Bangalore, December 24, 1978

Pattammal – A Profile by N.R. Bhuvarahan

Pattammal’s son Sivakumar assists her on the Mridangam.If the concert is ‘mikeless’, the Veteran Palghat Mani Aiyar supports her on the Mridangam. Her husband, Iswara Aiyar, has been devoting all his time and energy to the promotion of her art, which is pristine and unsullied in spite of fleeting fashions and styles in the world of music.

No greater tribute can be paid to Pattammal’s music than the one from the musician of musicians, Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar when at a function organised by the Perambur Sangeetha Sabha for the release of Prof. S. Ramanathan’s edition of Prahalatha Bakthi Vijayam, Thyagaraja’s Geya Natakam at the Sastri Hall, some years ago. The Vidwan, who was visibly moved by her rendering of “Eti Janmamithi ha”, in Varali asked me to convey his request that he would like to listen to it again the next day, at his residence in Mylapore. Smt. Pattammal complied with his request and earned the blessings of the Maestro, who was then sick and ailing. It was a memorable rendering, which plumbed the depths of patho; the cry of a tormented and anguished soul, yearning for communion with the Lord.

The Indian Express, October 17, 1983

DKP Felicitated

Eminent musicians, dancers and a large number of music lovers joined together on Sunday to felicitate Smt. D.K. Pattammal on her completing 50 distinguished years as a concert performer.

A packed Kasturi Srinivasa auditorium at the Music Academy heard speakers, including Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and Music Academy President T.T. Vasu, extoll the contributions Smt. Pattammal had made to Carnatic music. Her emphasis on maintaining the tradition had put Carnatic music on a sound footing. Youngsters would do well to emulate her they said.

The function also marked the launching of the first issue of “Sruti”, a monthly devoted to South Indian classical music and dance. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer presented copies of the magazine to a number of eminent musicians and dancers including Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale and Smt. Vyjayanthimala Bali.

Speaking on the occasion, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer said that its publisher Mr. P.N. Sundaresan deserved praise for his courage in bringing out a magazine devoted solely to the classical arts at a time when it was believed that a publication would not sell unless it was packed with news about film stars. He hoped that people would buy the magazine or subscribe to it to help sustain the venture.

Replying to the felicitations, Smt. D.K. Pattammal thanked the speakers for their appreciation. She hoped that the new magazine would soon gain an All-India and even an international readership.

Staff Correspondent

Exquisite, aesthetic Pallavi patterns

I have been lamenting the gradual fading into oblivion of the Pallavi technique of the Carnatic music idiom, since almost all the senior vidwans have bid farewell to it to indulge in insipid sarva-lagu (easy-on-the-beat) patterns. As if in answer to my prayer, D.K. Pattammal rendered an intricate one in the tisra-triputa tala, each beat raised to the power of five – Kandagathi. It was exquisite in its structure, aesthetic in its development. She kept the basic time-cycle under control and though seemingly innocuous, adorned it with innumerable criss-cross patterns.

It was refreshing to see her daughter-in-law, Lalitha Sivakumar ably and competently providing swara retorts in the descents and ascents. While the jugal-bandi sequence was admirable, one wished that the gifted violinist T. Rukmini had joined to give a full three-edged dimension. That would have convinced the audience that the rendering of the Pallavi was not stage-managed.

Earlier Pattammal sang Papanasam Sivan’s touching composition, “Naan oru vilayattu bommaya’. The common impression that Navarasa Kanada is a fighty raga was disproved. With her usual clarity in the utterance of the lyrics, Pattammal literally swayed the audience. Where she erred was when in the finale she repeated the word “Bommaya” thrice, creating a rather comic ending.

While T. Rukmini wielded the violin tonefully and tunefully, one felt that in her youthful exuberance, she indulged in ungrammatical approaches. I am referring to the streaks of Antharagandharam in her Karahapriya delineation. True, these only came only as embellishment to the madhyamam, but artistes of her calibre need hardly resort to such unwarranted intrusions into grammar. Likewise, even in Ananda Bhairavi she gave a folk touch in the initial stages itself by the inclusion of the Anthara-gandhara. Though, it was grammatical and the note is covered by a licence, it should be resorted to as relief only towards the end. Grammar calls it ‘Ka-Koo’. However, she rendered Kalyani brilliantly and as an accompanist excelled herself.

Sivakumar, Pattammal’s son did well on the percussion. His tani-avarthanam was sphrightly. Of Guntupalli Krishnamurthy, I can say little, as most of the time, he was inaudible being at the dead-end of the mike.


The Indian Express, January 1, 1972

A memorable rendering of Sivan compositions

Thursday’s concerts at the Music Academy were uniformly good. D.K. Pattammal, who sang in the evening, gave a scholarly exposition of the compositions of the great masters – she is one of the very few who can boast of a rich repertoire. The most distinguishing feature of her style is its leisurely gait, be it alapana, kriti rendering, niravals or swaraprastharas.

Pattammal’s style did full justice to Sivan’s immortal composition “Kapali”. This composition, made famous by the musical interpretation given by Pattammal, describes the Lord at the Mylapore temple to the minutest detail, and it would lose its charm unless it is rendered in midtempo. Speed would result in overlapping of words. Every stanza had its share of scintillating sangathis, each variation an embellishment on the previous. With admirable support from D.K. Jayaraman, she made the rendering of this piece memorable. The phrase ‘Adira Muzhungum Udukaiyum Thirisulamum’ is still ringing in my ears.

It is difficult to delineate Manirangu raga at length in view of a few near-cousins hovering about the scale. Any largescale exposition would result in Manirangu intruding into forbidden pastures. Pattammal’s alapana was short and succinct. By constantly emphasising the pivotal note gandhara, she maintained the individuality of the mode. The kriti ‘Ranidiradhu’ was presented at a measured gait.

Pattammal never fails to offer new items in her bill. Thursday’s offering was ‘Nannu brochutaku’ in Todi by Subbaraya Sastri who, by a streak of misfortune, has not been classified as the fourth after the Trinity. The alapana was good and the rendering of the kriti evocative.

‘Nanoru Vilayattu Bommaya’ in Navarasa Kannada was another Sivan composition rendered by Pattammal. The harmonious blending of sangathis and sahithya, the lilting alignments of the lyrics, the pathos inherent in the composition were all admirably brought out. It was emotion packed.

D.K. Jayaraman sang with terrific strain in a pitch rather too high for his masculine voice. By singing in pitch beyond his limits, I am afraid, he is doing considerable damage to his vocal chords. His swaraprastharas in ‘Kapali’ were adroit. His contribution to Pattammal’s style is the curving of the edges.

Thirupparkadal Veeraraghavan (violin) played with both dignity and understanding. His instrumental tone has improved vastly in recent years. Karaikudi Mani played a truly complementary role on the mridangam, ably assisted by Rangachari on the Ganjira. The Taniavarthanam saw them both in fine form. It was, however, unfortunate that in its initial phases Mani was oblivious to the hair-breadth but sharp rise in the basic-tonic of the mridangam.