T.N. Seshagopalan @ Ayodhya Mandapam, Chennai

Venue: Ayodhya Aswamedha Maha Mandapam, West Mambalam, Chennai

Date: 04 Apr 2007

Organizer: Sri Ram Samaj (Rama Navami Celebrations)

Vocal: Vid. Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan (TNS)

Vocal Support: ??

Violin: Vid. S.D. Sridhar

Mrudangam: Vid. K.V. Prasad

Ghatam: Vid. T.V. Vasan

Tambura: Vid. Vaidyanathan

List of songs:

1) vandanamu raghunandanA – sahAnA – Adi – thyAgarAja (AS)

2) daya jUchuTa – gAnavAridhi – Adi – thyAgarAja

3) tanavAri tAnamu lEdA – bEgaDa – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANS)

4) ETi janmamidi – varALi- misra chApu – thyAgarAja (AS)

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

6) yArendru rAghavanai – yadukulakAmbOji – Adi – aruNAchala kavi

7) entamuddO – bindumAlini – Adi – thyAgarAja

8 ) rAgam tAnam pallavi – simhEndra madyamam – kanDa tripuTa (2 kaLai – eDuppu 0.5 beat i.e. 2 aksharams before samam) (T)

pallavi wordings: “raghupatE rAmachandrA rAghava simha, dayanidhE”

9) jai dayAlu mA (?) – ?? – rUpakam – ??

10) jagati vijita mantram jAnakI prANa mantram (viruttam) – jOnpuri

    rAma mantrava – jOnpuri – Adi – purandaradAsa

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

12) sriya kAntAya (slOkam) – srI

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

Sri TNS started the concert with a neat sketch of “sahAnA” followed by “vandanamu raghunandanA” which was sung in a way that brought out the raga so well. After this came Sri Thyagaraja’s composition in “gAnavAridhi” – “daya jUchuTa” which only TNS seems to sing in concert circuit these days. TNS then started raga alapana of “bEgaDa“. In the 4 minutes or so that he devoted to the alapana, he seemed to highlight almost all the prayOgAs that characterize and make us readily recognize “bEgaDa“. “tanavAritAnamu” was sung in a fast pace with racy neraval and kalpana swarams at the anupallavi line “ina vamsha rAjulakI guNamulennaDaina galadA nAdupai“. A detailed varALi raga alapana after this was followed by “ETi janmamidi” with kalpana swarams put at “sAgara shayanuni ….. “. Just after finishing the kalpana swarams when TNS came to the words “vEgamE jUDaka“, he launched into a set of brigha like patterns and sang the two words using a variety of brighas over and over again.

brOvabArama” is one of the compositions that regularly features these days in the concerts of both TNS and his son Sri T.N.S. Krishna. TNS sang lively rounds of kalpana swarams in this song at the pallavi line itself. The kOrvai he sang at the end of kalpana swarams is one that I think has also been used by his son in the past to some very good effect. I think it goes like this (; = two aksharam kArvai & , = one aksharam kArvai):

tha ka dhi na thAm ; – 3 times

tha ki Ta thAm ; – 3 times

tha ka thAm ; – 3 times

tha, dhi, ki, na, thom – 3 times

tha; dhi, ki, na, thom – 3 times

tha ; dhi ; ki, na, thom – 3 times

Total akshara count is 144 when played once and beat count is 36. So it has to be sung once or three times starting from 6 aksharams (1.5 beats) after mid point of adi talam if sung for brOvabAramA. One of the equivalent representations of this in terms of swaras for brOvabAramA would be the following:




M, G, S, N, P G, S, N, P, M M, P, D, N, S

M; G, S, N, P G; S, N, P, M M; P, D, N, S

M; G; S, N, P G; S; N, P, M M; P; D, N, S

Sri S.D. Sridhar, during his turn, impressed by reproducing the same kOrvai.

entamuddO” started with the anupallavi line “enta vAralaina gAni kAnta … “ and TNS sketched slightly detailed outlines of the raga after both the anupallavi and charanam which was so pleasing to hear. By this time, TNS had received many audience requests written in small pieces of paper and he said in tamil something like this: “the organizers have asked me to wind up by 9:30PM ….. and requests are coming in large numbers … looks like we will have to deal with these on Vaikuntha Ekadesi day” 🙂

TNS then launched into a grand alapana of “simhEndra madyamam”. What a treat it was !!!! Spread over 28 minutes and done in 3 stages, with the violinist playing his turns after the first and the second, it was an absolute delight. When TNS was fully engrossed in singing the third stage, there were loud sounds created by the horn of a MTC bus outside which seemed to coincide with the dhaivatam. TNS remarked that when singing with a lot of concentration, even noises from outside seem to sound like music !!

Then came the part that took me completely by surprise !!!! With a transition whose smoothness I am unable to even imagine, let alone express in words, TNS quickly switched into graha bhEdam mode and with panchamam as shaDjam sang “bowLi”. The return from “bowLi” to “simhEndra madyamam” was also equally smooth and marked by a round of applause that seemed to resonate throughout the hall. This was followed by a tanam for about 6 minutes.

The pallavi line “raghupatE rAmachandrA rAghava simha, dayanidhE” was structured as follows (A=akshara, B=beat, 1 avartanam of kanDa tripuTa in 2 kaLai = 18 B = 18 X 4 A = 72 A): starts 0.5B before samam – ra (0.5B) ghu (0.5B) pa (0.5B) tE (1.5B) rA (1B) ma (0.5B) chan (1B) drA (1.5B) rA (1B) gha (0.5B) va (1B) sim (1B) ha (+ gap = 3.5B), da (0.5B) ya (1.5B) ni (0.5B) dhE (1.5B).

Short ragamalika swarams were sung for the pallavi. The ragas used (to the best of my knowledge) were simhEndra madyamam, nATTai, gowLa, Arabhi, Ahiri, dEsh, hindOLam, hamsAnandi, bEgaDa, kuntalavarALi, kathana kuthUhalam, nIlAmbari & bowLi. This was followed by a taniavartanam played by Sri K.V. Prasad and Sri T.V. Vasan. TNS sang the pallavi in trikAlam after the taniavartanam got over.

Almost every TNS concert I attend reminds me that there is so much more out there to learn and keeps me going as I try to move up the learning curve. The amount of hard work, sincerity, commitment and effort that TNS puts in is simply amazing. He is truly an inspiration to me in this regard.


8 thoughts on “T.N. Seshagopalan @ Ayodhya Mandapam, Chennai

  1. Jayan says:

    For me it is like listening to TNS again.. I was through 3 concerts of his in Bangalore in 7 days. Not recoverd (!) yet. Good to see that you had the chance to listen to the Yadukulakamboji krithi. He sang the same here with a short 5 min alapana.

    The RTP pattern was exactly the same , 28 min Alapana in 3 stages, Grahabhedam, 6 mins thanam , and short Ragamalika swarams and Tani avartanam , except the ragam here was Shanmukhapriya.

  2. mani says:

    I had the privilege of listening to part of the Simhendra Madhyamam raga alapana and there on.. and yes the Graha Bedam was quite stunning!

  3. Ram says:


    3 TNS concerts in a week ….. can’t get any better !!!

    I wish the concert scene picked up in cities other than Chennai too. Bangalore certainly seems to be on the way.

  4. Sathej says:

    A good detailed review!Simhendramadhyamam-It was played by Shri TN Krishnan recently at the Music Academy.

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