December 27, 2011

Sparkle Dazzle Electric !

by .....Sivapriya Krishnan

What is the human emotion after witnessing and being through a torrential downpour for three hours at a stretch? What is the feeling when you watch a half hour cracker bursting session? What happens when you are on a zig zag roller coaster ride?

A sense of awe and bewilderment ! One is stupefied and also maybe a trifle shaken! Sense of sparkle and dazzle! High spirited adventure trip?

These are exactly what we could describe of Abhishek Raghuram's concert last evening at the Music Academy.

Unbridled imagination translated into torrential spells of raga and swara phrases. Unstoppable brikhas catching up with one another left one stupefied! To such an extent, that even the mangalam 'pavamaana suthudu pattu ' was not spared !

Abhishek is blessed with a voice that can traverse easily and an imagination that charters unchartered territories. The Vasantabhairavi followed by Needaya Ra dhaa and the Kalyani followed by RTP - un darisanam kidaikumo nataraja dayanidhe, set in chatusra triputa, atheetha eduppu, witnessed all of that which has been said above.

Its amazing to see this young lad being gifted with so much of the musical sense that can be translated much beyond an average thought process. However as in the Kalyani raga, there were more of flashes upon flashes, with little of Kalyani to soak into.At times when he used to land on a traditional phrase format, one heaved a sigh of relief as though one has landed from a roller coaster, only to be lifted into a zig zag again !

As time goes by , without getting too lost into the mechanics of the swaras , if Abhishek lost himself in the ruchi or the flavour of music along with his sparkling imagination, one would see a stupendous artiste non-pareil, blooming prettily for posterity.

Akkarai Subbhalakshmi, is one violinist who has by now demonstrated as to how to maintain fidelity to the main artiste. Her violin transforms into that style and the effect of the concert just multiplies. Kudos to her on her ability to match Abhishek phrase after phrase.

Neyveli Narayanan, needs no introduction. A thoroughbred professional he led the show with equal gusto, ably supported by Guruprasanna on the Khanjira.

December 17, 2011

Music and dance workshops in the park

Mylapore's Nageswara Rao park has become a hub for arts enthusiasts for the past few years.
T.V. Ramprasadh, Carnatic vocalist and his wife Indira Kadambi, a Bharatanatyam dancer have come up with ideas of learning and interactive workshops at this park, this season.
There are workshops and performances in music, dance, yoga and folk arts.
Experts from various styles of arts will conduct the workshops.
Srimushnam Raja Rao, a mridangist as well as a vocalist presented a workshop on Concert techniques for the beginners today.

The workshops at the park continue tomorrow (Dec. 18, 2011) also.
For more information go to

December 16, 2011

Mornings at the Academy

During the season, the Music Academy gets busy from 8 a.m.
The vehicles that bring in the musicians, students with accessories like the tambura, violin, mridangam are always more than the capacity of the car parks inside the campus.
They overflow to the by-lanes close to the Academy, since the vehicles are not directed to St. Ebba's school where, parking in the evening is arranged for by the Academy.
But what flows inside the big  and the small auditoriums is just music.
While the mini hall accommodates talks and demos, the main hall is for the music of the veterans. You can listen to the greats of today's Carnatic music world. It is the time to soak in the music with an authority of the age-old traditions.

The first of the morning sessions at the main hall began with the nadaswaram recital of the couple Sheik Mahaboob Subhani and Kalisha Bi Mahaboob on Dec. 16, 2011.
These concerts are open to all and are not ticketed.

December 14, 2011

Kalachara Marumalarchi at temple

Kalaachara Marumalarchi Trust focusses on reviving Temples as a cultural hub. They conduct their its  arts festival at the Sri Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane for the past few years.
This year the festival is to be held from the December 14 to18, 2011 in the evening.


Dec. 14, 2011

N. Vijay Siva – Vocal, R.K. Shriramkumar – Violin, N. Manoj Siva - Mridangam

Dec. 15, 2011

Udayalur Kalyanaraman - Namasankeertanam

Dec. 16, 2011

Subbu Arumugam - Villu Pattu - Srinivasa Kalyanam

Dec. 17, 2011

Gayathri Venkataraghavan – Vocal, Mysore Shrikanth – Violin, B. Sivaraman – Mridangam, Nergunam Shankar - Kanjira

Dec. 18, 2011

Kalyanapuarm Aravamudhachariar - Harikatha

Live webcast of Sudha Ragunathan's concert today

A couple of concerts this season are scheduled for live webcast.
Today's concert of  Sudha Ragunathan organised by Samudhayaa foundation at Image auditorium in RA Puram at 6 p.m. (IST) will be telecast on Kalakendra's website.

Here is a link to the webcast.

Visit Kalakendra's What's new section for more webcasts. These live webcasts are priced. at $10 each.

December 13, 2011

Catch up with Kartik Fine Arts!

Kartik Fine Arts, one of the leading sabhas in Chennai, is hosting 37th year of their art festival today. It was inaugurated on Dec. 1, 2011 and the festival runs till Jan. 15, 2012.

With more than 100 concerts and dance events in their list, the sabha has found a way to document their 'season'. A brief account of the day's main events are published on their website every day.

While many other sabhas are struggling to get an online presence, Kartik Fine Arts has started to use the technology to its advantage. This also gives the rasikas a feel of what happens at the concerts daily.

Read their daily news reports online here.

Click here for Kartik Fine Arts December Art Festival programme

December 10, 2011

Prapatti Margam - A preview

A thematic Bharatanatyam, Prapatti Margam by the established dancers Roja Kannan, Priya Murle, Srikanth and Ashwathy Srikanth is scheduled for performance at Bharat Kalachar today at 7.15 p.m.

Priya Murle speaks about the concept and the uniqueness of the production.

Watch video:

Video recording by Digi Sound Studio, Chennai

News Bulletin - Dec. 10, 2011

Listen to today's news bulletin and plan your day!

Recorded at Digi Sound

Live webcast of lec-dem mela

A three day lec-dem mela organised by Music Forum and Sruti magazine is on from today 9 a.m. at Aarkay convention Hall, Luz, Mylapore.
The theme for the lec-dem series is Manodharma in Carnatic music.
The sessions are live webcast by from the venue.

No fee, no registration required to view the webcast.

December 09, 2011

Sri Krishna Gana Sabha's festival begins

The fifty sixth art and dance festival began at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha today with a grand inaugural function today at 6 p.m.

The award Nritya Choodamani was conferred on Odissi exponents Supupa Sen and Bijayini Satpati and Acharya Choodamani was presented to Bharatanatyam dancer Roja Kannan.

It was an emotional moment for dancer Roja Kannan. While delivering her acceptance speech she remembered her gurus with a great respect.

Krishna Gana Sabha's festival is a long one, with the music festival running till Jan. 1, 2012, followed by a dance festival till Jan. 13, 2012 and a Nadaswara vizha from Jan 14, 2012 till end Jan.

Here are a few photos of the function held today.

December 08, 2011

Celebrations for the abhinaya exponent

................... By L. Baba Prasad

The 83rd birthday of guru Kalanidhi Narayanan was celebrated at another notable yesteryear dancer's place on Dec. 7, 2011. It was held at the Spaces on the Elliots Beach Road, the home of dancer Chandralekha which now has a space for performances.

Dancers Bragha Bessel and Sangeeta Isvaran organised a performance called ‘Unusual Padams and Javalis’ to celebrate their guru's birthday.
It was a packed morning where the students of dance from various schools including Kalakshetra were present to celebrate and honour the abhinaya exponent. Kalanidhi Mami, as she is called affectionately by the dancers community, is known for her abhinayas for padams. Dancers like Leela Samson, the director of Kalakshetra and scholars like Pappu Venugopala Rao, Gowri Ramnarayan, senior dancers Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar, Adyar Lakshman and art patrons like Cleveland Sundaram were seen at this warm function.

Mami also enthralled the audience by demonstrating a few abhinayas for the padams sung by Dr. Subhashini Parthasarathy and Geetha Raja, on the spot, sitting on the chair. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Kalanidhi mami is quite unassuming and teaches even today to interested students of dance.

Lifetime Achivement award to Radha Viswanathan on M.S' Remembrance day

Brahma Gana Sabha will be observing the seventh Remembrance Day of the Carnatic melody queen M.S.Subbulakshmi and celebrate the 77th Birthday of Radha Viswanathan on the 11th of December, 2011

The event will be held at 9.30 a.m. at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium.
On this occasion Gopalakrishna Gandhi (former Governor of West Bengal) will present the Lifetime Achievement award to vocalist Radha Viswanathan, disciple of M.S. Subbulakshmi.
Nalli Kuppusami Chetti will preside over the function. senior mridangist T.K.Murthy, Cleveland V.V.Sundaram and A. Natarajan, former Doordarshar director will Felicitate.
The function will be followed by a grand music Concert by Radha Viswanathan and her Grand daughter Aiswarya accompanied by R.K.Shriramkumar on the violin, Parameswaran on the mridangam, Anirudh Athreya on the kanjira and N.Guruprasad on the ghatam.

December 06, 2011

Thyagaraja Aradhana on Jan. 13, 2012

If you are in Chennai for the 'season' this time, you may want to plan a short trip to Thiruvaiyaru for the Thyagaraja Aradhana. This year the aradhana comes just at the close of the season. Starts on Jan. 9 and the aradhana rendering of Pancha ratna kritis is on Jan. 13, 2012. G. Rangaswamy Moopanar, president, Sri Thyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha has announced the dates yesterday at the pandalkal muhurtham held at Thiruvaiyaru.

This is the Pushya Bagula Panchami day when saint Thyagaraja attained samadhi 164 years ago. With the good monsoon that is still lingering over the coastal Tamil Nadu, listening to music sitting on the banks of River Cauvery at Thiruvaiyaru is itself an experience.

December 05, 2011

News Bulletin - Dec. 5, 2011

Listen to today's news bulletin and plan your day!

Recorded at Digi Sound

December 04, 2011

A Recknoner for Chennai music season

The handy book listing all the concerts of the season complied by S. Kannan and sponsored by Nalli is brought out every year at the beginning of the season.
The handbook for this year is released on Dec. 3, 2011.
Copies are available at All the Nalli outlests - in Panagal Park and in 100, Usman Road stores in T. Nagar, at the Adyar Nalli and Nalli Boutique on TTK Road, Alwarpet.

Copies can also be had from Brahma Gana Sabha and Narada Gana Sabha for a limited period.

News Bulletin - Dec. 4, 2011

Listen to today's news bulletin and plan your day!

Recorded at Digi Sound

December 03, 2011

The South India Heritage Lecture series

A series of lec-dems on weekends will be held at the TAG Centre, Chennai hosted by the South India Heritage Lecture Series

During the season this year 4 talks / lectures are held during the Sundays - Dec.4, 11, 18 and 25, 2011.

Admission only by invitation. Please mail your request to

The schedule:

Dec. 4, 2011 - Tradition, transition and transformation in Kuchipudi dance: Lecture by Dr Papu Venugopala Rao. Dance demo by Vedantam Venkatachapathi from Kuchipudi village

Dec. 11, 2011 - Lecture by Kanniks Kannikeswaran - The Voice in Western Music.

Dec. 18, 2011 - Lecture on 'Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar' by V. Sriram

Dec. 25, 2011 - Lecture on Thiruvavaduthurai Rajarathnam Pillai by V. Sriram

TAG Centre is at 69, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai.

News Bulletin - Dec. 3, 2011

Listen to today's news bulletin and plan your day!

Recorded at Digi Sound

Does Mother Know Best?

By Rani Ramaswamy

I was all of five years old when my mother decided that it was time I got acquainted with our rich musical tradition. Even at that young age, I sensed her excitement. I also realized, with a sinking feeling that it didn't bode well for me. Seriously, our musical tradition, rich or otherwise, was but of passing interest to me, and besides, I had my own ideas about how I could spend my time - like playing cricket or flying kites with my brothers.

Too young to speak my mind, I trotted along obligingly for my lessons from a Bhagavathar whose credentials had been thoroughly investigated. Unfortunately a few months after I started taking lessons, the man died of a heart attack.

Although my wicked brothers darkly hinted that my singing might have had a hand in his sad demise, I didn't take his passing personally. But I must admit I was quite glad to get back to my friends - that might have tipped my brothers off, I suppose. But those were more innocent times, so no connection was made, and no criminal investigation was initiated.

Although a trifle disheartened at this setback, it was not long before my parents found another teacher. An excellent woman, well qualified, she had the reputation for enforcing the kind of discipline that would have been the envy of the commander-in-chief of the army in Nazi Germany.

The bad news was the lessons were in the morning, at 6:30, before school, and my mother would have to chaperone me. I was relieved - with a family to feed and a household to run, I thought gleefully, there was no way she was going to be able to spare the time. But my mother was a woman on a mission and was not about to let minor details stand between her and her vision of the future for her only daughter.

She organized the kitchen so she didn't miss a beat as far as her work was concerned. She would wake me up at 5:30 in the morning, so I would have time to shower and get ready. At this point in the game I was a little older and wiser and knew all about the squeaky wheel getting the grease, so I complained loudly at being roused at this ungodly hour, but sad to say, my complaints fell on deaf ears.

Of course, once I was out of bed and ready to go, I enjoyed the morning walk to my music teacher's home. The city was just beginning to come to life, with the stray milkman on his bicycle, his milk cans loudly clattering against each other, and a few crazy people who liked to take early morning walks - this was before fitness became fashionable.

The trees by the corner of my street would be bursting with red blooms. Further down, there was a tree with jasmine whose fragrance was so heady, I had to pause and smell them, before I happily skipped on and caught up with my mother. Actually by the time I reached my teacher's home I would be in a good mood, but I never let on - I didn't want either of them to think I was enjoying any of this.

My music teacher wholeheartedly shared my mother's philosophy. A perfectionist, she would demand that we memorize the entire Ganamritha Varna Malika, including the introduction, the glossary of ragas with their Arohanams and Avarohanams, and everything in between, or else. The 'or else' meant we had to stand in the corner for the entire duration of the one hour period.

We were a dozen girls of various ages subjected to this cruel and unusual punishment. At different stages of our musical evolution, some of us regrettably not as talented as the others, we would sing loudly and lustily at the highest pitch - thankfully, the room we were in was noise proofed; our teacher resorted to this desperate measure because the neighbors could not take it any more. I am convinced that Shelley, had he heard us, would have cringed and thought twice before he wrote his ode to the skylark.

Back in those days, in a lot of South Indian households, girls were routinely corralled and shipped out to music classes. Once safely there, the teacher had the daunting task of attempting to imbue them with some love of classical music. Knowing as I do now, how resistant I was to being thus imbued, the music teacher had one demoralizing job.

But my teacher, quite the original, delivered, and I fell in love with classical music in a big way. To my utter surprise, the music actually grew on me; pretty soon I was going for my lessons willingly, even going so far as to read and write in Tamil, much to my mother's astonishment, so I could gain a better feel for the music.

I delved deep into the world of Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Purandaradasa and others with a degree of enthusiasm I could never have anticipated that fateful day when I had my first lesson and was taught the Sa Pa Sa.

In retrospect, I think I may have been just a little uncharitable to my mother. Perhaps I should have told her how much I loved those early morning walks with her. Perhaps I should have even go so far as to admit how grateful I was, but then again perhaps not – after all why state the obvious?

December 02, 2011

Meenakshi Sundararajan Fine Arts Academy

A fine arts festival is hosted by the fine arts wing of Meenakshi College for the past few years.
Venue: Meenakshi College for Women, K.R.S. Auditorium, Arcot Road, Kodambakkam.
Contact Phone no: 24725466


Dec. 4, 2011 - Sunday
6.00 p.m. - Inauguration
6.30 p.m. - Sudha Ragunathan - Vocal

Dec. 5, 2011 - Monday
11.30 a.m. - Prema Rangarajan - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - M.R. Subramaniam - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Rajini Hariharan - Vocal
6.30 p.m. - Subhashini Parthasarathy - Vocal

Dec. 6, 2011 - Tuesday
11.30 a.m. - Janardhan Mitta - Sitar, Rimpa Siva - Tabla
2.00 p.m. - Radha Bhaskar - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Papanasam Ashok Ramani - Vocal
6.30 p.m. - Prashant Prasad - Vocal

Dec. 7, 2011 - Wednesday
11.30 a.m. - Lakshmi Venkatesh - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - Lakshmi Vijayaraghavan - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Saroja Vaidyanathan - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - S. Sowmya - Vocal

Dec. 8, 2011 - Thursday
11.30 a.m. - Anugraha Sridhar - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - P. Rahul Narayanan - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Roja Kannan - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Priya Jayaraman - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 9, 2011 - Friday
11.30 a.m. - Ramjhi's Isaimazhalai Group - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Bhooma Kasturi - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Master Visweswar - Flute
6.30 p.m. - A.K.C. Natarajan - Clarinet

Dec. 10, 2011 - Saturday
11.30 a.m. - K.V. sathya Sangeetha & Purushothaman - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - Mumbai G. Shilpa - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Deepthi Ravi - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 11, 2011 - Sunday
6.00 p.m. - Urmila Sathyanarayana - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 12, 2011 - Monday
11.30 a.m. - Geetha Bennett - Veena
2.00 p.m. - M. Nandini - Violin
4.00 p.m. - Shobana Ramesh - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Gayathri & Balagurunathan - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 13, 2011 - Tuesday
11.30 a.m. - Sudha Vijayakumar - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - J.A. Jayanth - Flute
4.00 p.m. - Sukanya Kumar - Kathak
6.30 p.m. - Parvati Ravi Ghantasala - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 14, 2011 - Wednesday
11.30 a.m. - Sumathi Narayanan - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Swetha Ravishankar - Bharathanatyam
4.00 p.m. - Salem Sriram - Vocal
6.30 p.m. - Nithyasree Mahadevan - Vocal

Dec. 15, 2011 - Thursday
11.30 a.m. - Archana Narayanamurthy - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - Shankar Mahadevan - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Deepta Seshadri - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Vasundhara Rajagopal - Vocal

Dec. 16, 2011 - Friday
11.30 a.m. - Nadamuni Gayathri - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Swetha Vijayaraghavan - Bharathanatyam
4.00 p.m. - Smitha Madhav - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Saradha Ilangovan - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 17, 2011 - Saturday
11.30 a.m. - Jayshma G B - Bharathanatyam
2.00 p.m. - C.R. Abhinaya & C.R. Akshaya - Bharathanatyam
4.00 p.m. - Madhavapeddi Murthy - Kuchipudi
6.30 p.m. - Sulakshana Jayaram - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 18, 2011 - Sunday
6.00 p.m. - O.S. Thyagarajan - Vocal

Dec. 19, 2011 - Monday
11.30 a.m. - N. Harish - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Adithya Prakash - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Sneha - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Divya Kasturi - Bharathanatyam

Dec. 20, 2011 - Tuesday
11.30 a.m. - Lakshmi Sriram - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Sushma Somsekar - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Ajith Das - Bharathanatyam
6.30 p.m. - Geetha Krishnamurthy

Dec. 21, 2011 - Wednesday
11.30 a.m. - Lalitha Mohan - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Iyer Sisters Srividhya & Sudha - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - Nirmala Rajasekar - Veena
6.30 p.m. - Gayathri Girish - Vocal

Dec. 22, 2011 - Thursday
11.30 a.m. - Ramakrishnan Murthy - Vocal
2.00 p.m. - Chaitra Sairam - Vocal
4.00 p.m. - G.S. rajan - Flute
6.30 p.m. - Binny Krishnakumar & Krishnakumar - Vocal

December 01, 2011

Three day music festival by Laya Madhuraa

Laya Mdhuraa is hosting a three day festival at Arkat Convention Centre on Royapettah High Road from Dec. 1 to 3, 2011.

The schedule:

Dec. 1, 2011 - Thursday
5.30 p.m. - Felication to N.Ramani By Cleveland Sundaram, T N Krishnan ,Kamakoti, Deccan Murthy & A.S.Ramakrishnan.Conferering Title 'Madhura Kala Bhushana' on Dr. N.Ramani
6.45 p.m. - K.Girish -Vocal, Nagai Muralidharan -Violin, T K Murthy - Mridangam, B.Sivaraman - Mridangam

Dec. 2, 2011 - Friday
10.00 a.m. - Manasi Prasad - Vocal , B. Ananthakrishnan - Violin, Mannagudi Subramaniam - Mridangam
11.00 a.m. - Mohan Santhanam - Vocal, K J Dileep - Violin , Krishna Raj - Mridangam
5.30 a.m. - Dr. Ganesh - Vocal, V V Srinivasa Rao - Violin, Kudanthai Saravanan - Mrithangam, Trichy Murali - Ghatam
7.30 p.m. - T N Krishnan & Viji Krishnan - Violin Duet, T V Gopalakrishnan - Mridangam, Vaikom Gopalakrishnan - Ghatam

Dec. 3, 2011 - Saturday
9.15 a.m. - Ms.Vidya Bharathi - Vocal, S P Aanthapadmanabha - Violin, Delhi S.Raghunandan - Mridangam
10.00 a.m. - Sri Vighnaraja - Vocal , Akkarai Subbulakshmi - Violin, K.V.Prasad - Mridangam, Vaikom Gopalakrishnan - Ghatam
4.00 p.m. - Srikrishnan - Veena, Sriram - Mrudangam, B.Subba Rao - Ghatam.
5.15 p.m. - Invocation and Lighting of Kuthuvilakku.
Conferring th Title 'Madhura Kala Sevaka' on N A Ramachandran by R.Krishnaswamy Prez of Sabha Federation
5.30 p.m. - Geetha Rajasekar - Vocal, N.C .Madhav - Violin, Pongulam Subramaniam - Mridangam, A S Krishnan - Morsing
7.15 p.m. - S. Saketharaman - Vocal, V.V.Ravi - Violin, Mannargudi Eswaran - Mridangam