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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thirupampuram Brothers, Nadasvaram Concert, Sri Ragam Fine Arts

Thirupampuram Brothers: T K S Swaminathan & T K S Meenakshi Sundaram - Nagasvaram
Vedaranyam Balasubramanian (balu) & Sivapuri Ramamurthy (ramu) - Tavil

Nadasvara Vidwan Thirucherai T V S Sivasubramania Pillai 80th birthday and CD release function.
Sri Ragam Fine Arts. Sastri Hall [a/c]
30th May 2007. 8 pm

srI gaNapatini - saurAshTram - Adi - T (R)
jAnakI ramaNa - suddha sImantini - Adi - T (S)
rAma nI samAna - kharaharapriyA - rUpakam - T (RS)

Thanks to the function before, the concert which was scheduled to start at 7 pm began only one hour late. It was however not so uncomfortable to sit in the newly airconditioned Sastri hall which was overflowing, coz the hall was airconditioned. Also, with some sweet kaaram and coffee and/or juice being served, it was actually not a very painful wait.

The concert began with a beautiful AlApanai of saurAshTram. The kriti was rendered very well. The suddha sImantini kriti was rendered in a different fashion, as compared to the usual pAtAntaram one hears. A quick round of svarams followed

The main(?) kharaharapriyA AlApanai was played by the brothers very elaborately including quite a few not-so-often heard pidis and sancarams. This was a 25 minute affair. The kriti was rendered in all its grandeur.

I had to leave when they started playing the svarams as i had to atleast get the last bus.

The brothers shared both AlApanais and both of them, played very well. The kritis were rendered nicely also. The tavil vidwans were both at the job and played with good anticipation. Sri Balu a shade better.

This was the first programme at the newly airconditioned Sastri Hall. Considering the size and acoustics of Sastri Hall, one felt that the concert would have been a lot more enjoyable sans the sound system and the speakers etc which were very loud.


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Sunday, May 27, 2007

V V Srivatsa, Lec-Dem for Shanmukhapriya

V V Srivatsa - V Sanjeev - K R Ganesh

Lec-Dem on Trinity's Concept of Ragams - danyAsi
Shanmukhapriya, Sastri Hall
26th May 2007 6:30 pm

Sri Srivatsa began the programme with a slOkam 'srI rAmam trijagatguruvaram' rendered in danyAsi.

The following points were made through the course of the programme and I have put them together here, before telling about the compositions he presented. He said danyAsi is a rAgam which can portray a variety of bhavams like vinayam, kAruNyam, sringAram, bhakti, kenjal (to plead) and also can be a sober rAgam. danyAsi is a upadEsa mArga rAgam. It is a very old rAgam (prAcIna rAgam). It is also called as dannAsi and danasrI in various texts. It is suppose to be sung in the morning time only. 'prAthah kalam pragIyatE'

There were rAgams called auDava danyAsi, shADava danyAsi and auDava sampUrNa danyAsi. The auDava danyAsi is now called suddha danyAsi. shADava dhanyAsi is 's g m p n s / s n p m g r s'. The auDava sampUrNa danyAsi is what that was popularly called danyAsi and the rAgam has not changed since then. The rAgam is called a janyam of the 8th, 20th and 22nd mELams in various texts. Venkatamakhin in CDP and hence SSP calls it a janya of the 20th mELam, nArI rItigauLa. However, being a morning rAgam and also being a mangaLa rAgam, Sri Srivatsa said it is more appropriate to put it under the 8th mELam.

The first composition that was presented was tyAgarAja's 'dhyAnamE varamaina' in Adi tALam and said that this composition has the same theme as the Purandara Dasa composition 'smaraNa ondE saladE'

Next in line was another tyAgarAja piece, 'rAmAbhi rAmA' in Adi tALam, which portrays sringAra rasam and depicts the EkAnta sEva of rAma and sItA.

'srI rAmadAsa dAsOham', another tyAgarAja kriti in misra cApu, was presented next. In this kriti, tyAgarajA tells he is a dAsa of the nth order to rAma and asks why does rAma doubt it?

The first dIkshitar kriti presented was, 'srI ranganAtAya namastE' in rUpakam. Sri Srivatsa mentioned that this is shortest dIkshitar composition.

'nI cittamu nishcalamu' in misra cApu was presented highlighting that tyAgarAja is asking rAma to be his guru to clear him off the agnAnam. He then rendered a line from the annamAchArya kriti, 'dEva dEvam bhajE' in danyAsi commenting that this kriti is originally to have been sung in danyAsi.

Sri Srivatsa said danyAsi is a mangaLa rAgam and this is being more emphasised in the dIkshitar kriti 'mangaLa dEvatayA' in rUpakam. He mentioned the 'kamalAlaya' reference. He also mentioned that dIkshitar calls the Goddess as Siva's Sister. Also, there is ambiguity over which kshEtram this kriti is composed. The word 'varada-rAja-gOpAla' could be interpreted as varada rAjagOpAla or as as varadarAja gOpAla and hence could be attributed to mannArguDi or kAnchipuram.

The next was the kshEtra kriti 'mAyUranAtam anisam' in misra cApu which was presented with a short AlApanai and Sri Srivatsa commented that this kriti is in a theme equivalent to that of 'nidhicAla sukhamA'.

It was commented that tyAgarAja and dIkshitar have completely exploited the tArasthayI and madhyasthAyI prayOgams in danyAsi. To support this, tyAgarAja kriti, 'entu bAyarAdaya inakula tilakA' in rUpakam was rendered which is predominantly set in tArasthAyI.

Sri Srivatsa made an observation that there are not many heavy danyAsi pieces in Adi tALam in 2 kaLai. He rendered a couple of lines of the subbarAya sAstri kriti 'dalacina vAru' in Adi tALam. He also rendered the dIskhitar kriti 'paradEvatA bruhatkuchambA' starting from the anupallavi.

Contrasting to tyAgarAja's and dIkshitar's treatment of the rAgam, shyAmA sAstri uses this rAgam to provide a sOber effect in his kriti 'mIna lOcana brOva' on Goddess mInAkshi in misra cApu tALam and the kriti was rendered.

The last piece rendered was 'trAhimAm triyambakE' in kaNDa cApu, a composition of Sri Srivatsa. This composition was presented highlighting the way caraNam is made with each successive line starting in ma, mA, mi, mI ... calling it a ma-mA-vaLi series.

purandara dAsA also uses danyAsi as a parama mangaLa rAgam and a dasAvatAra mangaLa kriti, 'pankaja mukhiyarellaru' in Adi tALam was rendered to end the programme.

This is the 4th of the Lec-Dems that Sri Srivatsa has presented in the subject. The first three programmes were on tODi, shankarAbaraNam and kalyANi. Sri Srivatsa presented a very nice programme which was very informative and useful to rasikas and music students. Sri Sanjeev and Sri Ganesh were very supportive of Sri Srivatsa.

List of Compositions presented:
slOkam - 'srI rAmam trijagatguruvaram'
dhyAnamE varamaina - Adi - T
rAmAbhi rAmA - Adi - T
srI rAmadAsa dAsOham - misra cApu - T
srI ranganAtAya namastE - rUpakam - MD
nI cittamu nishcalamu - misra cApu - T
one line from dEva dEvam bhajE - A
mangaLa dEvatayA - rUpakam - MD
mAyUranAtam anisam - misra cApu - MD (R)
entu bAyarAdaya inakula tilakA - rUpakam - T
a couple of lines from dalacina vAru - Adi - Subbaraya Sastri
paradEvatA - Adi - MD (began with anupallavi)
mIna lOcana brOva - cApu - SS
trAhimAm triyambakE - kaNDa cApu - VV Srivatsa
pankaja mukhiyarellaru (dasAvatAra mangaLam) - Adi - PD

Friday, May 25, 2007

Prof T T Narendran, Veena Chamber Concert

T T Narendran - P Varun Ramakrishna

Chamber Concert
23rd May 2007. 7:30 pm

dEva dEva - mAyAmALavagauLa - rUpakam - ST (RNS)
budamAshrayAmi - nATTaikuranji - misra jhampai - MD (R)
aDukArAdani - manOranjani - Adi - T
nItu caraNamulE - simmEndramadhyamam - misra cApu - T (RTS)
tani Avarththanam
kaNNaNiDam - rAgamAlikA - Adi - Ambujam Krishna
bhajan - pahADi - Adi
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTRam - Adi - T

The chamber concert was a nice experience. The concert began with a nice AlApanai of mAyAmALavagauLa and the kriti was rendered with neraval and svarams. The nATTaikuranji AlApanai was nice and the kriti was nice also. The main simmendramadhyamam AlApanai was elaborate with grahabedam to bauLi. The svarams were nice. The post tani pieces were good. Prof Narendran gave a nice concert and ably supported by Sri Varun


Saturday, May 19, 2007

S R Janakiraman, Shyama Sastri kritis, Narada Gana Sabha

S R Janakiraman - Mangala Ravi (vocal support) - Akkarai Subhalakshmi - K R Ganesh

Narada Gana Sabha Golden Jubilee Celebrations. NGS Mini Hall.
18th April 2007. 6:30 pm
Lec-dem/Concert of Shyama Sastri kritis.

prayer - shyAma navAmsham (comprising lines from 9 kritis of Sri Shyama Sastri)
kAmAkshI (swarajati) - bhairavi - misra cApu (short sketch)
syAma sAstrim namOstutE - sAmA - misra cApu - Dr V Raghavan - Tuned by B Krishnamurthy (short sketch)
sangIta trimUrti jyEshTa - sAvEri - kanDa maTyam (2 kaLai) - Vidya Shankar - ciTTaswaram by SRJ (R)
ninnuvinAga mari - pUrvikalyANi - misra cApu (R)
nannu brOvu lalitA - lalitA - misra cApu
dEvi brOva - cintAmaNi - Adi (short sketch)
mAyammA - nATTakurinji - Adi (RS)
tani Avarththanam
pAlincu kAmAkshi - madyamAvati - Adi

i was another fortunate soul to be able to listen to this programme. however, no so fortunate, i reached only as Sri SRJ was wrapping up the bhairavi svarajati, thanks to a one hour wait for MTC buses to reach the place.

SRJ's explanation for each kriti, the way he rendered them were all mesmerising. The way he rendered the sAvEri kriti, was good. Ram seems to have missed out that 's r g m g r' prayOgam he sang in sAvEri and said it was Tiger who would use this phrase in sAvEri.

The pUrvikalyANi piece was rendered while SRJ was explaining the cApu, vilOma cApu stuff and said, in the same kriti, Shyama Sastri has used all kinds of naDais. The lalitA kriti was also rendered very soulfully.

Sri SRJ called the cintAmaNi dhaivatam as the tiruTTu dhaivatham (stolen dhaivatam) because it needs to be used only in alpa prayOgams. He said it is not advisable to sing AlApanai for the rAgam. however, one could sing a few Avarthanams of svarams.

The main nATTakuranji was inspiring. The AlApanai was just filled with all the enjoyable sancarams weaved together. The kriti and the svarams which followed were amazing.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Aiswarya Raghavan, Sravanam

Aiswarya Raghavan - V V Srinivasa Rao - Thanjavur Kumar

Sravanam, TTD Devastanam information Center
17th May 2007, 6 pm.

srI rAghavam dasaratAtmajam - hamsadvani
parabrahma svarUpamE - hamsadvani - Adi - AK (S)
nannu viDaci - rItigauLa - misra cApu - T (R)
tera tIyagarAdA - gauLipantu - Adi - T
rangapura vihArA - brindAvana sArangA - rUpakam - MD
dAtsukOvalEnA - tODi - misra jhampai - T (RS)
tani Avarththanam
rAmuni maravakavE - kEdAragauLa - Adi - T
R T P - hamsAnandi - Adi (1 kaLai) 6 akshara eDuppu, 6 akshara aridi
'karuNincarA lOkAdhArA'
pallavi also rendered in sahAnA, sAveri, suddha dhanyAsi, naLinakAnti
ikshvAku kula tilakA - yadhukulakAmbhOji - misra cApu - BR
shAntAkAram bhujagasayanam - varALi, Arabhi, bEhAg, darbAri kAnaDA
gOvardhana giridhAra - darbAri kAnaDA - Adi - NT
gAyati vanamAli - hamsadvani - Adi
hE gOvinda - mIrA bhajan
tillAnA - brindava sArangA - Adi - BMK
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T

Kumari Aishwarya should try to sing at a more comfortable sruti. A lower sruthi would have a better effect for her voice and allow better sruthi alignment, which was lacking quite a bit. AlApanais had a lot of repetitive phrases. svaram singing for the main kriti and the pallavi could have been better. A better concert plan would have also left a good impact.

Sri Srinivasa Rao and Sri Kumar were good.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The importance of learning music from the basics

A friend of mine, posted on a general forum about how he went to music classes and dint like them because they taught him the beginners lessons, which are mostly the varisais and he said he would have appreciated probably, if they had taught him a certain piece which he had listened to quite a few times. I see this as the problem of people listening to a lot and start learning late. I dont say that listening to music is wrong and everybody should first learn and then listen. I wouldnt dare to make such statements. However, when u go to learn, you should realise that the learning and listening are two different cups of coffee and one shouldnt mix them up.

I have always strongly believed in the fact that the basics are very important. As meena says, one needs to go thro' the rigorous basics just to be able to not only sing intricate stuff but also to appreciate them, when somebody is doing it on stage.

When one goes to listen at a concert, it is not enough if u get the ragam and composer of the piece being presented. Thats only the beginning. Many a rasika, think identifying these two is the end of the game. For heaven's sake, i wish they understand that, it all begins there. After identifying the rAgam, to be able to appreciate each svaram and each phrase and each usage and to absorb it all, u need to be having a sharp and rigorous trained mind. The saraLi, the jaNTai, the alankArams, the gItams, the varNams, well they are all very important and add a lot to the way one appreciates music and hence enjoy more.

There are some music schools, which start with short and simple songs and later on come to the basics and teach some simple songs along with the basic stuff. There are some supporting theories to such practices also, which say that the interest of the learner is kept alive this way. However, these methodologies claim keep the interest alive but have enough arguements going against them.

I was trained in the traditional way. Varisais for an year. gItams and then varNams. about 25 of them. Then with 'mahA gaNapatim' and 'girirAja sutA' and slowly. It was only after about 50 kritis, did my teacher venture to teach me a vilamba kAla, reNDu kaLai piece. The first one she took up was 'jagadIsvari' in mOhanam. It was not till about 100 pieces did she let me learn pieces like 'sarOja daLa nEtri' or 'EtavunarA' or 'enduku peddalavalE' while pieces like 'mEru samAna', 'akshaya linga vibhO' and 'tyAgarAjAya namastE' came much later. She still is not confident to teach me 'sri subramanayaya namastE' or 'kAmAkshi anudinamunu maravakanE'

In today's fast world, people wish to get things done as soon as they can. Many a parent, while admitting their kid to a music class, dream that their kid would start performing on stage in 2 years and become a star performer in say 5 years or so and finish learning music by then. Such attitudes make life miserable for a teacher who find its it difficult to make the parents believe that such fast paced stuff are not easy. The kids get juggled up and end up loosing interest in music anyway.

Music, still being a fashionable thing to learn and/or perform, has such people who do things without knowing what they loose and what they end up doing to the art of music on the whole. Well, its all part of evolution and one man's shouting on his personal page would do nothing to it. That wouldnt stop him from shouting...

Monday, May 14, 2007

T M Krishna, Sri Parthasarathy Swami Temple

T M Krishna - V L Kumar - Poongulam Subramanian - S Karthick

Sri Parthasarathy Swami Vidaiyarthi Utsavam, Thiruvaimozhi Mandapam.
organised for the utsavam in association with Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha
12th May 2007. 7 pm

rAju vEdale - tODi - rUpakam - T (NS)
srI rAmam - nArAyaNagauLa - Adi - MD (Short sketch)
vADinEn vADi vanginEn - thirumangai AzhvAr pAsuram - varALi
Azhi mazhai kaNNA - varALi - Adi - ANDAL (S)
manavyALakin - naLinakAnti - Adi - T (R)
rAma bANa - sAvEri - Adi - T (RNT)
jAnaki ramaNa - kApi - Adi - vAnamAmalai jeer (short sketch)
tirupati vEnkaTa ramaNA - sindhubhairavi - Adi - PD (short sketch)
karpUram nArumO - khamAs - kanDa chApu - ANDAL
mangaLam kOsalEndrAya (slOkam) - suruTTi
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T

The concert began with a brisk rendition of rAju vEdalE (a kriti about Sri Ranganathar's utsavam) with some nice neraval and svarams. The short sketch of nArAyaNagauLa was very distinct and unambiguous. The kriti was rendered amazingly well. The pAsuram in varALi was rendered very beautifully, taking every enjoyable sancaram in varALi and weaving it into the pAsuram. The thiruppAvai was rendered with a round of svarams. Personally, i was expecting a tani right after this.

The naLinakAnti AlApanai, came next. The kriti was rendered well. The main sAvEri AlApanai was rendered very beautifully. The AlApanai demanded a kriti as heavy as rAma bANa or srI rAjagOpala to follow. It was rAma bANa. The neraval was done nicely in trikAlam. I would have personally prefered a round of svarams in sAvEri rather than the 3 tukkaDas which followed.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Neyveli Santanagopalan, NSTSS

Neyveli Santanagopalan - V V Srinivasa Rao - Mannarkoil J Balaji - Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan

Ranjani Kalaikkoodam, Nanganallur Sri Thyagaraja Sangeetha Samajam (NSTSS), Nanganallur, Chennai
7 May 2007 6:30 pm

sruti smriti purANAnAm - pUrvikalyANi
jnAna mosagarAdA - pUrvikalyaNi - rUpakam - T (NS)
nAda tanumanisa - cittaranjani - Adi - T (S)
sujana jIvanA - khamAs - rUpakam - T (NS)
nannu brOva - AbhOgi - Adi - T
kshira sAgara sayanA - dEvagAndhAri - Adi - T (RNS)
Emani pogaDudurA - vIra vasantam - Adi - T
kaligiyuNTEgadA - kIravANi - Adi - T (RNS)
tani Avarththanam
muruganin maru peyar - bEhAg - kaNDa capu
kAdalAgi kasindu - darbAri kAnaDA
chandra chUDa - darbAri kAnaDA - Adi - PD
nirai madi - hamsAnandi - Adi - Arunagirinathar Thiruppugazh
kAvEri dIra vAsAya - saurAshTram
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T
madhyamAvati sub sketch

The concert started about half an hour late, thanks to traffic, Sri Santanagopalan couldnt reach the venue on time.

The concert began with a short slOkam and the pUrvikalyANi kriti was rendered nicely with a round of neraval and svarams at 'paramAtmuDu jIvAtmuDu padinAlugu lOkamulu' which were rendered well also. The cittaranjani kriti was rendered nicely with a quick round of svarams.

The khamAs kriti was rendered very movingly with neraval and svarams at ' cAru nEtra shrI kaLAtra shrI ramya gAtra'. The AbhOgi kriti was rendered with the necessary vigour.

The rAga AlApanai of the evening was dEvagAndhAri. Sri Santanagopalan made it an elaborate affair and weaved sancarams one after another and gave a very detailed elaboration of the rAgam. The kriti was rendered with a lot of bhavam. One was expecting this to be the main piece of the evening. There was a quick round of neraval at 'nIrajAkSikai nIradhi dATina nI kIrtini vinnAnurA' which was followed by an elaborate series of svarams. This was followed with the vIra vasantam piece.

The main AlApanai of the evening was kIravANi. It began with a punch and was elaborated well, with quite a few not-so-normally heard sancarams. The quick rendition of the kriti was followed by ultrashort neraval at 'bAguga shrI raghu rAmuni padamula' and a round of svarams to follow. All the post tani pieces were good.

Sri Santanagopalan presented a very classical concert which lasted for about 2.5 hours. All his AlApanais were very good. The kritis were rendered well and the neraval and svarams were all good. The kaNakku svarams were sung making nice patterns and thus making them all the more enjoyable. Though his voice wasnt cooperating at some places, Sri Santanagopalan did present a very enjoyable concert.

Sri Srinivasa Rao was good in all depts. His replies to the main artist in all the manodarmam aspects and the following of kritis were all good.

Sri Balaji played with good anticipation for the kritis and sangatis. His playing for the fast and slow pieces were appropriate and added to the renditions. Sri Gopalakrishnan was good thro' the concert. The tani they shared was nice also.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

S R Janakiraman, Samajam

SR Janakiraman - Sriram Kannan (vocal support) - S Varadarajan - Tanjore Ramadas

Sri Thiagaraja Sangeetha Vidwath Samajam, Thiagarajapuram, Chennai
03 May 2007. 6 pm
Sri Annamayya Jayanthi

srImadhvanIya caritAmruta (guru stuti) - rEvagupti
hari avatAramE - saurAshTram - Adi - pedda tirumalai ayyA &/or chinna tirumalai ayyA - tuned by rAyapaLLi ananthakrishna sarmA
cAladA brahmamidi - gambhIranATTai - kanDa cApu (Short sketch, S) - tuned by SRJ
lEdu bhayamu - vasantA - Adi - tuned by SRJ
sahaja vaishnavAcAravartanula - sAmantA - Adi (A) - tuned to Annamayya's rAgam
telisitE mOkshamu - kIravANi - kanDa cApu (RNS) - tuned by SRJ
I pAdamEkadA - varada (today's hamsanAdam) - kanDa cApu (A) - tuned by SRJ
nIcittamu nAbhAgyamu - shankarAbharaNam - rUpakam (RNS) - tuned to Annamayya's rAgam
AkaTi vELala - subhALi - Adi (O) - tuned by SRJ
srImadhvanIya caritAmruta (guru stuti) - rEvagupti

It was a nice concert. Sri Janakiraman was crisp in his presentation. True to his style, he gave some relavant info about each piece he presented. The rAga AlApanais were crystal clear and identities established from phrase 1. The neraval and svarams exercises were kept rather short, but yet, quite inspiring.

Sri Sriram Kannan, a disciple of SRJ, who sang some snatches of kIravANi AlApanai and neraval and svarams was good. A youngster to keep an eye on.

Sri Varadarajan was good all thro' the concert. his support was much useful in appreciating the music. Sri Ramadas was good in parts.

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