Guruguhaamrta is an organization which was founded on 1stNovember, 2009 at Bangalore.
Over the past few years, I have been increasingly fascinated by the monumental works of Dikshitar - owing to my guru T. M. Krishna.
His continuous analysis and research of Dikshitar’s kritis motivates me and inspires me to learn and sing them to the best of my abilities.
I realized that the best tribute to a composer is when many musicians repeatedly render his compositions.
Guruguhaamrta was born out of this single minded purpose – to motivate as many musicians and students of music to learn and perform Dikshitar’s kritis.
In its first year of inception, Guruguhaamrta successfully conducted over 10 unique concerts where musicians learnt and sang atleast 30 unique compositions of Dikshitar.
As part of the first anniversary celebrations, Guruguhaamrta (along with ISKCON, Bangalore) organized an evening of Dikshitar’s kritis.
But, one of my personal interests was to pay homage to Dikshitar at his holy samadhi at Ettayapuram near Tirunelveli in Tamilnadu.
It was NVS (N. V. Subramaniam) who inspired me to take up this journey – and thus began the plan to organize a trip where fellow young musicians would jointly offer a musical homage to Muthuswami Dikshitar.
NVS has been hosting this unique event for over two decades so we got all the help from him and decided to be there on Feb.26.
I managed to put together a diverse group of musicians – almost every musician who I approached immediately consented to join us if they were free on the date.
This unconditional support meant a lot to us. The final group consisted of10 musicians and four accompanying artistes.
On the day, we reached Kovilpatti the nearest railway station at 4 in the morning and checked into Ananda Lodge. We left for Ettayapuram by 8 – the 25 km drive was definitely one of the most unnerving drives of my life personally!
The anxiety, the curiosity, the excitement gripped all of us.
Singing in the presence of Dikshitar’s samadhi is by itself a cathartic experience. The audience is sparse, the noise outside can get deafening (the samadhi is right next to the Ettayapuram Bus Stand and on the Tirunelveli Highway) but still the contentment is indescribable.
It is just you (the musician) and him (Dikshitar)!!
The event began at 9 am with a group rendition of Dikshitar kritis by the disciples of Vidwan M S Sheela – Srimatha, Anjali, Apeksha, Shikha and Shruthi. The moment they jointly began singing “Srinathadi Guruguho Jayati” – Dikshitar’s very first composition – all of us had goose bumps!
Something inside told us that this was somehow 'meant to be' and that we would cherish this day for years to come.
The group rendition was followed by the recitals of other musicians including Cherthalai Sivakumar the violin vidwan who we all realized that day, also doubled up as a vocalist who could hold his own!
Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath’s rendition of “Sri Ramachandrena” (Manji), Sivakumar’s “Seshachala Nayakam”, C. S. Sajeev’s sincere rendition despite running a temperature that day….all of it instilled in us a sense of catharsis.
I ended the programme with a few rare kritis including Sadasivam Upasmahe in Shankarabharanam which is one of my personal favorites.
The accompanists in our team - Palakkad R Swaminathan and Cherthalai R Sivakumar on the violin and Palakkad Harinarayan and Kaviyur Sanal on the mridangam spiritedly supported all the musicians.
The local cook Nataraj Iyer (with his super fast conversation) served us the best local food and we had nothing to complain.
By the time, the curtains came down at 6 pm, we had successfully managed to offer a Sangeethanjali of nearly thirty unique kritis of Dikshitar with not a single song repeated.
This event was made possible by to the voluntary contributions of several art connoisseurs such as the Bharatiya SangeetaVaibhavam, Sumanasa Foundation, Prakash and family and others.
Guruguhaamrta is dedicated to making this an annual event. We are all eager to making Guruguhagaanam 2012 bigger and better.
G. Ravi Kiran is a Bangalore based Carnatic music singer and also the managing trustee of Guruguhaamrta. The email ID is - email@example.com. Ph: (0) 97398 67746.