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Madurai Mani Iyer centenary celebrations

Photo courtesy: Nadasurabhi

Nadasurabhi held a special programme on Sunday, 15th July 2012, at the Indian Heritage Academy Hall to mark the Birth Centenary of legendary Carnatic Musician Sri.Madurai Mani Iyer. Most appropriately, the nephew, student and leading vocalist of today Sangita Kalanidhi Padmabhushan Vidwan T.V.Sankaranarayanan was invited to participate in the event and provide a vocal concert. The hall was packed to capacity and overflowing even before the commencement of the event.

The function started with the traditional lighting of lamp and garlanding of the portrait of Madurai Mani Iyer by Sri. Sankaranarayanan. He also gave a moving speech of his special relationship with his maternal uncle Sri.Mani Iyer, living under the same roof right from the time of his birth till the passing away of Sri.Mani Iyer. He shared various personal and professional anecdotes concerning Sri.Mani Iyer. Sri.Sankaranarayanan talked about the humility practised by his uncle as well as the great respect he always showed to the audience, organisers and composers in all his concerts.

Sri.Sankaranarayanan also mentioned about his indebtedness to his own father Sri.Vembu Iyer who sacrificed his personal career to support his guru Sri.Mani Iyer. The audience was truly touched by the deep feeling, sincerity and affection with which Sri. Sankaranarayanan spoke about his illustrious guru and uncle, the inimitable Mahavidwan Madurai Sri.Mani Iyer.

Sri.TV Sankaranarayanan (TVS) started his concert in style with his own viruttam on Pazhavangadu Ganapathi in Abhogi followed by Vigneswara Subhakaaraka with a fine set of brisk swaras thus kick starting a great evening's programme. The next item was Jaanaki Ramana of Thyagaraja with neraval and swarams making it a grand piece. He made a surprise inclusion of a ragamalika Purandaradasa kriti which had a balancing lightness amidst all the other heavy pieces. One of Madurai Mani Iyer's specialties, Enta Veduko, a Thyagaraja kriti in Saraswathi manohari with alapana, neraval and swaram was an extremely impressive and forceful presentation.

Sri.TVS's son Mahadevan was given an opportunity to present raga Lathangi in which Venkata Ramana, a papanasam sivan composition was rendered once again with neraval and swarams. Most swaraprastharas were shared by Sri.TVS and his son. The 'main" was an elaboration of Kharaharapriya and Madurai Mani Iyer's magnum opus Chakkani raaja was presented in all its grandeur. Mention should be made of Mahadevan's brilliant swara korvais and the audience was simply bowled over who reciprocated with a standing ovation. Thani avarthanam at this stage and an understanding and forceful following by the popular percussion duo Sri.Arjun Kumar and Sri.Giridhar Udupa, elevated the overall standard of the concert.

Madurai Mani Iyer specialities, Sarasamukhi, Eppo Varuvaaro, and western notes were the tail pieces with which this brilliant concert concluded. Sri. CN Chandrasekhar on violin gave outstanding support throughout the concert.