ISB in Global Top 20 !!!!!

I was greeted by some very exciting news when I woke up this morning. Indian School of Business (ISB), my alma mater, has been ranked 20th in the latest Financial Times global ranking of full-time MBA programs. Three things make this a very significant achievement:

  • This is the first time a business school from India has achieved a place in the global top 100 !
  • ISB is probably the youngest institution ever to find a place in this list. The school just started 6 years back!!
  • This is the first time ISB participated in the rankings and it achieved a position in the top 20 straightaway !!!

Way to go !!!!

Sanjayism & Rahmania

Two hours of vintage Sanjay Subrahmanyan, live and a few hours of A.R. Rahman ….  I probably couldn’t have asked for anything better after wrapping up office work today.

I had missed quite a few Sanjay concerts this season and was eagerly waiting for today’s fare. What made it all the more special was the elaborate Surutti alapana and the song “Kanavendum laksham kangal” that immediately brought to my mind scenes of Sri SRD and Sanjay singing it in “Aarar Asaipadar“. While the Sanjayist in me was still reminiscing Surutti, my friend Sriram turned my attention towards the music of “Jodha Akbar”. I had heard Rahman’s latest offering early today morning in a not-so-good sound system but the experience in the evening was just too good to be true. We two Rahmaniacs just couldn’t stop raving about all the tracks, be it the roaring “Azeem-O-Shaan Shahenshah”, the beautiful “Jashn-E-Bahaara”, the enticing “In Lamhon Ke Daaman Mein” or the soft “Man Mohana”. As is always the case with Rahman’s music and me, I am sure there are so many minute details still to be observed and enjoyed in the tracks as I hear them over and over again in the next few days.

The most entertaining news channel?

This is what can be seen on news channels after India’s win over Australia:

Aaj Tak: Buraayi par acchayi ki jeet (Is this ramleela?)

Sahara Samay: Sab bacche RP bhaiyya ki tarah banna chaahte hain

NDTV 24×7: This story will be part of folklore. Young kids will be told about how India won at Perth. Ishant Sharma is master of all trades, jack of none.

It would be so difficult to pick up one channel for the most entertaining news channel award, especially with “Sherry Sir” leading the charge at NDTV 24×7. Here is what Sherry Sir and the lady at NDTV 24×7 had to say about RP Singh: “His ball is more beautiful than Priyanka Chopra” …. hmmm …. wonder what that means.

My vote would go for Aaj Tak. Only DD’s Hindi commentary can give them competition :-)

Lec dem on the Carnatic Music Trinity by Smt Vidya Shankar – Part 2

Part 1 of this post can be found here

… cont. from Part 1

Sri Thyagaraja:

  • Sri Thyagaraja wrote his first composition on the wall of his house. He is said to have been only about 13 years of age then
  • He composed a lot of songs in bhajana sampradAyam while singing during unchavritti, where he would wander around the streets of Tiruvaiyyaru along with his disciples, collecting any food that was willingly given by the inhabitants of the place
  • Many of his compositions had simple tunes and the same tune for all the caraNams. This was done to facilitate easy grasping of the songs by the disciples who would then sing along with him
  • In his first composition namO namO rAghavAya anisham, he is a living example of how a bhakta should be, i.e, one who wants mOksham not only for himself but for all others in the world too (reference: the line “suka nutAya dIna bandhavE sakala lOka dayA sindhavE”). He also wants good health and longevity for everyone (reference: “AyurArOgya dAyinE” in the 5th caraNam of the same song)
  • One of his great contributions to Carnatic music was the introduction of sangatIs and illustration of where to sing them. He developed sangatIs step by step in his songs. Ex: chakkani rAjamArgamu in kharaharapriyA has 15 (?) sangatIs for the pallavi line that get built step by step. mari mari ninnE (kAmbOji) and O ranga sAyi (kAmbOji) are majestic compositions replete with the use of beautiful sangatIs
  • Another thing to be noted is the use of sangatIs at appropriate places – he put them at places where rAgabhAvam and arthabhAvam converged
  • sagatIs act like an introduction to neraval singing for students. Ex: the sangatis in dAriNi telusukoNTi (suddha sAvEri) at rAjita maNigaNa
  • Sri Tyagaraja has delineated the ragas very clearly at the beginning of his compositions. Ex. tatvameruga taramA para in garuDadhwani starts as S d p g r s …. r g m …. p d n which gives the avarOhaNam and ArOhaNam of the rAgA: S d p g r s; s r g m p d n S. (Interestingly, as pointed out by Vid Vidya Shankar, the reverse of garuDadhwani is bilahari: s r g p d S; s n d p m g r s and this can be seen in the composition kanukoNtini in bilahari).

 

Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar:

  • Sri Dikshitar was a vaiNika gAyakar
  • He gave the essence of saraLi varisais in 3 kAlams in a nutshell right in the beginning line of his first kriti itself. He also employed janTa swara prayOgas and alankAram-like patterns in the same kriti.
  • He gave great importance to viLambakAlam (slow speed). But the use of madhyamakAlam (medium speed) was his forte. He would make us get soaked in the beauty of the ragam and composition in viLambakAlam and then introduce the madhyamakAlam at the right moment when we would seem to be longing for it. Ex: varaguruguha sOdarENa … in pancamAtangamukha gaNapatinA (malahari)
  • An important feature of his kritis is the presence of rAgamudrAs (name of the raga on which the song is based comes as a part of the sAhityam). Ex: samsAra bhItyApahE in shrI sarasvati namOstutE (Arabhi)
  • He kept rAgam as the central force in his compositions and gave a lot of importance to developing the rAgam in the compositions. rAgam is the life of our music
  • Lower, middle and upper octaves have been used proportionately in his compositions according to the rAgam handled (She gave a few examples from kAshivishvEshvara and shrI subramaNyaya namastE in kAmbOji)

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

 

I was in a totally different world after listening to this excellent lec dem about the greatness of the trinity. Guess what song was playing on television when I reached back home? No, it was not jagadanandakArakA or any other composition of the Trinity from Tiruvarur but the song “Tiruvarur Therae Pakkam Vaadi” from the movie Pazhani. Tiruvarur eppadi ellam famous-aa aagirukku :-(

 

Kudos to the people at Naada Inbam for organizing such an informative session and for organizing concerts featuring veterans. Hope they continue their dedicated service for many more years to come

 

Lec dem on the Carnatic Music Trinity by Smt Vidya Shankar – Part 1

Veteran vainika Vid Vidya Shankar gave a very informative lec dem on the Carnatic Music Trinity under the auspices of Naada Inbam at Raga Sudha Hall, Mylapore, Chennai on 14th Jan 2008. She was ably assisted by her disciples who played the veena and sang the songs and by Vid B. Sivaraman who played the mrudangam.

The following songs were played/sung fully:

1. shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati jayati – mAyAmALavagauLa – Adi – muthuswAmi dIkSitar

2. namO namO rAghavAya anisham – dEsya tODi – rUpakam – tyAgarAja

3. jananI natajanaparipAlini – sAvEri – Adi – shyAma sAstri

4. ennEramum un nAmam – pUrvikalyANi – misra cApu – shyAma sAstri

5. pAhimAm shrI rAjarAjEshwarI – nATTAi – rUpakam – shyAma sAstri

6. dasharatha nandana – asAvEri – Adi – tyAgarAja

7. dharma samvardhanI – madhyamAvati – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

Select verses from many other songs were played while illustrating the different points made.

Here are some excerpts from the lec dem based on the notes I took.

General:

  • The creations of the trinity are one of the main factors behind the popularity of Carnatic music among the masses
  • The first compositions of all the three composers – Sri Thyagaraja, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar and Sri Shyama Sastri, were in Sanskrit: namO namO rAghavAya anisham (dEsya tODi) by Thyagaraja, shrInAthAdi guruguhO jayati jayati (mAyAmALavagauLa) by Dikshitar and jananI natajanaparipAlini (sAvEri) by Shyama Sastri
  • Carnatic music can be said to be comprised of three fundamental elements: bhAvam, rAgam and layam. Each one among the trinity has chosen one of these three as the central force to evolve a distinct style while composing. For Sri Thyagaraja, it was bhAvam that was central. For Sri Dikshitar, it was rAgam, while for Sri Shyama Sastri, it was layam
  • Instrumentalists must learn the sAhityam of the compositions they play so as to internalize the spirit of the compositions

Sri Shyama Sastri:

  • Sri Shyama Sastri belonged to the vamsha paramparai of Sri Adi Sankara. Sri Adi Sankara has said that there is no sorrow, sin or fear for those who chant the word “Bhavani” thrice. I am not sure whether it was a coincidence or whether Shyama Sastri knew about this, for he included the words “bhavAni bhavAni bhavAni” in his very first composition
  • His first composition doesn’t have his mudrA “shyAma kriSNa”, which can be seen in his later compositions
  • The usual angams of a kriti are pallavi, anupallavi and caraNam. Sri Shyama Sastri is celebrated for his use of the swara-sAhitya upAngam where a swara passage comes in the anupallavi and its corresponding sAhitya passage comes in the caraNam. The tODi kriti nine namminAnu has beautiful swara-sAhitya prayogas. These however are not usually sung by artists. (It seems Vid K.V. Narayanaswamy learnt the swara-sAhitya passages for this song from Vid Vidya Shankar and used to sing them when he sang this kriti) Sri Shyama Sastri’s son Sri Subbaraya Sastri gave more form to the swara-sAhitya passages. A great example of this is his kriti nannu brOcutaku
  • Swarajati compositions were brought to a high pedestal by Sri Shyama Sastri. The bhairavi swarajati, for example, is an immortal one
  • Weaving magic through layam was his forte. He used syllables linked to rhythmic patterns of 3, 5, 7 and 9 with great ease. Examples: 5 – anudinamu, padayugamu in kAmAkSi (bhairavi); 9 – hrudayamupaTTukoni in mAyammA (nATTakurinji)

Part 2 of this post can be found here

This Season’s Lec Dems

There were quite a few interesting lec dems organized during this music season. As luck would have it, I couldn’t attend many due to the clash with my office schedule. I intend to post the gist of the few that I was fortunate to attend in the next few weeks.

Bhajji Talk

The whole country seems to be discussing ICC’s ruling on the allegations against Bhajji. If the buzz in Bangalore is to be believed, Bhajji seems to have testified to the ICC officials: “Maine toh Symonds ko bola teri maa ki aur usne samajh liya monkey;-)