Reported by R K Phalguna
It takes over three hours by bus from Bangalore to get to the village of Rudrapatna, which is located on the banks of the river Cauvery in Karnataka.
As you wind your way in, one can see the beautiful temple which is in the shape of a tambura – The Sapthaswara Devatha Mandira..
Tambura denotes Nada. Rudrapatna is popularly known as "Nada Grama". It was here that the 12th edition of a music festival was held in mid-May 2012.
This small village has produced lots of great musicians and can well be considered to have made the second biggest contribution in the number of Carnatic musicians after Thiruvayaru, in Tamil Nadu.
The ambience at Rudrapatna is beautiful and every person who visits the village will feel the musical vibrations.
Festival held in May every year
Every year in May, the "Rudrapatna Sangeethotsava Samithi Trust" celebrates its annual music festival called "Rudrapatna Sangeethotsava" under the leadership of vidwan R K Padmanabha, a senior vocalist and guru who is popularly known as RKP.
RKP has brought the spotlight back on Rudrapatna after a long period of silence for the last great music meet here was held in 1961 under the leadership of vidwan R K Venkatarama Sastry.
Padmanabha, along with many others from the village started a Trust in 2001 and since then the music festival has slowly had a steady life of its own The Trust has also contributed the "Sapthaswara Devatha Mandira" to the world of music.
2012 marks the 12rh edition of the festival and this year’s music festival was held from May 18 to 20.
This year, this festival was organized in the renovated "Sri Rama Mandira". For those who have visited Rudrapatna in the past and have seen Rama Mandira, visiting Rudrapatna now will present another scene.
Renovated Sri Rama Mandira
The Mandira now has photos of the great musicians of yesteryears and has the Ramayana highlights painted end to end on the walls. A performer performing here will here enjoy the ambience under the grace of Sri Rama.
The same Rama Mandira has hosted concerts of many musicians including Vid Veena Venkataramanaiah (who composed the Kedaragowla Varna set to Mishra Jhampe tala), Vid R S Keshavamurthy, Vid Mysore T Chowdaiah, Vid R K Venkatarama Sastry, Vid Veena Doreswamy Iyengar, Prof V Ramrathnam, Vid R K Srikantan, Vid R K Suryanarayana & many others.
The artistes who performed in this year’s festival in the renovated Rama Mandira performed on the same stage where all the stalwarts mentioned above had performed.
Agian, R K Padmanabha has arranged for the renovation of the Rama Mandira at his own cost, dedicating the same to his parents.
This year’s festival was inaugurated on 18th May evening by Dr R V Prabhakar (Dean, BHS Institutions, Bangalore) who also hails from Rudrapatna. The evening slots were for youngsters who hail from Rudrapatna.
Vid Ratnamala Rudrapatna (Vocal), Vid Rakesh Dutta (Flute), Kum Akshatha Rudrapatna (Vocal), Kum Sanjana Koushik Rudrapatna (Hindustani), Kum Dhanya Dinesh Rudrapatna (Vocal), Kum Bhumika Madhusudhan (Vocal) & Kum Apoorva Pradeep (Dance) performed in the evening. Each of them presented a concert for 30 minutes.
Many Karnataka artistes performed in this year’s festival. Each concert was for an hour.
On 19th May the first concert was by Vid Rajkamal (Flute) who was accompanied by Vid C N Chandrashekar (Violin), Vid C Cheluvaraju (Mridangam) & Vid B N Chandramouli (Khanjira). The highlight of Rajkamal’s concert was an amazing Reeti Gowla – Nannuvidachi of Thyagaraja.
This was followed by a Vocal duet by Vid S R Vinay & Vid K V Krishna Prasad who were accompanied by Vid Anand Vishwanathan (Violin), Vid S Ashok (Mridangam) & Vid Bhargava Halambi (Khanjira). The duo presented a chaste RTP in Keervani. The choosen pallavi suited the occasion – "Nada grama Sri Ramam Bhajeham Satato".
Then Vid Roopa Srikanth (student of Vid Neela Ramgopal) presented a Vocal concert. She was accompanied by Vid Anand Vishwanathan (Violin), Vid S Ashok (Mridangam) & Vid Bhargava Halambi (Khanjira). The beauty of Syama Sastri 's Sariyavaramma in Bhairavi highlighted this concert.
The festival had a variety of programmes besides concerts. A Catnatic Music Quiz was held and R K Phalguna anchored the show.
Singing on the river banks
Post quiz, there was a concert by Vid Srigeri H S Nagaraj (Vocal) who was accompanied by Vid Nalina Mohan (Violin), Vid B S Anand (Mridanagam) & Vid C P Vyasavittala (Khanjira).
The last concert of the day was from Vid Manasi Prasad (Vocal) who was accompanied by Vid Nalina Mohan (Violin), Vid B S Anand (Mridangam) & Vid C P Vyasavittala (Khanjira). Manasi presented an excellent concert dedicating the concert to Muttuswamy Dikshitar (Kumudakriya [Ardhanarishvaram] & Kedara [Anandanatana prakasham]) and to her guru R K Padmanabha (Shivashakthi [Ganabhakthiye Sivashakthiu]).
After this concert, rasikas and artistes moved towards the river Cauvery where anunique event was organized. Lord Channakeshava was being carried on the boat for the tephotsava.
Fire crackers were burst on the opposite bank. All musicians present gathered together and sang the Pancharatna Krithis on the banks of river under the leadership of R K Padmanabha. This was truly the best part of the festival.
The last programme of the day was a magic show by M D Koushik.
On 20th May, there was the Rathotsava of Lord Sri Rama around the village. Along the chariot the Unchavrithi was also held. The team of musicians led by Padmanabha sang the Utsava Sampradaya krithis - this act heightened the unique atmoisphere here.
The first concert of the day was a flute duet by Vid B K Ananthram & Vid Amith Nadig. The father-son duo were accompanied by Vid B Raghuram (Violin), Vid Renuka Prasad (Mridangam) & Vid C P Vyasavittala (Khanjira).
This was followed by a vocal concert by Vid R Chandrika who was accompanied by Vid B Raghuram (Violin), Vid C Cheluvaraju (Mridangam) & Vid B N Chandramouli (Khanjira).
Rudrapatna is very famous for musicians having the initials R K. Many get confused too. The head of Rudrapatna Sangeethotsava is Vid R K Padmanabha who is a vocalist. There is another R K Padmanabha who is veena artiste. Vid R K Padmanabha (son and student of Vid R S Keshavamurthy, is also the younger brother Vid R K Suryanarayana) presented a soulful veena concert. He was accompanied by Vid Renuka Prasad (Mridangam) & Vid Dayananda Mohite (Ghatam).
Post lunch, Vid H R Krithi presented a vocal concert. She was accompanied by Vid R Achutha Rao (Violin), Vid Madhu Kashyup (Mridangam) & Vid Dayananda Mohite (Ghatam). It was very good sight to watch the husband and wife (Madhu Kashyup & Krithi) perform together.
Vid Nagavalli Nagaraj & Vid Ranjani Nagaraj presented a vocal duet concert. The mother-daughter duo were accompanied by Vid M S Govindaswamy (Violin), Vid C Cheluvaraju (Mridangam) and Vid M A Krishnamurthy (Ghatam).
The last concert of the festival was from Vid Dr T S Satyavathi (Vocal). She was accompanied by Vid M S Govindaswamy (Violin), Vid C Cheluvaraju (Mridangam) & Vid M A Krishnamurthy (Ghatam).
Award for gamaka vidwan
Finally, B S S Koushik (a famous gamaka vdwan aged about 90 years) was presented with the Nacharamma Award, the annual award which the Rudrapatna Sangeethotsava Samithi presents.
The last event of the festival was a Gamaka Vachana by Padmini Ramamurthy and Satyavathi Keshavamurthy - both are the daughters of B S S Koushik.
This was indeed a memorable festival.