10th MDR Remembrace Day
This years MDR Day (the 10th successive year that R Krishnamoorthy, Poonithura, has been conducting at Trippunithura near Kochi in Kerala single handedly) became a much greater event as he decided to celebrate the centenary of Palghat T S Mani Iyer too - thus remembering two of the greatest musicians ever in one go at a small kalyana mandapam.
For the rasikas of great Carnatic music it was an exhilarating and unforgettable
day devoid of any glitz and speeches.
The speeches that were made at this event were by those who
had immersed in the two legends' music, with a bit more closeness
than the audience who continue to be ardent rasikas of the musicians.
Krishnamoorthy also released a souvenir on the occasion - he has compiled
evaluable photos and several articles from eminent people for this purpose.
And to defray part of the cost of this noble work Krishnamoorthy was forced to do something he usually abhors viz. soliciting for advertisements. The souvenir is a collector's
item with many rare photographs and some interesting articles and anecdotes.
The day started with a rare experience of watching "Vani", a Kannada
film - starring Chowdiah ( in a double role,) Chembai and a young boy called Palghat Mani Iyer
besides actress Pandari Bayi.
It was a trip down memory lane for people who love great music and old cinema.
The extreme pre-monsoon afternoon heat and the hard steel chairs were forgotten by all in this shower of nostalgia and music.
After a short tea-break (Krishnamoorthy believes in playing a good host - many of his friends had to compel him to give up his idea of giving a
proper meal after the event each year ) the formal, core event got going.
The souvenir could not be more aptly titled - Brahmalayam -
as it depicts two great artistes.
After a welcome speech by the organiser Krishnamoorthy the presidential address was given by Municipal Commissioner Venugopal ( who stood in for
state minister Babu who had to be at the campaigning grounds of the
hotly contested Neyyattinkara bye-election).
Prof R Kamakshi, Principal of R.L.V.College of Music released
the souvenir by handing over the first copy to violinist Lalgudi J Vijayalakshmi.
Their speeches were very simple, sensitive and to the point.
Thought provoking speeches soon followed from violinist Lalgudi G J R Krishnan
bringing back to us memories of great concerts by MDR literally supported
by the considerate Lalgudi G Jayaraman, the illustrious guru
and father of the brother and sister team who were to perform this evening.
At the concert, the Lalgudi duo were supported by Bangalore Praveen on the mridangam and V. Suresh on the ghatam.
For the record, the concert started with Lalgudi Jayaraman's
Shanmukhapriya Varnam - followed by Papanasam Sivan's
Sahana piece "Shree Vathapiganapathiye" - Dikshithar's
Poorvikalyani "Meenakshimemutham" - Thyagaraja's
Dhanyasi "Shyamasundaranga" - Thyagaraja's Salakabhairavi
"Padavini" and then the main pieces - MDR's own
Shankarabharanam "Janani Nathajana Palini" with
the rarest of thani - then MDR's Bagasree "Sagarasayana vibho" -
Swathi Thirunal's Sindhubhairavi "Ramachandra Prabho"
concluding with Lalgudid's Madhuvanthi Tillana and the traditional
And then it rained - sharp and short but symbolic to all of us. As Krishnamoorthy's said. "The two legends have blessed us with some rain as it did when we celebrated the first MDR Day on 27th April 2003."
Krishnamoorthy was overcome, naturally with emotion
when he announced that he did not know in 2003 that
he would be holding a second MDR Day in 2004 until just
a few weeks or days before the event and was overwhelmed
by the success each year - he still does not know how he
will do next year - yet he hopes he will somehow
carry on at least until the 20th edition of the MDR Day!
By the way, the parents-in-law of Balaji (son of MDR) too were
among the distinguished guests in the audience that evening.
We now wait for the month of April/May 2013
- that would again be a special year viz. the bicentenary
of another illustrious son of Kerala, Maharaja Swathi Thirunal.
MDR Day host Krishnamoorthy is based at Poonithura, Ernakulam - 682038, Kerala. Call 98951 95984
- Chemprol Raja R. Varma is based at Kaudiar Palace, Thiruvananthapuram - 695 003
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org