Monday, 29 August 2016

2016 Aug 28 SanjaySubrahmanyan S Varadarajan Neyveli Venkatesh Alathur Rajganesh @ SVT Malleshwaram

Vocal: Vid. Sanjay Subrahmanyan  
Violin: Vid. S Varadarajan 
Mridanga: Vid. Neyveli Venkatesh 
Khanjari: Vid. Alathur Rajganesh 

Venue: Sri Venugopalakrishna Swamy Temple,  Malleshwaram

Occasion: Gokulashtami Celebrations

01 sAmi ninnE nammina nApai varNa kAmavardhini Adi ShatkAla narasayya

02 ini oru kaNam shrIranjani rUpakA pApanAsam sivan (S ) 
Swara @ ini oru kannam and Yadukula tilaka

03 kaNDEn kaNDEn swAmiya bEDikoNDe kannaDa chApu p.dAsa (A, S) 
Swara @ kanDe

04 sOundara rAjam AshrayE brundhAvana sAranga rUpaka m.dhIkshithar

05 vErevvare nIvEgati surUTi Adi tyAgarAja (A)

06 tatvamerugataramA garuDadhwani rUpaka thyAgarAja (S)

07 bAla gOpAla bhairavi Adi m.dIkshithar (A, N, S, T)
Nereval @ vainika gAyaka 

08 karpUram nArumO khmAs aNDAL nAciyAr tirumozhi

09 viruttum (UrilEn kaaNi yillai)
rAgamAlika in kAmbOdhi, kApi, bEhAg, karnAtaka dEvagAndhAri 

10 bridAvanam iduvO uyar karnATaka dEvagAndhAri ?  shuddAnanda bhArati

11 nijagAdasa  sindhu bhairavi Adi Jayadeva Astapadi (24th Poem)

12 engum niraindhAyai kurinji pApanAsham shivan

13 nI nAma rUpamulaku mangaLa sourAshtra Adhi thyAgarAja

The overcast day bore the best weather for a concert (or for the lazy bums - a cup of chai and hot bajji/ Bonda). I chose the former, to witness the master in his new avatar. I believe the music has also reached that level of popularity.

Notwithstanding the possible troublesome ride through the Sunday market at Malleshwaram that leads to the venue (Being the last weekend before another pair of festivals next weekend) expected to be entertained by the not so KARNAtick jam on the road. The ride offered a different experience.

Being at the venue earlier than standard lead up time, provided ample opportunity to catch up with a few online friends who share similar music taste.

While the stage was still being setup by the mic-man, was in for a pleasant shock to see simple amplifiers and nothing else that lead the cables to the mics. Wondered if this would be sufficient to create ambience for a great evening. That was complimented by down to earth Vid. Sanjay who as usual, did a couple of seconds of throat check before starting off the flood for the evening.

I had the prime spot to witness the happenings of the evening, 10 ft across the stage right in front of him (as the picture indicates my perspective)

Raising directly to the tAra sthyAyi, the pantuvarALi varNa brought in the first whiff of what was in the store (like the oggaraNe at home) for the rest of the evening.

Making way for a shudda- madhayama krithi, the ini oru kaNNam krithi in shrIranjani kept me in tangential thinking mode as I was prActicing AbhOgi earlier during the day.  The occasion being KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI, the krithi aligned to the divine mood of the day. The interesting swara patterns switching between ini oru kaNNam and Yadukula tilaka made the presentation much more attractive.

kannaDa AlApane followed by a kannaDa song "kaNDEn kaNDEn swAmiya bEDikoNDe" amongst the large populace of Tamil audience was a nice choice. Who else is a better choice than sangIta pitAmaha to praise Krishna.

Soundara rAjam in the sedate pace (I don’t think Sanjay can sing slower than this !) restored the energy levels of the artists as well as the audience. Would have loved AlApane in brindAvana sAranga, but you cannot ask for more when the best was next in store.

Whenever I drive to a concert, I'm in a dilemma on placing a request for a specific song. Today too I experienced the same (surUTi and bhairavi were on my mind). As a second thought, just pulled back myself allowing the master to present his choice than we pushing and distorting his list for the day.

First notes of surUTi made me appreciate my 6th sense. Déjà vu. The best zone of the concert began unfolding as both the artists started improvising the rAga. As it went past 15 mins, started getting clues of a possible RTP for the evening. Devoid of popular songs praising lord Vishnu, Vid. Sanjay's choice for the day was "verevvare nIvegati" praising the other form of Vishnu. Was thoroughly disappointed when the presentation ended without any nereval / swara embellishments! It would have been interesting to see what was the best spot for a nereval. (I could not find another rendition of this composition in my library !). After my recent learning on presentation of dEsAdi tAla, this was the first live experience of seeing one, without any disturbance between me and the artist.

tatvameruga tarama with detailed swara prastAra provided yet another opportunity to Vid. Varadaraj to prove his "BEING SHADOW" capabilities, when the last set of swaras were almost 2 minutes long, which I believe he replicated note-to-note !! God Bless these artists with great health and energy to keep the audience on their toes. Agree with a fellow rasika, on the whole composition being "sung in a carnival spirit" 

Bhairavi notes poured out the suspense for the evening. Expected an RTP / bAla gOpAla. The detailed AlApane was methodical and classy. The heaviness of the rAga was leisurely traversed wide and deep, more paving way into a krithi than an RTP. bAla gOpAla and his all musical antiquities were delineated in various sangatis, with nereval taken up at vainika gAyaka. A very interesting choice, deviating from the popular spot in the earlier part of the krithi. The swaras too occupied a greater part of manodharma. The swara patterns ending with " ma pa da" was well replicated and refined by Vid. S Varadaraj.

Tani started with a brisk "arudhi". The second round was very elaborate with khaNDa naDe which extended to khanda triSra. Which was a risky attempt but well managed at last. The korapu was in triSra naDe. Tani Avarthane was finally concluded in a beautifully modified mohra and a muktAya in triSra.

20 mins of tail included karpUram nArumo, viruttum in bEhAg, nijadAsa, engum niraindhyAyai - some of Sanjay's favourites for Bangalore audience. While he declined to honour the organizer’s request of RTP, good justice was done in viruttum and sindhubhairavi AlApane that preceded nijagA dAsa. Each of the compositions praising the lord of the occasion.

Sanjay's eye for detail and his musical sensibilities were both on display in the charanam of brindAvanam iduvO. His differentiated use of "ka" and "ga" in the word "kAnam" to denote the Brinda"Vanam" and then as "gAnam" for the Lord's music - veNu gAnam to be specific - was really noteworthy

Vid. Neyveli Venkatesh adhered to a soft (sowkya) style of accompaniment all through. Varna was followed almost perfectly. Being a regular accompaniment, this is an added advantage. All others krithis were followed without disturbing the main artist's mood and imagination. The same continued in the main piece as well. Accompaniment to the swarAs was really appreciable.  The accompaniment to the nAma-sankIrthana was very soothing and well-balanced with melkAla naDais. Mukthayas to all songs were simple and accurate.

AlApanes themselves occupying more than 55 mins in a 3 hr concert itself is an indication of justice done to each rAga chosen for the day. In a marathon 14 years of continuous appearance at the temple for "gITa sEVA" Sanjay has never repeated a song on this stage - an indication of growing repertoire with Guru and Almighty blessings. 

A memorable evening with Sanjay once again. Can’t wait till November when we get to listen to him twice !

Thursday, 18 August 2016

2016 Aug 17 RamaksrishnanMurthy LRamakrishnan ManojSiva SukanyaRamgopal @ Unnati

Vocal: Vid. RamaksrishnanMurthy 
Violin: Vid. LRamakrishnan 
Mridanga: Vid. ManojSiva 
Ghata: Vid. SukanyaRamgopal 

Occasion:: 39th Gokulashtami Celebrations at SGBS Trust / Unnati

01 sadguru gajAsya  ...bEgaDe shlOka followed by

nAda tanumanisham chittaranjani Adhi thyAgarAja (S)
Swara @  nAda tanumanisham 

02 nIlAyatAkSi nIvE jagatsAkSi paras tiShra tripuTa ShyamaShastri

03 nenaruncinAnu anniTiki nidhAnuDani nEnu nIdu mALavi Adi tyAgarAja (A, CS, S)

swara @ nenarunchi nAnu

04 pankaja lochana kalyAni swAthi thirunAl (A, N, S)

Nereval @ brindAvanAntakrita 

05 swAmi mukhya prANA yadukula kAMbOdhi rUpaka p.dAsa

06 shrI rAjagOpAla bAla sAvEri Adhi m.dIkshitar (A, CS, N, S, T)

Nereval @ nArAyaNa tAraka divya 

07 rAga tAna pallavi ChaturaSra tripuTa khaNDa naDai eDupu 2 akshara (or one beat) before samam

Pallavi line: AhObilaharim naraharim sadA AshrAye. . mAlOlam murArim

Ragamalika. ..hindOLa. ..AbhOgi. ..atANA. .ranjani. . 
NAgaswarAvali... Malayamaruta. . bhupAla...mOhana. .nIlAmbari. .kannaDa... Sindhubhairavi .. sAranga. . SurUTi 

08 eppo varuvArO jOnpuri Adhi gOpAla krishNa bhArathi

09 viruttum rAgamAlika

Shrutva gunan - Bhagavata - bEhAg 
Ai murali - Shikshastaka - darbAri kAnaDa 
Kasturi tilakam - Krishnakarnamruta-surUTi

10 jalaja bandhu suraTi chApu swAthi thirunAL followed by mangaLam kOsalEndrAya in surUTi

Earlier this week, while conducting a workshop on quality for the young guns who recently joined my team, I had set them a challenge of ability to compile for the first time (without any second attempt) the code they write. Quite a few of them raised their eye brows that its next to impossible/ inhuman to achieve that level of perfection during coding. I’m 200% sure, if Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy had taken a vocational career based on his education, he would have delivered the same with ease. On the other hand, I could have asked my new colleagues to attend his concert to see how he delivers it each time he takes the stage and set a new definition of perfection.

I came out of the concert hall with a similar feeling, that I could exemplify this (real life example than referring to hearsay sources) in my next training sessions.

In simplest words, I would say this was THE BEST concert that I have attended till date in this year. He has set new levels of benchmark in each of the 5 concerts that I have attended.

Being an early bird to the hall, on a midweek day of a short work week fetched me a cozy front row seat to witness 2 Ramakrishnan(s) deliver one of the most memorable concert of the season / year. The curtains rolled over on the strike of the 18.00 hrs., we were already treated for a few voice test samples, indicating what was in store for us.

A bEgade shlOka paying Obeisance to guru to grant all energy for the concert, (more on this by RSachi @ paved way for a Chittaranjani composition in praise of Shiva. The flow of swarAs from both Ramakrishnan's was mellifluous. The uninterrupted flow lasted for a greater portion of the presentation making it a leisurely start.

The second presentation was devoted to Shiva's consort of Nagaikaaronam temple, a Shakti pITa of the sapthavitanga sthalams. The blue eyed boy of the day praised the blue eyed mother through the krithi nIlAyatAkshi, as bhakti poured out of the sangatis of the Pallavi. There was no need for embellishments for us to feel the fullness.

Though its customary (ARI School) to have the first detailed AlApane for the third song, mAlavi was a short AlApane that preceded nenarunchara, the Eka rAga krithi of tyAgarAja. The chiTTeswaras and the kalpana swarAs were delivered at ease.

Surprise detailed AlApane came in for kalyANi krithi pankaja lOchana. It turned out to be sub-main of the concert with audience applauding both the cause (vocal) and the effect (violin replies) with equal fervor. The mood set for the krithi was carried through well with apt accompaniments on percussion, with immense control exercised on both decibel and the content.

Though Anandabhairavi as a rAga resonates well with me (I have heard this version by Bellary Raghavendra), the yadukula kAmbOdhi version (tuned by RK ShriramKumar) of swAmi mukhya prANa evoked similar resonance in me. The additional info of kshetra composition was added bonus to swaying audience.

My desire for more sAvEri in the previous concert was satisfied with the team dwelling in soulful sAvEri. Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy swayed all three octaves with ease and LR following him like a shadow. Vid. L Ramakrishnan being a new comer on CM arena here in Bangalore had already made audience take a note of his virtuosity. Listening to the concert blind folded, one could have mistaken him to any other veteran in the field. The music was so deep that audience forgot to applaud as the hall reverberated in crests and troughs through the ocean of sAvEri. Those 15 minutes were far into the seventh sea of the musical world.

An apt krithi praising the deity of mannArguDi, srI rAjagOpAla, the sAvEri epic by muttuswAmi dIkshitar, also adding another to the list of composers for the day. The neraval was profound, the accompaniments added their luster with their respective illustrious bAni brought out the best combination for the day. Though I have not had fortune of
listening to yester year masters, this just reflected a 21st century combination of their respective gurus enthralling the audience.

Well-paced innumerable cycles of mELkAla neraval and kalpanA swarAs paved way into a gripping Tani. Both Vid. Manoj Siva and Vid. Sukanya Ramgopal brought out their best to add to already decked up sAvEri. Post Tani, the second charana of the song was presented to bring an end to the most divine hour of the evening.

Though the Tani was detailed, the elite and engrossed audience were not deprived of a RTP. A brief VOT paved way into take off notes of bilahari. RTP Pallavi line dedicated to another avatAra of vishnu - narasimha / abhObila was well intertwined into the Pallavi line to bring in the rAga mudra. The tricky 2 akshara before samam added luster to the unending series of rAgamALika swarAs that were poured alternately by Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy and Vid. L Ramakrishnan.

Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy and team demonstrated Eppo varuvaAro could also be presented in an evocative pace. It was presented at a pace, as though he had a train to catch a week later. It certainly opened up another melodious facet of both the composition and the rAga. A grand tribute to KVN bAni here.

While we were wondering what next (as it was nearing scheduled closing time of the concert), Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy presented a meditative set of 3 shlOkAs in rAgamALika, finally drifting into jalaja bandhu.

Vishnu, Krishna and Narasimha with AnjanEya, Shiva and Parvati would have certainly wished for taking front row seat for such an evocative concert.  No doubts these artists will scale heights, and I’m fortunate to be a contemporary to be alive to listen to them in person. No regrets being born late while such splendorous music is on offer now and then.

Thanks to Unnati for organizing such wonderful evenings. God Bless all.

PS: May be one of the tamburi artists could be more attentive and disciplined on the stage. It was quite evident of the careless strumming of tamburi from my seat.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

2016 Aug 09 GJRKrishnan Vijayalakshmi TumkurBRavishankar UNGiridharUdupa @ Unnati

Violin Duet: Vid. GJRKrishnan Vijayalakshmi
Mridanga: Vid. TumkurBRavishankar 
Ghata: Vid. UNGiridharUdupa 

Ocassion:: 39th Gokulashtami Celebrations at SGBS Trust / Unnati

01 nIvE gatiyani niratamu ni padamule mammiti naLinakAnti Adi Lalgudi Jayaraman (O)

02 muddumOmu ElAgu celangEnO sUryakAnta tALa thyAgarAja(O, S ) 

Swaras @ muddu mOmu 

03 vENugAna lOluni ganavEyi kannulu gAvalene kEdAragauLa rUpaka thyAagaraja (A)

04 marugElarA O rAghavA jayanthashrI Adi thyAgarAja (O)

05 shrI rangapuravihAra brindhAvana sArangA rUpaA m.dikshitar (A, S)

Swara @ Sankata harana gOvinda 

06 shankari shamkuru candramukhi sAvEri Adi syAma sAstri (A, S)

Swara @ Shambhavi Sarasija Bhava Vandite Gauri

07 mOhana rAmA mukhajita mOhanam tyAgarAja (A, N, S, T)

Nereval @ mOhana rAma

08 RTP rasikapriyA chaturaSra tripuTa 2 Kalai Edupu 1.5 beats ??

rAga grahabedham into hamsanAdam

Pallavi Line: Krishna mukunda murAre vENugAna rasikapriya 

RAgamAlika swara in kAnaDa, varALi, KuntalavarALi, Sindhubhairavi

09 tIrAda vilayAttuppillai rAgamAlika mahAkavi subramanya bArati

10 bArO KrishNayyA mAND Adhi KanakadhAsa

11 tiruppugazh dwijAvanti Adi AruNagirinAthar

12 tillAna mOhankalyANi Adi LGJ

13 nI nAma rUpamulaku mangaLa sourAshtra Adhi thyAgarAja

What are the benefits of being a fan of aesthetic music? There are no rewards for the guesses. You are treated to your heart's content with sampradAya sangIta, to an exclusive audience without the disturbance from the so called gallery crowd who thong the auditorium (I don’t know why, they love to come to disturb others through their chit-chat!), and get to occupy VIP reserved seats to get the best view of the artists on the stage.

Being a working day, had to plan the whole day at office to make myself available to attend this long awaited concert. When I attended TMK's concert a couple of days back, tried out the METRO option to reach the venue. Not a great experience though. In the name of convenience, I almost spent an additional 2 hrs away from home!

The hopes were high on the torch bearers of Lalgudi bAni. It was tradition all over, meditative to the core and there was something melodiously new and refreshing about the way each song was presented and improvised. Well, that’s what makes a great artist.

The curtains rolled up on the dot. Sticking to their tradition of announcing the songs, the first one, customary obeisance to Guru, the Sibling duo presented a refreshing naLinakAnti varNa without any additional kalpanA swarAs.

Then came the lilting muddumOmu, a brief AlApane to prelude and beautifully rounded off with kalpanA swarAs.

The first of the detailed AlApane came in form of a lilting kEdAragauLa, which showcased the rAga lakshaNa very well. The krithi was rendered nicely with few rounds of kalpanA swarAs.
The short outline of jayantaShri provided enough clue to the filler krithi " marugElara O rAghava" was in the queue

The next elaboration for the evening was brindAvana sAranga. It had all the rangu (colours) that the rAga could be decorated with. Brisk and leisurely sangatis in AlApane provided clue to the faster of the 2 masterpieces of muttuswAmi dIkshitar. The krithi " srI rangapura vihAra" was rendered soulfully. After a quick round of swarAs,

Without spacing with a filler, the duo dwelled into depths and breadths of sAvEri bringing out the best essence of yearning feeling. Felt like asking it to be followed up with a tAna before starting the kriti (as in a vINA concert), but felt a bit hesitant. "Shankari shamkuru" with a detailed neraval and swara prastAra was a treat. Of the 100 this concert scores, i would give this rendition itself 99.

The main course mOhana AlApane was quite elaborate and beautiful with duo sharing the mandra and tAra zones to compliment the sangatis of the other. The krithi "mOhana rAma" was rendered beautifully with neraval and swarAs at "mOhana rAma".

Vid. Tumkur Ravishankar was exact in his replies and played well with meticulously following the kriti and each sangati. Vid. Giridhar Udupa was good as well in adding his bit to the concert effect. The tani by the two percussionists was yet another separate treat.

With a brief VOT session (it was almost 2.5 hrs by then into the concert), the duo surprised the audience venturing into RTP. I would have been disappointed, if it were to be just a trailer, but they did not. The dwelled pretty well into raiskapriya. A overenthusiastic family seated behind me, prompting rAga names erring left right and center, too spoiled the mood during rAga tAna as they were continuously scratching their heads. graha bEdha into hamsanAdam was a treat to listen to and see the fingering.

Pallavi in chaturaSra tripuTa , 1.5 beat eDupu was rendered well embellished quickly with a set of rAgamAlika swaras

The post RTP course was filled with a rAgamAlika composition of bhAratiyAr, dwijAvanti tiruppugazh, on request mOhanakalyANi tillANa which were leisurely rendered.

The sibling duo were awesome throughout the concert and they well supported by the accompanists. A Pallavi billed into and extended time slot made the concert too good to remember for a long time. Well, it had everything that you could ask for in a violin concert.

 It will be a concert to remember for a long time.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

2016 Aug 06 TMKrishna HKVenkatram KArunPrakash AnirudhAtreya @ SGBS / Unnati

Vocal: Vid. TMKrishna 
Violin: Vid. HKVenkatram 
Mridanga: Vid. KArunPrakash 
Khanjari : Vid. AnirudhAtreya 

Occasion:: 39th Gokulashtami Celebrations at SGBS Trust / Unnati

01 sarasa sAma dhAna kApinArAyaNi Adhi thyAgarAja (O, N, S)
Nereval @ hitavu matalento

02 yArukkAkilum bhayamA sunmmA sollattum bEgaDe padam  subbarAma Iyer ( A, S ) 
Swara @ parishamula 

03 vallabha nAyakasya bEgaDa rUpaka m.dhIkshithar (T, S)
Swara @ valli 

04 chANArO jAwaLi khamAs thanjavur chinnaiyya

05 rAga tAna pallavi mukhAri khaNDa tripuTa 2 Kalai 3 Beats Edupu, Tani
Pallavi: KAdhallippOm nAm anaivarum Aridhaana Manidha Vaazhvai
Ragamalika pallavi in : kIravANi, SrI, nAyaki, sahAnA, Sindhubhairavi

06 cEra rAvadhEmirA rAmayyA rIthigauLa Adhi thyAgarAja (A)

07 hE gOvinda hE gOpAla kAMbOdhi sUrdAs

08 paga gungurUrE mishra pIlu mIra bhajan

A couple of years back, after being bitten by the travel + shutter bug travelled to Jog Falls (after seeing innumerable number of photos online) to have a glimpse of the nature and the feel of gush of water down the 253 meter fall. However, to my disappointment, could see only a stream of water flowing through the fall which was no bigger than my rain water drain in my roof top. It was depleted off its grandeur on that particular day!

I summarize my experience of yesterday's TM Krishna concert to something similar, albeit at a different scale.

On my way back, I was second guessing myself, was it the right time to visit the place. Though I had a mixed feeling on that day, at least for the drive all the way from Bangalore on smooth tarmac, A similar day saver for yesterday was HK Venkatram, and percussion duo of K Arun Prakash and Anirudh Atreya.

The inaugural concert at 39th Gokulashtami celebrations of SGBS Trust at Unnati began with a housefull (+ stagefull) audience packed at least 30 mins before the scheduled start of the evening affair. Though there was no mikasura appearance, a miniature form was the sound engineer assistant who could not differentiate between mid high (frequencies) with Mid / High Frequencies. That was a light moment at the beginning of the concert while the sound was being adjusted. Unbelievably all the setup was completed in much lesser time as compared to quite elaborate (loss of time) that I have experienced.

A small sketch of kApinArAyaNi paved way for the full flourished sarasa sAma dAna. While TM Krishna focused on neraval embellishments, HK Venkatram led the way in swara elaboration. The detailed affair brought out the best what one could deliver for KApi nArAyaNi. 

The sedate zone of the concert started with an elaborate AlApane of bEgaDe, through some detailed and exquisite phrases being leisurely  delivered. There was no confusion of any sort in recognizing what was being presented. A padam "yArukkakilum bhayama" by subbarAma Iyer aptly fit into the sedate mood set up during the AlApane. Its a tamil composition that fit the bill for a large Tamil speaking audience who were able to appreciate the emotions of the nAyaki to her nAyaka expressed in this composition. TMKs recent experiences of singing for dance performance must have helped him to pace it at ati ati viLamba kAla presentation. The voice co-operated well to stretch to 3 octaves bringing the best of bEgaDe during kalpana swaras.
One gentleman behind another friend of mine had started snoring in a matching madra shruti. Can't blame him for the situation. May be he was in bEgaDe trance.

To our dismay, I believe the chit that was passed on to the artists, requested for bEgaDe (concluded based on the facial expression of all the 3 main artists who saw the chit) , which was indeed obliged !!!!! 

tAna was elaborate and was well paced. I had started picking up the feeling of "bEgaDe overdose" but had to sit on.. Waiting for something more special to be offered. After the first 2 - 3 notes, TMK verified with others to check if that was what requested for ?? The tAna flourished in all possible directions bringing out the complete swarUpa of the rAga. It was followed up by "vallabha nAyakasya" which brought in pace back to the concert. 

chANAro (devoid from previous presentation on jANAro or was my ears in a different state of mind .. don’t know) brought out the best of the emotions khamAs could pack in for a jAvaLi.

MukhAri AlApane took everyone for a roller coaster ride. With my limited music gyan, recognized the first phrases to be near mAnji, while my (more learned than me) music friend VS who was seated next to me recognized the initial phrases to be around bhairavi. Then came a more distinct mukhAri chAya that stood with me for quite some time. Both Raga and tAna were dealt in detail. HK Venkatram returns to the vocalist was a treat to ears. 

The pallavi line with almost translates to "Let us all love this exalted human existence" may have been inspired by vocalist's recent award which has raised eye brows for all the controversial citation was presented. The rAgamAlika came in the pallavi line presentation that as swaras, which was a refreshing change to the routine swara rAgamAlika

HK Venkatram who was asked to present whatever was on his mind, took up lilting rItigauLa. In the same mood, TM Krishna took up a fast paced cEra rAva dEmira. Aligning to his usual experiment of ending the concert with a pretty grand krithi, I expected it to be the last delivery of the day. However, there was more confusion ensuing our way. 

kAMbOdhi / harikAmbOdhi duel kept running in my mind ( seems like even the organizers fell trapped to this as seen in their initial report on their FB page which was later amended - My comments on their page has been deleted too !!) as the next he govinda he gOpAla was presented 

A fast paced mIrA bhajan was presented as the conclusion of the concert. 

As I walked out of the hall, was wondering about a coughing kid right behind me at the concert hall. A budding mridangist, he has been coughing since last 4 years as I get to see him only at Unnati, and I wondered how is he still alive, with cough not getting cured !

As I mentioned earlier, a tougher 75 is not as appreciated as an easy 100* in cricket, this concert had individually and masterly presented pieces. However, at the end, was not able to get a completeness feeling as I left the concert hall at 21.15. May be because, I have attended far better concert of this artist!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

2016 Jul 16 RamakrishnanMurthy HKVenkatram AVAnand Phandindra Bhaskara @ PAC, Our School

Vocal: Vid. RamakrishnanMurthy 
Violin: Vid. HKVenkatram
Mridanga: Vid. A V Anand
Ghata: Vid. Phandindra Bhaskara

Occasion: Thaalavaadyotsava, Percussive Arts Centre, 
Venue: Srividya sabhangana, Our School

01 nera nammithinayya VarNa kAnaDa k aTa pUchi shrInivAsa iyengAr

02 vAtApi gaNapatim bhajEham hamsadhvani Adi m.dIkshitar (S)
Swara @ vAtApi gaNapathim 

03 ShObillu saptaswara jaganmOhini rUpaka thyAgarAja (A, CS, S)

04 marivEre gati evarammA mahilO nannu brOcuTaku Anandabhairavi CApu syAma sAstri (A)
Started from anupallavi 

05 padavinI sadbhaktiyu galguTe sAlagabhairavi Adhi thyAgarAja

06 O rangashAyI  kAmbOdhi Adhi thyAgarAja (A, N, S, T)
Nerval @ mutyAla sahurula

07 vinAyakuni valenu brOvavE madhyamAvati Adi tyAgarAja
Started from anupallavi 

08 rAgamALike viruttum followed by 
jagadOddhArana kApi Adhi Purandara dhAsa

09 rAmachandrAya janaka mangaLam navrOj bhadrAcala rAmadas

While the concert was organized at a venue that is a stone's throw away from my house, perhaps it is my home ground like what Wankhede is to Sachin Tendulkar. I was fortunately pretty early to the concert to attend an ongoing Special Thani Avartanam - Dandamudi Sumathi Rammohana Rao 

It was followed by an another erudite "Anandalaya" lecture demonstration Vid. K Arun Prakash. It was so technically intensive; I could hardly appreciate with my novice understanding of laya. However, an interesting outcome was a small quiz question at the end of the demo, though I did not answer it loudly, I was almost correct. I could recognize the 4 akshara eDupu, albeit he wanted a complete answer of Tisra Nadai, 4 akhsara eDupu. 45 mins of lec dem was too short for all the information he had to share for us. May be that’s for another sunny day.

Minutes later the concert team billed for the evening occupied the stage with a special welcome to Vid. AV Anand who was delivering his 80th birthday concert. More about that later.

With a minimal setup (courtesy simple sound system and professionals manning the equipment) the artists were all set to deliver a stellar concert of the evening. I had a concert friend VS who had accompanied me to listen in spite of all the other engagements (that were kept aside for a few hours) made it all the more an interesting evening, which gave opportunity to exchange immediate views on performance we heard.

The first 2 songs were fairly aligned to the text book format. Nothing exceptional except the "shruti shuddate" demonstrated in the 2nd speed rendition of the Varna.

Customary 3rd song AlApane was a clean start with the distinct rAga swarUpa of jaganmOhini, reminding the way MS started her AlApane with a straight rAga chAya delineation in max 10 seconds to reach a perfect 10. I bet nobody expected an AlApane for jaganmOhini as now a day it’s hardly sung on the stage, even though rendered - only as a filler. An additional embellishment with kalpana swarAs added scholarly touch to the whole presentation. Vid HK Venkatram who had the opportunity to conclude replicating the last set of swarAs replicated vocalist manOdharma to the dot. Quite some goosebumps all around.

Without wasting time on the next filler, Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy dwelled into a fairly elaborate pristine Anandabhairavi (did not allow my mind to think of rItigaula / any other similar ones), the ShyAmA shAstri's masterpiece was my guess in the making. Taking off from anupallavi, the vilambakAla krithi "marivere" was presented in apt tempo. There was no sense of hurriedness / drowsiness.

SAlagabharivai krithi was a filler, yet presented slower than the current generation shatabdi express deliveries heard commonly.

The next kAMbOdhi had an elaborate AlApane stretching into breadth and depths of the rAga. Though I’m not a fan of kAMbOdhi, he made me swing my head to the melodious presentation. I guessed it could be a tyAgarAja masterpiece (don't know why, but it turned out so). Gradual progressive sangati of "O ranga sAyi" was sufficient enough for the prayers to reach the lotus feet of the lord at "Devagiri Varaprada Venkateshwara Temple" which is situated across the road by 300 mts.

Open throated singing throughout the concert, his voice held well to dwell into detailed neraval. The neraval was very good with one exceptional Mega surprise at unique place " mAtula sahurula", yet brought out same grandeur as it would have at "bhUlOka vaikunta". A special Tani, longest piece of the day that followed was also to celebrate the virtuosity of the Octogenarian Master. Phanindra Bhaskar was the "non striker" end all through the concert, paving way for the mridangist to set the first imprint of laya throughout the concert.

Vinayakuni was yet another song started from anupallavi- presented as the organizer persuaded for a longer concert in spite of a train to catch.

The rAgamALika viruttam was very good with the last of them being kApi, paved way for a shorter presentation of "JagadOdhArana". It was presented leisurely though.

Violinist HK Venkatram played well throughout, the rAga AlApane of jaganmOhini, Anandabhairavi and kAMbOdhi were the highlights, bringing all the sowkhya.

2 manOdharma I experienced for the first time were the take away from the evening.

It was an evening to remember, just for the pristine music from all the artists.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

2016 Jul 01 GayathriGirish NalinaMohan BSPrashanth VSRamesh @ Bangalore Lalita Kala Parishat

Vocal: Vid. GayathriGirish 
Violin: Vid. NalinaMohan 
Mridanga: Vid. BSPrashanth 
Morsing: Vid. VSRamesh 

Prog No 878
Bangalore Lalita Kala Parishat / National College Jayanagar

01 Sri mahAgaNapathiravatumAm gaULa misra cApu muttuswAmi Dixitar (S)

02 rA rA mA intiki dhAka asAvEri Adhi thyAgarAja

03 vAnchathOnu nA vagalu dhelpave karNaranjani Adhi muttaiah bhAgavathar (A, CS)

04 sadA shivEna shankarENa sindhuramakriya m.dikshitar 

05 enduku peddalavale buddhi shankarAbharaNam Adi tyAgarAja (A, N, S, T)
nereval @ vEdashAstra purANa

06 RTP dhanyAsi tiSra tripuTa khaNDa naDai edupu 1 akshara after samam
Pallavi Line : dhanyAsi shiva jaTa madhyaye gange tunga tarange
Ragamalika in nATTakuranji, hEmavati

07 sadhA enna hrudhayadhalli bEhAg rUpaka vijayaviTTala dhAsa (O)

08 shrI venkata girIsham AlOkayE surati Adhi mutthuswAmy dhIkshithar

09 shiva panchAksari mantra (nAgEndra hArAya) rAgamAlika Adi Shankara

10 nI nAma rUpamulaku mangaLa sourAshtra Adhi thyAgarAja

Having experience of previous concert being washed out, I started off early from office to be at the venue on time. Though the stage was ready and the artists too were raring to go, the audience were still pouring in.

Vid. Gayathri warmed up the evening directly with an invocation through gaULa kriti. Since there was no varNa, i was expecting swara prastara on this, which happened as expected.

The asAvEri piece was a straight forward filler which was presented at apt kAlapramANa 

A short sketch of karNaranjani was good and the kriti was rendered well. There were no further embellishments other than the original chitta swaras.

Vid. Gayathri has presented many lecture demonstrations and her repertoire on rare krithis is well appreciated . Today she took up a sindhu rAmakriya composition of muttuswAmi dIkshitar where she demonstrated the rAga mUrchana before dwelling in a sedate presentation of the krithi. The krithi was beautiful, there were no frills attached to it.

The first long AlApane was nice and done leisurely in shankarAbharaNa. The sedate AlApane was followed with a beautiful rendition of the kriti enduku peddala with neraval and swaras at 'vEdashAstra purANa. The sama kAla neraval part was rendered very well. Percussion duo  who had been hitherto rendering perfect accompaniments, explored their potential in a not so long tani. It was ended with full rendition of second chanraNa. The tani they shared was nice and the last kOrvai was strikingly fitting to the starting of the line in which neraval and swaras were sung.

Without a filler , she announced that she would be presenting a RTP in dhanyAsi. The rAga AlApane traversed the crests and trough of the rAga to bring out the essence. With an eDupu of 1 akshara, the presentation of pallavi went on in quick succession of sAhitya elaboration and rAgamALika in nATTakuranji and hEmavati. An interesting aspect of rAgamAlika was after the violin returns on nATTakuranji, she once again started dhanyAsi, nAttakurani and went on into hEmavati, which was once again returned on violin. All in all it was a soothing presentation at an apt speed.

With a surUTi short sketch, a nice rendition of the kriti sRi venkata gIrisham AlOkaye... was the lead composition amongst the bEhAg, rAgamAlike shloka and mangala.

Vid Gayathri Girish gave a brief and a memorable concert. Her AlApane (though only 3 ) were good and showed essential phrases to show the rAga bhava. It was nice to hear a heavy ragas handled at ease interspersed with simpler renditions. It was also apt choice of m.bhAgavatar's krithi as a mark of respect around his remembrance day (Jun 30). Her kriti renditions were aptly pced and did not show a sign of hurriedness. The sangatis fell in place with the correct gamakas and brigas. Tutled by Vid. TNS, she showed her own singing style which dd not have an evident trace to one school. The neraval and swaras were in right proportions.

Vid Nalina Mohan, was matching to the level of the Vocalist all through. She was a replacement artist to originally billed BK Raghu, did not disappoint to what rasikas expected. 

Percussion duo BSPRashanth and VSRamesh did a good in job in accompanying the concert. Following all the pieces and played sahitya according to the mood of the concert was very evident. They played for all the sangatis enhancing the spirits of the rest of the artists. 

The concert went on without a hitch on the part of the sound system. I had a word of praise to the sound engineer Mr. Keshava Murthy who was too humble to accept his contribution. Though the concert was not that well publicized by the sabha, the audience strength was comparable to the previous concert that I attended here 2 weeks ago.

It was a memorable evening indeed.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

2016 Jun 08 RamakrishnanMurthy HKVenkatram ArjunKumar Guruprasanna @ NCJ

Vocal: Vid. RamakrishnanMurthy
Violin: Vid. HKVenkatram
Mridanga: Vid. ArjunKumar
Khanjira: Vid. Guruprasanna

Venue: Bangalore Lalitakala Parishat @ National College Jayanagar
Occasion: 876th program / H Narasimhaiah memorial cultural festival

01 shlOka sadguru gajAsya vAni in kalyANi followed by
EtA vuanrA nilakaDa nIku kalyANi Adi tyAgarAja (S)
Swara @ eta vunnAra

02 sAmaja vara gamana hindhOLa Adhi thyAgarAja (A,N, S)
Nereval @ yAdava kula muraLi

03 vazhi maraiththu nATakuranji CApu gOpAlakriShNa bhArathi

04 gItArthamu sangItAnandamu nI tAvuna jUDarA surUTi dEshAdi tyAgarAja (A, N, S, T)
Nereval @ vAtAtmajuniki

05 rAgamAlika shlOka (shrutvA guNAn)
repeated in Bilahari, VarALi, kEdAragauLa, darbAri kAnaDa

06 gOvardhana giridhara darbArikAnaDa nArAyaNatIrtar tarangam

07 dharmashravaNa vidEtake durgA Adi p.dAsa

08 dhirana tana dhImta TILLANA junjhUTi vIna seshaNNa

09 rAmachandrAya janaka mangaLam kuranji bhadrAcala rAmadas and mangaLam kOsalEndrAya in madhyamAvati.

The onset of monsoon was around the corner when I received the invite to this concert through snail mail, and I had the worst fears in my mind, both of which came true. Poor publicity to the program and a possible evening rain in Bengaluru to play spoilsport even on the genuine Rasika who want to be there at the venue to listen to the concert.

It was 18.10 when I reached the venue, to be the second audience to enter into the hall. The rain had already created havoc from 16.30 and I had taken sufficient precautions to reach dry at the venue. I could hear the tambUri being tuned in the green room and spotted worried organizers of a possible poor turnout due to rains. The 2 successive evenings before had good turnout due to dry evening weather.

(Pic: Weather on my way back from office !!)

The concert started almost 15 mins late, as probably the organizers wanted a respectable size of the audience to assemble. The delayed start was further delayed by a detailed and anecdotal introduction by Sabha President.

But as fortune favours the brave, there was a warm soothing treat waiting for the ones who dared the odds. What followed for next 2 hours was a feast of pristine classical music. It was music for the sake of purists, without gimmickry, devout and soulful throughout the stretch of the concert.

With a good rendition of shlOka (sadguru gajAsya vAni in kalyANi) Ramakrishnan Murthy and team quickly jumped into Eta vunnAra. A detailed presentation of swaras ensured complete justice to the delayed start. The varNa was a welcome skip as he could do justice here.

hindOla that followed was elaborated very well and carefully. It was the need of the hour. After rains, Bengaluru had almost turned Ooty cold. The presentation brought in warmth amidst the cold breeze drifting across the auditorium as the doors were kept wide open. Apt to its association with feeling of swinging outdoor uyyAle bedecked with freshness and colours of flowers, Ramakrishna Murthy and H K Venkatram brought out various hues of the rAga during  nereval and swaras at 'yAdava kula muraLi'. The swara korappu in 4th speed by both of them left butterflies in the stomach.

There were no embellishments to nAttakuranji krithi, but the very kAlaparamANa at which it was rendered was apt and mellifluous. The song from Nandan charitram, Nandan rues his fortune of not able to have the darshan of lord from outside the temple as nandi is right blocking his darshan view. The bhakti bhAva was well articulated.

The main for the evening, surUTi AlApane was embellished with a lot of innovation and the kAlapramANa in which he rendered it in a slow tempo was very good. It took a few phrases of surUTi to bring out the picture of surUTi and after that ideas came in like a whirlwind and bang!! It was gone too. I was left with wanting for more at the end of 9 minutes of blissful surUTi.

With choices between tyAgarAja and dIkshitar, it was tyAgarAja who continued to rule the roost for the evening with gItArthamu kriti. The AlApane, neraval, and swaras were done true to textbook prayOga and carefully showing the quintessential pa ma ri s prayOga of surUTi time and again and last few halting on ma alone. It was nicely rendered with neraval and swara at 'vAtAtmajuniki'. With a lot of vintage sanchAra and swara patterns, the long kOrvai was quite different from the regular one added to final finishing touches as the concert drifted into a rather melodious tani.

'sowkhya' - describes the percussion team for the evening. I was wondering the sparse audience in the hall would add to amplified effect of a usually high-decibel tani. But this was an exception on the pleasant side. I have heard several live concerts of this team before but, never have I come out with this feeling of sowkhya ushered in by the same percussion duo. Both being seated across the vocalist, they enjoyed themselves with many mutual applauses "bhale bhale". They did not resort to loud banging the drum to produce more noise than music. The Audience would have thumbed it down. It was plain and simple, enriched the music that was being presented.

The concert concluded with 4 short pieces as listed.

HK Venkatram played to his potential in the solo versions of the rAgas and swaras. Having played to veterans like Semmangudi, he timed his AlApane to be brief but, captured the essence of the raga in them.

Ramakrishnan Murthy with an ideal team of accompanists, presented a nectar concert to remember for the fortunate audience who assembled. He was in best of his form, so were the accompanists who were all charged up, fed back to the main artiste went into a spiral and as a team, they delivered the best. The end result was rich and complete music. Thanks to Karnataka Lalita Kala Parishat for organising this team to perform. After listening to such performances, one is happy for our spiritual forutunes for bestowing us an ear for music and ability to take time out from our hectic vocational obligations.

I'm flabbergasted by the quality of the simple and vintage sound system at the hall. It has reproduced glitch free audio all through, as against complicated sound systems that had their own woes during Ramanavami season !!