THE HINDU – Synergy of words and melody

A book of kritis in Malayalam, composed by V.R. Prabodhachandran Nayar, was released recently.

When 130 voices rose in unison, rendering kritis at the Rangavilasam Hall in the capital city recently, it transformed the ambience to an exalted one. Something of this kind could only be the culmination of long years of single-minded dedication and love. The occasion: release of ‘Prabodhasangeetham’ a collection of kritis by V. R. Prabodhachandran Nayar set to Carnatic ragas by Pushpa Krishnan.

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How did the synergies of a linguistics scholar and a Carnatic music expert and academic blend in a work of this nature? One thing led to another, would be the shortest way to describe it. But, to hear it from the people behind this creative exercise raises the whole effort to another level and assigns it a fresh dimension. For Prabodhachandran Nayar, it was a labour of love. “I have been writing on themes dear to me for quite some time. But, I feel, it was the use of my composition as the theme song of the Central University in Kasaragod that was the turning point. It was set to Hammeerkalyani and also adapted to suit a choral presentation,” he explained.

According to Prabodhachandran Nayar, Malayalam as a language carries a strong influence of both Sanskrit and Tamil, and for that reason the compositions he has created have been enriched by this inherent strength of the mother tongue.

“If for me phonetics and phonology assume importance in my works, when Pushpa Krishnan set it to particular ragas, she would have gone into the aarohanam and avarohanam of the ragas and other technicalities, imbuing the piece with the apt bhavam. The synthesis of the creative energies is what emerges in the kritis that have been selected for the CD, ‘Prabodhasangeetham’.”

The music CD is accompanied by a book. The book, Prabodhasangeetham contains the sahityam of the kritis, the respective ragas, special features of the raga, the tala and in many cases film songs that are based on the raga have also been identified.

The 42 kritis selected here have used the ‘naama mudra’–bodham and prabodham.

From a mundane book release, the event was transformed into a special event by the dedication and discipline that was transparent in the 16 of the kritis rendered by singers drawn from three generations of musicians of Brehath Sangeeth Kendram, all trained by Pushpa.

“The lines in easily understandable language with a strong presence of Sanskrit attract at the first instance itself. That is what set me on the track, to work on the ragas for the compositions. When new learners found it easy to pick up the lines and were able to deliver it without looking at the copies, I realised Prabodhachandran Nayar sir’s compositions would reach a larger audience,” was how Pushpa described her journey with ‘Prabodhasangeetham’. When she adds: “I consider myself fortunate,” the sense of fulfilment about a job well done is palpable.