The Hindustan Times, March 24, 1999

Picture of D.K. Pattammal with Sachin Tendulkar
DKP With Sachin

WELL DONE, GRANDSON: Octogenarian Carnatic music exponent D.K. Pattammal, a Padma Vibhushan winner, greets Sachin Tendulkar, a Padma Shree winner, at the awards ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.

The Indian Express, April 17, 1987

Tranquil Power

The Sri Jayendra Bhakta Samajam celebrated its second anniversary on Tamil New Year’s day, with a classic vocal recital by the veteran, Smt D.K. Pattammal. Out of deference to the founder, His Holiness Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the occasion was consecrated to devotional themes on Goddess Kamakshi, Lord Siva, the Kamakoti Mutt, through songs composed by the Trinity and others.

D.K. Pattammal prefers pure musicianship to glamour of any sort. With her scrupulous fidelity to tradition and the ground rules and total absence of self-indulgent interpretation of kritis, this greatly respected artiste conveyed a pervasive feeling of tranquil power. She fulfils in an extraordinary manner the motto Cardinal Richilieu laid down for the French Academy, viz. “to encourage obedience to the rules of good taste and to curb anarchy in style”. Certain artistes become institutions and once solidly institutionalised, become legendary. Smt. D.K.P. is one of that blessed lot.

It was fascinating to observe how the artiste steered the concert away from becoming merely a bhajan, yet retained the depth of emotion and the lyricism of that mode, and subtly brought in the concert pattern without falling into mere technique or theatrical presentation. Condensation has always been the cardinal virtue of her style; and DKP perhaps even believes it to be a virtue to which other elements must be sacrificed! In this aspect she is like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar.

Time was when concerts began with a song in Kedaram (often “Ramaneepai”). DKP opened with the Dasar Kriti “Gajavadhanaveduve” in Kedaram, with classical calm and grace, and followed it up with Tyagaraja’s Sri Raga kriti “Yukthamukathu”, a gem rarely heard. The long, melodic lines of “Ekambaresa” (Sudha Asaveri) were well captured.

The orderly, lucid and quintessential delineations of ragas Sankarabharanam and Bhairavi were notable for the suppression of the trivial details, in order to secure a captivating simplicity of contour and depth. To younger musicians, they were an object lesson in raga alapana, combining delight with profoundity and an intuitive feeling for the form of musical phrases. Subbrama Dikshitar’s “Sankaracharyam”, the classic kriti on H.H. Mahadevendra Saraswathi, a former pontiff of the Kamakoti mutt, and the depth of emotion stimulated in the neraval on “Paramagnanalata” were rewarding. Similarly, in the Annaswamy Sastri Kriti “Sri Lalitha Kanchinagaranivasini”, Pattammal was superb, both in the majestic raga alapana and the note of pathos in the kriti. As if to capture other “rasas”, the artiste rendered “Kamakshi Varalakshmi”, Dikshitar’s exhilarating piece in Bilahari, with breeziness, style and many climatic moments.

All the above was substance of true music, not too demanding for the listeners, yet capable of widening their intellectual horizons. D.K. Pattammal achieved with so much with great ease and the infirmities of age seldom cramped her art.

T. Rukmini’s playing has always a gloss of its own but in a recital of this sort, a more restrained display in raga alapana might have been appropriate. The young colt, J. Vaidyanathan, accompanied his great aunt very ably on the mridangam and looks like earning high laurels very soon. He duetted splendidly with Umayalpuram Narayanaswami on the ghatam.

K.S. Mahadevan