The Indian Express, December 20, 1978

D.K. Pattammal, peerless in diction

Maintaining a pristine approach to the ragas and their technical complexities, D.K. Pattammal represents the quintessence of Carnatic music. For over four decades, she has held sway over this idiom and significantly not yielded to the temptations of indulging in novelties or innovations. She is among the very few who have mastered the inimitable style of rendering Pallavis – a technique that is fast fading away. As for her ‘diction’, it can be stated without contradiction that she is peerless.

The Indian Fine Arts Society honoured her by conferring the title of “Sangeetha Kala Sikamani” on Monday evening at the Vani Mahal. Chief Justice T. Ramaprasada Rao who presided observed that this honour to her was long overdue.


Bangalore, March 24, 1985

DKP Concert

Veteran Vocalist D.K. Pattammal was featured in the concert at the Malleswaram Sabha on the very day of the Dikshitar’s birth bicentenary. She sang compositions of the master befitting the occasion. As one schooled in the Dikshitar tradition Pattammal’s presentation of the compositions had that authentic touch. She set off their structural grandeur and also underlined the melodic beauty. While both the familiar and rare kritis alternated, one of them merits special attention.

Pattammal’s exposition was not only melodious but underlined the austere mood of the raga. A few other compositions that left a deeper impress were Mayuranatham in Dhanyasi, Ranga Nayakam in Nayaki and Sri Ranganatham in Poornachandrika. She rounded off with the celebrated benedictory kriti in the Navavarna series “Sri Kamalambika” in Sri Raga.

She was ably supported by T. Veeraraghavan on violin and T.K. Murthy on Mridangam.

D.K. Pattammal in A.I.R. National Programme

D.K. Pattammal who figured in the A.I.R. National Programme on Saturday night, is normally a stickler for tradition and is noted for her rich voice and “Sahitya Sudha” – absolute clarity of expression. It was, however, regrettable that at Saturday’s recital, this distinguishing characteristic suffered a set back owing to the fact that she kept the “sruthi” at a needlessly low pitch which, at times, tended to make the ‘sahitya’ indistinct. Had the ‘sruthi’ been maintained at the proper pitch, the concert would certainly have brightened up. But for these drawbacks, the Ramanataka kirtanas of Arunchala Kavirayar and Syama Sastri’s Thodi composition “Karunanidhi” would have proved the concert’s highlights.

The rather abrupt manner in which Pattammal ended the Pallavi after the main raga alapana in Khambhoji showed that adequate forethought had not been bestowed on adjustment of time. The exposition of Khambhoji was really superb and corresponding justice was expected to be rendered to the Pallavi as well. But she had two more items to complete – a Javali and a Bhajan – within the 90 minute programme, which included as many as 9 items! In trying to sing, within a short space of time, compositions of classical masters as Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Syama Sastri, Purandaradasa and Arunachala kavi, the artiste hardly succeeded in doing full justice to any of them.

The Meera bhajan was an unwarranted addition. Not only was the purity of Kamaj rag lost but the rendering of the bhajan itself was uninspiring, especially because it was rendered with a strong Karnatic flavour.

A Cutcheri of Solid Merit

Shrimathi D.K. Pattammal’s performance (assisted by D.K. Jayaraman) last Sunday at the Krishna Gana Sabha gained in warmth and perfection as it went along. Palghat Mani Iyer played the mridangam with extraordinary zeal, being the pacesetter more often than not. In between the two major protagonists, Tirupparkadal Veeraraghavan seemed somehow lost and gave the impression that he was constantly waiting for his cue in a performance without any flaw but also without any stamp of personality. The vocalist began sedately, even too sedately; her brother sounded the more adventurous of the two and his version of the later stage of Madhyamavathi won a round of applause; incidentally, he gestured very vividly with his arms almost all the time.

It was a sterling performance, notable more for solid vidwath than for any brilliance that enslaves an audience. The ragas were familiar and briefly rendered comprehensively; but the songs selected were often out of the usual rue and bore evidence to Pattammal’s wide repertoire. She sang Asaveri (I heard it as “Ma Paala”), Saveri (“Enthanerchina”), Malavi (“Marivera”), Sudha Saveri (“Kalaharanamelara”) and Dhanyasi (“Sangeeta Gnanamu”), among other things. Karaharapriya and Khambhoji were painted on a larger canvas and “Koniyadina” came off with all its sedate graces duly emphasised. Both in the raga and kriti (Thyagaraja’s “Adigi Sukamu”) in Madhyamavathi, the vocalist sang with complete charm and assurance; the raga looks so suited to her style. In the tisra nadai ragam, thanam and pallavi in Jaganmohini, she was superbly in her element. The pallavi had a lilt which Mani Iyer’s mridangam emphasized; and brother and sister blended effectively in tracing the pattern of swaras stage by stage. Over the years I have always felt that she is the most masterly among our women vocalists in the handling of pallavis. She imbues them both with technical excellence and feeling. Throughout the well-charted RTP, Mani Iyer was like a lighthouse to the vocalists. Needless to say his thani during the Khambhoji kriti was a highlight of an evening full of sedate beauty enjoyed by a large audience.

Smt. D.K. Pattammal Picture

Smt. D.K. Pattammal, the famous South Indian singer arrived in Ceylon yesterday. She will give two recitals, one in Colombo and the other at Jaffna.

The proceeds will go to the Kailasanathar Pillayar Koil Fund.