Swati Tirunal was a multifaceted genius whose breadth of compositions ranged from varnams, kirthanams (including the Navaratri series, Navavidha Bhakthi series, Utsav Prabandham) to padams, tillanas, ragamalikas and the Hindustani bhajans and khayals. The Venkateshwara temple in Pittsburgh, USA celebrated the music of this phenomenal composer recently. Here is a short video from my concert featuring some of the works of this composer with M.S.Ananthakrishnan(violin) and Prakash Rao(mridangam) supporting me on stage.
Manipravalam is a mix of Sanskrit and Tamil, a precursor to Malayalam. The Utsav Prabandham kirthanams describe the 10-day festival held at the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Trivandrum. The Manipravalam kirthanam in raga Huseini describes a conversation between two devotees watching the main idol being brought out of the temple in a procession. The devotees are speculating on the identity of the idol being ceremonially paraded on a lotus-like vehicle (‘kamala vahana’). After a series of negation (as they wonder if it is Indra, Chandra, Kubera, Gouri, Shiva) they realize it is none other than Padmanabha.