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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gayathri Venkatraghavan, Shanmukhapriya

Gayathri Venkatraghavan - V Sanjeev - B Ganapathiraman - K V Gopalakrishnan

Shanmukhapriya, Swamy's Hall.
26th August 2008. 6:30 pm

vigna rAja krupA sindhO - slOkam
Era nApai - tODi - Adi (short sketch)
pAhi srI patE - hamsadvani - Adi (S)
hariharaputram - vasantA - kaNDA Ekam - MD (RS)
vanajAsana vinutA - srI rAgam - vilOma misra cApu - Subbaraya Sastri (R)
kaNDEn kali tIrndEn - kalyANi - rUpakam - GKB (S)
mAnava kula bhUshaNa - hindOLam - misra jhampai - GNB (R)
entuku peddalavalE - shankarAbaraNam - Adi - T (RNST)

It was a nice concert. Began with a very invocative slOkam. The kritis were all very beautifully rendered. The manOdarmam was good as well. The accompanists were on par with the vocalist and made the concert all the more interesting. However, I couldn't stay till the end.

My pick of the concert was the extraordinary AlApanai of srI rAgam by Smt Gayathri and the stunning rendition of the kriti which followed.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ramakrishnan Murthy, Sravanam

Ramakrishnan Murthy - Nagai Sriram - Trivandrum Balaji

Sravanam, TTD Centre
13th August 2008. 6 pm


pic courtesy: Trivandrum Sri Balaji

viribhONi ninnEkOri - bhairavi - aTa - PA
abhimAnamen - bEgaDu - Adi - PSI (S)
nannu brOvu lalitA - lalitA - cApu - SS (R)
idi samayamu - nATakapriyA - rUpakam - MV (RNS)
sarasvati dayainidhi - sarasvati - Adi - PS (short sketch)
entuku peddalavalE - shankarAbaraNam - Adi - T (RNS)
tani
smarajanaka - bEhAg - rUpakam - ST
sAgara sayana vibhO - bhAgEsrI - Adi - MDR
smarasundarAnguni - paras - Adi - DS
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T
suruTTi short sketch

As i was entering, the bhairavi varNam was towards finishing. The bEgaDa kriti was sung well with some interesting patterns in the svarams. The short lalitA AlApanai was good. The AlApanai of nATakapriyA was very good. The kriti and the manOdarma parts which followed were good as well. The main shankarAbaraNam AlApanai was elaborate and done very well. For some reason, it kept reminding me of Semmangudi mama. The kriti with neraval and svarams was good. The two jAvaLis were all good as well.

I had gone with high expectations to this concert. After his HCL concert at Academy, i was hoping he gets better, and he did. Sri Sriram on the violin and Sri Balaji on the mrudangam played very beautifully and in an encouraging fashion. The solo versions on the violin were all very good. The tani was nice as well.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

N Ramani, Music Club IIT Madras

N Ramani - Nagai Muralidharan - Guruvayur Durai - E M Subramanian

Clasfest 2008, Music Club IIT Madras, CLT
12th August 2008. 6:45 pm

sAmi ninnE - srI rAgam - Adi - Karur Devudu Iyer
vAtApi gaNapatim - hamsadvani - Adi - MD (S)
gurulEkha - gauri manOhari - kaNDa cApu - T (S)
gOvardana girIsham - hindOLam - rUpakam - MD (RS)
mAmava mInAkshi - varALi - misra cApu - MD (RNS)
manasu vishaya - naTTAikuranji - Adi - T (RS)
tani
parulanna mATa - kApi - rUpakam
surdas bhajan - janasammOdini - Eka tALam (R)
tillAnA - sindhubhairavi - Adi - LGJ
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T
madhyamAvati short sketch

It was an amazing concert. Sri Ramani's initial short sketch of srI rAgam was so soulful that one felt it was going to be a great concert. The varNam was rendered effortlessly. The next number, which has become rare these days, was rendered beautifully with all its sangatis and some nice svarams as well. gauri manOhari was awesome, the svarams were just flowing.

The first AlApanai was a very elaborate hindOLam. Sri Ramani traversed across the octaves with utmost ease. I m told that it is very tricky to play tAra sthAyi notes in a flute. However, hearing Sri Ramani reach the notes up to the atitAra shadjam with ease dint seem so. The seasoned veteran he is, he knew how to get what he wanted to play. The varALi (another toughie for a flautist) was marvellous and rendered beautifully. The main nATTaikuranji was completely binding. One could easily get lost in the music. Sri Ramani weaved magic, with phrase after phrase. The kriti, another rare entity in the concert circuits, was rendered beautifully with elaborate round of svarams. The kApi jAvaLi, the bhajan and the tillAnA were all rendered beautifully. The janasammodhini AlApanai was surprise and very enjoyable.

Sri Ramani also used the base flute in some parts of the hindOLam and nATTaikuranji AlApanais. It was tooo good a concert to end in 2 hours. One wanted more. What i enjoyed beyond the rAga bhAvam was the not-so-intricate and yet beautiful kaNakku which he played in all his svaraprasthArams.

Sri Muralidharan on the violin was totally accomodative and played everything gelling with the main artist's renditions. Sri Durai was playing for the kritis, as he must have been playing for them, for decades now. His playing for each sangati and for the manOdarma parts was very inspiring. Sri Subramanian ably supported him. The tani they shared was good as well.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

T M Krishna, Music Club IIT Madras

T M Krishna - R K Shriram Kumar - T V Vasan - V Anirudh Athreya


Clasfest 2008. Music Club IIT Madras. Central Lecture Theatre.
11th August 2008. 6:45 pm

vanajAkshIrO - kalyANi - Adi - RSI (S)
vintAsuta vAhana - jayantasEnA - Adi - T (S)
ninnu sEvinchina - yadukula kAmbhOji - misra cApu - Subbaraya Sastri (RN)
brOvarAdA srI venkaTEsA - varuNapriyA - Adi - MV
upachAramulanu - bhairavi - Adi - T (RNS)
tani
vINAbhEri - AbhEri - Adi - MD (short sketch)
RTP - nATTai - Adi. 7/8 eDuppu, 7 akshara aridi.
paramapAvana pApamOchanA pavanAtmaja mAm pAhi
rAgamAlikA svarams in hamsadvani, dhAmavati, tODi
smarasundarAnguni - paras - Adi - DS (short neraval)
sapasyat kausalyA - jaunpuri - Adi
tungadIra virAjam - yamunAkalyANi - Adi - Kamalesha Vittala (R)
mAmava paTTAbhirAmA - maNirangu - misra cApu - MD
mangaLa kOsalEndrAya - maNirangu

It was one of those concerts which would always linger in your mind.

The beginning was normal with the kalyANi varNam and the jayantasEna with usual rounds of svarams. The yadukulakAmbhOji AlApanai was my pick for the day. Hearing yadukulakAmbhOji at two succesive concerts just a day apart and with 2 favourite rare kritis was indeed a great feeling. Hearing ninnu sEvinchina, would have a very soothing effect on any triplicanite, and i am no exception to this. The neraval at 'kanakAngi srI rukmiNi...' did bring back the images of the thAyAr standing right next to Sri Parthasarathy Perumal. The varuNapriyA kriti was well rendered.

The bhairavi was indeed an elaborate affair. For a bhairavi fanatic like me, it was just a grand treat to hear the bhairavi. The kriti was rendered with neraval and svarams in kIzhkAlam alone. The next in line was a short sketch of AbhEri and vINAbhEri was rendered with the required gait.

The RTP was a surprise when Sri Krishna began with the AlApanai of nATTai. It was an elaborate AlApanai done in stages and the tAnam was indeed very well rendered with the percussion team joining in. The pallavi set with intricate eDuppu and placings of the sAhityam was rendered with utmost ease. The anulOmam was done to 2 kIzh kAlams as mEl kAlam would not be possible for the eDuppu to which the pallavi was set. Even the kIzh kAla svarams had to be carefully structured to lead to the eDuppu of the pallavi. The mEl kAla svarams and rAgamAlikA were rendered beautifully.

The paras jAvaLi was rendered in a rather slow tempo and with some short neraval in the caraNam. It was also quite interesting to note that yamunAkalyANi and maNirangu were not rendered in madhyama sruthi.

Sri Krishna gave an awesome concert. In Sri Shriram Kumar, one could find a perfect accompanying violinst. His AlApanais were all top class and his neraval and svarams replies were all fittingly done. Knowing all the kritis, he played them like a shadow and hence added to the overall effect the concert created.

Sri TV Vasan, the mrudangist of the day, was energy personified. The way he embellished each piece and sangati was indeed amazing. I m also told, he played a few of the ghaTam patterns on the mrudangam making it all the more beautiful. (experts in the percussion department could elaborate and educate on what are the differences in playing mrudangam and ghaTam). Sri Anirudh was in good form and played well and gave good patterns from his playing. The tani they shared was very good as well.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Malladi Brothers, Music Club IIT Madras

Malladi Brothers - B U Ganesh Prasad - M L N Raju - Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan

Clasfest 2008. Music Club IIT Madras. Central Lecture Theatre.
9th August 2008. 5 pm.

chalamEla - darbAr - Adi - TT
parvatarAja kumAri - srI ranjani - Adi - MD (RS)
AragimpavE - tODi - rUpakam - T (NS)
adi kAdu bhajana - yadukula kAmbhOji - Adi - T (RS)
tani
paNipati sAyI - jhankAradvani - Adi - T (S)
RTP - shanmukhapriyA - tisra tripuTa (2 kaLai) 1/2 eDuppu. 3 aksharam aridi.
nIrajAkshi kAmAkshi nikhilalOka janani niranjani
rAgamAlika svarams in balahamsa, danyAsi, yAgapriyA, suddha sArangA, suruTTi
tani
rAmachandruDituDu - dvijAvanti - Adi - A
yeduTanunnADu vIDE - bhujangiNi - Adi - A
tillAnA - khamAs - Adi
patiki hAratI - suruTTi - Adi - T
Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavathar's Guru Sthuthi verses sung in madhyamAvati.

It was a very nice concert. From the word go, the concert was full of classical pieces rendered with a traditional gait. The choice of kritis and rAgams was refreshingly different. It was quite an amazing thing to hear yadukula kAmbhOji taken up for the main kriti of the evening. The kritis were all rendered very well. The manOdarmam parts were quite good. Sri Sriram's srIranjani and yadukulakAmbhOji elaborations were very classical. Sri Ravikumar's shanmukhapriyA was very good as well. The brothers shared the other manOdarma parts. In the pallavi, Sri Shriram sang balahamsa, yAgapriyA and suruTTi while Sri Ravikumar sang danyAsi and suddha sArangA. It was over all a very fulfilling concert.

Sri Ganesh Prasad gave able support and played his part perfectly to match the music of the main artist. Sri Raju played very interesting patterns on his mridangam. His accompanying for kritis and the manOdarmam was very nice. He also played along for the tAnam which was quite interesting to hear. Sri Gopalakrishnan very wisely supported him. Both that tanis were very good.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi, Music Club IIT Madras

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi - J Vaidhyanathan - V Suresh

Clasfest 2008. Music Club IIT Madras. Central Lecture Theatre.
8th August 2008. 6:45 pm

varNam - asAvEri - Adi - LGJ
koniyADa taramA - vakuLAbaraNam - Adi - Karur Devudu Iyer[Garba puri vasar] (S)
anupama guNAmbudi - aTANA - kANDA cApu - T
mA ramaNan - hindOLam - rUpakam - PS (RS)
amba nIlAyadAkshi - nIlAmbari - Adi - MD
RTP - dharmavati - Adi - eDuppu 1 aksharam before eDuppu, 7 aksharam aridi
thaththadimi thadimi dimi yena sadA naDamiDum kanaka sabEsA
rAgamAlikA svarams in kuntalavarALi, varALi, suruTTi, kAnaDa, patdIp, bEhAg
rAmachandra prabhU - sindhu bhairavi - Adi - ST
tIrAda viLaiyATTu piLLAi - rAgamAlikA - kANDa naDai - Bharathiyar
Emani vEgintulE - husEni - Adi - T
tillAnA - rEvati - misra cApu - LGJ
nI nAma rUpamulaku - saurAshTram - Adi - T
madyamAvati short sketch

It was a nice concert. The inclusion of rare numbers like the varNam and the vakuLAbaraNam piece was very good, and they were played well. The hindOLam AlApanai by Smt Vijayalakshmi was soulful and had some beautiful phrases played. The kriti was followed with some intricate kaNakku swarams.

The nIlAmbari kriti was played between 8pm and 8:08 pm. As part of the 88888 campaign, all lights, A/C and the sound system was switched off for these 8 min. It was very soothing to hear the music of the instruments in their natural tone. The kriti was indeed the best of the evening.

The Ragam of the pallavi was elaborately presented by Sri Krishnan. The tAnam and pallavi were rendered well. The rAgamAlikA section succeeding the tani was quite good as well. The post tani pieces were all nicely rendered.

The siblings shared a great rapport and played the concert very nicely. Sri Vaidhyanathan was playing in tandem with the music. It was playing for each piece and each sangati and embellishing the renditions. Sri Suresh ably supported in the whole affair. Their playing for amba nIlAyadAkshi, needs special mention for their soulful and sensible support they gave to that kriti. The tani they played for the RTP was short and yet very good.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Parassala Ponnammal, Hamsadwani

Parassala Ponnammal - R K Shriram Kumar - K Arun Prakash

Hamsadwani. Semmangudi Centenary Series
1st August 2008. 7 pm

sAmi nIpai - Anandabhairavi - aTa tALam - VK (varNam)
gajAnanyutam - chakravAkam - Adi - MD (S)
narasimha mAmava - Arabhi - kaNDa cApu - ST (R)
rAmanAtam bhajEham - kAsirAmakriyA - rUpakam - MD (RNS)
kamAkshi anudinamu - bhairavi - misra cApu - SS (short sketch)
sudhAmayI sudhAnidhi - amrutavarshini - rUpakam - HMB
srI vEnkaTEsam varam - tODi - rUpakam - RSI (RNST)
paripAlayamAm - rItigauLa - rUpakam - ST
shAntamulEkhA - sAmA - Adi - T
tillAnA - senjuruTTi - Adi - Veena Seshanna
karpagamE - madhyamAvati - Adi - PS
bhujaga sAyinO - yadukula kAmbhOji - Adi - ST

The concert started late, thanks to the solar eclipse and the sudden rains. However, there was no compromise in the quality or quantity of music Smt Ponnammal presented.

The beginning with a heavy varNam was quite an indication of what was in store. If you expected a small, quick concert as it was starting late, the varNam was already telling you to be ready for a grand concert. It was rendered very well. The next invocatory number had a beautiful round of svarams to follow.

The elaboration of Arabhi was short and sweet. The kriti was rendered with some inspiring sangatis. The elaboration of pantuvarALi was quite extensive. At a point of time, one actually felt, this could be the main piece of concert. It had many vintage phrases interwoven. The kriti rendition was stunning. There were elaborate neraval and svarams at 'kumAra guruguha mahitam kavibrindAdi sannutam'.

Before starting the AlApanai or the kriti it self, Smt Ponnammal humms a few phrases of the ragam (true to Semmangudi Style!) and that can only make one so excited. Such was the bhairavi humming and the short sketch. It had to be the svarajati to follow. Yes it was. And would it be the main piece? no, there was not elaborate AlApanai.

While the quickie amrutavarshini was rendered, many people did look to the sky to make sure the rains wont start in the open auditorium again. The tODi AlApanai was elaborate and had many many phrases to make it thoroughly enjoyable. The kriti, a rare number in concert circuits off late, was rendered beautifully with a quick round of neraval and svarams at 'dEvEndra vinutam dInadayAkaram'. It was close to 9 pm, when the short and sweet tani ended.

However, the concert was not over yet. The rItigauLa and sAmA pieces were rendered with the required gait and were preceded with some short sketches. The tillAnA and the madhyamAvati piece were nice also.

Smt Ponnammal treated the audience with a grand concert. Each piece was better than the other and everything just fell in place.

Age does show up for such artists, when you look at them talk or walk or do other routine things, but when it comes to music, there is nothing indicative of their age and other related problems. It is just divine music.

For such a concert to shine more, the accompanists had to be exactly following the main artist and embellishing the music. Such was indeed the kind of support Sri RK Shriram Kumar and Sri Arun Prakash did for this concert. Truly following the main artist to every tee and thus making it all the more enjoyable. To finish to write-up without mentioning the vocal support of Smt K Bhama would be a crime. She did the right thing to truly elevate her guru's music. Singing in the higher/lower octave at appropriate places and also filling the gaps, she was very supportive.


As one walked out of Hamsadwani's venue, one overheard an old man comment "Idhu 2008 illa. 1958. Semmangudi mama-ku TN Krishnan-um Palani-um vAsicha kutcheri. naama yellarum kettutu varom."

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