Melodious Ragas

8e7f34650d9b2489731e13893f098c5b-1Annamacharya’s lyrics are set to music by Padma Bhushan Sripada Pinakapani and rendered beautifully by the Malladi brothers. Annamacharya was a saint who lived in the fifteenth century and composed several thousand kirthanas in praise of Lord Venkateswara of Tirupathi. Pinakapani is a leading composer and exponent of Karnatik music and has composed music for over a thousand songs. Who can forget the melodious songs “Brahma mokkate para brahma mokkate” or “Naa naati brathuku natakamu?” It is heartwarming to note the yeoman service done by Pinakapani in unearthing Annamayya’s krithis and setting them to music in simple yet melodious ragas. Here is a collection that will make you want to listen often because every song’s bhava (mood) is accurately reflected in the raga (melody) it is set to.

M.S. Subbulakshmi popularized Annamayya’s songs in her 4-album set released in the early 80s and this CD brings more of his krithis to us. Interestingly, she has composed “Vandeham,” the first kirtanam in the same raga. But this is the only overlapping song between the two albums. “Vadevenkatadri meeda varadaivamu,” in Vasantha raga, is crisp and exhibits the versatility of the Malladi brothers who complement each other with just the right amount of contrasts. One has depth in his voice and the other has melody and the combined effect is awesome.

“Parusamu” in Kedaram is melodious and “Yedinijambani” brings out the bhakti rasa. If I have to pick a favorite, it would definitely be “Itharadevathala,” set in Bahudari. Listeners familiar with Brovabharama of Tyagaraja can instantly relate to this song. “Ramamindivara” in Poorvi Kalyani, “Alarulu” in Sankarabharanam and “Antharayami” in Kuntalavarali further explore the devotion to his Lord.
Sreerama Prasad and Ravikumar are ably accompanied by Ampolu Murali Krishna on the violin, Pathri Sathish Kumar on the mridangam and N. Ramachandran on the ghatam.

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