Sikkil Gurucharan @ Nadasurabhi Annual Festival , 21 Oct 2018

Vocal : Sikkil Gurucharan

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam : H S Sudheendra

Ghatam : G Omkar Rao


01 ninnE kOri ( varnam ) – vasanta – Adi – Tachur Singarachari ( N )

neraval @ ‘sUnacAruNi bAri kOrvalErA ‘

02 annapUrnE vishAlAkSi – sAma – Adi – Dikshitar ( O, S )

03 ikanaina rA moravina rAdA – puSpalatika – Adi – Thirupati Narayanaswamy ( A,S )

04 jambUpatE mAm pAhi – yamunAkalyANi – tishra Ekam – Dikshitar

05 rAma bANa trANa shaurya – sAvEri – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval @ ‘tammuDu baDalina vELa suraripu temmani cekkara pancIyaga gani’

06 RTP – nAsikAbhUSaNi – khaNDa tripuTa , tisra naDai , +2 aksharam eDuppu ??

pallavi line ‘ mAravairi ramaNi , manjubhASiNi’

rAgamAlika swaras in shrIranjani, mOhanakalyANi , shivaranjani

short tani Avartanam

mAravairi ramaNi  – nAsikAbhUSaNi – Thyagaraja

07 dharma shravaNa videtakE – durga – Adi – Purandara Dasa (  O )

08 viruttam ( kunita puruvavum ? ) – kApi  ( O )

thillAna ( dhi thillAna taka thillAna taka jhunu dhIm ) – kApi – chaturashra jhumpa – Tanjavu S Kalyanaraman

09 mangaLAm – saurAStram / madhyamAvati – Adi – Thyagaraja

The last of the October leg of the Nadasurabhi 25th year festival. Skipped the day 2, of Ranganatha Sharma. Sikkil Gurucharan gave a very good concert yesterday at the Heritage Academy.  The early part wasn’t as appealing to me as the second part. From the sAvEri, onward it was very very good.

As he has developed a USP these days, there was a neraval for the varnam. It wasn’t very attractive. But credits to him for singing the vasanta varnam, not often heard these days. Annapoorne vishalakshi was also not impressed me. Probably because he kept singing the pallavi line as ‘visAlAkSi’ instead of ‘vishAlAkSi’. He wasn’t addressing the one with the ‘wide eyed’ one. I couldn’t care for the rest. But he sang some nice swaras for sAma.

Pushpalatika was the first alapana and that was decent. No surprise there with ‘ikanaina’. He commented about its proximity towards manirangu on one side and rudrapriya on the other. Few rounds of swaras as well.  Dikshitar’s jambUpate came after and I yawned thrice.

From here, it was different. Very good alapana of sAvEri. Very well planned and progressed. Ramabana was sung beautifully. Elaborated neraval at a long line. No excesses , no unwanted stretch or bhruga sways on certain words. Very stylish. Equally brilliant was the kalpana swaras , in two speed with some exhibition of laya variations.

There was the interruptions by the organisers, done quickly. KSSR guaranteed that a pallavi is coming. It was nAsikabhooshani. two phase raga alapana was nice. But the highlight and probably the best of the evening was the tanam. An outstanding effort by Gurucharan and even better return by Charulatha. Applause galore ! Short pallavi line, trikalam and ragamalika as expected.  After a short tani avartanam, he sang the Thyagaraja kriti, from where the pallavi line was taken, in full. Sanjay does it often.

Post main had a nice durga, sang beautifully.  A viruttam followed by the kApi thillana of Tanjavur Kalyanaraman, which I haven’t heard this before.  As I said, not very gung-ho about the first 45 minutes, but very happy with the rest.

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Posted by on October 22, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Abhishek Raghuram @ Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha , 20 Oct 2018

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : H N Bhaskar

Mrudangam : Patri Satishkumar

01 inta mODi ( varNam ) – sAranga – Adi – Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya

02 lOkAvana caturA – bEgaDa – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A, S )

03 vara nArada nArAyaNa – vijayashrI – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘prakaTambuga kIrti nosagene bhAvuka tyAgarAjanuta’

04 bAlAmbikAyAm param nahirE – kAnaDa – Adi – Dikshitar ( Raga Sketch, S )

05 lakSmaNamulu gala shrIrAmanuki – shuddha sAvEri – Adi – Thyagaraja ( S )

05b  tani Avartanam

06 brhadEshvarO rakSatumAm – gAnasAmavarALi (gAnamUrti) – Roopakam – Dikshitar ( A )

07 sVamikku sari evare – kEdAragauLa – mishrachAp – Papanasam Sivan (Raga sketch, N )

neraval @ ‘pArkkaDal adanil paLLi koNDavan pAril nandagOpAlanAi pirandu, pAl tayir veNNai tiruDi uNDavan’

08 murugA murugA enrAl  – sAvEri – mishra chAp – Periyasamo Thooran ( A,v )

viruttam ( en tAyum enakkaruL tanthaiyum)

09 candracUDa shiv shankara – darbAri kAnaDa – Adi – Purandara Dasa  ( A )

10 rAmajOgi maNDu – khamAs – Adi – Bhadrachala Ramadas

11 thillAna ( tananA  dhirana ) – khamAs – Adi – Lalgudi Jayaraman

12 mangaLam – saurAStram – Adi – Thyagaraja

What a concert ! Very unusual, very ‘atypical’, very un-like Abhishek.  There was no ‘main’, no elaborate 20plus minute of alapana, no looong neraval sequence. Take a look at the list again. It looks like he was in a mood to sing all those not often heard compositions. He was in a playful mood. Singing alapana in ‘ati mandrasthayi’ and suddenly leapfrogging to ati tArasthayi phrases.  Often indulging in intrinsic laya formulations during swara prasthana with ever inspiring Patri Satishkumar. Very cerebral affair for someone who prefer a more traditional approach to concert. I am not in anyway suggesting that it was all a cerebral exercise of music.

The start of the affair was with a very unique take on begada. The Alapana itself was refreshing and engaging. For a piece immediately after the varnam, it was rather long alapana. HNB had a more traditional take in his turn. I was expecting vallabha nayakasya as is the norm. But he picked lOkavana chatura. There was an elaborate kalpana swaras for begada. With Patri, it gives him limitless freedom to express his ideas during swara singing and it was evident through out the evening.

The early phases of the slow alapana resembled varAli, but it was clear that he is singing a closely associated ragam. Vara narada, clarified the absence of dhaivatam 🙂 . There was no violin return of alapana.  He sang few rounds of neraval with HNB at prakatambuga. Interesting. Not heard a neraval for this before. A few rounds of swaras to conclude an interesting selection.  Soon another short alapana of kAnaDa. This time it was another not regularly heard Dikshitar composition. Again some nice rounds of kalpana swaras.

Lakshanamulu gala was another surprise. Well, there are compositions beyond darini telusukonti. Less than a week ago, I heard Saketharaman singing tAyE tripurasundari. Swashbuckling kalpana swaras. Exhilarating affair. So much was the energy and excitement, Abhishek pondered for a sec and requested Patri to play tani avartanam, to the surprise of the percussionist and the listeners. Which, of course, was on another level.

A ganamurti alapana, mostly done at the higher octaves were very moving. This time another rare piece of Dikshitar ( ganasamavarali as it is known ) was taken, sung beautifully.  After a short sketch of kEdAragaula, he started at shyAma sundara jagan mOhana krishna , anupallavi of Papanasam Sivan’s composition, svamikku sari evare. He repeated, as in neraval, the long line ”pArkkaDal adanil paLLi koNDavan pAril nandagOpAlanAi pirandu, pAl tayir veNNai tiruDi uNDavan’ quite a while without a violin return. Again , very impressive.

When he started the saveri alapana, we all sat back anticipating the main. He started off at some very unusual place and after few phrases, stopped with a mischievous smile and  glint in his eye, murmured ‘you can guess the ragam’ or some thing to that effect. But the ‘known’ sAveri did not hide for too long.  This time, HN Bhaskar got his chane to play the aapana again ( after the bEgaDa). Since the alapana was short and stopped all of a sudden, I was thinking a two phase alapana as in the case of a Pallavi. But he had other plans and started a viruttam.  When he started ‘muruga muruga enral’, there was still hope for a traditional main with neraval and swaras. Again, we were denied.

When he started the darbari kAnaDa alapana, the hope rekindled. It is rare to get a detailed darbari kanada alapana. I heard one of Madurai Somu and a pallavi ( must be Sanjay, but can’t be sure) before. Abhishek sang it fairly long ( 8-10 mins) followed by HNB about 5-6 mins. Liked it.

By now, it was sure that he was on a different plan for the evening and we might not have a traditional fair. He looked at the orgaisers for time and plans to wind down. Two khamas pieces, rAmajOgi manDu followed without any gap a thillana ( as though he wanted to extend it a bit) before he called it a day.

I am still getting reconciled to this concert. While experiencing it live, one couldn’t stop admiring his class. However, it did have the leftover of something missing. It wasn’t an Abhishek concert, one is used to attending.  But, looking at the list above, and the way he presented them, I think, it justify the choice of picking Abhishek over Ranganatha Sharma, who sang at my backyard.

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Posted by on October 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


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D Balakrishna with Vamshidhar ( Veena-Venu) at Nadasurabhi Annual Music Festival, 19 Oct 2018

Veena : D Balakrishna

Flute : Vamshidhar

Mrudangam : Anirudh Bhat

Ghatam : Raghavendra Prakash


01 mAtE malayadhwaja (daru varNam) – khamAs – Adi -Muthaiah Bhagavatar

02 shrI varalakSmi namastubhyam – shrI – Roopakam – Dikshitar ( S )

03 cintayAmi jagadambam – hindOLam – Mishra Jhumpa – Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar

04 shrI cAmuNDEshwari pAlayamAm – bilahari – Adi x 2 – Mysore Vasudevachar ( A,S )

05 mAmava janma doDDadu – pUrvikalyANi – Mishra Chap – Purandara Dasa ( A,S )

06 OrajUpu jUcEdi nyAyamA -kannaDa gauLa – Adi – Thyagaraja

07 birAna varalicci – kalyANi – Adi Tisra naDai – Shyama Shasthri ( A,t,N,S,T )

neraval & swaras @ ‘shyAmakRSNa sOdari gauri, paramEshvari girijA’ (?)

08 mAnasa sancararE – sAma – Adi – Sadashiva Brahmendra

09 jagadOdhAraNa – kApi – Adi – Purandara Dasa

10 thillAna – cencurutti – Veena Seshanna

11 mangaLAm – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

shLOkam in madhyamAvati

Very good start of the annual festival of Nadasurabhi, who are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year. Congratulations to the Nadasurabhi team on this momentous occasion. They have been doing a commendable job over this years and wishing them all the success in future.

You cant ask for a better start to their proceedings of this year’s festival, but with a sedate Veena concert of one of the leading artists of the Mysore School. True to his lineage, the concert was memorable. Largely selected on devi, and from the Mysore composers ( and one piece each from the Trinity), nice mix of talam, it was evident that a lot of thought had gone into the preparation.

To me, the concert livened up from the bilahari. I am not hinting that the prior compositions lacked anything, but one could see a marked difference with the kalpana swaras of bilahari. The pUrvikalyani alapana that followed was delectable. Vamshidhar was very good in his turn of alapana. The swaras that followed were top class.

Kalyani alapana started with a bang ( as they say). I loved the start ( well, then on it was kalyani 🙂 ). However, the tanam which came in was outstanding. Very very elaborate, exquisite and arguably the best part of the concert.  It is always a pleasure to listen to tanam on a Veena. Shyama Shasthri’s kriti was nice. There was few rounds of neraval followed by a masterly kalpana swaras, which has some of the intelligent variations on display. The percussion duo played an impressive tani avartanam. I should add that Anirudh Bhat accompanied brilliantly through out the evening.

There was not much to hope for post main, as the crowd was sparse by then. There was time ( until 9:00, said the organisers on his query on how long can I go on) for a couple more. Veena Sheshanna’s thillana was a worthy mention in this segment.  Here again, I think the Chencurutti thillana is ‘tailor-made’ for Veena playing.

Impressive concert by Vid Balakrishna and the team on Day1 / Phase1 of the Nadasurabhi Annual Festival.

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Posted by on October 20, 2018 in Concert songlist


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Saketharaman, Navarathri Sangeethotsavam @ Puthanalkal Bhagavathy Temple, Cherpulasseri 14 Oct 2018

Vocal : Vid Saketharaman

Violin : Vittalarangan

Mrudangam : Vijay Natesan

Ghatam : Vashappilli Krishnakumar

List :

1 mAyAtIta svarUpiNi – mAyAmALavagauLA – Roopakam – MD ( O,N,S )
neraval & swaras @ ‘mAyAmALavagauLa dEshamuna’

2 mA jAnaki – kAmbOji – Adi – Thyagaraja ( O )

3 mAmava sadA janani – kAnaDa – roopakam – ST ( A,S )

4 ambA nIlAmbari – nIlAmbari – Adi x 2 – Ponnaiah Pillai ( A )

5 tAyE tripurasundari – shudha sAvEri – khanda chAp – Periyasami Thooran

6 pAlincu kAmAkSi pAvani – madhyamAvati – Adi x2 – Shyama Shasthri ( A,N,S,T)

neraval & swaras @ ‘kAntamagu peruponDitivi kAruNyamUrtivai jagamu’

7 karuNai deivamE karpagamE – sindhubhairavi – Adi – Maduri Sreenivasan (O)

8 shree jagadeeshwari durga mAtA – Ahirbhairavi- Adi – Lalgudi Jayaraman

9 thillAna (tana dhimta dhimta dhirana) – mAND – Lalgudi Jayaraman

10 mangalam – saurAStram – Adi – Thyagaraja

shLokam (sarvamangaLa mAngalye) –  madhyamavati

It is always nice to catch up on a concert or two while you are in your home town. The setting is different, the ambience is different and the audience are different from those of Bangalore. Hence it is interesting to see the artists choice of kritis and ragas and the reaction from the listeners. It is becoming very predictable here in Bangalore.

Saketharaman and the team did a commendable job. Nice selection of devi kritis from various composers ( including the thillana and the mangala shlokam , to his credit) , with appropriate elaboration and mixing it up well.

Fantastic start with the mayamalavagaula. Elaborate neraval at the ‘ragamudra’ and few rounds of swaras in the second speed was the perfect beginning one could ask for. The entire team and the listeners were energized.  Small humming of kAmbOji gave high expectations. Ma Janaki came in little forcefully , like the cricket ball skidding on the surface and rushing to the batsman. It was rushing to you, and despite all those beautiful sangatis it was hard to appreciate. I generally observe this at times in his singing.

A beautiful kAnaDa alapana came in next. Full credits to both the lead singer and the violinist here. As expected it was mAmava sadA janani, which he started at sadA janani ( swarAkshara ??) a couple of repeats before singing the complete pallavi line. The swaras were even better. I like kAnaDa in its mandrasthAyi and  madhyasthAyi sancharas. He loitered around in these two octaves for a while with a lot of phrases pivoted around ‘gA,gA’, which was immensely enjoyable.

Another little gem of nIlambari alapana. To add to the feel of the raga, he even reduced his singing volume to some mesmerizing effect. Ponnaiah Pillai’s composition was nice too. TayE tripurasundari put the concert back in its original mantle after a slow neelambari. I like the chittaswaras here ; one of the top10 in the carnatic compositions in my opinion.

Madhyamavati main. Somehow the alapana of Saketharaman did not impress me much. He had a lot of ideas and interesting phrases, it lacked coordination. Little bit of ‘to and fro’ feeling. On the otherhand, Vittalarangan played a brilliant alapana, systemically progressed phrases, covering most of the aspects making it a wholesome affair. However, Saketharaman covered more ground than lost with a classy neraval and swarakalpana for Palinchu kAmakSi. The percussion duo, played an excellent tani avartanam. Vijay Natesan and Krishnakumar played very well through out the concert. They were brilliant while accompanying for the kriti, especially after mA jAnaki. Vittalarangan was superb through out the evening, with his sweet sounding violin and measured follow of the main artist.

Post main compositions too were on devis. The Ahirbhairav composition of Lalgudi is not something we hear often in concert. Concert concluded with the mAND thillana before the mangalam.

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Posted by on October 16, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Pravin Godkhindi and Abhishek Raghuram @ Samarasa2018, PES University 23-Sep-2018

Hindustani Flute : Pt Pravin Godkhindi

Supporting Flute : Shadaj Godkhindi

Tabla : Pt Ravindra Yavagal

Carnatic Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin :  Parur M S Ananthakrishnan

Ghatam : Vazhappilli Krishnakumar

Phase 1 – Hindustani  ( Pravin Godkhindi – Shadaj Godkhindi – Pt Ravindra Yavagal )

01  Raag  madhuvanti    for 1 hr

Phase 2 – Carnatic Vocal Concert  ( Abhishek – Ananthakrishnan-Ravindra Yavagal – Krishnakumar )   – 1 hr

01 girirAja sutA tanayA – bangALA – Adi – Thyagaraja

02 inta sowkhyamAni nE – kApi – Adi – Thyagaraja ( A )

03 bhAvayAmi raghurAmam – rAgamAlika – Roopakam – Swathi Thirunal ( A – sAveri, nAtakurinji and dhanyAsi in detail, rest in a sweeping take )

Phase 3 – Jugalbandi  for 1 hr

01 dIpALi (h) / mOhanam (c)  – Alap & tarAna/tAnam

02 tani Avartanam ( Adi )

03 bhairavi (h) / sindhubhairavi (c)  – chandrashEkharA eesha

This was supposed to be a 2 hr concert of Pt Pravin Godkhindi followed by 2 hour of Abhishek’s concert. The unavailability ( unavoidable circumstances, says Abhishek) of ArjunKumar, who had to accompany Abhishek for his concert made the whole program to undergo a dramatic change. The 2+2 hr concerts have been combined ( and split into 3 phases) into a 3 hr affair. On a positive side, one could watch Pt Ravindra Yavagal, accompanying for a carnatic concert.

The first part of Pt Pravin Godkhindi was fabulous. A sedate madhuvanti ( late afternoon raga) was very impressive. His son, young Shadaj joined in brilliantly. With my near zero knowledge, I restrain myself here from further describing the concert.

Abhishek and the team  replaced the Hindustani counterparts for the next session. He was in super form, albeit a short concert. A quick Bangala kriti followed by a captivating kApi alapana and inta sowkhyamani. There was no time for a violin return. But I expected him to sing a few rounds of swaras. Probably owing to the time availability, he quickly started sAvEri alapana. He glided mesmerisingly into nAtakurinji. That opened up the hint. Ananthakrishnan had his chance now for playing a quick return. Dhanyasi was again sang in detail and moved on to Mohanam. The rest of the alapana was done in a long single take before retracting back in the same sequence to sAvEri. All the characteristics takes expected from Abhishek was performed for the kriti. Some twists, some sudden takes, move up and down the sthAyi,  laya variations at the chittasvaras , different sangatis on return to ‘bhAvayAmi’. I hope, he takes this up in a much larger scope in one of his future concerts, where his imaginations are not constrained by time.

The third phase was not very attractive. It was mostly a mutual admiration club on the stage and was largely satisfying to their own excesses. It did have its own ‘aha’ moments, but by and large, it disappointed me. There was insistence by both the lead artists to Pt Yavagal to play the percussion solo. And they duo definitely won a lot of applause with their electrifying tani avartanam. There was a quick bhairavi/sindhuharavi piece to conclude, where Abhishek part of the kriti ‘chandrashEkharA Eesha’.

Both the individual concerts were super class, despite the short duration.

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Posted by on September 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


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