We have long held the view that while there are professional organisations such as the New Zealand Carnatic Music Society, Sangeetha Bharathi School of Music and Rasikas New Zealand promoting Carnatic Music and budding singers and instrumentalists, and while there are parents encouraging them, the success of our young men and women depend on their own commitment and devotion.
It is endearing and gratifying to witness a growing number of them not only evincing interest in the indefatigable and immortal art of Carnatic Music but also follow a life of discipline to bring for its true meaning and practice.
Indian Newslink has been promoting these budding as well as accomplished performers for more than 20 years and this reporter to delighted to write about the double debut of Chirag Mani at Chennai on Sunday, January 4, 2020.
About Chirag Mani
The second son of Mani Narayanaswamy and Leela Mani of Auckland, Chirag proved to be a chip of the old block adding to the name of the family known for its proclivities to the performing arts of South India.
His older brother Pavan (named after Pavanapuradeeshwarar), who had presented his Vocal Music Arangetram in Chennai on December 2, 2015, was the Master of Ceremonies at the event, which was attended by stalwarts in Carnatic Music.
As well as the Arangetram, Chirag appeared in 16 other concerts with his brother Pavan organised by several promoters of Music in Chennai during the December-January season, in solo vocals and accompanying other musicians on Violin and Mridangam.
About the Vocal Arangetram
If listening to the webcast of Chirag’s Vocal and Mridangam Arangetram (sent by his parents on Monday) was a treat in itself, those watching the performance were admittedly transported to a divine world of Ragams, Kirtans and music exemplified by doyens of the art.
It is gratifying to note that Dr Padma Govardhan, Principal and Director of the Auckland based Sangeetha Bharathi School of Music was Chirag’s first Guru and initiated him to the world of Carnatic Music in his early teens.
Beginning his vocal concert with ‘Nada Samarpanam,’ an invocatory number setting the mood for a wider repertoire of compositions, Chirag settled into the programme as he rendered ‘Nera Nammithi Naiyanithya Muga Ninnu,’ a composition of Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar.
The song challenged many stalwarts including the composer’s student, the great Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar.
Chirag deftly handled the number, set in short metric pieces in Kanada Ragam and Ata Talam.
The next song, Sarasi Ruhasana Priye Amba, a pious composition of Puliyur Doraiswamy Iyer, took Chirag to a higher scale as a singer. The song, in Nattai Ragam and Adi Talam was arguably written to test the ability of artistes to dwell into its nuances. Chirag did not disappoint.
‘Varali’ Ragam is stated to be dense, difficult and daunting and that it often creates a discard between the teacher and the taught, the last of which did not present itself at the concert.
Chirag took ‘Seshachala Nayakam,’ Muthuswami Dikshitar’s brilliant composition in Rupaka Talam and quickly turned it into a masterpiece and carried on with ‘Janani Ninnu Vina,’ a critical composition by Subbaraya Sastri, son of Shama Sastri (one of the trio of Carnatic Music) doing justice to the creator. Set in Reethigoulai Ragam and Misra Chapu Talam, this song inspired maestro Ilayaraja to compose the song, ‘Chinna Kannan Azhaikkiraan’ sung by Balamurali Krishna for the Tamil film, ‘Kalai Kuyil’ released in 1977.
‘Parama Purusham,’ in the rare Ragam of Lalitha Panchamam, a creation of Swathi Thirunal was an apt choice, presented in an enjoyable pace, before taking up Tyagaraja’s Swara Raga Sudha set in Sankarabharanam.
Gopala Krishna Bharathi’s ‘Varuvaro, Varam Tharuvaro’ (Sama Ragam, Adi Talam) and ‘Rama Rama, Raghu Rama’ were among the other highlights.
As the famous singer Unnikrishnan said in his speech at the end of the Vocal Arangetram, “Chirag has sonorous voice and the right selection of songs brought out the best of the youngster.”
About the Mridangam Arangetram
Mridangam is a powerful but challenging percussion instrument, demanding hours of training with dedication and discipline. It has long been the prerogative of South Indians, especially Tamil-speaking people.
Following Chirag’s Mridangam Arangetram online was exciting.
Starting with ‘Sri Vigna Rajam Bhaje’ in Gambheeranattai Ragam and Chathusra Ekam Talam, an obeisance to Lord Ganesha, he executed Tyagaraja’s ‘Teliyaleru Rama’[ (Dhenuka Ragam, Adi Talam) to near perfection, drawing the appreciation of Carnatica Brothers singers K N Sashi Kiran and P Ganesh. Some of this his other renditions ‘Diwakara Tanujam’ (a Muthusamy Dikshitar composition in Yadukulakambhoji Ragam and Chathusra Ekam Talam), ‘Ramachandru Ithadu’ (by Annamacharya in Dwijawanthi Ragam and Adi Talam), Ragam Tanam Pallavi (Sri Ranjani Ragam, Adi Talam) and Thillana composed by Chitravina Ravikiran in Bindumalini Ragam and Adi Talam.
There were three masters to support him on stage- Parur Sundareswaran (Violin), and his Gurus Mannargudi Easwaran (Mridangam) and A S Murali (Ghatam).
- Chirag Mani presenting his Vocal Arangetram with Mannargudi Easwaran, K Murali, Vaidyanathan and Parur Sundareswaran
- Chirag Mani presenting his Mridangam Arangetram
- Master of Ceremonies Pavan Mani