Bangalore International Centre had arranged an interesting event “Laya Raaga Sangamam”, by Smt. Sukkanya Ramgopal (on Ghatam, Ghata Tharang, and Konnakol) on Friday, 17th June, 2011 at 6:30 pm. Smt. Ramgopal was accompanied by Smt. J. Yogavandana on Veena, Smt. Soumya Ramachandran on Violin, Smt. Ranjini Venkatesh on Mridangam and Smt. Bhagyalakshmi M. Krishna on Morching.
Smt. Sukkanya is the first and only woman to play the ghatam professionally in India. She is the founder and conductor of an all-female Carnatic instrumental music ensemble Sthree Thaal Tharang, and composer of several items in its repertoire.
Smt. Sukkanya led the group and the vibrant presentation, making clear announcements before each item. She considered ‘five’ as a divine number; the group consisted of five performers on five instruments; she had five pots in front of her and all the ragas presented had five notes.
The group started the event with a prayer to lord Ganesha with a song Vathapi Ganapathim Bhajegam in the Raga Hamsadwani, set to Adhi Thalam, composed by Sri. Muthuswami Dikshidhar. They also played a Ghata Tharang composition "Anandam" in the Raga Kundalavarali, set to Adhi Thalam. Then they presented the song in the Raga Niroshta, composed by Sri.Muthia Bhagavadar, set to Adhi Thalam Thisra Gathi.
Another Ghata Tharang composition played by the group was “Panchakshari" in the Raga Valachi, set to Kanda Chapu Thalam, with Raga and Swaram. The next item was the main composition which was played for the first time, especially for the audiences at BIC. They played Ragam, Thanam and Kalpana Swarams in different Gathis namely Chathurasram, Kandam, Thisram, Misram and Chathurasram (i.e. eight counts per beat), Kuraippu and ended with a grand Korvai. It was in the Raga Madukouns, set to Adhi Thalam followed by a friendly dialogue between Mridangam, Ghatam, Morching and Konnakol. The group also played a folk tune "Rythmic Rapsody" in the Raga Shuddhadhanyasi, set to Eka Thalam.
The group concluded the programme with Bhagyadalakshmi Baramma which was composed by St. Purandaradasar, in the Raga Madhyamavathi, set to Adhi Thalam.
Talent and expertise transcend gender preferences; Ghatam, occupied centre stage literally. The group had proved that percussion is no longer to be considered a male bastion. The concert was thoroughly engaging without a dull moment, and Smt. Sukkanya demonstrated that one can make the pot also sing. The entire group interacted well and their coordination was perfect.
The concert was lively and was steeped in pure classical notes. The BIC auditorium was jam packed with the audience. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the performance by the artists.