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CAMAGA Hosts Padmabhushan Sri T. N. Seshgopalan

October 2007
CAMAGA Hosts Padmabhushan Sri T. N. Seshgopalan

With thirty nine hours of travel from Chennai to Chicago through four airports and four hours of sleep for the fourth consecutive night, most individuals would find it difficult to keep their eyes open, let alone, render a scintillating concert for over four hours. Not for Padmabhushan Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri T.N.Seshagopalan (TNS as he is popularly known), an individual endowed with an indefatigable spirit and intellect.

On September 15th, the Carnatic Music Association of Georgia (CAMAGA) hosted a concert by this illustrious artist. Sri TNS dedicated the entire concert to the praise of Lord Ganesha when he learnt that the 15th was Vinayaka Chathurthi. The concert started with ‘Sri Gananatha.' Mullaivasal Chandramouli and Tanjore Murugabhoopathy on the violin and mridangam respectively provided able accompaniment.

Sri TNS performed an elaborate Gowlai raga alapanai (improvising the scale). The complex sangatis (variations) that he introduced into the composition raised the expectation levels. Only Sri TNS could render a kriti such as ‘Maha Ganapathim' with such gusto and enthusiasm. It became evident that Sri TNS was improvising on the spot and it was not preset or practiced. The smoothness and ease with which he was able to transition from Tisra gati (3 count rhythm interval between beats) to Chatursa gati (4 count rhythm interval between beats) alternatively was amazing.

This was followed by ‘Siddhi Vinayakam' in Mohana Kalyani and an enthralling alapanai of the raga Sri Ranjani followed by ‘Gaja Vadana.' Sri TNS sang the next five kritis with such quick succession, that it hardly gave time for the accompanists to catch their breaths.

Sri TNS began the main piece of the day, in the raga Shanmugapriya by performing a Ragam (improvising the raga), Thanam (rhythmically rendering the notes of the raga) and Pallavi (one line of lyrics sung in myriad ways). This is considered to be the most difficult presentation in a Carnatic concert. Sri TNS's rendering was filled with bhava and feeling.

The accompanying artists were commended for rising to the challenges posed by Sri TNS during the concert. One of the assets of Murugaboopathy (mridangam) was his accompaniment style where he embellished the compositions with the most appropriate rhythmical patterns without resorting to "interfering" rhythms. He was appreciated as an artist of caliber during his solo presentation.���

Although travel and other factors showed the tiredness in Sri TNS's voice, overall the concert was excellent and will be remembered for a long time by the Atlanta audience.

~ Dr. Ram Sriram

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