December 31, 2009

Kiranavali Vidyasankar : Traditional Format

Kiranavali Vidyasankar sang for Vani Mahal at 2.15.p.m. on the 31.12.09

She was totally tradition personified. Hers is a controlled, restrained musical presentation, sticking to old style format. Her training under her father Chitravina Narasimhan has given her the good grip over laya, raga alapana and sound performance. Her further training with T.Brinda has given her the base of many compositions and their associate melody.

Her concert included Brochevarevare in Sriranjani, Brova Bharama in Bahudari, Kamalambike avaava in Ghanta, Male Manivanna in Kuntalavarali, Ninnuvina ga mari dikevaru in PurviKalyani and the Javali,Nene mandhunamuddubala of Dharmapuri Subbarayar in Misra Mukhari were all grand choices.

Kiranavali's tala sense is crisp and imaginative and her swaras for Brova bharama and Ninnu vinaga mari revealed this aspect well. She also essays her alapanas and brings out the essence of the raga within a short time. One only wished that she employs quick phrases in her alapana, as she is capable of doing it. This will only add more value and charm to the alapana.

Raghuram on the violin had a melodious touch , but was good in parts.Umayalpuram Kalyanraman accompanied on the mridangam well.

Manda Sudha Rani : Exceptional Talent Sivapriya Krishnan

Carnatic Music does not stop with Chennai metro. It extends into various parts of TN, AP and Karnataka and many good vidwans and vidushis with exceptional talent and sound classicism, still emerge from these places.

Manda Sudharani from Vijayawada is one such example of an examplary talent.

One may not credit her with an exceptionally "attractive" voice, but she has a voice with depth and can traverse great speeds and flash lightning brighas, at the same time being able to sing vilamba kalam also with equal melody.

Sharavana Bhava in Pasupatipriya was sung in lightning speed and not one step missed! It sounded like a continuous cracker firework.

Her four raga pallavi, in the lines of the Ariyakudi pallavi, set in Shankarabharanam, Kalyani, Valaj and Kaanada, stands testimony to her musical mastery and her dedication to the art.

Set in adi tala , two kalais, the lines were "Sankarabharana veni, Kamala nayana Kalyani,Valachi vacchi na ramani, Kaanada rasikamani " was an aural treat. With tremendous ease she traversed all the four ragas and did all the workmanship , a standard RTP demands.

Not one bit of glamour, not one bit of unwanted showmanship! All she brought to the stage was her learning and her command over her art, with confidence and modesty at the same time. A soulful Parulanamata and BMK's lilting Brindavani tillana brought the curtains down.

Dr.Narmada on the violin was both melody and mastery personified. She was so quick and brought out refined and imaginative phrases and swaras on her bow.

VV.Ramanamurthy on the mridangam and N.Somayajulu on the ghatam, were pillars of strength on the percussion instruments and played a mind blowing thani avartanam.

Two things are clear from this :

1. Endaro mahanubhavulu , andhariki vandhanamu

2. Mastery over tala , laya and music is not the preserve of only a few males in the Carnatic community.

December 29, 2009

Nirmala Rajasekhar : Confident on the Veena Sivapriya Krishnan

Nirmala Rajasekhar, on the Veena yesterday in the Music Academy, proved that Veena is not lost in the Carnatic World and that young artists are still boldly holding onto it. Living in Minneapolis United States, a very cold and clammy place, she holds onto this rather difficult instrument , dearly to her chest, when many Chennaiites scare of it!

A disciple of the Veena exponent Kalpakam Swaminathan, Nirmala, handles the instrument with so much confidence, non chalantly.

Ekambresa Nayike of Dikshitar in Karnataka Suddha Saveri, Kamakshi Swarajathi Syama Sastri, Kaa vaa vaa in Varali with the brief raga alapana, all spoke of how she has internalised the gamaka aspects and the finer aspects of playing the Veena.

Her RTP in Sankarabharanam in Khanda Triputa, a swarakshara pallavi by T R Subramaniam, ‘ sa Ri Samaanamaa sabhapate, Sada siva, veru deivam unakku”, was played with a brisk taanam, trikaalam and intelligent swaras.

RTP on the instrument calls for tremendous grip over tala and the instrument through regular and rigorous practice. Nirmala showed that she is adept and very comfortable with it.

Jagodharana in Peelu and a Tirupugazh ended the concert.

Chidambaram Balashankar on the mridangam and Balaji Chandran on the ghatam, kept up the tempo. They were in good control and knew how to embellish a Veena concert with perfect understanding of the concert mood.

Bombay Jaysree : Modern yet Classical Sivapriya Krishnan

Bombay Jaysree, today at the Academy proved that she is truly the melody queen among female singers of today. Hers is a voice rich in timbre and is capable of producing complicated musical phrases with melody and ease. Best use of the voice and microphone is an art and skill that she has mastered through the years and excels in it.

She, over the years has been steadfast in her approach towards Carnatic music. Though having forayed in to the cinema world , she is dedicated to Carnatic music, without missing out on the classical idiom. Thanks to her, a new modern approach and format to concert presentation has caught on in the Carnatic world among female vocalists.

A good madhyama kala pramanam was seen throughout her concert with no dull or boring moment. However sadly in a couple of places one noticed very faint strains of slippage of voice and exertion, which she managed beautifully.

Starting with Varavallabha in Hamsadhwani, Sogasujooda tharama, she went on to a fast Dharee ni telusu konti with brisk firework swaras. With a wonderfully elaborated and very involved Kamboji raga, she sang the Lalgudi Pancharatna kriti Mahita Pravrudha, in Tisra Triputa, arai edam , as taught and preserved by her Guru Lalgudi Jayaraman. Kaa Guha in Kosalam , a Koteeswara Iyer kriti was followed by a very good Kapi raga, interwoven with Mohana Kalyani and Dwijavanti .

Her RTP in Adi Tala Misra Nadai , was from the Kamba Ramayanam line, “ Annalum Nokkinan, Avalum Nokkinaal” and was presented with a touch of class.

Neraval , however seems to be a weak point with her. The neraval for the pallavi line was staright jacketed, manouvered and lacked any creativity, as she was more intent on keeping the tala. Veekshehamgada, a NArayana Teertha Tarangam in Yaman Kalyani sounded a little odd and different, rather modern and out of place as one is so used to hearing it in the traditionally soulful Ahiri.

All of Lalgudi’s tillanas , acquire their full proportions only in Jayasree’s hands. Because of her voice felicity, she is able to produce the dhatu swaras and the triple octave swara passages in the tillana and handle the minutest level of instrumentation through her voice. She did the Sindhubhairavi tillana proud.

Embar Kannan on the violin, Patri Satishkumar on the Mridangam and Kartick on the ghatam , are her stock accompanists and know exactly how to embellish her concert well. They presented their mastery alongside of carefully planned accompanying for the main artist.

Smt.R.Vedavalli's Music : Sukham, Sumukham, Suswaram

R.Vedavalli : Music Academy 27.12.09 Sivapriya Krishnan

If any musician of modern times needs to understand what it is to be precise without being limited, what it is to be perfect without undue pomp and show, how to excel in every sphere of musical presentation be it neraval, alapana, swara prasthara, pallavi, how to plan and balance with right choice and proportion the concert on stage, then it can be from none other than Smt.R.Vedavalli.

Starting with Enduku Nirdaya, in Harikamboji, Palukavemi in Purna Chandrika, Korinavaramu in Ramapriya, the concert was at once elevated to a level of superiority, that can be brought only with years of training and sadhana.

Ramapriya swaras with just the four swaras n, d, p and m and multiple combinations of the same were a sheer delight. Sukhi Evvaro in Kaanada was a divine expression and Kanugonu Sowkhayamu soaked in nayaki melody.The grand Sankharabharanam and Akshayalinga Vibho , with neraval and swaras at “Akshara Swaroopa Prataapa” was a connoisseurs delight. What a raga alapana and neraval? It was an intricately made Abharana !!

Srividya Rajagopalam , a rare Dikshitar kriti in Jaganmohanam was followed by Kharaharapriya RTP, with the Taanam in ragamalika of Begada and Reetigowla. The Khanda Triputa pallavi ‘Sri Ranga, Rangayya Nannu Brovumayya” was dexterously handled in the true masterly approach and style. The swaras in Kharaharapriya, Atana, Sama and Surutti were quick and crisp , replete with raga bhava within short catchy phrases. The concert concluded with Oruthi Maganaai Pirandhu , Tiruppavai in Behag.

Pakkala Ramadas’s violin was honey soaked and reminded of his guru Lalgudi in many places, while Arunprakash can be easily called the best Mridangam player with a keen musical ear, among youngsters today. What inventive and innovative strokes. Special mention has to be made about the way he played for the neraval in Akshayalingvibho. Anirudh Atreya, on the Khanjira is a youngster with a lot of promise for the future.

On hearing this veteran, one feels that the lines “ Nityamaina Suswarapu gaanamutho nirantharamu , tyagarajanutha” in Tyagaraja’s Sukhi evvaro, defines Smt.R.Vedavalli best !!.

December 27, 2009

GNB Style : Lec-dem by Trichur Ramachandran

On the birth centenary year of the celebrated musician G.N. Balasubramanian, (GNB to his rasikas and GN Sir to his fellow musicians)one of his senior disciples Trichur Ramachandran presented a lec-dem on GNB's unique style or bani.

He started the lec-dem by saying bani is nothing but presenting the music in one's own manodharma displaying his or her personality. He began with a tribute to his guru by singing his composition on Vinayaka - Vara Vallabha Ramana in Hamsadhwani.

He said GNB was an embodiment of all things nice and aesthetics - music, presentation of his self, his pattern of concert presentation... His alapanas used to grow like a painting. The layers of the raga finally elevated the audience to a different level, he said. He could sing a raga alapana for a minute in its crisp form as well for an hour bringing all the swaroopas of the raga, he added.

You can listen to Trichur Ramachandran sharing his experience of what he learnt from GNB in this part of the video:

The other points he shared in a nutshell :

  • He learnt many things by listening to great vidwans, though he did not have a 'guru' for himself.
  • He was efficient in adding his touch to the kritis like fitting a perfect swarksharam in the right place, but not imposing for the sake of a 'Swaraksharam'.
  • He had clear understanding with his accompanists. He chose different songs dependingon the accompanist of the day. While there were different kritis for Palghat Mani Iyer, he used to chose completely different ones for Palani Subramania Pillai.
  • Palghat Mani Iyer was an admirer of GNB and used to refer his tala gnanam as Brahmalaya.
  • He used all the 'pracheena pidis' adding sophistication to them.
  • He was bold to use landings in Shuddha swarams and discovered 'sruti bhedam' by singing the ragas starting from different notes.
  • GNB insisted on building up a raga and used to say that raga alapana too has a kalapramanam.
  • Though GNB used to present Todi ragam in many of his concerts, every Todi was different.
  • He used to sing Pallavis even in ragas like Nattakurinji. The Pallavi he presented at Sri Shanmukhananda Sabha in Bombay in 1964 along with M.S. Gopalakrishnan on the violin and C.S. Murugabhoothy on the mridangam was remembered for a long time.
  • GNB used to tell his disciples that music should not pour like water from a tap, but should be let out in uniform flow.
  • He also guided the students on how to open the mouth while singing and control the voice according to the kriti rendered.
  • Every year, he introduced a rare composition by vaggeyakaras including the trinity. He introduced Chenchukambhoji kriti 'Vararagalaya' in 1964 at The Music Academy
  • GNB's repertoire was vast. He even knew padams, which he was not using in his concerts very often. Once in Manapparai, he sang a padam and surprised the listeners.

December 26, 2009

Christmas Special At The Music Academy

The listeners at the morning concert at The Music Academy on the Christmas Day were treated with a special Christmas feast.
And the host was none other than the veteran violinist T. N. Krishnan.
After traditional Carnatic music pieces beginning with Ata Tala Varnam in Kalyani (TNK announced that he was yet to decide on the opening piece just before starting the varnam!) and grand Bhairavi Swarajati and a Ragan Tanam Pallavi in Kapi, the child inside the maestro prompted him to go for a Christmas Song!

And the bells came jingling in! Yes he played 'Jingle Bells..' Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam and Vaikom Gopalakrishnan too joined him to enhance TNK's presentation.

Here is it....

Sreevalson Menon : The Calm after the Storm !!

.............................. by Sivapriya Krishnan

What happens after a storm ? There is a certain calm !! ; sudden silence, stray mater strewn here and there , everything seems shaken up till fresh life begins.

This is exactly what happened in the Music Academy today. Aruna Sairam created the storm and the calm thereafter, taking away groups and groups of people from the hall, thus creating rows and rows of empty chairs. The entire Academy, with all of 30- 40 odd people including me, decided to sit and listen to Sreevalson Menon.

It was worth the effort, as the mind and ears both needed to come back to normalcy and Sreevalson right from the word go aided the limited audience strewn here and there to get back into that state.

Sreevalson has a voice that is supple and yet mature and can traverse well . There is what is called "sowkhyam" in his voice ; however he may need to steady a few brighas a little more with some practice .

Starting with the Todi pada varnam, Dani Samjendra by Swati tirunal, an intelligent compostion , Sreevalson went on to the ekaika raga kriti Varasikhivahana of Tyagaraja in the rraga Supradeepam.

The MDR composition in Kedaram , Tyagaraja Gurum, was a scintillatingly divine experience , as the master composers music . So much of Kedaram beauty, poise, grandeur all at once.

Sreevalson excelled in his raga alaapana of Purvi Kalyani. The gandhara madhyama rishaba, aligned beautifully and he went on to sing Ekkalathilum Unai Maravene, a brilliant composition of Tiruvaru Ramaswami Pillai. This kriti stands out for its descriptive passages about surrender to Goddess Minakshi , with a chitta swara, that is "chittai" , as in short and succinct, with swarakshara sahitya bringing out the meaning intelligently.

Sreevalson made a creditable description of the neraval in the highly meaningful line " Taye, vedapurishwari, taruvai nidamodam" and the swaras that followed. Govardhana Gireesham of Dikshitar sang in Madhyama sruti lifted the overall mood of the concert.Bhairavi and an exhaustive Sarievvaramma of Syama Sastri in Khanda Jhampa, was given a great place of honour , deserved by the masterpiece.

Hamirkalynai for the RTP was where Sreevalson showed his capacity to use brighas and the range he could traverse with his voice. The MIsra Chapu pallavi after three beats, "ganalola, dheenapala,nandapala,madhava murali " was handled with trikaalam precisely and ragamalika swaras in saveri, sahana, dhanyasi and a Hindustani raga I could not make out. The Sahana , Dhanyasi and Saveri was enough for this listener, as the Sahana took the place of the icing on the cake!
An emotive Sakhi prana in Chenchuruti and a Kathakali padam in Purneermai, wth a lilting tune and beat brought the curtains down !

C N Chandrasekharan on the violin, played with gusto and Trichur Narendran on the mridangam and Pudukottai Ramachandran on the ghatam played a tani avartanam in Misra Chapu, with nice intricate kanakkus and korvais.

The entire team's spirit was commendable, as they sang undaunted, unfazed by the empty seats, with a sense of purpose and surrender to the select audience and God up there, and honoured the stage given to them with authentic classicism of the best variety.

December 24, 2009

GNB Centenary Special Book Release

Rupa Gopal, photojournalist and an ardent fan of GNB, the celebrity musician of the yesteryear is releasing a book on the maestro - GNB Centenary Special - a narrative collage, to commemorate the centenary of the musician.
On Dec. 26, 2009 at Russian Cultural Centre, Alwarpet, Time: 7 pm.

Dancer Malavika Sarukkai will receive the first copy and a screening of the visual 'GN Sir and I' in which Lalgudi Jayaraman has spoken about his association with GNB is also planned.

Following this is a special Jugalbandhi concert by Lalgudi GJR Krishnan (Violin) and U. Shrinivas (Mandolin).

Click on the pictures below to view the enlarged version.

December 23, 2009

Lec-dem by Ritha Rajan : Different patantharas in Tyagaraja Compositions Sivapriya Krishnan

Ever wondered , as to why the same Tyagaraja composition gets presented in different formats by different artists?

The answer to this question and wonderment, was provided by Smt.Ritha Rajan, the Musicologist- Musician and the former Head of the Dept. of Music, Queen Marys' College, Chennai, at a lecture in the Music Academy on 20.12.09 of the morning conference session.

Ritha brings with her , a training of many number of years, right from her childhood days in Kanchipuram and from her later tutelage under Sri. Ramnad Krishnan. Under him she had the opportunity to learn many more compositions and finer aspects of music. She also got introduced to Naina Pillai's style of singing and the Vina Dhannamal school through her Guru. She furthered her knowledge on her own during her tenure with Queen Marys and her research work.

In her lecture at the Music Academy, she brought out the differen singing approaches to the same composition of Tyagaraja.

Tyagraja has three groups of sishya parampara viz: Umayalpuram school, Walajapet school, Tillaisthanam School.

She explained about several compositions ; to name a few, Chitra Ratna maya , Vidulaku, Anyaayamu Seyakura,NaradaGuru Swami, Ramaanee Vadhu , Etula Brothuvo, mahita Pravrudhha, Siggumali, Raghuvira Ranadeera.

The changes that are observed are in the ollowing areas :

1. Overall changes in notation and approach of the same song from one school of Tyagaraja tothe other, followed by changes later on .

2 Change in ragas

3. Change in kaalapramaana and tempo, mainly towards a slower tempo

4. Change in tala

5. Change in the eduppu and swara notations between one school and another.

What was admirable about her lecture was the ease with which she juggled between one patanthara and another for the same song. She is fluent with Telugu and had learnt a few songs from the Telugu notations and script. Also amazing is the fact that she has assiduously collected material and scripts over a period of time and has worked on a critical analysis of the same.

She said that the changes have occurred from the third generation sishyas. One other observation on changes in kalais , kalapramaana and tempo , she said could be because music which was sung in tthe Bhajana tradition demanded a slightly faster tempo, whist in the concert format on stage , the demand shifted to a slower pattern of singing.
Also the raga changes and morphing has occurred over a period of time may be due to the singers method of holding on to a similar note or phrase between two ragas leading to a shift .

Some snippets :

1. Chitra Ratna maya acording to the Umayalpuram school and popularly in Andhra Pradesh is sung in 1 kalai, but the Tillaisthanam school sings it in 2 kalai, as sung by Sangita Kalanidhi R. Vedavalli.

2. There are different versions of Vidulakhu Mrokkeda in the swara notations.

3. There are lots of kritis that have morphed from Darbar to Kaanada to Kapi, Lalita to Vasanta.

4. Naradaguru sami sung in Darbar now, is given as Kapi in the manuscripts.

5. Etula Brotuvo is given as in Triputa tala, now sung as Misra Chapu.

6.Hechariga Gaa raa raa is now sung as Khanda Jhampa, has been listed as Khanda Ekam

7. In Walajapet version, the song Raghuvira Ranadira, now popurlarly sung in Huseini, is listed under Kharaharapriya.

8. Gnaanamosagarada is given as Gamanaasrama in the manuscripts, but later on has morphed into Purvikalyani

9.Siggumali which is in Jhampa is now sung as Adi tala.

A little of what I could note and understand I have tried to write. There is more that I may have left, and all that is due to my limitations perhaps.

Thanks to the Academy for such informative morning sessions, where serious students of music like me get an opporunity to find answers to many queries and develop a curiosity to know why, what has happened has happened.

December 22, 2009

Sumitra Vasudev : Young Veteran ! Sivapriya Krishnan

The veteran spirit of the morning initiated by Nedunuri, was carried throughout till 3.30 by Sumitra Vasudev in the afternoon.

Sumitra Vasudev , is a young lady with a veteran’s mind and approach to singing. Classicism, creativity, control, fostered manodharma are some of the hallmarks of her singing. She did her guru Sangita Kalanidhi Smt.R.Vedavalli proud by her brilliant singing today at 1.45 in the afternoon at the Music Academy.

Her music flowed like a cascading waterfall . Her intuitve ability, innovation, raga mapping, neraval manodharma, are fabulously lofty and reminds one of a very senior veteran’s music.

The Bhairavi Ata Tala varnam by Pachimiriyam Adiappa ,was sang with the third swara in the charana and the anubandha, as given in the Sangita Sampradaya Pradashini. After Samrane Sukhamu, a beautiful Khamas raga followed with Seetapate and the quick swaras, told us immensely of Sumitra’s grip over the raga.

Varali raga had brilliant sancharas and covered all the possibilities of delineation .Maa mavaMenakshi , a Dikshitar masterpiece was sung wonderfully with innovative swaras.

The major credit goes to Sumtra for her RTP in Begada. What a raga alapana! There was not a single unexplored phrase of Begada left. The Taanam needs a special mention . She correctly maintained the “madhyamakala” speed from start to end, as per the Lakshana of taanam singing. The pallavi “Mahima Teliya Taramaa ama nee in Khanda Jhampa at mukkaal eduppu was a veitable treat. Very neat and crisp presentation. Neraval is the heart of pallavi singing and this Sumitra did brilliantly.

All the necessary aspects of changes in speed , trikaalam were strictly adhered to. Her ragamalika swaras in Reetigowla, Paadi, Kuntalavarali and the same in reverse order back to Begada was a done with consummate ease and creativity.

Arunachala Karthik was good by himself on the violin, but could not match upto the vocalists creativity. R.Sankaranarayana on the mridangam was accompanying very well, but he failed to impress,in the tani avartanam, as he was far too long and kept rolling over with his korvais.

Nedunuri : Naada yogi

.......................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

Sangita Kalanidhi Nedunuri Krishnamoorthy sang the morning concert in the Academy today the 22nd December, 2009 and announced that this was his 55th concert at the Music Academy and thanked the Rasikas and the Academy profusely for supporting him.

One after the other he poured out a big jar of precious musical gems in the form of Asaveri ( E Paniko), Purvikalyani ( Paraloka Sadhaname). Yadukula kambhoji (Adikadu Bhajana.) What a mgnificent portrayal of the raga ?The half and one avartana swaras were fireworks. His ragamalika sloka and Adideva paramatma in Sindubhairavi was the soulful conclusion to the concert.

The greatness of this kind of music is that it is timeless, memorable and worthy of preservation. So much for youngsters to learn and imbibe from. It is so inexplicable, that every raga takes such good shape and retains its originality and flavour in the hands of stalwarts like Nedunuri. Maybe this is because ,they practice music as some form of naada yoga, inspite of keeping it for livelihood. There is no corruption, no malice, no unwanted pressure on themselves to be in the rat race!! Hence the music shines eternally.

Sriram Parasuram, returned the serves made by Nedunuri and played very well and Nedunuri magnanimously appreciated him on stage. Trichy Sankaran the master was bountiful and Purushottaman on the khanjira added o the percussion flavour.

Where are they?

The popular Tamil Daily Dinamani published in their today's issue on the whereabouts of Radha - Jayalakshmi, the singers who mesmerised rasikas in the 1950s and 60s with their brisk and fast paced singing!

Source : Dinamani, Dec. 22, 2009

For those who cannot read Tamil, here is the gist.

The sisters who learnt under the same guru sold their house in Saidapet in Chennai and were last said to have left for Puttaparthi. Nobody now knows their whereabouts. The owners of a grand music who entralled the rasikas with their music. If you know where they are now, please let us know!

TNS Krishna - concert to remember

.................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

T N S Krishna , over the the last few years has matured into a brilliant artist of his own merit and right.

A chip of the old block, he has imbibed the musical approach and values from his father and has crafted his singing style with a lot of bhava and crispness to suit his capabilities thereby being able to produce very high and good quality music.

His grip on varied kalapramana, tala, raaga alaapana and neraval is amazing and this came alive in the three compositions namely Ninnuvinaagamari (Purvikalyani), Amba Neelayadakshi( Neelambari) and Dasukovalena (Thodi), all of which he sang sequentially.

His neraval at Soumitri Tyagaraju in Misra Jhampa was classical and innovative in style, diction and clarity without any loss of meaning. The sloka on Harikesa Nallur Muthiah Bhagavathar , composed by TNS, followed by a Tillana in Hamsanandi by Harikesa nallur Muthiah Bhagavathar was a befitting and delightful experience.

He showed a lot of professionalism in concert management, planning and ample respect to the stalwarts accompanying him without being too superfluous at the same time.

M.Chandrasekharan on the violin, Umayalpuram K Sivaraman on the mridangam, E M Subramainam on the ghatam , made the concert a lively and enjoyable experience.

December 21, 2009

Kalyani's Sankarabharanam

The morning slot on Dec. 21 at The Music Academy, for a generally unusual number of rasikas for a veena concert, should have been a different experience and travel into the past on a modern mode of musical journey.

Smt. Kalyani Ganesan presented a Veena recital, which made the senior rasikas reminisce about veteran vainikas of the olden days. The young students and rasikas would have thought that if a Veena recital could ever be presented with aesthetics yet with a modern approach to it.

Every musical instrument has its own pace. Smt. Kalyani Ganesan could find the right pace or the Kala pramanam for her style of traditional playing and set the entire presentation just on it.

Beginning with Sriraga Varnam, she played the Hamsadhwani kriti of Mysore Vasudevachar - Vande anisham. On Monday, it could not be any other vara kriti than Chandram bhaja manasa, in Asaveri and in Chaturasra Matya talam.

As a tribute to the maestro GNB, she took up his composition 'Parama Kripa Sagari' in Yadukulakambhoji. Every syllable explicitly poured out the raga in its true form. After a short alapana of Purvi Kalyani, she rendered Paripurna kama, of Thyagaraja in rupaka talam.

A garland got ready in the hands of the vidushi and became a Sankarabharanam that was offered to the 'Akshayalinga'. Misra chapu precisely set into the kriti.

Then came Saveri. If one looks at the list of ragas and kritis presented so far, the traditional attire the concert wore would be felt. The essence of Saveri ran through the alapana and spilled over the tanam. the pallavi Kari moralida in Adi was neat and crisp. She let the mridangam and kanjira to have their 'tani' at this point. Umayalpuram Mali (mridangam)and KVRS Mani (Kanjira) fit their part in tune with the tempo and style of the veena artiste and their tani reflected the mood set in by the main artiste.

The swaras for the pallavi followed after the 'tani' giving it a different approach.

The post tani session had bright ragas and a ragamalika, yet with compositions of stalwarts. Mamava sada janani in Kanada by Swati Tirunal, Arabhi maanam, the Ragamalika of Tarangampadi Panchantha Iyer, Manadirkugandadu in Sindhubhairavi of Tanjavur Sankara Iyer gave a colourful yet ethnic touch to the concert. When it was a tillana, it had to be of none other than Lalgudi jayaraman's Khamas.
The rich and traditional veena concert ended with her tribute to Mylapore Karpagambal - 'Karpagame' of Papanasan Sivan in Madhyamavathi.

For a set of senior people who came to Chennai from the neighbouring states for the December season, the concert was an inspiring one and they all gathered backstage to prostrate before Smt. Kalyani Ganesan!

December 20, 2009

Smt.R.Vedavalli 's Samarpana to Tyagaraja

.............................. by Sivapriya Krishnan

To me this day of 20th Decemebr 2009 has been a celebration of veterans and music that is timeless !!!

The concert was at carnatica's Samarpana 2009 and the theme given to Smt.R.Vedavalli was (interrogative kritis of St.Tyagaraja)

Smt.R.Vedavalli started by giving a very brief explanantion of the concept of interrogaion by the Saint. She said that Tyagaraja specialises in interrogation and has raised several questions to Sri Rama on many topics of philosophical perspectives.

She started with Evarani in Devamrutavarshini, where he raises the question of who can fully uderstand Rama tattva? Are you Shiva, Madhava, Brahma or a combination of all?
Palukavemi na deivama in Poorna Chandrika was the next song. This was followed by Sandehamunu in Ramapriya, preceeded by a crisp and beautiful raga alaapana and crisp and intelligent swras at the line Bharatarcharana. Kaanada Raga was rather extensive and was followed with Sukhi Evvaro, in a gait, that was sowkhayam personified , making all the listeners "sukhi" and "sumukhi"!!

Ennalloo uragae in Subhapantuvarali was handled in a madhyama kalapramana, which kept the spirit of the song without making it too langruous.

Bhairavi raga was an examplary portrayal of all the beautiful phrases of a traditional Bhairavi. Tanayuni Brova, with neraval and swaras at Mahini tyagaraja vinuta brought out so many varieties of phrases of Bhairavi

The concert was concluded with Ramachandra nee daya in Surutti.

All in all the concert was indeed a “SAMARPANA” at the feet of Tyagaraja, a connoisseurs delight and a perfect classroom in finer musical aspects for both her disciples like me and other avid students of music.

Sumitra gave a brilliant support and was quick on uptake, as she used to correctly follow from where my guru left.

RK Shriramkumar, soothing violin, Arunprakash’s measured mridangam and Anirudh’s sparkling khanjira with their fiery tani avartanam added to the overall quality of the concert.

The crowd bade goodbye with a standing ovation to the artists on stage.

Thamizh Pannisai - a part of December Season

Tamil Isai Sangam hosts exclusive Tamil Isai concerts for decades now. Also the new generation singers include many Tamil compositions in their concerts both old and new. Since Margazhi coincides with December, the concerts invariable have a Tiruppavai or Tivempavai as part of them.
Papanasam Sivan's compositions find place even in Ragam Tanam Pallavi's too>

To go in trend with the December Music season, Pongu Thamizh Pannisai Manimanram hosts an exclusive Pannisai Peruvizha for seven years now.

This year it was held at the Corporation Community Hall on C.P. Ramaswamty Road on Dec. 19 and 20. The stretch of the road from the flyover on the northern was lit and flags and posters were part of the decoration. There were discussions by Tamizh pandits and Pann concerts in the evening.

R K Srikantan - antique bronze masterpiece

...................................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

I heard the 90 year old R K Srikantan , supported on the Mridangam by Sri Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Sri Chitravina Ravikiran on the Chitravina , Sri Karthick on the ghatam , Sri.Ramakant for vocal support at Bharat Kalachar.


RK Srikantan was a master blaster with a ringing voice that would put a 9 year old to shame. !! Such steadiness, range and pitch is enviable and pretty much a miracle for that age.Vande Nishamaham and the swaras that followed it were fireworks. Terediyaka raada with the shuddha madhyama prayoga was delight. A brilliant Hindolam raga alaapana followed by Saraswathi Vidiyuvati. Then came a brilliant and expansive Chakravakam , to be followed by Etula Brothuvo and wonderful swaras at the end of it.

Ramakant the 60 year old son of R K Srikantan has a voice that ranges miles and can travel mikeless. What a unison between the father and the son? One cannot decipher where one starts and where one stops!

Umayalpuram Sivaraman is the untold Chakravarthy on the mridangam and showed that he has attained this status by no mean efforts !! What a Tani in misra chapu ? What crisp fingering and striking beats?

Ravikiran was truly the “silken strings” accompanying the “bronze metal” Srikantan.
Such melody, harmony and smooth accompaniment, shadowing the main vidwan. He did not show his vidwat , but enhanced the main singers vidwat by quietly shadowing him. I think the violin vidwans should learn from Ravikiran on accompaniment to the main artist.!
Dr. Karthick, proved that he is equally capable like any of the other artists on the stage. Undaunted by the the experts on stage he went about his job meticulously and added a lot of colour to the concert.

Carnatica's Samarpanam Inaugurated

Carnatica inaugurated the Samarpanam 2009 at the MGR College auditorium on the 18th of December, 2009.

They started the concert with a Veena recital , as Mangala Isai , in place of the usual Nagaswaram. this was followed by a small function for a CD release of a veena concert of Jayalakshmi Sekhar, The first copy was received by B.Krishnamoorthy. Sri.V.V.Sundaram, Si.Ilaya Bharati and Sri.Nageswaran graced the dais.

Sri V.V.Sundaram spoke about the contents of the CD and urged everyone to support the cause of buying CDS. He also spoke very highly of the multifaceted capabilities of Sangita Kalanidhi Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan who was to give the first concert of the Carnatica series. Sri>ilaya Bharati spoke about the Carnatica team's efforts in propagating Classical music and their interaction with students and the public. Sri B.Krishnamoorthy blessed the young team members of the Carnatica team viz. Sashikiran, Ramanathan and Sowmya.He also praised SriT.N.Seshagopalan and Smt.Jayalakshmi Sekhar and thanked everyone for inviting him. Sashikiran proposed a vote of thanks

This was followed by an excellent concert of Madurai T.N.Seshagopalan, supported by Sri.Delhi Sunderrajan on the violinand Sri.Srimushnam Raja Rao on the mridangam and Sri.Vaikom R.Gopalakrishnan on the ghatam.

December 19, 2009

Brothers and Sisters Day at the Music Academy

........................................ by Sivapriya Krishnan

Today seems to be a day of brothers and sisters in the Academy. Starting with Rudrapatnam Brothers, to Malladi Brothers, the last concert was Priya Sisters.

1. The morning session of the Academy concert was by Rudrapatnam Brothers. These brothers are experienced senior musicians from Karnataka and are known for their sedately classical style.

Every item be it, Varnam in Kannada by Lalgudi Jayaraman , Nannu brovarada in Bhairavam by Patnam Subramania Iyer, Ninne Namminaanu in Todi, Marivere a GNB composition in Malavi or the RTP in Keeravani was all true to their tradition of pure classicism and grammar. Arabhimaanam vaithu Aadari , a ragamalika in Tamil was rendered with full bhava of the words and the raga.

Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi on the violin preserved this classicism and brought forth her tradition in her volin playing. V .Kamalakar Rao , a very senior Mridangam player gave his best to the concert ably assisted by N.Govindarajan on the ghatam.


2. Priya Sisters is an example of dedication to their career, boldness of approach and determination to be there and stick it out in this field of carnatic music.

If you were to look for strains of pure classical traditionalism, the classicist purists, may just not accept them, as their approach is rather light and not so full throated.

But they are able to produce music that cannot be faulted , that which is pleasurable, pleasing to the ears, sruti aligned and with basic grammar of music remaining intact.

Their voice crooning and falsetto at the higher octaves and constant penchant for singing only tara sthayi phrases and swaras, is what gets monotonous and irritating, but then any modern singer today, especially most female singers, only indulge in such singing styles.

However,they made a neat and compact presentation at the Music Academy. Right from the start of the Nayaki vanam by Rudrapatnam Venkataramayya they kept up the tempo. Lavanya rama was sung well with the words pronounced correctly.
They took up Gamakakriya (commonly known as Purvikalyani), with the song Meenakshi Memudham Dehi. Their neraval at Meenalochani Pasamochani was refreshing and intelligent.

They proved that they were capable of standard classical material in the Todi RTP. The alapana, was good, taanam was short and crisp and the rettai pallavi with two eduppus and two arudis in Khanda Ata Tala, was very deftly handled by both the sisters. Being a long pallavi, the words were too many. The Pallavi’s first line was “ saravananai muruganai, guhanai, ninai, second line was nidam padametudhi seivaainee arul perave." What was impressive was that they gave the necessary treatment correctly by way of Trikaalam and Neraval to the pallavi line.

The concert came to a fine close with a customary bhajan and an Annamayya composition. V V Srinivasa Rao, was an expert support on the violin. Neyveliskandasubramaniam and Madipakkam Murali were very good with their percussion and lent the concert a perfect laya support.

December 18, 2009

Meet Carnatic artistes over a cup of coffee

Carnatica, a popular music organisation promoting Carnatic music worldwide, is back with its annual celebrity chat event 'Sangeetha Sandippu'.
This event gives the rasikas an opportunity to interact with their favourite musicians in an informal environment, over piping hot Kumbakonam degree coffee and snacks!
Rasikas can get to know the artistes personal interests, their hobbies, family, favourite food, hang-outs…and everything under the Sun!
They can ask the questions they’ve always wanted to ask their favourite musicians and get answers from the musicians themselves!

Like the previous editions, this year's Sangeetha Sandippu will also take place at Sangeetha Fast Food OKadey's Hall, 102, 2nd Main Road, R.A.Puram, between Dec. 20 and 30 of this month, between 4 pm and 5 pm everyday.
The event will be hosted by popular TV anchor and Carnatic vocalist Nivedita Narayanan.

Here's the schedule:

20th - Sunday - T.M.Krishna, Sangeetha Sivakumar & R.K.Shriramkumar
21st - Monday - Ranjani & Gayathri
22nd - Tuesday - Ghatam Karthik & B.S.Purushotham
23rd - Wednesday - Shashank & Chitravina Ravikiran
24th - Thursday - Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram K.Sivaraman
25th - Friday - S.Sowmya
26th - Saturday - Unnikrishnan & O.S.Arun
27th - Sunday - Aruna Sairam
28th - Monday - Ganesh & Kumaresh
29th - Tuesday - Priya Sisters
30th - Wednesday - The Sikkil Family

Sangeetha will provide free snacks and coffee to rasikas on all days.
Free passes for each day's chat can be collected that morning from the venue.
Passes will be available on a first-come-first-served basis for about 70 rasikas every day.

December 17, 2009

Chitravina Ravikiran with his chitra-kalaa Sivapriya Krishnan

What do you get when you are blessed with “purva janma sukrutam”, immeasurable talent, immense brain power and extreme hardwork ? You get an artist like Chitravina Ravikiran.

Ravikiran literally drew a “chitram” with his “Chitravina” that was an expression of pure art , both creative and emotive.

His art comes fully alive when he plays on the old style “gottuvadyam” , what is now called "chitravina “. It is as though God has sent him for preserving this instrument.

One after the other the prodigy-maestro , kept throwing gems in the form of Saraseeruhasanapriye ( Naattai), Brahma Kadigina Paadamu ( Mukhari), Hiranmayeem (Lalita) with alapana and swaras at Sangeeta vadya vinodini, Dwijavanti raga alapana, followed by a Misra Ata tala song by Oothukadu Venkata Kavi. Dwijavanti was the ‘dwajaarohanam” of this concert, so full of majesty. O jagadamba in Anandabhairavi was presented in true and pure classical Anandabhairavi.

A quick ‘ennai nee maravade” in Amritavarshini was soon followed by a Kambodhi raga alapana.

Kambodhi raga unfurled slowly like a lotus that blooms seeing the sun. Starting at the lower octaves, majestically staying in the mandhara sthayi and peaking at the higher registers, he took the raga through a grand procession. A raga malika taanam was followed by a Nadai Pallavi in Khanda Triputa, Khanda Nadai – “ Gopala Gokula bala, Gopikasamuhalola, laasa hrdayaalaya, maam paalaya”. A true classical RTP with all the furnishings due to it.

Ravikiran is a master in intelligent swara patterns and subtle kalapramana variations and this subtlety was seen in the handling of the lines Hiranmayeem Laksmim and Brahma Kadigina padamu in the way he finished the song.

Akkarai Subbulakshmi was no mean accompanist. She was one on one with Ravikiran and matched his wits and grandeur. Her uptake is very quick and her presentation very neat. The taanam she played in Nattakurinji was creditable.

T V Gopalakrishnan, the mridangam wizard, was at his best, with very intelligent kanakkus, ghumkis and phrases. The special one to one exchanges in swara prastharas was sheer delight.

Tripunithura Radhakrishnan, proved his mettle on the ghatam and ably supported all the artists.

One came out with a divinely satisfied feeling, praying that the Carnatic Music world be blessed with more such Ravikirans.!!

To me personally this was added with an extra value of unalloyed happiness at the "hatrick Kambodhi", with a hallmark of purity, over the last three days, starting with TNS the titan Gayaka-Vainika's (vocal concert on the 15th), Ashwin Anand the bright youngster on the Veena (on the 16th) and Ravikiran the prodigy-maestro (on the 17th)!!

You see what is common to all these : The Veena !!!

Disciples celebrate guru

December season is also a season for celebration. Senior disciples of dancer - guru Adyar K. Lakshman joined hands to celebrate his 75th birthday on Dec. 16, at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, by paying a tribute through dance.

When, dancers Roja Kannan, Jayanthi Subramaniam and Bragha Besell decided to celebrate their guru's birthday, they chose a thematic dance presentation of Thiruppavai and Thiruvempavai.

Before the dance, Lakshman's son L. Baba Prasad screened a short documentary on Adyar K. Lakshman. The longer version will soon be available, he says.

Following the dance, the felicitations to the guru were offered. Along with him, his brothers K. Rama Rao, K. Gopinath, his sister Nagamani Srinivasa Rao and wife Vasantha Lakshman were also honoured.

Among the felicitators was another student Anita Ratnam, who has now moved on to a different style called Neo Classical Bharatham. She remembered her guru as the one who guided her in her early days. Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy shared how as a team Lakshman, Madurai N. Krishnan and she herself grew against many odds. Nandini Ramani, a disciple of T. Balasaraswathi also felicitated Adyar Lakshman.

From the audience dance guru Kalanidhi Narayanan wanted to say a few good words about Lakshman. She said it was he who sent his students to her first and made her come back to teaching abhinaya after a long hiatus.

All of them had something common to say. It was that Lakshman Sir cracks best 'kadi' jokes and is a witty person.

But Guru Adyar Lakshman had just a word and that is for Kalakshtra. He said he owes all that what he is now to Kalakshetra which made him the person he is.
He also remembered Rukmini Devi Arundale, who made him decide between Cricket and dance overnight and helped him choose the right path.

The function though longdrawn, was enjoyable with anecdotes from all on stage and off stage.

December 16, 2009

Vijay Siva, at the Music Academy, 16.12.09

..................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

Vijay Siva, at the Music Academy gave a standard fare. His concerts never fail as he always sings well above a certain standard. The main highlight was the Gamanasrama Raga followed by Idhi Neeku Nyayama in Misra chapu by Mysore Vasudevachar. Gamanasrama is a Mela karta raga close to Purvikalyani , but with the “pdns” prayogas in the aarohana and his raga alapana brought this out very clearly. The neraval and swaras were also interestingly crafted for this kriti.

Raksha Bettare, in Bhairavi, is a song that has the distinctive DKP / DKJ stamp to it and Vijay Siva did his school proud with this. Every bit of the song reminded us of those two stalwart musicians.

R K Shriramkuar was brilliant wih his violin. The veteran Trichy Sankaran’s mridangam was every bit a work of genius. With this thani avartanam, intelligently co-opted by Ghatam Suresh, both of them created rhythmic firework on the stage of a very high order.

Vijay Siva was the forerunner among youngsters taking to full time Carnatic Music and till date he preserves the classical tradition much to his credit and has been in many ways influential in getting more youngsters to join the Carnatic Music world.

Youngsters shine bright !

...................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

1.Aswin Anand : Veena recital steeped in classicism

Veena , the divine instrument, held by Goddess Saraswati, need not fear that it will become or is becoming extinct, as long as there are young artists like Aswin Anand playing that instrument, steeped in classical tradition. His concert was held at Naada inbam on the 16 th of December 2009.

Aswin was so confident with his instrument. Melody flowed, from every fret of the instrument.

Starting with Gananayakam and brisk swaras in Rudrapriya , he went on to a soulful Purvikalyani raga and Paripurna kama of Tyagaraja in Rupaka tala.

China nadena in Kalanidhi was fast paced only to be followed by Kambodi The raga played by Aswin was out and out a gold standard Kambodi. Every bit was melodious and pure and this set a tone for Sri Subramanyaya Namaste, which was embellished and chiselled like a work of pure art.

He is currently under the tutelage of Sangita Kalanidhi Smt.R.Vedavalli and has imbibed her musical values into every bit of his Veena, in all aspects of alapana, kriti rendition and kalpana sangitam.

Charulatha Ramanujam another artist from Bangalore , on the violin reflected the same standards set by Aswin and was very supportive. Kalladiakuruchi Sivakumar was on the mridangam. His playing was smooth with apt gumkis and chaps at relevant places and flowed with the Veena.

2. Carnatica Brothers : K.N.Sashikiran and P.Ganesh

Carnatica Brothers K. N. Sashikiran and P.Ganesh, gave a vibrant concert for the Music Academy in the afternoon. The main highlight of their concert was the Ranjani mala RTP, in Adi tala, “ Sogasugsmridanga taalamu, Sriranjani raga bharitha” . The RTP was imaginatively reconstructed to suit Janaranjani and Sivaranjani. Good and intelligent kalpana swaras added to the flavour of the pallavi and they rounded it in reverse order too.

The brothers supported each other very well and effectively balanced the two voices in the upper and lower octaves complementing each other. The Pancha Raga Pancha Nadai Tillana , a composition of their brother Chitravina Ravikiran, was yet another highlight, which was handled deftly by the brothers. It was a welcome change to see a very imaginative tillana being rendered.

Idapally Ajit Kumar on the violin and Trivandrum Vaidyanathan on the mridangam supported intelligently.

It is heartening to see that , Carnatic music is indeed safe in the hands of some youngsters like these.

December 15, 2009

Veena Varadayya's compositions on CD

Veena Varadiah (1877-1952) had composed many varnams, Lakshana Geetas using sahitya and kritis. His disciple and son, Prof. R. V. Krishnan, has released a CD on his compositions.

Prof. R.V. Krishnan had earlier presented a lecture and demonstration with the help of Poornapragna Rao, Uttara Kumar and Shailaja at the Music Academy, Madras in 2004.
For enquiries regarding purchase of this CD, please contact Prof. R.V. Krishnan on phone no. 044-24401539

Sangita Kalanidhi.Smt.R.Vedavalli at the Interactive Workshop by

...................... by Sivapriya Krishnan is organising what they call " Nerukku Ner", an interactive workshop, in conjunction with Sri Krishna Gana Sabha and Sri Krishna Sweets. This is held in the nice, cosy mini auditorium of the sabha.

In this interactive workshop, the senior artists /gurus teach an item , as a learn along /sing along process, wherein the audience participates in the learning process.

Sangita Kalanidhi Smt.R.Vedavalli conducted the interactive workshop on Varnams on the 14th of December, 2009.

In the process of learning, she brought out the importance of gradual learning in Carnatic music, the importance of varnams in initiating the student from swarajathis to singing a composition like varnams with gamakas, karvais, jantais- dhatu swaras, and sahitya all rolled into one.

Varnams she said lays the strongest foundation for the following :

a. voice training through akaara sadhakam

b. appreciation and understanding of swara sthanas for a raga

c. fine tuning ones senses to individual sruti values and co-ordinating, swara and sahitya

d. memorising complicated and even repetetive swara patterns

e. getting a mental map of the raga in practice

f. helps the student in learning and practising tala and kalapramana variations by singing it in various nadais and eduppus

The varnam that she took for teaching was a rare Begada Ata Tala varnam, by the renowned composer-gayaka-vidwan Sri Patnam Subramania Iyer. Assiduously, she went about methodically , step by step, into initiating the audience, comprising of the old and the young alike and made all of them sing it in unison towards the end of the session.

This varnam has many a Begada swara pattern, so characteristic of a "pracheena " (old) version of the raga. She explained the beautiful use of both the Kaisiki and Kakali nishada, the "aarsha" or specially rare prayoga of "NDNS" , "SGM" , with the gandhara in the upper octave and the use of beautiful euphemistic language by the composer. She emphasised that one should learn varnams like this with a view to critically understand how ragas were used in ancient times and learn the specialties of the raga through these compositions.

She also implored that while doing so, it is best to leave the composition without trying to alter and fit any patterns to suit to a modern day view of the raga pattern; as great composers - vidwans have done their best with a full understanding of the Lakshana of the raga and only then handed it down to posterity.She gave some examples of how the Adi tala Begada varnam has undergone such changes , over time.

It was a truly enriching, magnificently educative and elevating experience to all there to have been able to learn a solid rare composition of merit, handed down to the audience through a wonderfully meritorious stalwart like Smt.R.Vedavalli.

Thanks to all the conveners and organisers of events like this, which makes the December season , a memorable and elevating experience.

December 14, 2009

The four 'Swamis' at Narada Gana Sabha!

Iyal-Isai-Nataka Vizha is what Narada Gana Sabha calls its December Music, dance and drama festival. The inauguration of this year's festival happened on Dec. 13.
A digitally lit arch with a giant image of a flute in 3D effect adorned the entrance like a temple festival. And inside the hall on the dias were a few swami's among the artistes.

The awardees of the evening were Veena vidushi R. S. Jayalakshmi, violin vidwan M. S. Gopalakrishnan and Nadaswaram artiste MPN Ponnusamy of the popular duo MPN Sethuraman and MPN Ponnusamy, who played nadaswaram for a few films including Thillana Mohanabal.

On the award ceremony, an interesting combination on the stage is beloew:

R. Krishnaswamyof Narada Gana Sabha, V. Gopalaswami, former Chief Election Commissioner, MPN Ponnuswamy and senior vidwan P.S. Narayanaswamy!

December 13, 2009

Usha Padmanabhan - classical and neat presentation

Usha Padmanabhan performed for SAFE on the 9th of December, 2009 at Sastry Hall Mylapore.

Her concert was sedate and sound with no add on frills. A neat presentation, full of raga bhava and complete adherenece to classicism was what she brought to the table.

Kamalamba Samrakshatumam in Anadabhairavi, Varugirano vaarano in Kannada Soundararajam in Brindavana Saranga all fitted into the above genre of singing. One only felt that a little more of joy and enthusiasm could have been shown in Brindavana Saranga and Kannada.

Usha came alive with her Kamboji raga and Sri Raghuvara Aprameya with neraval in the same line followed with swaras; which brought out her imagination, crisp manodharma and classicism to the best.

The concert was concluded with Kandena Kalasinali- Purandara dasa in ragamalika and Entati kuluke , a Javali in Kalyani.

Melakaveri Tyagarajan did his best in supporting her with the violin and Trivandrum Vaidyanathan excelled in pithy, short and yet effective kanakku passages in his mridangam.

A slightly more co-operative voice and a better acoustic system could have uplifted this concert better.

What really is disturbing is the preparations for the next concert - people, artists and others walking up and down, talking , discussing, boxes being opened right in front of the stage, mikes being set etc, thereby making the whole atmosphere noisy and disturbed taking away from the artist on stage.

December 11, 2009

Adding dimensions to December Season...

It has been The Other Festival, now called The Park's New Festival and the Hindustani Music Festival at Kalakshetra that were different from the main stream of Carnatic Music and dance season in Chennai.
Now, a few other musicians and musicologists who consider music to be universal, are exploring a different angle that would interest the youngsters too.
One such is Brhaddhvani's new initiative 'Arts 360' under which a music festival called 'The Universe of Sound' that will be held on Dec. 18, 19 and 20 in MCTM Chettiar International School, Luz Church Road.
Artistes like Aruna Sairam, 'Chitravina' Ravikiran, Prof. Trichy Sankaran will perform at the festival.
The educative sessions will have Francis Shepherd, David Reck, Woody Shaw III.
To supplement with another form of art, an exhibition titled 'Madras in December' will be held at the premises by Apparao Galleries on these days.

For more details, contact Brhaddhvani at 28, IV Main Road. Raja Annamalai Puram, Chennai - 600 028. Phone: 4208-1813. E-mail -

December season albums sale

Perfectly located between the two major sabhas, The Music Academy and Narada Gana Sabha, AVM Sound Zone puts up an exhibition cum sale of music and dance albums every year during December.

This exhibition was inaugurated today at Sri Sankara Hall, T.T.K. Road.

The special sale offers a minimum discount of 10% on all the albums during the season's sale period.

Apart from audio and video albums of classical music and dance, there are videos of documentary films on musicians, devotional songs, books on arts and educative & fun albums for the kids.

In short the exhibition has something for everyone in the family.
The sale will be on till Jan. 3, 2010 and is open from 10 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.

Book on The Music Academy

The Music Academy. Madras, as it is known to many young and the old, turned 80 a year ago.
Though the firct music conference was held in 1928 as part of the All India Congress session, it was in 1929, the Music Academy brought the annual music conference into its regular schedule.

A book documenting the history of the institution, technically celebrating the 80th year of annual conference is launched today at the Music Academy.

Dr. C. Rangarajan, Chairman, PM's Economic Advisory Councilwill release the book and senior musicians R.K. Srikantan and R. Vedavalli will receive the first copies.

Authored by historianV. Sriram and Malathi Rangaswamy, one of the long-time secretaries of the Music academy, this is a coffee table book spanning into 25 chapters. It has inputs from various magazines and newspapers of that era and anecdotes from the living legends like Vocalist-artist S. Rajam.

The book is published by Westland Books and is priced at Rs. 2000.
The members of the Music Academy can get the book at a special rate of Rs. 1200. There is something for the Non-members too. They can pick it up for Rs. 1700 on the day of launch and during the Academy's December music festival i.e till Jan. 1, 2010

December 10, 2009

Carnatica’s Samarpanam 2009

An interactive thematic Music Fest is hosted by Carnatica for the past few years during the December Season.
This year the fest will be held at MGR Janaki College for Women on Durgabai Deshmukh Road, R.A. Puram.

The Schedule:

Dec. 18, 2009
4.00 pm – 5.50 pm: Geetha Bennett (Veena), S. Balashankar (Mridangam), Adambakkam Shankar (Ghatam)
6.00 – 6.30 pm: Inauguration
6.30 pm – 9.00 pm: Madurai T. N. Seshagopalan (Vocal), T. N. S. Krishna (Vocal Support), Delhi Sundararajan (Violin), Srimushnam Raja Rao (Mridangam), Vaikom Gopalakrishnan (Ghatam)

Dec. 19, 2009

At Seminar Hall
9.00 am: Viji Krishnan Natarajan (Violin Solo),Poongulam Subramanian (Mridangam), Dr. S. Karthick (Ghatam)
10.45 am: T. K. Murthy : Rare Talas Thematic Laya concert, T. K. Jayaraman (Vocal), B. Sivaraman (Mridangam), Anirudh Athreya (Khanjira), N. Guruprasad (Ghatam)
12.45: Rithvik Raja (Vocal), A. Anand (Violin), L. Subramaniam (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Malathy Vasudevan (Vocal), Mysore C.N. Srinivasamurthy (Violin), H.S. Sudhindra (Mridangam).
3.20 pm: Sriranjani Santhanagopalan (Vocal), Theme: Dikshithar Compositions on Lord Subramanya, Rahul (Violin), Palakkad Hari Narayanan (mridangam),

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: S. Sowmya (Vocal), Theme: Tamil Compositions – Pre-trinity to Trinity, Avaneeswaram Vinu (Violin), N. Manoj Siva (Mridangam), Payyanur Govindaprasad (Morsing)
7.00 pm: T. V. Sankaranarayanan (Vocal), Theme: Madurai Mani Iyer Special Concert, S. Mahadevan (Vocal Support), V. V. S. Murari (Violin), Thanjavur Murugaboopathy (Mridangam), A.S. Shankar (Ghatam), Aalathoor Ganesh (Kanjira)

Dec. 20, 2009

At Seminar Hall
9.00 am: Roopa Mahadevan (Vocal) & Party
10.45 am: Haridwaramangalam A. K. Palanivel, Theme: Tala Vadya, V. L Sudharshan (Viola), Ganapathy Raman (Mridangam), Amrith (Kanjira) Payyannur Govindaprasad (Morsing)
12.45 pm: N. J. Nandini (Vocal), Parur Ananthakrishnan (Violin), M.S. Venkatasubramanim (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Shankaran Mahadevan (Vocal) & Party, Theme: Guru Mahima
3.20 pm: V. Sankaranarayanan (Vocal ), Theme: Rama Bhaktha, V. V. S. Murari (Violin), Melakaveri Balaji (Mridangam)

5.00 pm: Hyderabad Brothers (Vocal ), Nagai Sriram (Violin), B. Harikumar (Mridangam)
7.00 pm: R. Vedavalli (Vocal),Theme: Interrogative compositions of Tyagaraja. Sumithra Vasudev (Vocal Support), R. K. Shriram Kumar (Violin), K. Arunprakash (Mridangam), Anirudh Athreya (Khanjira)

Dec. 21, 2009

At Seminar Hall
9.15 am: Delhi V. Muthukumar, S. P. Anantha Padmanabha (Violin), V.V. Pavanamurthy (Mridangam)
11 am: ‘SRINGARA RASA’ Narration by Dr. Pappu Venugopal Rao, Music by Kiranavali Vidyashankar & K.N. Shashikiran, P. Ganesh (Chitravina) Anjana Anand (Dance), Thanjavur Murugaboopathy (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Shreya Adiraju (Vocal), Sandeep Bharadwaj (Violin), R. Ramkumar (Mridangam)
3.20 pm: Manasi Prasad (Vocal), Theme: Mysore Vasudevachar Compositions, Anayampatti Venkatasubramaniam (Violin), R. Shankaranarayanan (Mridangam)

5.00 pm: R. Suryaprakash (Vocal), Dr. Hemalatha (Violin), Erode Nagaraj (Mridangam), Nerkunam Shankar (Khanjira)
7.00 pm: N. Ramani (Flute), Theme: Cascading Melodies, R. K. Shriram Kumar (Violin), Mannargudi Eswaran (Mridangam), A. S. Shankar (Ghatam)

Dec. 22, 2009

At Seminar Hall

9.15 am: S. Srinivasan (Veena), Sherthalai Ananthakrishnan (Mridangam), T. V. Vasan (Ghatam)
11.00 am: Parassala Ponnamal, Bhama Krishnan (Vocal Support), R. K. Shriramkumar (Violin), H.S. Sudhindra (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Vibav Mouli (Vocal), Srinivasa Murthy (Violin), Venkatasubramanian (Mridangam)
3.20 pm: Thiuvarur Girish (Vocal), Theme: T. Brinda, Shri.B. U. Ganesh Prasad (Violin) , Poovalur Srinivasan (Mridangam)

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Mambalam Sisters (Vocal), Theme: Oothukadu Compositions, Srilakshmi (Violin), Ramiah Vittal (Mrudangam), K.S Rangachari (Khanjira)
7.00 pm: Sriram Parasuram & Anuradha Sriram (Vocal), Carnatic-Hindustani Jugalbandhi, R. Rahul (Violin), Umakanth Puranik (Harmonium), Trichur Narendran (Mridangam), Chandrajith (Tabla)

Dec. 23, 2009

At Seminar Hall

9.15 am: Kishan Jeyendran (Mandolin), M. Rajiv (Violin) Villivakkam Raghuram (Mridangam)
11.00 am: V. K. Manimaran (Vocal), Theme: Muruga Muruga, V. V. Srinivasa Rao, Thirupathy Sudhakar (Mridangam), Dr. S. Karthick (Ghatam)
12.45 pm: Maythini Sridharan (Vocal), Kumbakonam R. Selva Prasad (Violin), L. Subramanian – U.S.A (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Bhargavi Ganesh (Vocal), Mysore Sangeetha (Violin), Abhinav Srivatsan (Mridangam)
3.20 pm: Rasika Vishwanath (Vocal) & Party

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna (Vocal), Theme: Maharaja Swati Thirunal Compositions, Shertallai Shivakumar (Violin), Trivandrum Vaidyanathan (Mridangam), Nerkunam Shankar (Kanjira)
7.00 pm: A. Kanyakumari (Violin), Theme: Thyagaraja & Annamacharya, Nishanth Chandran (Violin Support), Patri Satishkumar (Mridangam)

Dec. 24, 2009

At Seminar Hall

9.15 am: V. Deepika (Vocal) Theme: Evergreen M.L.V Melodies, Parur Anantha Krishnan (Violin), Manikandan (Mridangam)
11.00 am: B. Balasubramanian (Canatic Vocal), M. A. Sundaresan (Violin), Srimushanam Raja Rao (Mridangam), T. V. Vasan (Ghatam)
2.15 pm: Trinity School & Party
3.20 pm: Jayalakshmi Sekhar (Veena), Theme: Pancha Bootha Sthalas, S. Balashankar (Mridangam), Cleveland R. Balasubramanian (Kanjira)

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Gayathri Venkatraghavan (Vocal), Theme: Janani – The Universe B.U. Ganesh Prasad (Violin), Erode Nagaraj (Mridangam), N. Guruprasad (Ghatam)
7.00 pm: Maharajapuram S. Ramachandran (Vocal) Maharajapuram Bhaani

Dec. 25, 2009

At Seminar Hall
9.15 am: a Gurukulam – Guru Vandhanam
11.00 am: Rama Ravi and Nandita Ravi (Vocal), M. A. Krishnaswamy (Violin), K. Arun Prakash (Mridangam)
12.45 pm: Students of TKG Gurukulam & Party, Theme: Compositions of Trinities
2.15 pm: Sustaining Sampradaya
3.20 pm: T. K. Ramachandran (Vocal) & Party

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Trichur Ramachandran & Charumathy (Vocal), Theme: G.N.B & M.L.V, V.V.S. Murari (Violin), Trivandrum Vaidyanathan (Mridangam)
7.00 pm: Trivandrum Venkatraman (Veena) & Party

Dec. 26, 2009

At Seminar Hall

9.00 am: Nirmala Rajasekhar (Veena), Ambika Prasad (Violin), M.S. Venkata Subramanian (Mridangam)
10.45 am: Nedanuri Krishnamurthy (Vocal), Theme: Raga Rasas, Malladi Brothers (Vocal Support), N. Ravikiran (Chitravina), K.V. Prasad (Mridangam)
12-45 pm: Harish Ganpathy (Vocal), M. Rajiv (Violin), G. VIjayaganesh (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Karthika & Keerthana (Vocal), Rajiv (Violin), Srivanchiyam Sriram (Mridangam)
3.20 pm: Nisha P. Rajagopal (Vocal), Theme: Shree Sthuthi, Padma Shankar (Violin), Kallidakurichi Shivakumar (Mridangam), N. Rajaraman (Ghatam)

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Mysore Nagaraj & Mysore Manjunath (Violin), Theme: Haridasa Compositions, Thiruvarur Vaidyanathan (Mridangam), Giridhar Udupa (Ghatam)
7.00 pm: Anitha Sivaraman (Bharatanatyam) Margam & Party

Nov. 27, 2009

At Seminar Hall
9.00 am: Krishni Anandrajan (Vocal), S.P. Ananthapadmanabha (Violin), M.S. Venkatasubramanian (Mridangam), Balaji Chandran (Ghatam)
10.45 am: Dr. Prameela Gurumurthy – Aandal Kalyanam (Harikatha), S.P. Ananthapadmanabha (Violin), Trivandrum Vaidyanathan (Mridangam)
12.45 pm: Niveditha Narayanan (Vocal), Shyam (Violin), Ethirajan (Mridangam).
2.15 pm: Kamya & Keerthana (Vocal) & party
3.20 pm: Varalakshmi Anandakumar (Vocal), Poorna Vaidyanathan (Violin), Erode Nagaraj (Mridangam)

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Suguna Purushothaman & Suguna Varadachary (Vocal), Theme: Sriranga Panchrathnam, Amritha Murali (Violin), Trivandrum Vaidyanathan (Mridangam)
7.00 pm: Neyveli Santhanagopalan, Theme: Composer’s insight, Delhi Sundarajan, Chennai Thyagarajan, A. S. Shankar

Dec. 28, 2009

At Seminar Hall

9.00 am: Vasudha Keshav (Vocal), Theme: Compositions on Devi by Mysore Composers, V. Sanjeev (Violin), Trivandrum Balaji (Mridangam)
10.45 am: Dr.Manda Sudharani (Vocal), Theme: Pallavi Special, Padma Shankar (Violin), V. V. Ramana Murthy (Mridangam)
2.15 pm: Saindhavi & Vinaya (Vocal), Bangalore H.V. Raguram, Srivanjiyam Sriram (Mridangam)
3.20 pm: Sumithra Vasudev (Vocal), Anayampatti Venkatasubramanian (Violin), B. Sivaram (Mridangam)

At Auditorium

5.00 pm: Carnatica Brothers (Vocal), Theme: Sarvam Vishnu Mayam, Mysore Nagaraj (Violin), Mannargudi Easwaran (Mridangam)
7.00 pm: Udayalur Kalyanaraman (Namasankeerthanam), Shethalapathi Balasubramaniam (Vocal Support), Mullaivasal Chandramouli (Violin), Rajamani (Harmonium), Babu Rajasekharan (Mridangam), K. Subramaniam (Dolki)

A festival for Vaggeyakaras and pallavi rendition

Chennai Fine Arts has been hosting this unique festival for six years and into its seventh year now.
The festival is on from Dec. 10, to 14, 2009
Every day there is an hour's window for exclusive Ragam Tanam Pallavi concerts too.

The schedule :
Dec. 10, 2009

5.30 pm : Inauguration and release of bokk 'Palai Azhi'.
6.30 pm : T. N. Krishnan and Viji Krishnan Natarajan - Violin, Guruvayur Dorai - Mridangam, T. V. Vasan - Ghatam

Dec. 11, 2009
5.00 pm : RTP Concert - Niranjana Srinivasan - Vocal, Akkarai Swarnalatha - Violin, M. S. Venkatasubramaniam - Mridangam
6.20 pm : Lecture on compositions of K. Ponnaiya Pillai by Dr. B.M. Sundaram, musicologist
6.45 pm : Concert of compositions of K. Ponnaiya Pillai by Dr. T. S. satyavathi - Vocal, Pakkala Ramadas - Violin, Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar - Mridangam

Dec. 12, 2009
5.00 pm : RTP Concert by T.K. Ramachandran - Vocal, Shertalai Sivakumar - Violin, T.R. Sundaresan - Mridangam
6.20 pm : Lecture on compositions of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar by Dr. B.M. Sundaram
6.45 pm : Concert of compositions of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar by M. S. Sheela - Vocal, V. Sanjeev - Violin, H.S. Sudhindra - Mridangam

Dec. 13, 2009
5.00 pm - RTP concert by G. Madhavan - Vocal, R. Hemalatha - Violin, K. S. Ramana - Mridangam
6.20 pm : Lecture on compositions of Pallavi Gopala Iyer by Dr. Prameela Gurumurthy
6.45 pm : Concert of compositions of Pallavi Gopala Iyer by Mambalam Sisters Vijayalakshmi and Chitra - Vocal, R. Hemalatha - Violin, Thanjavur Subramaniam - Mridangam, K. S. Rangachari - Kanjira

Dec. 14, 2009
5.00 pm : RTP Concert by Srividya Ramnath - Vocal, Srividya R.S. Iyer - Violin, Erode Nagarajan - Mridangam
6.20 pm : Lecture by Prof T.R. Subramaniam
6.45 pm : Concert of compositions of Prof. T,R. Subramaniam by Dr. R. Venkatachalam - Vocal, Kalyani Shankar - Violin, Melakaveri K. Balaji - Mridangam

December 09, 2009

This is for the rasikas

If you love being in as many number of concerts as possible during the season, you can become a 'Rasika Siromani' and win a cash award for yourself.

Conceptualised by Carnatica’s Founder-Director vocalist K.N. Sasikiran, the Rasika Awards aim to encourage rasikas to listen to more music during the December Music Season and also to review the concerts objectively.

The Awards will be presented in two categories – Rasika Shironmani and Rasika Pro.

Rasika Shironmani: This contest is for the best reviews. Rasikas must attend concerts and send in their reviews. The rasikas who write the best reviews will be selected and awarded cash prizes.

Rasika Pro: In this contest, the rasikas who attend the maximum number of concerts will be awarded prizes. Song lists must be complete in all respects – they must include the name of the song, ragam, talam, composer and manodharma details (alapana, tanam, neraval, kalpanaswarams).

To participate in these contests, rasikas can do either of the following:
- Fill in the entry forms available in sabhas across the city, attach details of the concerts attended and submit them at Carnatica’s office:
Srishti’s Carnatica Private Limited
Jammi Building, No. 60, Royapettah High Road,
Mylapore, Chennai – 600 004

Or E-mail the details of the concerts attended to Carnatica at, along with 1. Name, 2. Address, 3. Phone

First Prize – Rs. 10,000, Second Prize – Rs. 5,000, Three Third Prizes - Rs 2,000 for each of these contests

Prizes will be sponsored by Hallmark.

Guidelines to rasikas:

1. Only concerts attended from 10th to 30th of December will be considered.
2. 60% of the marks will be allotted for afternoon concerts and lecture demonstrations.
3. Concerts will be considered as attended only if the rasika stays at least until the end of the main-piece.
4. For every concert, the song list/review must include the names of all performers, venue, time and theme, if any.
5. If the rasika does not recognize a song or a ragam or does not know the composer, he/she can consult someone who does.
6. Only one entry is allowed per person; multiple entries from the same family are allowed.
7. One person can compete in both contests – Rasika Shironmani & Rasika Pro.
8. Entries will be considered only if contact details and song lists are complete in all respects.
9. Last date for receipt of entries: 11 pm, 30th December, 2009

Margazhi Isai Vizha on AIR

Prasar Bharati, Chennai and Academy of Indian Music and Arts (AIMA) promoted by Prof. T.V. Gopalakrishnan recently hosted a five day Isai Vizha at the atudios of AIR, Chennai. These concerts held from Dec. 2 to 6, will be broadcast on AIR's Chennai 1 from Dec. 16 to 25 at 8.45 am.

The following is the schedule:

Dec. 16 - Udayalur Kalyanarama Bhagavathar - Namasankeerthanam
Dec. 17 - T. V. Sankaranarayanan - Vocal
Dec. 18 - M. S. Gopalakrishnan - Violin
Dec. 19 - S. Sowmya - Vocal
Dec. 20 - O. S. Thyagarajan - Vocal
Dec. 21 - E. Gayathri - Veena
Dec. 22 - R. Vedavalli - Vocal
Dec. 23 - N. Ravikiran - Chitraveena
Dec. 24 - Suguna Varadachari - Vocal
Dec. 25 - T.V. Gopalakrishnan - Vocal

Margazhi Maha Utsavam 2009 TV Telecast Schedule

Click on the following image to view in bigger size.

Nada Sudha, Velachery

A music festival will be held from Jan. 1 to 12, 2010 at Nada Sudha, Near Baby nagar, Velachery.
Phone no, 94444 65536, 98410 70390, 99406 56260

Jan. 1, 2010 - Friday
4.30 p.m.- Inauguation
6.30 p.m.- K. Satyanarayanan - Keyboard, M.A. Sundaresan - Violin, J. Vaidyanathan - Mridangam

Jan. 2, 2010 - Saturday
4.30 p.m.- Bombay Laxmi Rajagopalan - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- M.K. Shankaran Namboodri - Vocal, Madurai Balasubramanian - Violin, Melakaveri Balaji - Mridangam, Nanganallur Swaminathan - Ghatam

Jan. 3, 2010 - Sunday
4.30 p.m.- Vijayalakshmi Ramakrishnan - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- N. Vijay Siva - Vocal, Charumathi Raghuram - Violin, A.S. ranganathan - Mridangam

Jan. 4, 2010 - Monday
4.30 p.m.- Neyveli Ramalaxmi - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Akkarai Sisters - Vocal, Ranjini Ramakrishnan - Violin, Nellai Balaji - Mridangam, N. Guruprasad - Kanjira

Jan. 5, 2010 - Tuesday
4.30 p.m.- Amrutha Venkatesh - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Jugalbandhi

Jan. 6, 2010 - Wednesday
4.30 p.m.- Padma Seshadri Sisters - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Carnatica Brothers K.N.Sasikiran, P.Ganesh - Vocal, M.A. Krishnaswamy - Violin, Bangalore Phalgun - Mridangam

Jan. 7, 2010 - Thursday
4.30 p.m.- Master Shyam Murali - Saxophone
6.30 p.m.- Gayathri Venkataraghavan - Vocal, V.V.S. Murari - Violin, Erode Nagarajan - Mridangam, Nerkunam Shankar - Kanjira

Jan. 8, 2010 - Friday
4.30 p.m.- Arthi Srinivasan - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Enselble led by Rajhesh Vaidhya

Jan. 9, 2010 - Saturday
4.30 p.m.- Padma Shankar - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Sikkil Gurucharan - Vocal

Jan. 10, 2010 - Sunday
4.30 p.m.- Sree Usha and Sreesha - Mandolin
6.30 p.m.- O.S. Arun - Vocal, Mullaivasal Chandramouli - Violin, Melakaveri Balaji - Mridangam, Srirangam Kannan - Morsing

Jan. 11, 2010 - Monday
4.30 p.m.- Vaishnavi - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan - Vocal, V.V. Ravi - Violin, Trisur Narendran - Mridangam

Jan. 12, 2010 - Tuesday
4.30 p.m.- Bharathi Ramasubban - Vocal
6.30 p.m.- Neyveli Santhanagopalan - Vocal, Vittal Ramamurthy - Violin, Trichur Mohan - Mridangam, B.S.Purushotham - Kanjira

December 07, 2009

Kerala Music college students in Chennai for season

It is one of the nicest things a government could do to students with regard to cultural exchange.
When M.A.Baby, Hon'ble Minister for Education and Culture of Kerala initiated a cultural exchange in arts and music, he chose the right time for the students to be in Madras.

The students of music from three Govt. colleges in Kerala landed in Chennai early December and spent a week here. There were educative sessions with veterans like Dr. Balamuralikrishna, P. S. Narayanaswamy, 'Chitravina' Ravikiran, T.V. Gopalakrishnan. After the sessions, the students presented Sangeethanjali in groups at Srinivasa Sastri Hall, Luz, Mylapore.

In one of these sessions senior vidwan P.S. Narayanaswami was giving these students a few tips apart from teaching them a new kriti. "Always practise in your own sruti irrespective of whether you have caught cold or other inconveniences. Practise varnams by singing them in 2 kalais and in a single breath for two avarthanams" he said.

Students of Sri Swati Tirunal Music College, The Tripunithura Music College and the Chembai Memorial Music College, Palakad travelled all the way to Chennai and visited a few colleges here including the Teacher Training College at The Music Academy.

It is learnt that the students from the Music Academy in turn will visit the colleges in Kerala to get a hands on feel of learning music in these places and the government of Kerala is sponsoring the entire programme.

A good idea. But not many students in Chennai were seen at these sessions or to listen to the good music presented by the Kerala students. The local students too should have utilised the opportunity to rub shoulders with their counterparts at this programme, one of the observers felt.

Now you can buy December season tickets online

This is for people who visit Chennai for December season.

A few sabhas have opted to have their ticket sale online this year. Season tickets for the December season as well as the daily tickets for the kutcheri of your choice can be bought online now.

To plan and buy the tickets, the schedule of concerts of the sabhas whose tickets are available for purchase online is also up.

Presently, tickets for concerts at Brahma Gana Sabha, Kalarasana, Mudhra and Bharat Kalachar are available online.


December 06, 2009

A chat with 'Ghatam' Karthick

Should the title have been Dr. S. Karthick? This Ghatam player would have preferred this, for he could only tell how hard earned his doctorate was!

It was during a chat session organised by Deccan Chronicle at the Rasam restaurant on Dec. 5, Karthick shared informal moments with his rasikas over a plate of snacks and a cup of coffee.

Blending humour with musical anecdotes, Karthick said in two lines how he rose to be 'Ghatam' Karthick from a mere optional sub-percussionist. And he owed it all to his late father, who did not have a background in music but encouraged his only child to take up this instrument full time.

Now that he travels abroad accompanying Carnatic musicians as well as the fusion artistes, what feedback he gets from the rasikas abroad? He says Hindustani is still better known there. "Perhaps, Carnatic music is badly marketed though it is a very beautiful thing. And of late the Carnatic artistes are getting better in dress sense and presentation, but it was not so a decade ago. This may also have been a reason."

Karthick also shared the lec-dem sessions he had done for the foreign students. "If one talks from the angle of traditional Indian percussion, it does not interest them. You need to make it simple for them to understand and relate to what they can connect with."

For a question on deciding a career in upa-pakkavadyam, Karthick said that it was a bold decision. "One of my father's friends asked me if my scores were very low in plus-two exams and was it the reason for me to choose ghatam. That really irritated me. But my father showed me the right direction to make a mark in what I chose."
And he said that the doctorate was also his father's wish.
"My thesis was on musical intruments in Sanskrit literature. It is kept as reference material im Madras University and a few other colleges. It got delayed by 7 years due to my busy schedule and various other unexpected reasons. Even one of the communications relating to my thesis was lodged in the dead letter office!"

And how is it like workingin films? Karthick recalls his playing before any track getting ready for the song 'Madrasai suthi pakka poren' in May Maadham and playing after everything was over for the song 'Margazhi thingal allava' in the film Sangamam - two contrast situations.

But should the Carnatic music stick to its tradition and be performed in its own format? No says Karthick. There should be scope for flexibility as in Cricket which is now also in T 20 format. "Arts also change with times and we should accept it."

That's how his 'HeArtbeat' ensemble was born and the next day another performance of this ensemble was scheduled with a new item included in it.

Deccan Chronicle already held two such sessions with singers O.S. Arun and Sikkil Gurucharan. It plans to hold more such informal chats with Carnatic artistes. Do watch the daily for announcements.

ALL INDIA RADIO - Contribution to Music, Art And Culture

.................... by Sivapriya Krishnan

After listening to a concert at the AIR Chennai auditorium, held under the banner of Prasar Bharati ( All India Radio, Chennai) alongwith AIMA ( an organisation managed by Mridangam vidwan Sri.T.V.Gopalakrishnan) in the AIR auditorium, I was compelled to pen down my thoughts about the contribution of AIR and DD to our Indian culture.

Prasar Bharati needs no introduction, but definitely needs some advertisement, especially in the wake of todays multiplicity of channels, fragmentation of audiences, fragmented taste preferences and influence of the internet. It also deserves that special pat on its back and a kudos mainly because of the yoeman service that AIR and DD have done in the last 50 years to propagate art , culture, music, social causes et all.

All India Radio, Chennai vaanoli nilayam !!! Isn't this a refrain that many of us in the South are so familiar with ? And the signature tune in raga Sivaranjani ?

AIR in general has been a promoter of music and has given a solid platform for performing artists to display their talents. Though one cannot see the face of the artist, many a vidwan , ustad and pandit have etched their remarkable human voice or the voice of their instrument strongly in the minds of the listeners , through the megahertz frequency !

What a pleasure it is to hear our favourite music or musician sitting comfortably in our couch or chair with a radio on the lap or by the side !!

My memories of growing up as a child in Mumbai, are so strongly drawn towards listening to the radio. I used to be woken up with the strains of music from a radio kept on by my mother at my bedside!! Somehow the radio would catch on the frequency from Chennai, Trichy, Vijayawada (not withstanding the "grrrs" and " hisss" intermittently singing along with the artist). We used to wait for the December season concerts to be broadcasted over the radio and then analyse with a frenzy, the concert and the artist amongst ourselves and friends.

With all the onslaught of a variety of TV, Internet and other electronic and digital options fighting for the mind space of the listener , the AIR has with some intermittent shake-ups, has slowly stuck to its knitting and also evolved with a variety of FM options, privatised broadcast and a wide repertoire of programmes.

The auditorium at the Chennai station of AIR is really big and the acoustics quite good. The staff at the stations are quite competent and have a good experience in matters of recording, broadcast, programming etc.

What the government could however do better would be to motivate the employees, not so much with more money , but with equipping them with better technology, training, attention to a few details, more professionalism in work, reacting to competitive forces, better marketing and administrative abilities.

Archives and recordings of old masters could be made public, with innovative product and marketing techniques and thereby the music and art world will stand to benefit better with more listenership and effective learning.

Margazhi Raagam, the concert film is now on DVD

During the last December Season (2008), a fill length film with a Carnatic music concert and just with that, was released. Featuring Bombay Jayashri and T. M. Krishna singing classical Carnatic compositions ending with a Vande Mataram, is all that the film has in it.

Passionately produced by director Jayendra, the audio recording was done by one of the best sound engineers in the field, H. Sridhar, who is no more around now.

On the launch the producers - Real Image and the team announced that this film will be released on Blu ray, DVD and audio CDs in future. The DVD is being released today in Chennai.
On the official website of this film, many had registered to receive information about the release of the DVD and a few days ago they opened a pre-release booking for those who have registered with them.

Priced at Rs. 1250, this DVD is all set to be released on Dec. 6 at Cafe Ashwita on Dr. Radhakrishnan Salai, Mylapore. US Consul General Andrew Simkin and film maker Mani Ratnam will be the guests at this function.

This DVD is packaged in a colourful booklet with pictures of the concert at the venue, Mutha Venkatasubbarao Hall, Chetpet taken during the making of the film.

The book will also contain lyrics of each song the artistes performed for this film.
If you are the first timers at Cafe Ashwita, contact them on phone no. 2847 6063 to find your way to the location.

You can buy the DVD online at