December 19, 2014

Hindustani music concerts in Chennai

Rarely you get to listen to Hindustani music in Chennai. But this year, a few sabhas hosted a couple of concerts of this north Indian classical music.

Earlier, Rasika Ranjani Sabha hosted a Hindustani violin solo concert by Kala Ramnath and more than a hundred rasikas attended it.

Tchaikovsky Music Club conducted a 5 day festival at the Russian Cultural Centre and on the closing day, Pt. Janardhan Mitta presented a Sitar concert.

There is an audience for each style of music and the December Season in Chennai has realised it.

Here is the concert in pictures.
Photos by Smita Joshi.

December 16, 2014

The 'real' season begins in Chennai!

With the major sabhas like Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, and The Music Academy joining in on three consecutive days, the already busy schedule of concerts gets more crowded.

At the inauguration in the Music Academy, rasikas saw a neat red and blue sky backdrops on stage. A different kind of experience for the gallery audience.

The Music Academy's lec-dem sessions are also on from today at the mini hall. Well attended by music students, rasikas and experts, these sessions hold a lot of information for the uninitiated as well.

On day one, Commader G. Srirama Rao spoke on philately and Numismatics with reference to music. This retired Navy commander is passionate collector of stamps, coins, autographs, postal cancellations - all of music from all over the world. He had earlier held exhibitions of his collections in Visakhapatnam and other places. He has brought them to Chennai and they are on display at the TAG Digital Archival Centre inside the Music Academy premises till Dec. 20, 2014 between 10 a.m and 5 p.m.

The special postal cover on D.K. Pattammal, when opened, play a song of the vidushi! There is also a stamp on Veena Dhanammal and a postal cover on Papanasam Sivan.

He has displayed a rare collection called ‘Musical Post Offices’ wherein he traced 76 post offices in 13 countries named after musicians and Musical scores. You could catch up with Mr. Rao and listen to stories of his collections at this exhibition.

Mr. Rao says he is ready to take his collections to anywhere in India. All that he needs is the space and the display boards and tables. He will take care of the rest.

His collections are recognised by Lima Book of Records. Reach him at

Here are a few pictures of the exhibition captured by Ramya Vasudevan.

December 14, 2014

Opening evening at Narada Gana Sabha

On Dec. 13, 2014, the evening at Narada gana Sabha began with the mangala isai by senior nadaswaram vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam. He is among the awardees of this year at the sabha.

The presentation of awards and felicitation were simple and neat.
Sri U.Ve.Appan Parakala Ramanuja Embar Jeeyar Swamy of Sriperumpudur who inaugurated the festival and conferred the titles, spoke long on music, azhwars and the classical Indian art forms - music and dance elevates the performers and the listeners.

The award Nadhabrahmam was conferred on mridangam maestro Umayalpuram K Sivaraman, Senior Musician award to veena vidushi Kalyani Ganesan and Tirunelveli P Subramania Iyer award to nadaswaram vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam were presented on the evening.

Film maker and cinematographer Rajiv Menon was at the event to felicitate the awardees. Unlike many speakers, Rajiv Menon did his homework well to know about all the awardees of the evening and brought their profiles to the audience. He lauded Umayalpuram Sivaraman for his artistry and his generosity to teach music to many including the son of a mridangam maker. Vidwan Umayalpuram Sivaraman returned the gesture in his acceptance speech that with the kind of 'gnanam' Rajiv Menon has, he should be singing on stage soon and offered to play mridangam for him!

A DVD on Padams produced by Natyangam was released at this event. Vocalist Geetha Raja, scholar Sujata Vijayaraghavan and the dancers of Natyarangam received the first copies.

Later Jeeyar distributed prizes for the annual competitions. A loud applause popped up whenever the very young winners received prizes!

Following the award ceremony, Kadri Gopalnath presented a saxophone concert along with the senior violinist A. Kanyakumari.

A few snapshots of the inaugural function at Narada Gana Sabha:

The awardees, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Kalyani Ganesan and
Seshampatti Sivalingam with the Jeeyar

 Artistes with the awards 

Jeeyar's speech - Anugraha Bhashanam - Photo by Smita Joshi

Vocalist Geetha Raja receiving the DVD
A young winner of competition receiving the prize
Kadri Gopalnath's Saxophone concert - Photo by Smita Joshi