Abhishek Raghuram for Rasanveshanam, Bangalore

Venue: Utopia, Near Olde Bangalore Resort, Tarabanahalli, Bangalore


Vocal: Abhishek Raghuram

Violin: H.M. Smitha

Mrudangam: Anantha R. Krishnan


List of songs:

1) viribONi (varNam) – bhairavi – kanDa aTa – pachimiriyam adiyappA (O)

2) vAtApi gaNapatim – hamsadhwani – Adi – muthusvAmi dIkSitar (AS)

3) vinatA suta vAhana – jayantasEnA – Adi – tyAgarAja (AS)

4) ADamODi galadE – cArukEsi – Adi – tyAgarAja

5) mInAkSI mEmudam dEhi – gamakakriyA – Adi – muthusvAmi dIkSitar (ANST)

6) mAyammA – Ahiri – Adi – syAma sAstri

7) rama deivama – suruTTi – rUpakam – tyAgarAja

8) nI nAma rUpamulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – tyAgarAja


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

Abhishek Raghuram for Raga Tarangini Trust

Organizer: Raga Tarangini Trust

Venue: Ragasudha Hall, Mylapore, Chennai

Occasion: GNB Day


Vocal:  Sri Abhishek Raghuram

Violin: Sri Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam: Sri Anantha R. Krishnan

Khanjira: Sri B. Shree Sundarkumar


List of songs:

1) ninnu kOri (varnam) – mOhanam – Adi – rAmanAthapuram shrInivAsa iyengAr (A)

2) rA rA phanishayanA – harikAmbOji – rUpakam – tyAgarAja

3) paralOka sAdhanamE – pUrvikalyANi – Adi – tyAgarAja (ANS)

4) Ananda naTEsA – tODi – rUpakam – rAmasvAmi sivan (AS)

5) rAkA shashivadanA – TakkA – Adi – tyAgarAja

6) dArini telusukoNTi – sudha sAvEri – Adi – tyAgarAja (AST)

7) porumaiyai izhandEn – simhEndra madhyamam – Adi – g.n. bAlasubramaNiam (O)

8 ) nI allAl ini – kAnaDA – Adi – g.n. bAlasubramaNiam

9) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – tyAgarAja


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

Concert with Aishwarya Shankar at The Music Academy, Chennai

Played mrudangam for the vocal concert of Aishwarya Shankar. The concert was organized by The Music Academy, Chennai as a part of the HCL Concert Series.

The song list was as follows:


Vocal:  Aishwarya Shankar

Violin: Sriram Sridhar

Mrudangam:  R. Ramkumar



List of songs:

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

2) inta mODi (varNam) – sArangA – Adi – tiruvaTriyUr tyAgayyar 

3) vallabha nAyakasya – bEgaDa – rUpakam – muthuswAmi dIkSitar (OS)

4) brOva samayamidE – gaurimanOhari – Adi – garbhapurivAsar (ONS)

5) karuNajUDavammA – varALi – mishra cApu – shyAma sAstri (A)

6) tuNai purindaruL – suddha hindOLam (varamu) – Adi – pApanAsam sivan

7) O ranga sAyi – kAmbOji – Adi – tyAgarAja (ANST)

8 ) konDal vaNNanai (viruttam) – rAgamAlikA – tiruppaNNAzhwAr

     muraLIdharA gOpAlA – mAND – Adi – periyasAmI tUran

9) dhIm dhIm ta na (tillAnA) – rEvati – mishra cApu – lAlguDi g. jayarAman 

10) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – tyAgarAja


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

Svanubhava Chennai 2012

Svanubhava Chennai 2012 begins in Kalakshetra, Chennai today. Catch the live web cast at http://svanubhava.blogspot.in/p/live-webcast.html


The schedule is as follows:



1st August 2012 (Wednesday)

9:00 AM onwards – Svanubhava 2012 Chennai @ Kalakshetra Campus, Tiruvanmiur, Chennai (Svanubhava) **Free**

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy (Vocal), Malladi Ravikumar (Vocal Support), H.N. Bhaskar (Violin), M.L.N. Raju (Mrudangam), S. Karthick (Ghatam)

Pung Cholam, Bhol Cholam & Ras Leela Anjika Manipuri Dance Troupe (Dances of Manipur)


Dr. Chithra Madhavan (Lecture – Temple as social, economic & cultural centres)

Indianostrum Theatre (Land of Ashes – A theatre production)


2nd August 2012 (Thursday)

9:00 AM onwards – Svanubhava 2012 Chennai @ Kalakshetra Campus, Tiruvanmiur, Chennai (Svanubhava) **Free**

Ulhas Kashalkar (Vocal – Hindustani), Ravindra Katoti (Harmonium), Suresh Talwalkar (Tabla)

Young Percussion Artists (The Art & Science of Percussion)


C.V. Chandrasekar (Lec Dem – Bharathanatyam)

Palghat T.R.Rajamani & V. Kamalakara Rao (Talavadya Concert – Tribute to Palghat Sri T.S. Mani Iyer)


3rd August 2012 (Friday)

9:00 AM onwards – Svanubhava 2012 Chennai @ Kalakshetra Campus, Tiruvanmiur, Chennai (Svanubhava) **Free**

Sangeetha Sivakumar (Vocal), R.K. Shriramkumar (Violin), Melakaveri K. Balaji (Mrudangam), N. Guruprasad (Ghatam)

Melattur Natya Vidya Sangam (Bhagavata Mela – Prahlada Charitram)


Natana Kairali (Pavakathakali – Kalyana Sougandhikam, Duryodhanavadham)

Mysore M. Manjunath & Nagraj (Violin), Arjun Kumar (Mrudangam), Giridhar Udupa (Ghatam)


Trip to Coorg

Giving details of a recent trip to Coorg (Madikeri/Mercara) below; may prove useful for people planning a trip to the place

Coorg is a hill station in Karnataka, India.


We stayed at Honey Valley Estate (http://honeyvalleyindia.in/), located 3 kms from Kabbinakkad Junction at Yavakapady at 1250 mtrs MSL. It is managed by Mr. Suresh & Mrs. Susheela Chengappa, their son Sharath Chengappa and Jack, a Canadian. It is situated in the Western Ghats. We read a lot of good things about it on the internet and hence decided to try it out ourselves.

Honey Valley, which was one of the largest honey producers in India, opened to tourists in mid 90s after a Thai Sacbrood virus attack eliminated many of the honey bees there. The hosts now cultivate coffee, cardamom and pepper. They generate electricity in house. There are no TVs, fans or air conditioners. The rooms are very basic (this is certainly no 5 star accommodation) but are very neat and clean. There is a good collection of books that the guests can access.

Honey Valley people are also opening another property for tourists (named Chingara – http://www.chingaara.com/ ) near the existing property.

Contact Information:

Honey Valley

P.O. Yavakapady

Coorg (Kodagu) District – 571 212


Tel: 08272–238339, 08272 – 200325

Our verdict: Honey Valley Estate is probably the best place we have stayed in all our sojourns in South India. Surrounded by hills and lush forests, this place is ideal for people who want to spend time away from busy city life and do not want to stay in a hotel in a commercialized part of a hill station. A lot of people come here for trekking as this place has access to about 18-20 trekking trails of different lengths, including the trek to Thadiyandamol, the highest peak in Coorg.

A few things that could have been better:

  • Lots of power cuts. Make sure you carry a torchlight with you when you go out from the room, especially in the late evenings/night
  • No wardrobes in the rooms
  • They could explore the option of providing netted windows in the rooms. It gets very stuffy in the nights sometimes if you close all the doors and windows to keep out any insects.


Food at Honey Valley Estate was home cooked and hygienic.


  • Breakfast – 8:30 AM to 9:00 AM
  • Lunch – 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM
  • Dinner – 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Tea/Coffee was available almost throughout the day.

The only other place we tried out for food was Hotel Mayura Valley View at Madikeri. The food there was decent and the place also looked clean and neat.

While traveling, it is better to have food in Mysore and/or Madikeri as you may not get good restaurants en route.


We used the following modes of transport:

  • Chennai Central to Mysore Railway Station – Train
  • Mysore Railway Station to Mysore KSRTC Bus Stand – Auto
  • Mysore KSRTC Bus Stand to Virajpet KSRTC Bus Stand – KSRTC Bus – 95 kms – 3 hrs. Buses are available almost every 30 min from 6AM to 6PM
  • Virajpet KSRTC Bus Stand to Virajpet Private Bus Stand – Auto
  • Virajpet Private Bus Stand to Kabbinakad Junction – Private Bus – 23 kms – 1 hr. Kabbinakad Junction is a very small bus stop. The track uphill towards Honey Valley Estate is located right opposite the bus stop. Buses are available almost every hour. Best way is to call up Honey Valley Estate and check the bus timings so that you can also sync up the jeep pick up accordingly
  • Kabbinakad Junction to Honey Valley Estate – Jeep – 3 kms uphill – 20 min (1 hour if trekked). The 3 km track is very steep at places. Cars cannot negotiate the track. Honey Valley Estate provides jeeps to transport their guests (Charges: Rs. 90 per trip uphill or downhill). Just give them a call and they will send the jeep to pick you up.
  • Local sightseeing – Cab (We were taken for sightseeing by a guy called Rena in his cab. He was recommended by Mr. Suresh Chengappa. He was one of the best drivers I have ever travelled with and was also able to understand and speak (in parts) Tamil, Hindi and English, apart from Kannada and the local dialect. You can also hire an auto, but car would be a much more comfortable and safer option.

The distance from Mysore (KSRTC bus stand) to Honey Valley Estate (via Hunsur , Gonikoppal, Virajpet, Kabbinakad Junction) is about 120 km


I have grouped the places for sightseeing below according to their locations in Coorg and have given brief descriptions. More details for each of these can be found on the internet. The places in each of these groups can be covered together in one trip. All of these places can ideally be covered over a span of 3 days. We went to 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 15 in the list below and covered them  in one day.


1)   Abbey Falls – About 10 min walk from the place where you can park your car. One has to climb down many steps to reach the falls. There is a viewing platform and a suspension bridge. We were told that water is there almost throughout the year. The flow might be less during summers.

This place can get very crowded on weekends. The best view can be got from the suspension bridge located bang opposite to the falls.

2)   Raja’s Seat – The Kings of Kodagu apparently came here to spend their evenings and to get a good view of the valley. There is a musical fountain that is operational late evening. One can also view the sunset from here.

3)   Gaddige (Raja’s Tomb) – Gaddige houses the tombs of Kings Virarajendra and Lingarajendra. There were three buildings here and the interiors were cool despite the high afternoon heat outside.

4) Omkareshwara Temple – This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The construction is influenced by Islamic architecture.

5)   Madikeri Fort – This was initially built using mud and later using stone. It houses, among other things, a small museum.

6)   Mercara Palace

7) Madikeri Market


8)   Dubare Elephant Camp – Located at Dubare on the banks of the river Kaveri, this place is owned by the Forest Department and captures and trains elephants. One has to cross a small water body by motor boat to reach this place. If you go early, you can watch the elephants getting bathed by their mahouts. Elephant rides are also available.

9)   Harangi Dam – Best time to visit might be during the latter half of the year when there is more water in the dam.

10)       Nisargadhama – This is a small island on river Cauvery and features boating, a very short elephant ride, a deer park and a bamboo groove.

11)       The Golden Temple at Bylakuppe – A beautiful Buddhist temple. The complex around the temple is full of Tibetan monks (or should I say monks in the making). There is a Tibetan shopping complex just outside the temple. Cars can be parked in the space behind the complex.


12)       Bhagamandala & Triveni Sangam – Shri Bhagandeswara temple is located at Bhagamandala and just opposite the temple, across the road, is the triveni sangam where three rivers are supposed to meet (one of them being invisible). This temple, like some of the other ones in this district, also seemed to be influenced by the Kerala style of temple architecture.

13)       Talacauvery & Brahmagiri – Talacauvery, 8 kms uphill from Bhagamandala, is the place in Brahmagiri hills where river Kaveri originates. River Kaveri is worshipped as a Goddess here. There is a small pond in the temple complex here which is supposed to be very close to the place of origin. The river emerges from the pond as a small spring and resurfaces some distance away from the temple complex. The temple houses shrines of Lord Shiva and Ganesha. There is a flight of about 250 steps from the temple complex that leads to the Brahmagiri peak from where one can have a good view of the area all around.


14)       Nalknad Aramane (Palace)- This palace was built by a local ruler called Doddaveerarajendra. It is not very far from Kabbinakad Junction.

15)       Padi Igguthappa Temple – Igguthappa, according to the temple priest, is the God who provides food to the people of Kodagu (iggu = food, thappa = provider). The main diety in this temple is Lord Subramanya (as Lord Igguthappa). The priest told us that this temple is very special to the people of Kodagu. People offer tulabhaarams here. Please check the temple timings before visiting. It opens at about 6:30 PM in the evening. This place is about 10-15 min drive from Kabbinakad Junction.

16)       Iruppu Falls – These falls are located further down from Madikeri towards the South and one has to trek quite some distance to reach the falls.

17)       Nagarhole National Park – One of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in South India.

18)       Chelavara Waterfalls – Located about 10 kms from Honey Valley

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer – Life & Music

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer – Life & Music (EastWest, Westland Limited), as it’s title explicitly suggests is a book on Semmangudi’s life and his music.   V. Sriram has written the “Life” part while V. Subrahmaniam, one of Semmangudi’s disciples, has written the “Music” part. Sriram writes admirably, as he always does, and cleverly sidesteps controversial issues. Subramaniam writes about the specialties of Semmangudi’s music – what gave him superstardom despite having a voice that was not problem free. This part, in my opinion, adds special value to the book.  The text in the book is interspersed with a lot of photographs, many of which seem to be rare. Semmangudi’s life and music have taught and influenced me a lot and this book gives me another chance to look at the same from the eyes of the authors.

Quick Gun Murugan

A central character that grabbed the audience’s attention so easily. Promos that generated enough interest among many. A simple plot. Some very good one liners and moments. Very good performances from the cast. Despite all this, the movie just turned out to be a dud.

There is absolutely no meat in the script. Many of the jokes are crappy. The movie has been stretched like crazy – even the 90 minute duration was so tortuous!

Don’t set any expectations at all from this movie, I say. A waste of time and money is all it is. Mind it!

Happy New Year!

Wishing all readers of this blog a Happy New Year and great times ahead!

Ushered in new year hearing Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman perform live and heard him give a breathtaking performance again on the morning of the 1st. Couldn’t have asked for a better end to 2008 and a better start to 2009.

Chennai (December) Music Season 2008-09 Schedule

Schedules for the following sabhas/festivals have been updated in the “Concerts in Chennai” page of this blog (http://ramsabode.wordpress.com/concerts-in-chennai/). I will be doing a sanity check, correcting any errors and adding any missed concert listings in the next few days:

  • Aanmajothi
  • Bharat Kalachar
  • Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
  • Brahma Gana Sabha
  • Carnatica
  • Hamsadhwani
  • Indian Fine Arts Society
  • Kala Pradarshini
  • Kalachaara Marumalarchi Trust 
  • Kalakshetra
  • Kalarasana
  • Kartik Fine Arts
  • Margazhi Maha Utsavam – Jaya TV
  • Maris Music Mela
  • Mudhra
  • Mylapore Fine Arts
  • Naada Inbam
  • Naadhabrahmam
  • Nadha Sudha
  • Narada Gana Sabha
  • Namasankeertaam 2008
  • Nungambakkam Cultural Academy
  • Prabhata Sangeetham 2008-09
  • Raagalaya Foundation
  • Shanthi Arts Foundation and Endowments (SAFE)
  • Shi-bha Sangeetha Sabha
  • Shri Ganapathi Sachchidananda Ashram
  • Smt. Mangalam Ganapathy Music Trust
  • Sri Bhairavi Gana Sabha
  • Sri Kapali Fine Arts
  • Sri Krishna Gana Sabha
  • Sri Parthasarathy Swami sabha
  • Sri Rama Bhaktha Jana Sabha
  • Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha
  • Sri Vidhyatheertha Foundation
  • Srinidhi
  • Sriranjani
  • Tamil Isai Sangam
  • The Music Academy
  • The Mylapore Fine Arts Club
  • Valayapatti Kaashyap Naadhalaya Festival

Lec Dem on 22 Shrutis – Part 2

Part 1 of this post can be found here [link]


This is Part 2 of the summary of the lec dem by Smt. Vidya Shankar on 22 shrutis:



  • sadharana gAndharam is an oscillated catushruti rishabham in varALi. gAndhAram shouldn’t go above this level for this rAgam
  • A slightly higher level but still an oscillation of catushruti rishabham is seen in tODi. There are so many approaches to playing gAndhAram in tODi. We can approach gAndhAram from rishabham or from madhyamam and there are a variety of gamakams that can be employed.
  • In Anandabhairavi, when we play “G-M-P”, G reaches almost the rishabham levels as the gamakam is played on the rishabham fret. In rItigauLa, G is sharper and often comes with a janta prayOgam. The second of the two Gs in a janta prayOgam is always a bit higher than the first one.
  • A still higher G is found in hindOLam. This G is played close to M1.
  • The purest G is the antara gAndhAra. Summation of tones of a tambura is antara gAndhAram. It is a perfect note – a svayambhu swaram. You cannot shake this G in shankarAbharaNam. This G is the mahimA of shankarAbharaNam. The moment you oscillate this G, it becomes kalyANi. Similar usage of plain antara gAndhAram is seen in the kriti eLiyEnai in yadukula kAmbOji.
  • A higher level of G is seen in mErusamAna (mAyAmALavagauLa). mEru goes high and so does the G there.



  • madhyamam is sung in a sudha manner without oscillations in kuntalavarALi (kritis kalinarulaku & shara shara samarai)
  • Some ragas get a beautiful color with the use of a lower M. Ex. nIlAmbari  (kriti ambA nIlAmbari)
  • begaDa’s madhyamam is generally said to be higher than sudha madhyamam. But there are many kinds of madhyamams that are played in bEgaDa. M can be approached from P and played higher or played as sudha madhyamam also. A lower M occurs in the kriti nAdOpAsana
  • varALi has prati madhyamam – very close to pancamam. But kalyANi’s M is not played as high as varALi M.  M in any prati madhyama ragam comes from pancamam. It is played/sung very close to the pancamam
  • Children must be taught gamakams while they are being taught alankArams. We can see all kinds of shakes with the madhyamam in the shankarAbharaNam alankAram



  • suddha dhaivatam  is played as oscillation on pancamam
  • Sri Thyagaraja has created about 30 kritis in tODi and has shown different ways of handling the dhaivatam in these kritis . In Emi jEsitE – D is played very close to P. The kriti starts with P. In enduku dayarAdurA we stand at D and shake it.
  • There are so many types of D that are played in tODi. Every D is played differently. The number of shrutis that get covered are innumerable.
  • sAvEri  also uses sudha dhaivatam
  • A flatter version of chatushruti dhaivatam occurs in kAmbhOji. If we shake this, we get the D in kannaDA
  • A still more shaken D occurs in vasantA. Absence of P in this ragam implies that the D is played higher up.



  • Kaisiki nishadam is an important note called the septimal seventh. suruTTi uses it.
  • bhairavi has a lower N. We approach it from D. In fact bhairavi has many Ns. In sari evarammA, Sri Shyama Sastri lifts the N to show the higher status of ambAL. When saying nI daya jUDavamma in the next phrase, he brings N slightly down. This is just one example of how the Trinity have used swarams with lot of care in their compositions. There is a lot of emotional appeal for the swarams as is evident from their compositions
  • kAkali nishadam – In the muktAyi swaram of the Adi tALam kalyANi varnam vanajAkshi, N is held higher. In shankarAbharaNam and kurinji, N almost touches S.


Thus we can see that there is infinite number of shrutis for each note itself.


Some other points made in the lec dem and in the Q&A session post that:

  • Music and mathematics go together. There is no art without science and vice versa. It is said that the researchers aim at an aesthetic perfection in their research. Art and science go hand in hand
  • While responding to handling of notes and ragams in Hindustani and Carnatic music …… Intonation of notes itself causes differences in the two systems of music. RE and RI are different in terms of shruti. Hindustani musicians would stand at G at the same shruti for a long time in kAnaDA. We will keep shaking the G in our kAnaDA. Their approach is very different because of playing notes flatter for longer duration
  • While responding to whether a keyboard is suitable for Carnatic music …… People told the same thing about the Clarinet 50 years back what they tell today about the keyboard. The Music Academy had lot of skepticism about the use of Clarinet years back. This year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi is a Clarinet player. (Pitch bender and fingering) techniques have helped people try to play Carnatic music on keyboard, but not with perfection. The perfection of gamakams on a veena is almost impossible to achieve in a keyboard (today). We should appreciate the effort of keyboard players if they play well. But we should also know what people would able to play on keyboard and what they wouldn’t.
  • Just as a color has many shades, a swaram has many shades/shrutis. It is a matter of experience, rather than analysis, to realize the intricacies of the shrutis. The veena is a very good instrument that helps us in this experience.