We had told you about the Oli Chamber Concert which was hosted by Sarangi & Rasvihar in March. The theme was ‘Manikkam Vairam’ and was presented by vocalist Sumitra Vasudev. She was accompanied by M Rajeev on the violin and K V Gopalakrishnan on the mridangam. Now we bring you excerpts from this unique concert so that you can be a part of the experience we all enjoyed at the Oli Chamber Concert.

Part 1: Running time: 17mins 39 seconds

a) Slokam in Virutham format – Ragamalika starting with Ragam Naattai.

b) Marakatha Mani Varna – Tyagaraja kriti in Ragam Varali set to Adi taalam. This piece was selected for the themed concert as in this, Saint Tyagaraja describes Lord Rama as the one whose skin is the hue of the emerald stone. Also the piece considered a rare kriti is not often rendered at regular concerts, making it all the more precious. Sumitra chose to embellish the line “Marakatha Mani Varna” in her Nerval exploration without following through with a typical swara prastharam, reminding us that the artist was focusing on the lyrical and emotional beauty of this song.

Part 2: Running Time: 6 mins 1 second

Listen to this 6 minute clip from the concert which features Sumitra’s rendition of Hiranmayim Lakshmim, Muthuswami Dikshitar’s composition in Lalita set to Roopaka Talam, worshipping Goddess Lakshmi – declaring that he only wishes to hold the Goddess of Wealth in his heart as always, while avoiding the greedy, materialistic ways of the world. The kriti, said to be composed at the Rajagopalaswami temple in Mannargudi describes Goddess Lakshmi, the giver of wealth in all her glory. References to her emerald studded bangles and ornaments (Manicka valayam) and also referring to the Goddess herself as Chintamani make this composition a truly special pick in this thematic concert.

For those who wish to explore the beauty of this kriti further, Team Margazhi found an interesting lec-dem video. This was contributed by Sri T N Bala on the Sangeethapriya website as a tribute to Dikshitar.

Part 3: Running time: 38 mins 43 seconds

Sumitra selected the Papanasam Sivan composition: Kaana Kann Kodi Vendum in Kambhoji as her main piece for this theme concert. This piece, rich in its description of Lord Kapali invokes wonderful imagery of His splendour. The key verse Manicka Vairam was taken up for neraval and kalpana swara in line with the theme. (click here for a translation by Sri P R Ramachander)

Part 4: Running time: 2 mins 30 seconds

Maniye, Maniyin Oliye – Raagam Sindu Bhairavi.
The song’s lyrics made popular in an old Tamizh song in Aadiparasakthi
maNiyE maNiyin oLiyE oLirum aNipunaindha vaNiyE
aNiyum aNikkazhakE aNukaadhavarkkup piNiyE
piNikku marundhE amarar perum virundhE
paNiyEn oruvarai nin padhmapaadham paNindha pinnE

Part 5: Running time: 2 mins 50 seconds

PeriyaZwar Tirumozhi : Maanikkam Katti in Neelambari. A very thoughtful inclusion in the thematic concert. Refer here for full lyrics in English.

Part 6: Running time: 12 mins seconds

Suttum Vizhi Sudar than Kannamma by Mahakavi Bharatiyar was rendered first in Virutham in Ragamaalika.
Followed by sloka/ verse dedicated to Sri Raja Rajeswari to conclude the Manikkam Vairam thematic concert. The verse:

pattuk karuneelap pudavai padhiththa nal vayiram
nattanadu nisiyil theriyum natchaththirangaLadi

evokes beautiful imagery in line with the Manickam Vairam theme.