals, played the four strands of 'chapu talam,' and improvised a fifth which they call 'sarvasangama chapu.' Master Balamuralikrishna sang a pallavi preceding the tani avartanam in the tisra, khanda, misra, sankeerna and sarvasangama chapu rhythmic cycles. A novelty of the pallavi, composed by Kumbakonam A.Gajendran, was the choice of diverse themes - patriotism, people's unity, devotion to work and humanism.

Not long into the performance, one began to wonder whether the thigh-slapping and occasional foot-tapping witnessed in a kutcheri did not mask much ignorance about the nuances and nitty-gritties of tala and laya. 'Rasikas'' are not alone in neglecting this significant facet of their music. Scribes, including this writer, who devote three to four hundred words to discuss a concert dispose of a tani avartanam and the part played by percussion accompaniments in a sentence or two, with little substance and often mere adjectival references.

It is time that our level of appreciation of the many nuances of talam improved in tune with the global recognition that the Carnatic tala system has gained. Sri Hariharan would perhaps do well to infuse more variety into his annual programmes by featuring the kanjira, the ghatam and percussion instruments and surely the konnakkol.

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