Neyveli Santhanagopalan @ Ayodhya Mandapam, Chennai

Venue: Ayodhya Aswamedha Maha Mandapam, West Mambalam, Chennai

Date: 30 Mar 2007


Vocal: Vid. Neyveli Santhanagopalan

Violin: Vid. M.A. Sundaresan

Mrudangam: Vid. Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman

Khanjira: Vid. B. Sree Sundar Kumar

List of songs:

1) srI rAma rAma rAmEti (slOkam) – mOhanam

2) inta chAlamu (varnam) – bEgaDa – Adi – vINai kuppaiyer (S)

3) mErusamAna – mAyAmALavagowLa – Adi – thyAgarAja (NS)

4) mAkElarA – ravichandrikA – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

5) raghuvara nannu – pantuvarALi – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

6) rAmabhadra rArA – Anandabhairavi – Adi – bhadrAchala rAmdAs

7) durmArga charAdamulanu – ranjani – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (AS)

8 ) hechariga – yadukulakAmbOji – kanDa chApu – thyAgarAja (O)

9) thAyE yashOdA – tODi – Adi – UthukkAdu venkata subbaiyer (AN)

10) kastUri tilakam (viruttam) – yamunA kalyANi

       krishnA nI bEganE bArO – yamunA kalyANi – misra chApu – vyAsarAya

11) ArabhimAnam – rAgamAlikA – Adi – tanangambaDi panchanAda iyer

12) mAnasa sanchararE – sAmA – Adi – sadAsiva brahmendra

13) ni ri ni ri ga ma ga ri sA (tillAnA) – pUrvi – rUpakam – t. vaidyanAta iyer

14) apakAra nindai (tiruppugazh) – chakravAham – kanDa jampai – aruNagirinAtar (T)

15) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja
(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

I was quite excited about attending this concert ever since I came to know about it yesterday. The primary reason for the same was the team of artists that was supposed to perform on stage with each one of them having established a name for themselves in their respective fields. The group gave an enjoyable concert amidst poor amplification arrangement compounded by excessive noise of vehicles from the busy Arya Gowda Road just outside the venue.

Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan sang detailed raga alapanas for pantuvarALi and tODi. Sri M.A. Sundaresan’s alapanas played in reply were quite enjoyable. However the star of the evening to me was Sri Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman (UKS) who was very ably assisted in the percussion department by Sri Sundar Kumar on the khanjira. One look at the group of  popular percussion artists of the present generation seated in the very first row and you could tell what they were all waiting for …. and I think they would have surely gone back satisfied from their experience of watching the maestro hold everyone spellbound with his wizardry on the mrudangam. Sri UKS was unstoppable. The tani he played in a rather fast paced Adi talam (for “raghuvara nannu”) was out of the world. Even at such a fast pace, he played patterns with such great speed, precision and clarity. Some of the lightning fast patterns were simply unimaginable at that speed. And it was not just the tani that was great. The way he played for songs like “hechariga” was too good. He had such a fertile imagination. I think if I don’t stop here, I would simply go on and on and on singing his praise.

Veteran music critic Subbudu passes away

Veteran music critic Sri P.V. Subramaniam, popularly known as Subbudu, passed away in New Delhi yesterday. He was in his 90s. He was known for his frank criticism of performances. Average or poor performances could not escape the wrath of his pen. I have been told that his very presence in a concert venue used to instill fear in the minds of the performers.

I have had the opportunity of hearing Subbudu mama speak a couple of times when I was in Delhi. He was very witty and used to have the audience in splits of laughter whenever he spoke. For instance, he once said that he was speaking with a group of ladies who were showing a book to him. One of them apparently told him “Mama, neenga yen spectacles use panna mattengarel? (Mama, why don’t you use spectacles)” to which Subbudu mama replied:“Naan our spectacle maa …. enakku edhuku spectacles !! (I myself am a spectacle. Why will I need spectacles)”.

The saga of tragedies in this year continues for carnatic music. Senior vocalist Sri Tiruvengadu Jayaraman passed away just 2 days back and now it is Subbudu mama.

Dwayne Leverock lifted !!!!

My strong belief that finally there was something in this world so heavy that it could not be lifted was shattered a few days back when I saw this snap:

lift.jpg

 

 

Unbelievable !!!!

 

 

Just when I was wondering how Dwayne was able to maintain himself, I got to know that he is a policeman. No wonder :-)

Here are some more snaps for you to savour:

 

 

unbelievable-catch.jpg

Yeh pakda … ha ha ha

Hmmm … pakad toh liya … ab uthoon kaise ???

 

 

pitch-damage.jpg

Pitch – total damage

 

 

 

 

aaja.jpg

 

Aao munna … aao …. himmat hai toh saamne aao

(Pictures courtesy cricinfo.com )

 

Sangeetha Sivakumar @ Asthika Samajam, Chennai

Venue: Asthika Samajam, Venus Colony, Chennai

Date: 29 Mar 2007

Organizer: Asthika Samajam

Vocal: Vid. Sangeetha Sivakumar

Violin: Vid. M.A. Krishnaswamy

Mrudangam: Vid. Manoj Siva

Khanjira: Vid. Anirudh Athreya

List of songs:

1) mErusamAna – mAyAmALavagowLa – Adi – thyAgarAja (ONS)

2) evarikai – dEvamanOhari – misra chApu – thyAgarAja

3) rAma ika nannu – sahAnA – rUpakam – paTTaNam subramaNya iyer (AS)

4) eppaDi manam – husEni – misra chApu – aruNAchala kavi

5) sarasa sAma dAna – kApinArAyaNi – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

6) endukO nI manasu – kalyANi – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

7) kahAn kE pathik – chenchuruTTi – chatusra Eka (tisra gati) – tulsidAs

8 ) mAmava paTTAbhi – maNirangu – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

9) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Vid. Sangeetha Sivakumar presented a quality concert ably supported by her team of accompanists. She sang the kritis beautifully with some very good sangathis put in almost all songs. Her raga alapanas were very enjoyable. She was appreciative of her accompanists and seemed to maintain very good eye contact with the audience almost throughout the concert.

evarikai“, “eppaDi manam” and “mAmava paTTAbhi” were sung really well. Neraval and kalpana swarams were put in the kalyANi kriti at “thyAgarAja hridaya“. Tanivartanam comprised of chatusra naDai, misra naDai, few rounds of kuraippu in misra naDai, a misra kuraippu and mOra-kOrvai.

Hope Vid. Sangeetha Sivakumar gives concerts more frequently.

K.Gayathri @ Ganamukundapriya, Chennai

Venue: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mini Hall, East Mada St., Mylapore, Chennai

Date: 28 Mar 2007

Organizer: Ganamukundapriya

Vocal: Vid. K. Gayathri

Violin: Vid. S. Karthik

Mrudangam: Vid. S.J. Arjun Ganesh

List of songs:

1) sarasijanAbhA (varnam) – kAmbOji – kanDa aTa – swAti tiruNAL (O)

2) chinta dIrcharA – sowrAshTram – Adi – rAmanAtapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (S)

3) shankari nIvE – bEgaDA – rUpakam – subbarAya sAstri (AS)

4) brOvavammA tAmasamElE – mAnji – misra chApu – syAma sAstri

5) krupa jUchuTaku vELarA – chAyAtaraNgiNi – Adi – thyAgarAja

6) rAmA kathA – madyamAvati – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

7) oru tharam saravaNabhava (viruttam) – shanmukhapriyA, bilahari, kAnaDA & kApi

sOdanai – kApi – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

8 ) rAma nAmamE tudi – dEsh – Adi – tanjAvUr sankara iyer

9) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

The concert started with a good raga outline of kAmbOji. The kritis were sung well, especially “chinta dIrcharA“. Taniavartanam was played on the mrudangam in chatusra and tisra naDais. This was followed by another taniavartanam played by the sabha secretary in true Kapil Dev style English.

TNS Harikatha on Valmiki Ramayanam – Day 1

 

Multi-faceted genius Sri T.N. Seshagopalan (TNS) began his 5 day harikatha on Valmiki Ramayanam today at the Youth Hostel, Indira Nagar, Adayar, Chennai. The harikatha is being organized by Hamsadhwani. TNS was accompanied on the violin by Sri G. Chandramouli and on the mrudangam by Sri M.S. Varadan.

Sri L. Swaminathan, author of books on Valmiki Ramayanam, ‘inaugurated’ the harikatha. In his speech, he said that Sri Valmiki was worried about the propagation of his veda, the Ramayanam but his worries disappeared when Lava and Kusha joined his ashrama. They set music to Valmiki Ramayanam and made it a ‘musical’. Sri L. Swaminathan went on to say that Valmiki Ramayanam is about enlightenment and not about entertainment and took digs at carnatic music concerts going to the extent of branding them as entertainment. He made some comments like “this is not Ariyakkudi (Ramanuja Iyengar) or Semmangudi (Srinivasa Iyer) concert; this is not enterntainment”, which could have clearly been avoided. In fact almost all compositions sung in carnatic concerts (most of them by the trinity) are about bhakti and are in a way enhanced by the richness of the great music. In fact, Sri TNS himself has said in one of his harikathas on Thyagaraja Ramayanam earlier that “Sri Thyagaraja’s rAmAyaNam or rAmAnubhavam is special and different from other rAmAyaNams in that sangItam is used as a honey and that one who is more inclined towards literature can read/hear/know/experience rAmA through the literary beauty while one who is not can let the sangItam (music) take over and experience rAmA through it”.

 

The harikatha was a very fulfilling experience on day 1 itself. The hard work that TNS must have put is something unimaginable. He was able to quote from Valmiki Ramayanam, Kamba Ramayanam, Sri Thyagaraja’s compositions and from numerous other sources at will. He laced his harikatha with humorous anecdotes, giving simple examples that people could relate to and use to understand the teachings of Ramayanam better. Standing there on stage for close to 3 hours is in itself a difficult task. To rattle off shloka after shloka without using any material for reference, weaving it all together in a nice continuous narration and delivering it as though one has been doing it for years together is very difficult to do in my opinion.

 

Here are some of the notes I took. These however form only a small portion of what TNS told. Any shortcomings in these will mostly be due to my ignorance and limitations in my ability to understand/express what TNS told. Corrections, if any, are welcome:

 

Salutations to the coel Valmiki who sits on the poem like branch and goes on singing sweetly “rAmA, rAmA, …. “

kUjantam rAma rAmeti madhuram madhurAksharam

Aruhya kavitAshAkham vandE valmIkikOkilam

What has dragged so many people here today to listen is not the harikatha performer but Ramayanam itself which is madhuram. Whichever bee comes to taste the nectar of Ramayanam ultimately gets immersed in it.

Who in this world will not attain salvation upon hearing the story of Lord Rama composed by Sri Valmiki, the lion among Poets who always lived in the jungle

 

vAlmIkE muni simhasya kavitA vana chAriNa

shruNvan rAma kadha nAdam kO na yAti parAm gathim

 

One gets sharaNAgati only when one becomes a paramabhakta

TNS with all humility said: “Listen to me like you would to a child at home. So many greats have sung/talked about Valmiki Ramayanam before …… Unqualified though as I may be, I am standing here with the belief that to tell about Rama, you need no qualification except bhakti”

Let the whole world become holy by this river called “Ramayana – The Story of Rama” which originates from the mountain of Valmiki and joins the ocean of Rama.

vAlmIki giri sambhUtA rAma sAgara gAmini

puinathu bhuvanam punyA rAmAyaNa mahA nadi

People who are soaked in Rama bhakti will attain mOksha

Ramayanams other than the “Valmiki Ramayanam” are an adaptation in some form of the “Valmiki Ramayanam” to the authors’ own culture. Even Kamban (author of Kamba Ramayanam in Tamil) has said that he has followed the “Valmiki Ramayanam”

Sloka that refers to the start/beginning of Ramayana: When the God who is know by Vedas was born as the son of Dasharatha, Veda was born again from Sage Valmiki as Ramayana

veda vEdyE parE pumsi jAte dasaradAtmajE

veda prachEthasa dAsIth sAkshAt rAmAyaNAtmanA

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to understand the vEdAs. Even vEdAs and upanishads do not tell what is “brahmam”. Though people do not know about brahmam, they should at least know about “brahmaguNam”. Rama lived and showed that a person can have all the 64 guNAs.

If not for Valmiki, we might not have come to know about Rama’s guNAs

There are many people these days who claim to be gurus and even sadgurus. A person who teaches how to do something is a guru. Sadguru is one, by observing and following whom, we even learn what he has left unsaid. We are able to visualize what he has visualized. He lives and stays as an example of how to lead a life.

Narada makes his entrance at the beginning of Ramayanam and seeks Valmiki. Valmiki asks Narada – a thoughtful meditator, a sagacious thinker and an eternally studious sage – about a man who is an embodiment of all merited endowments in his form and calibre

tapaha svAdhyAya niratAm tapasvI vAgvidAm varam

nAradam paripapracha vAlmIkihi muni pumgavam

TNS said that Narada is the guru here and Valmiki as like a shishya. TNS wondered which shishya asks such beautiful questions to gurus these days. He said these days shishyas ask why India lost to Bangladesh and blame it all upon Indira Gandhi for creating Bangladesh and leading to India’s ouster from the World Cup :-)

Valmiki asks: Oh Narada! Please tell me who is the one who has these 16 characteristics in this world and who is presently living? I should be able to see such a person. I will meditate on him.

kOnvasmin sAmpradam lOkE guNavAn kashcha vIryavAn

dharmagnAnashcha krutagnashca satyavAkyO dhriDa vrataha

On Lord Rama: One emerged from Ikshvaku dynasty and known to people as Rama – he is conscientious, highly valorous, resplendent, steadfast and a controller of vice and vile and his own senses, as well

ikshvaaku vamsha prabhavO rAmO nAma janaihi shrutAhA

niyata AtmA mahAvIryo dyutimAn dhritimAn vashI

On Lord Rama: He equals the Brahma, the people’s God; he is an exalted one for he is the sustainer of all worlds. He eliminates enemies completely. Thus he is a guardian of all living beings and he guards probity, in its entirety

prajApati samaha shrImAn datA ripu nishUdanaha

rakshitA jIvalokasya dharmasya pari rakshitA

On Lord Rama: He is the champion of his own righteousness/values. He is also the champion of his own people’s welfare

rakshitA svasya dharmasya sva janasya cha rakshitA

TNS: “Narada says the complete story of Rama in such a short fashion like I sing a 4-kalai pallavi within 20 min in a concert” :-)

TNS described Valmiki’s anguish on seeing a hunter kill a male krouncha bird using the raga subhapantuvarALi

As the time was nearing 9:26PM which was supposed to be the start of the nakshatra punarpUsam, TNS wanted to tell about Sri Rama’s birth, the day being the auspicious Rama Navami day. TNS then went on to describe, with the help of shlokas from the Valmiki Ramayanam, how Dasharatha who ruled over Ayodhya, a kingdom where all people seemed to have Rama’s guNAs and were very happy with his rule, grieved that he had no descendants. TNS even sang the Arunachala Kavi written verse “piLLai illAda bhAgyam” and said that he cannot sing it in concerts because then people might ask him to put kalpana swarams at say piLLai or even worser say at illAda :-) :-) . TNS then said that King Dasharatha wanted to perform the Ashwamedha Yagna to beget children. One of the King’s ministers Sumantra tells him about the importance of the sage Rishyasringa and requests the king to invite the sage to preside over the Yagna as the sage’s entry into any kingdom is considered very auspicious for the kingdom and for its people.

TNS then went on to describe the story of Sage Rishyasringa and how he got married. As it was almost 9:20PM, TNS quickly led rasikas through a narrative of how King Dasharatha and his wives were blessed with four children – Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugna. TNS said that the sage Vashishtha had already seen that the Lord had chosen King Dasharatha as the appropriate father.

TNS also displayed his prowess in astrology when he spent some time discussing the “jAdagam (kunDli)” of Lord Rama. He told some very interesting significance of the different positions of planets in the jAdagam. He made many interpretations of his own on the same too. For example, he said that the exile period of 14 years was described by Sage Valmiki as 5 + 9 years and this seemed to match with the fact that Sukran (who gives rAjayOgyam) had both the 5th and the 9th pArvai in the jAdagam.

TNS ended the day’s harikatha while describing Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrughna as children by saying that children should not be made to stay awake till late in the night. :-) :-)

 

References:

o http://www.valmikiramayan.net/

o http://www.geocities.com/ramya475/ssk.html

 

 

Gayathri Venkataraghavan @ Nadopasana, Chennai

Venue: Dakshinamurthy Auditorium, P.S. High School, R.K. Mutt Road, Mylapore, Chennai

Date: 25 Mar 2007

Organizer: Nadopasana

Vocal: Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan

Violin: Vid. Padma Shankar

Mridangam: Vid. Melakkaveri K. Balaji


List of songs:

1) tuLasi daLa – mAyAmALavagowLa – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (ONS)

2) evarani – dEvAmrutavarshini – Adi – thyAgarAja

3) lambOdarAya namastE – varALi – kanDa chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANS)

4) raghupatE rAmA – sahAnA – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (A)

5) viDajAladurA – janaranjani – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

6) shrI janaka tanayE – kalakaNThi – Adi – thyAgarAja

7) sAmi ninnE nammiti – bEgaDa – Adi – syAma sAstri (A)

8 ) shrI mAtrubhUtam – kannaDa – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)

9) tanayuni brOva – bhairavi – Adi – thyAgarAja (AST)

10) shrI vENugOpAla – kurinji – misra jampa – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

11) akhilAnDEshwari durusuga – karnATaka kApi – Adi – syAma sAstri

12) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

After listening to a stunning concert full of rare gems by Vid. Nirmala Sundararajan and Vid. Subhashini Parthasarathy at Musiri Chamber Concerts, I scurried to P.S. High School to be in time for the start of Vid. Gayathr’s concert. This concert had two things one can always have faith upon. One was the fact that only compositions of the trinity (Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Syama Sastri) were to be sung which meant that almost every composition would be thoroughly enjoyable. The second was Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan’s music. I think she is arguably one of the best singers of the present generation and I find her concerts to be almost always interesting and well presented. Today’s concert was no exception and was probably the best one I have heard since TNS sang for Nayaki in Chennai a few weeks back.

Vid. Gayathri began her concert with the best rendition of “tuLasi daLa” I have heard till now. She sang the kriti with full involvement and the joy of watching the kriti develop beautifully, sangati by sangati, was very evident from her face. Neraval was done almost using all lines from the charanam. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the concert !!

Everything about the concert was so nice. The alapanas by both Vid. Gayathri and Vid. Padma Shankar were very good. Vid. Melakkaveri Balaji played well for all the songs. The kOrvai he played for chatusra naDai in taniavartanam was the same one he played for Smt. Prema Rengarajan’s concert a couple of days back. It had an avartanam of chatusram, kanDam and tisram each in both the pUrvAngam and the uttarAngam.

Vid. Gayathri sang very beautiful sangatis for almost all the songs. She even used the lower octave very effectively during the alapanas, especially the bhairavi alapana. This is something not many other female singers seem to do. She was very appreciative of her accompanists. Instead of just expressing her appreciation in terms of words like “sabAsh”, “balE”, “bEsh” etc and resorting to star gazing when her turn was over, she actually turned a bit towards their side whenever the violin alapana or taniavartanam was on and could be observed enjoying what they played. Signs of a great artist in making is what I would say.

Tribute to T.Mukta @ Musiri Chamber Concerts, Chennai

Tribute to Smt. T. Mukta

Venue: Musiri Chamber Concerts, 28/2, Musiri Subramaniam Road, Mylapore

Date: 25 Mar 2007

Vocal: Vid. Nirmala Sundararajan & Vid. Subhashini Parthasarathy

Violin: Vid. Poorna Siva

Mrudangam: Vid. Melakkaveri K. Balaji


List of songs:

1) gnAnAnanda mayam (slOkam) – hamsadwani – vEdAnta dEsikan

2) rAmA IvELa (varnam) – kharaharapriyA – Adi – tenmatam narasimhAchAr

3) vINApustaka dhAriNim – vEgavAhini – misra jampa – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

4) vAchAma gOcharunDani – aTANA – Adi – mysore sadAsiva rAo (O)

5) vazhi maraithirukkudE – nATTakurinji – misra chApu – gOpAlakrishna bhArati

6) nI mATalEmAyanurA (jAvaLi) – pUrvi kalyANi – Adi – paTTAbhirAmayyA

7) paramAtmuDu – vAgadIshwari – Adi – thyAgarAja

8 ) alavani nammarAdE (jAvaLi) – Anandabhairavi – Adi – dharmapuri subbarAyar

9) bAla vinavE (padam) – kAmbOji – tisra tripuTa – kshEtragna

10) smara sundarAnguni (jAvaLi) – paras – Adi – dharmapuri subbarAyar

11) meragAdu rammanavE (padam) – sahAnA – misra chApu – kshEtragna

12) delise vagaLella – bilahari – Adi -paTTAbhirAmayyA

13) OsOsi (padam) – mukhAri – misra chApu – muddu naTEsa

14) ethaikanDu ichai kOnDAi magaLE (padam) – kalyANi – rUpakam – subbarAma iyer

15) bUsa dAramu (padam) – tODi – tisra tripuTa – kshEtragna

16) idi nIku mariyAdA (jAvaLi) – bEgaDa – misra chApu – dharmapuri subbarAyar

17) ninnu jUchi nAlugaidu (padam) – punnAgavarALi – tisra tripuTa – kshEtragna

18) adi nIpai (jAvaLi) – yamunAkalyANi – Adi – dharmapuri subbarAyar

19) nAvEru pAmaNatha (tiruppugazh) – rAgamAlikA – kanDa chApu – aruNagirinAtar

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

This is probably as good as it could get. Gems in Smt. T. Mukta’s bani sung in a chamber concert in my favorite concert venue in Chennai (the place where Sri Musiri Subramanya Iyer lived) by Dr. Nirmala Sundararajan, Smt. T. Mukta’s vocal accomapist for many years, and her daughter Dr. Subhashini Parthasarathy. One look at the song list after reading this and one can imagine what a great experience it would have been. The concert was devoid of any alapana, neraval or kalpana swarams. There was just a small outline of aTANA. The ragas just flowed, decorated and presented in true colors in Smt. Mukta’s style. At many places, I just tried to imagine Smt. Brinda and Smt. Mukta, as they appear in photographs (I have never had the opportunity to see them in person), sitting in front of me and singing and I was filled with emotion. I wish I had been born some 50-60 years back and spent most of my life hearing the duo sing !! This is one bani that needs to be kept alive !!

Dr. Nirmala and Dr. Subhashini seemed to do full justice to all the compositions sung. They made the experience thoroughly enjoyable. Vid. Poorna Siva and Vid. Melakkaveri Balaji played well for the songs. In the absence of raga alapana, neraval, kalpana swaram and taniavartanam, they were simply concentrating on the songs being sung and they too seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan @ Karpagam Gardens, Chennai

Venue: Karpaga Vinayagar Temple, Karpagam Gardens, Chennai

Date: 24 Mar 2007

Organizer: Karpaga Gardens Sat Sangh

Vocal: Sri Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin: Sri S. Varadarajan

Mrudangam: Sri Neyveli B. Venkatesh

Ghatam: Sri N. Guruprasad

List of songs:

1) ninnE kOri (varnam) – kAnadA – Adi – tiruvOtriyUr tyAgayyA (O)

2) vAraNa mukhavA – hamsadwani – rUpakam – kOTIswara iyer (S)

3) enta rANi – harikAmbOji – Adi – thyAgarAja (NS)

4) arivAr yAr unnai – mukhAri – misra chApu – aruNAchala kavirAyar (A)

5) srI rAmam – nArAyaNagowLa – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

6) sAmaja vara gamanA – hindOLam – Adi – thyAgarAja (AS)

7) nI dayachE – yadukulakAmbOji – Adi – thyAgarAja

8 ) eduTa nilachitE – shankarAbharaNam – Adi – thyAgarAja (AST)

9) jAnAti rAmam (viruttam) – jOnpuri

    dasharata suta – jOnpuri – tisra Eka – vAnamAmalai jIyar

10) rAmanai bhajithAl – mAnD – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

11) kandugamada kariyai (viruttam) – rAgamAlikA (aTANA, mOhanam, hamsAnandi, sindhubhairavi, behAg, chenchuruTTi)

    angai koDumalar – chenchuruTTi & nAdanAmakriyA – misra jampa & kanDa tripuTa – aruNagirinAtar

12) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Sri Sanjay, as usual, presented a beautiful concert. The mukhAri, hindOLam and shankarAbharaNam alapanais were too good. The shankarabharaNam alapana featured nottuswaram like patterns towards the end. Sri Sanjay seemed to almost sing the first two lines of “OsOsi” during the mukhAri alapana (or may be it seemed like that to my ears) and it gave a nice effect. Kalpana swarams were put at “munnavanE” in “vAraNa mukhavA“, at “vEda shirOmAtruja” in “sAmaja vara gamanaA” and at “tarAna dorakani” in “eduTa nilachitE“. Neraval and kalpana swarams were put in “enta rANi” at “shEshuDu shivuniki“. Sri S. Varadarajan was at his usual best.

Taniavartanam played by Sri Venkatesh and Sri Guruprasad comprised misra naDai followed by kuraippu in tisra naDai.

Prema Rangarajan @ Saraswati Vaggeyakara Trust, Chennai

Venue: Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall, TTK Road, Alwarpet

Date: 23 Mar 2007

Organizer: Saraswati Vaggeyakara Trust

Theme: Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar Kritis

Vocal: Vid. Prema Rangarajan

Violin: Vid. Padma Shankar

Mrudangam: Vid. Melakkaveri Balaji

Ghatam: Vid. N. Guruprasad

List of songs:

1) vinAyaka vighnanAshaka – vEgavAhini – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)

2) paramEshwara jagadIshwara – nATTai – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (S)

3) bruhadambikAyai – vasantA – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (NS)

4) pAhimAm pArvati – mOhanam – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (ANS)

5) shringAra rasamanjarIm – rasikapriyA – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

6) chidambara naTarAjam – kEdAram – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (0)

7) shivakAmEshwarIm chintayEham – kalyANi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

8 ) santatam gOvindarAjam (nOTTuswaram) – shankarAbharaNam – tisra Ekam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

9) gangE mAm pAhi – chenchuruTTi – kanDa Ekam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

10) lalitA paramEshwari – suruTTi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar (O)

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Vid. Prema Rangarajan presented a nice concert of Dikshitar compositions, ably assisted by the artists who accompanied her. The beauty of Sri Dikshitar’s kritis coupled with the nice way in which she rendered them made the concert very enjoyable. One look at the list of songs would reveal so many songs that are not usually sung in the concert circuit.

Though all the artists were good in their departments and performed well as a team, the star of the evening to me was Vid. Padma Shankar on the violin. This is the first time I am hearing her in a full concert and she was simply superb. Her alapanas of mOhanam and kalyANi was very melodious. Her replies during the neraval and kalpana swarams were very good. What an imagination she had whenever she improvised !!!!

Taniavartanam was played by Sri Balaji & Sri Guruprasad in Adi talam and comprised chatusra naDai, kuraippu, pharans, mOrA and kOrvai. At the beginning of the taniavartanam, Sri Balaji showed some good use gumukhis to create different sounds. The kOrvai he played for the chatusra naDai was also an interesting one. The pUrvAngam and the uttarAngam of the kOrvai comprised of three avartanams each – the first in chatusra naDai, the second in kanDa nadai and the third in tisra naDai.

There was a low turnout for the concert and the strength just waned with time as the starting time of the India-Sri Lanka match neared. The combination of strong air conditioning and sweet music was a potent one to which many seemed to succumb readily. A mami sitting in the row in front of me slept throughout the concert. Good amplification in the small hall however ensured that the sound from the speakers always overpowered the snores.

T.M.Krishna @ Russian Cultural Center, Chennai

Venue: Russian Cultural Center, Kasturi Ranga Road, Chennai

Date: 21 Mar 2007

Vocal: Sri T.M. Krishna (TMK)

Violin: Sri Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam: Sri K.V. Prasad

Ghatam: Sri S. Karthick

Tambura: Sri Rithvik Raja

List of songs:

1) tera tIyaga rAdA – gowLipantu – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

2) sujana jIvana – khamAs – rUpakam – thyAgarAja

3) murugA murugA – sAvEri – misra chApu – periyasAmi tUran (A)

4) bhOgIndra shAyinam – kuntalavarALi – kanDa chApu – swAti tiruNAL

5) sarOjadaLa nEtri – shankarAbharaNam – Adi – syAma sAstri (ANST)

6) mAlai pozhudinilE – rAgamAlikA – Adi (tisra gati) – kalki krishnamUrti

7) bEganE bArO – yamunA kalyANi – outline

    krishnA nI bEganE bArO – yamunA kalyANi – misra chApu – vyAsarAya

8 )  sarvam brahmamayam –  madhuvanti – Adi – sadAsiva brahmEndra

9) udanata tana tara (tillAnA) – hamIrkalyANi – Adi – harikEsanallUr muthiAh bhAgavatar

10) rAmachandrAya janaka (mangaLam) – kurinji – Adi – bhadrAchala rAmadAs 

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Sri T.M.Krishna (TMK) started the concert with Sri Thyagaraja’s “tera tIya garAdA” which was rendered with lot of emotion and involvement with kalpanA swarams put at the pallavi line. “sujana jIvana” came next with the same, if not more level of involvement put in. The pallavi was especially brilliant. Brilliant sAvEri alapanas by both TMK and Sri Vittal Ramamurthy formed the prelude to a moving rendition of “murugA murugA”.

The shankarAbharaNam alapana was very nicely done too but was rather short considering it came as a TMK alapana for the main song. If I remember correctly, TMK touched the dhaivatam that comes two octaves below the normal octave’s dhaivatam and the patterns he sang in the lower octave were simply sweet music to the ears.  Neraval and kalpana swarams were put at “sAmagAna vinOdini“.

The team of accompanists on stage played with a lot of understanding. Sri Vittal Ramamurthy was brilliant in his individual essays and very supportive when it came to accompaniment. Sri K.V. Prasad and Sri S. Karthick played very well for the songs. Sri S. Karthick was his usual self trying to play in unison with the mrudangam and complementing the mrudangam artist wherever required. The fillers he played for the songs were very nice to hear. Taniavartanam was played in chatusra and tisra nadais. Lot of improvisation was there in the taniavartanam. For example, Sri K.V. Prasad started the taniavartanam in a style that was very similar to the way TMK ended his kalpana swarams. Sri S. Karthick began the taniavartanam using and improvising on a set of calculations used by Sri Prasad to finish off his portion of the chatusra nadai.

All the artists were very appreciative of each other and it was really nice to observe this sitting in the audience. In all, a very good concert and a satisfying experience once again from TMK.

The Joys of Customer Care

A subscriber talking to his mobile phone service provider’s customer care dept. The conversation is in Punjabi …..  hilarious especially towards the end

Here is one about Youtube’s customer care itself

The one that takes the cake is the conversation below

T.N.S.Krishna @ Sringeri Bharati Vidyashram, Chennai

Venue: Sringeri Bharati Vidyashram

Date: 19 Mar 2007


Vocal: Sri T.N.S. Krishna (TNSK)

Violin: Sri Pudukkottai Ambika Prasad

Mrudangam: Sri B. Sivaraman

Ghatam
: Sri N. Guruprasad


List of songs:

1) gnAnAnanda mayam (slOkam) – hamsadwani – vEdAnta dEsikan

2) jalajAkshA (varnam) – hamsadwani – Adi – mAnmbuchAvaDi venkaTa subbaiyer (S)

3) brOvabAramA – bahudAri – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

4) shObanE – pantuvarALi – misra chApu – thyAgarAja (A)

5) veyyOn oLi (viruttam) – madyamAvati

alakalalla lADaga – madyamAvati – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (AS)

6) EtAvunarA – kalyANi – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

7) vEndanai kandanai (viruttam) – brindAvana sArangA

kaliyuga varadan – brindAvana sArangA – Adi – periyasAmi thUran

8 ) dhIm tArE nArE nArE (tillAnA) – hamsAnandi – Adi – harikEsanallUr muthiAh bhAgavatar

9) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja


(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

Sri T.N.S. Krishna presented a cracker of a concert. He seems to have not only inherited much of TNS’ vidwat but also his hard work and this was apparent from the effort he put into each kriti he sang. The ragas just flowed. The way he sang the kritis was very impressive, especially the songs “shObanE” and “alakalalla lADaga“. I am hearing “shObanE” for the first time. “alakalalla lADaga” happens to be one of my personal favorites in madyamAvati and kalpana swarams were put in this song at “samayamuna tyAgarAja“. After madyamAvati came the show stealer. It was a 20 min grand alapana of kalyANi that brought out the beauty of the raga so well. The raga was developed step by step and all those exceptional patterns that TNS would probably sing were brought out by TNSK. The alapana just held me spellbound. Towards the end of the alapana, TNSK suddenly plunged into graha bhEdam with nishAdam as the base to sing sudha danyAsi.

Neraval and kalpana swarams were sung in the next kriti “EtAvunarA” at the first line of the anupallavi starting with “sItA gauri“. TNSK used a lot of calculations towards the end of the kalpana swaram in both slow speed and fast speed and the beauty of these calculations were that they, in no way, interfered with the melody. Sri Ambika Prasad kept watching TNSK like a hawk to note the place in the avartanam from where he started the string of calculations each time and I must say that he did a great job with his replies. It is difficult to sing those calculations without affecting the melody. An even more difficult task however is to follow the singer just by hearing him sing those once.

While singing the hamsAnandi tillANA, TNSK slipped in a graha bhedam with rishaba as the base to get hindOLam just after the anupallavi ended. It was done very quickly and in an excellent fashion. TNSK then quickly moved on to sing the charaNam.

Sri B. Sivaraman and Sri N. Guruprasad provided some explosive (and enjoyable) accompaniment. The taniavartanam they played comprised the chatusra and tisra naDais.

After the concerts end, there is a short puja in the temple where the temple people usually ask the artist of the day to sing a kriti. TNSK sang a moving “srI kAntImatim” in hEmavati without the use of mic and without any accompaniment. It was so nice to hear his natural voice as he did complete justice to the great composition.

Parur Violin Quartet @ Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai

Venue: Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall, TTK Road, Chennai

Date: 16 Mar 2007

Organizer: Narada Gana Sabha (Golden Jubilee Year)


Violin: Parur Sri M.S. Anantaraman,  Sri M.A. Krishnaswami, Sri M.A. Sundaresan & Sri M.S. Anantakrishnan

Mrudangam: Sri Srimushnam Raja Rao

Ghatam
: Sri Madippakkam Murali


List of songs:

1) inta chAlamu (varnam) – bEgaDa – Adi – vINai kuppaiyer (O)

2) praNamAmyaham srI – gowLa – Adi – mysore vAsudEvAchAr (AS)

3) sAraguNa pAlimpa – kEdAragowLa – Adi – rAmanAtapuram srInivAsa iyengAr (A)

4) Ananda naTamADuvAr – pUrvikalyANi – rUpakam – nIlakanTa sivan (AS) 

5) pakkala nilabaDi- kharaharapriyA – misra chApu – thyAgarAja (A)

6) endukku peddala – shankarAbharaNam – Adi – thyAgarAja (AtNST)

7) anbirundAl pOdum ? – sindhubhairavi – Adi – chidambaram swarna venkatEsa dIkshitar (A)

8 ) tAm tAm tAm udanitOm (tillAnA) – khamAs – Adi – paTTaNam subramaNya iyer

9) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja


(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam, t=tanam)

Three generation of violin artists came together and presented a melodious concert today at the Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall. Veteran violin vidwan, octogenarian, Sri M.S. Anantaraman, his sons – Sri M.A. Krishnaswami and Sri M.A. Sundaresan and his grandson Sri M.S. Anantakrishnan delighted the audience with their classy violin recital. The concert started with Sri M.A. Anataraman playing a short outline of the raga bEgaDa. His fingers were so nimble and he made it all look so easy even at this age of his. The bEgaDa varnam was then played by all four of them to some great accompaniment provided by Sri Raja Rao and Sri Murali. After “praNamAmyaham srI” came a series of heavy classical compositions that were simply delightful to hear. Alapanas for the first three songs were done predominantly by Sri M.S. Anantaraman. Sri M.A. Krishnaswami played the pUrvikalyANi alapana, Sri M.S. Anantakrishnan played the kharaharapriya alapana and Sri M.A. Sundaresan played the shankarAbharaNam alapana. The kharaharapriya alapana had some very good prayogas. Sri M.A. Krishnaswami and Sri M.A. Sundaresan’s mastery showed in the way they played effortlessly like their father. Before the shankarAbharaNam kriti began, the quartet played a good tAnam.

Sri Raja Rao played with a lot of mastery for all the songs. The taniavartanam he played with Sri Madippakkam Murali comprised of a chatusra naDai, a tisra naDai and an elaborate round of kuraippus.

Suguna Varadachari @ Shanmukhapriya, Chennai

Venue: Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall, TTK Road, Chennai

Date: 15 Mar 2007

Organizer: Shamukhapriya

Vocal: Smt. Suguna Varadachari 

Violin: Sri Sanjeev

Mrudangam: Sri Vellore Ramabhadran

Khanjira
: Sri B.S. Purushothaman


List of songs:

1) vanajAkshi (varnam) – kalyANi – Adi – rAmanAthapuram srInivAsa iyengAr

2) mErusamAna – mAyAmALavagowLa – Adi – thyAgarAja (NS)

3) E pApamu – aTANA – misra chApu – thyAgarAja (A)

4) entani nE – mukhAri – rUpakam – thyAgarAja (ANS)

5) mAl marugA shanmugA – vasantA – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

6) srI krishnam bhaja – tODi – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkshitar  (ANST)

7) paravasa mAyanurA – nAdanAmakriyA – Adi – wAlAjApEt venkaTramaNa bhAgavatar

8 ) nAdru dhIm tanana (tillAnA) – gambhIravANi – Adi – t.k.gOvinda rAo

9) samayamidE rArA – behAg – tisra Eka – paTTaNam subramaNya iyer

10) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – sowrAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja


(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

This is the first time I am hearing Smt. Suguna Varadachari live. Her alapanas were worth their weight in gold. There were so many beautiful patterns that just brought out the raga so well. There were no unnecessary expeditions. The mukhAri alapana lasted for about 6.5 minutes and was full of patterns that one could associate to and this made it all the more enjoyable. The 14 minute tODi alapana that came later was again a delight with Smt. Suguna spending a long time during the initial stages highlighting different patterns in the lower part of the normal octave itself. The sangatis put for the songs were also detailed ones and were thoroughly enjoyable. The beautiful sangatis that were sung for the pallavi of the aTANA composition got me so much immersed into the rAga that I just lost count of the total number of different sangatIs that were put. The count would have easily crossed 10.

Smt. Suguna Varadachari was ably supported by her accompanists. Sri B.S. Purushothaman was exceptionally brilliant while playing for the songs. The taniavartanam played by Sri Vellore Ramabhadran and Sri Purushothaman comprised of 2 or 3 rounds of chatusra naDai without kOrvais, a chatusra naDai round with kOrvai, a tisra naDai with kOrvai, a short round in tisra naDai that started off as though kuraippu was being done and finally kuraippu in chatusra naDai followed by mOrA and kOrvai.