T M Krishna , Gayana Samaja 44th Annual Music Festival 28-Oct-2012

29 Oct

Vocal : T M Krishna

Violin : R K Sriram Kumar

Mrudangam : Arjun Kumar

Ghatam : Giridhar Udupa

Song List:

01. gajavadana – thODi – Kumara Ettendra ( N,S)

neraval & swara @ ‘vAgvilAsa kArtikEya guhavara’

02. evvarani – dEvAmrutavarshiNi – Thyagaraja ( A )

03  YadukulakAmbOji – ( A )  – ended abruptly , thanks to some issue with the amplification.

04 Siva Siva Sivayana rAdA – pantuvarALi – T ( N )

neraval @ ‘Agama mula nutiyinci’

05 SrI vAlmIkalingam chintayE – kAmbOji – aTa tAla – Dikshitar ( A,N,T )

neraval @ ‘shankaram sOmakulAmbikAmbhOja madhukaram’

06 RTP – rudrapriya – Chaturasra Triputa x 2 kaLai

pallavi line ‘ AkAsha rUpam Sivam, ArdrOtsava vaibhavam bhajE ‘

ragamalika swaras in ‘rudrapriya, sindhu bhairavi, behag, naLinakanti, dEsh, dwijAvanti, nIlAmbari

07 bArO krishNayya – rAgamAlika – Kanaka Dasa

08  sLOkam ( rAmAya rAmabhadrAya rAmachandrAya) – khamAs

brOchevAravarurE – khamAs – Mysore Vasudevacharya

09  nenjukku nItiyum (?) – punnAgavarALi – Subramanya Bharati?

10 rAmachandrAya janaka ( mangaLam) – kurinji – Bhadrachala Ramadas

The whole evening was full of drama. It was very irritating and insulting while seated inside, but looking back it provided for a lot of funny moments. So, do not judge anyone harsh, even if I sound so in the next paragraphs.

Its after three years, that I decided to attend a TMK concert. I did it in a pure democratic way, by voting, with 3 out of 5 voted for Krishna, and a couple for Pt Jasraj at Chowdiah Memorial. Krishna’s concerts are usually crowded with rasikas, and we decided to reach early to find some accommodation inside the auditorium. Despite reaching by 5:30, we could find place only at the fag end of the hall, last few rows of seats. A place, I must say, not conducive to listening to music. The area is so cramped and despite few fans switched on, you have a sense of suffocation due to lack of oxygen. So, the set up wasn’t all that great for a good listening, but gave ample scope to listen to few non musical surroundings.

Krishna started his concert in ‘his traditional’ way, with a heavy kriti upfront. Gajavadana in Thodi was sung very well. The nereval was very good and the swara that followed was just brilliant.

Devamrutavarshini alapana was good, albeit short. So was the return. But I thought the kriti was rendered fabulously, with some great singing at the SivuDanO ..mAdhavuDanO , with some good percussion support.

Soon after, he started a slow deliberate build up of yadukula kAmbOji alapana. The trouble started here. As expected the Mic-Amplification turned out to be the villain again. A couple of times, Krishna stopped singing, sitting close eyed in silence, before building it up from where he left. The trouble persisted and he decided to remove his mic stand and sing without the microphone. The violinist followed suit. The disturbance ( of some noise getting amplified) continue to distract him and it was then he decided enough is enough. He demanded the entire amplification system to be shut down and the personal to move out of the control room. Until he made sure these are met, the concert was held standstill.

From this point, concert was without any support of amplification. Which means, people at the back seats were left to the mercy of the level of sound the singer, the instrument and the percussion could produce to the entire hall. From this point, all I could hear was the snippets of what was going on at the stage. Krishna, on his part, called all those who were seated in the balcony seats to come over and sit on the stage. If he was adamant on not using any amplification, I was equally adamant to remain where I was ( not that there were seats available in front), until the concert was over. The loss, definitely is mine.

Back to the concert, as Krishna suddenly broke into ‘Siva Siva Sivayana rAda’ leaving the beautiful YadukulakAmbOji alapana where it was with a fast paced pantuvarALi. It definitely, brought the concert back alive with another set of fast paced neraval. Kamboji was the main, with an elaborate alapana with some outstanding singing at the higher octaves. More so, because only that part was audible to me. Whenever he was in the lower octaves and slow soft singing, al I could see was the hand movements and body gestures. some of them were like a batsman mock-practicing an extra cover drive, after being beaten by the bowler in the previous ball, to give you an idea.

During this time, my wife playing with my hand phone, managed to change my profile picture on the facebook, I could hear and smell( how disgusting) few loud belch ( you bet! ) , a elaborate highly emotive ( by sound and stretched hand over the head) yawn from a gentleman visibly bored, and innumerable sneezes that shook the seat ( you cant blame him, the area where we seated was full of particles that cause you sneeze), apart from a girls loud calling to her mother.

On such a day, he choose to sing a rare ( I haven’t heard this kriti before) Dikshitar kriti on the deity of Tiruvarur “SrI vAlmIkalingam”. Let me admit here, that I could not hear the words clearly, and if not for the help of Google, I would have thought he sang SrI valli dEvasEnapathe in kAmbOji , taking his experimentation to a different level altogether (its a silly joke,pardon me). The kriti by itself is pretty long and Krishna, to whatever I was able to hear, did a phenomenal job. The neraval was one of the best I ‘ve heard ( despite the fact that I am hearing this for the first time ) and was shear joy to watch others having a good time on the stage. Neraval was very elaborate, lasting more than 10 minutes. He did not sing any kalpana swaras for this, gestured Arjun kumar to start his tani avartanam. I cant comment on the quality of the tani avartanam, but going by the overall stage mannerisms, and some excited remarks from Krishna, give me the confidence to say, Tani avartanam was very good. We could hear Arjunkumar’s left hand ( remember, he is a southpaw) playing, not the minor nuances with the right. Giridhar Udupa’s case was even pitiable. All I could see was the shake of his head, and the final ‘frustrated’ bang on the poor ghatam with both palms were the only audible sound from the earthen pot. Overall, the tani avartanam in ‘aTa tALam’ did not reach us to appreciate it effectively. However, I applauded for the visual fair that I witnessed.

There was some more drama during the main. post the alapana’s the organisers came to the stage from the side and requested for the amplification to be re-established. Krishna silenced him with the finger on his lip, and waved him off. But, they had better ideas. Clandestinely switching on the mics, they tried to diffuse the situation with some sneaked in amplification through the abandoned mics on stage. Arjunkumar was quick to notice this and with a ‘magnificent gesture’ he removed the cable from the mouth piece, nullifying the effect of mrudangam being amplified ( rightly so, I thought). Krishna too sensed something is going on during the tAnam, which he confirmed by a tap on the far lying microphone. He was quick to reach out to pull off the cable, a feat repeated by Sriramkumar, with a smart tap with his bow, and the subsequent removal of cable.

By now, it was 8:45 and Krishna, started another alapana, in Rudrapriya. A short alapana in two phases preceded slightly more detailed tAnam, which saw some kind of engagement between the vocal and violin, which did not reach us as the cables were removed.  Krishna seems to be singing something and I was sure that the pallavi had started and as it is I am not able to hear. I dawned on me only after a while that Krishna was attempting to ‘compose’ a pallavi line ‘on the stage’. After a few minute of ‘trial and error’ he seems to have concluded on the ‘very creative pallavi line’ and he sang the ‘purvangam’ few times for the rest of the crew to fall in line with his idea. I should be fair here to the team. The ragamalika swara singing that accompanied the pallavi ( there was no trikalam) was worth the evening. Alternating the ideas from one ragam, easing from one to the other, Krishna and Sriramkumar, left the audience spellbound.

He sang bAro Krishnayya and searched the organisers with a lifted finger, to check if he can sing one more. I guess, the organisers by then had fled the stage and there was no one to be seen. He however continued accepting a request from the nearest rasika seated on the stage. Concluded the concert with a fast paced tamil piece and mangalam.

As I was leaving the hall, I could see the organiser coming on stage and apologising for the mishap. Please note, he too spoke without microphone, saying it was unexpected and these things do happen. I did not stay long to hear the rest.

Seriously, this concert would have been an outstanding concert, if only the organisers had managed to have a decent audio system, and if only Krishna had a little more patience. At the end I felt I was deprived of the listening pleasure of one of the best concert I’ve attended this year ( just by the kritis he sang and not by my enjoyment at the end). Seldom you see such a brilliant set of kritis in one concert. Every thing Krishna sang was briliant, but it wasnt for the majority of the audience. One can understand Krishna’s frustration and while empathising with him, I still believe he would have agreed to re-install the amplification for the benefit of all those who came in to listen to him on a Sunday evening.

In the end it left sour taste in mouth and the 44th annual festival at Gayana Samaja did not start in a right note. I hope the situation improves the coming days.


Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Concert songlist


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19 responses to “T M Krishna , Gayana Samaja 44th Annual Music Festival 28-Oct-2012

  1. preethi

    May 26, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    and you cant comment about how he is doing action while singing every artist do tat to get the swaras right .plz dont comment on a gud artist .. if u are artist u may understand

  2. preethi

    May 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    just stop it ……….. . wat he did was right .he is a wonderful singer dont even comment him “arrogant”……….. he is very gentle . if you guys speak to him you will notice. while entering the concert they will happy(artist) .when he is singing with full emotion when the mic does like this every one will get tensed .

  3. ambu

    May 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    bipolar borderline is associated with creativity .. it is for creativity developers to support disorders personality problems in gifted musicians so that posterity can have advanced Carnatic music .. pl bear with eccentricity where it is associated with creativity ..

  4. Sri

    November 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Hope sabhas learn from this event and stop inviting this arrogant and egoistic fellow to any further concerts unless he makes amends to his behaviour.

    The very essence of music is to learn to be humble. This trait is clearly lacking in TMK. The world has seen much greater artists than him and I hope and yearn that he is shown his place.

    I for one have decided never to attend another concert of his.

  5. Raghu

    November 2, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Hey Jayan! According to me TMK was too rude. He didn’t even have his basic manners.It was just a minor mic problem which could have been fixed in minutes. Just a feedback issue. They was he spoke in the mike saying”Shut the damn thing off” was just overflowing arrogance according to me!. His arrogance is beyond measure.. Just like his music probably 🙂

  6. Jayan

    November 2, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Thank you Shyam. Very informative.

  7. Shyamsunder Baskaran

    November 2, 2012 at 2:40 am

    Ardra or Arudra is the star of Lord Shiva. Also, Arudra darshan is a very important festival for Lord Shiva which celebrates his dance as Nataraja.
    The presiding deity of Chidambaram which is one among the Panchabootha sthalam is Nataraja the cosmic dancer. This temple represents aether (space/akasha) in the five elements (Panchabootha). Though the Arudra darshan festival is celebrated across all temples in the country, since this temple is presided by Nataraja, the festival is celebrated with lot of pomp and vigor. Nataraja decorated in a grand manner with flowers is mounted on a palanquin and the people carrying the palanquin perform co-ordinate simple dance steps to make it look like the deity is dancing. This festival is more important than any other festival in the temple and a much awaited one every year.
    AkAsha rUpam Sivam, ArdrOtsava vaibhavam.
    The word ‘bhaje’ used in this impromptu song should be understood as a conjunction to join the first and the repeated verses.

    Warmest Regards,

  8. GiriGuevara

    November 1, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I entirely support TMK. More than any major Infrastructure upgrade or fresh coat of paint any Sabha needs is a decent reliable acoustics, I was reminded by my sister of a Theater in Europe which could see 1000+ and doesn’t need any amplification

  9. balaji

    October 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I did not attend the concert. But I tried very much to attend this concert. But missed out due to a family function.

    My 2 cents.

    When audio system creates trouble in the middle of a concert, the artist has the foll. choices.

    1.Stop and wait till its fixed.
    2. Or Continue w/o mic.

    In the former how long can the artists wait? What if repair takes more time. Will everybody chatting around till then?

    Even if the system is repaired in few minutes whats the guarantee that it wont go bad again where the flow of the artists are interrupted again and again.

    Artists decide to go w/o mic.

    So instead of giving a concert of 3 hours with so many interruptions, TMK might have decided to go w/o mic and gave an uninterrupted concert.

    Infact TMK had saved the organizers from the wrath of the audience but ended up incurring wrath of organizers.

    When somebody sings for 3.5/4/5 hours continuously, we love that artist not caring about their vocal cards.

    We should have auditoriums in circular structure with artists sitting in centre rather than rectangular shape with artists ending in side and trying to shout to other side.

  10. Jayan

    October 31, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Thanks Shyam. I made the changes..

    What would ‘Ardrotsava’ mean ?

  11. Shyamsunder Baskaran

    October 31, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Ambiguity: AkAsha rUpam Sivam, rAgOtsava(?) vaibhavam bhajE
    Clarification: AkAsha rUpam Sivam, Ardrotsava vaibhavam bhajE

    The samaja certainly would have seen greater musicians than TMK. I sincerely believe that their stage behavior would have been more warm than what his is. His hand gestures to wave off the organizers were not called for and being the 1st concert of the festival, such an interruption marred start would have hurt their sentiments.
    With dignitaries like Capt. Gopinath of Deccan Airways and Ganjam Nagappa et al seated in the front rows, the usage of such language like “shut it off..shut the damn mic off.. will you listen to me.. get out of the room(sound operator room)” was not really expected off TMK.

    The organizer at the end of the concert was good enough to apologize repeatedly but his mention saying “It was an unfortunate event but, such a sound mixer jam during a concert could have happened even in TM Krishna’s organization if he had one” saw TMK storming out of the stage leaving behind the accompanying artists and later the organizer giving the speech turned back to only see TMK having left the place already. The drama continued till he boarded the car to leave where Gridhar Udupa went to explain this mishap in further detail and he too heard no good words and the uncomfortable air in the area continued.

    I can see one thing that is certain to happen. Any artist’s hay days are not for ever. If TMK loses his stupendous form that he has bee in the current years, Gayana Samaja would be the first place where he will not be invited to perform. This ill behavior of TMK and the drama that happened due to his impatience will be in the mind of the concert attendees for a long time.

    I was thinking how MS Amma or Maharajapuram Santhanam would have reacted to a trouble with the mic and I assured myself that they definitely would have not behaved like how TMK behaved on that day.

    Needless to say, his singing was fantastic and I had the pleasure of listening to it sitting on the stage sitting beside the artists. The ragamalika with the lyrics AsAsha Rupam Sivam impromptu prompted by RK Sriram on the stage was a feat to listen to and was the brightest part of the concert according to me.


  12. Jayan

    October 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    bs : Agree with you. One has to comment the effort by the artists. May be a bit heroic, and I was worried about the vocalist, one want to listen to him for many many years. Its a huge task on his part, even risking his own vocal chords. No taking credit away, but may be a bit immature, though.

  13. bs

    October 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    i guess you have written a unbiased commentary of what happened. A brilliant concert marred by lots of drama .I dont care who was wrong, but the audience was totally taken by granted and a performer has to be given due credit for his efforts. Lots of things go wrong , but the efforts put to rectify makes all the difference.

  14. Kiran

    October 30, 2012 at 9:07 am

    TMK was a better option. I missed the drama. And Jasraj concert was a paid affair. There was also a scene where amma blessed jasraj and touched his throat and head for a long time, We thought some miracle would happen. lol.

  15. Jayan

    October 30, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for the update Dr.K, I should have stayed back to witness the climax scene of the drama 🙂

    The whole issue was unfounded. Hope both bury their grievance and downplay the incident.

  16. Jayan

    October 30, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Oh, which means, decision to come choose Krisha over Pt.Jasraj was relatively better. Long speeches , holding the listeners, are far worse than, minor amplification issue

  17. Kiran

    October 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

    TMK taught a costly lesson, hope they learn.
    I chose the Jasraj Concert. And what we got was a speech by “Amma”of Sharada peetam. She spoke so long that we started clapping half way thru. She was immune I think. She continued and the concert started at around 7:20, 50mins late. This was after organisers and Sudha Raghunathan spoke in length. Pt. voice was bad, couldln listen for the first half an hour, it was better later. He sang for one and half hours apologising for his voice and said he will sing for free the next time. The surprise element was Shashank accompanied him on the flute. Darbari was chosen and Shashank was brilliant during his turn though short in time. He played well in parts for panttuvarali and Shankara as well.

  18. Dr. K

    October 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    There certainly was a lot of drama after you left the concert at that point. The Gayana Samaja organizer came to the stage and said that GS is a great institution and it was actually KEB’s fault, etc. He also said that if Mr. TMK had his own organization, he too would realize that he is bound to face such issues. To this, TMK got extremely upset and left the stage even when the others were still seated. He went inside the hall grabbed a few things and returned near the stage area by which time the accompanying artists were up and about, and he told the organizer “Sir, I do have an institution of my own and I don’t want to argue with you today. Thanks for everything”. The organizer replied to him requesting him to come and see him at his office to which Krishna declined and left. My opinion is that the organizer should not have blamed TMK for his impatience right after the concert. In fact, he should have apologized for the mishap and thanked TMK for delivering such a high quality performance despite all the hiccups. He should have made the other points to TMK in private if at all, anyway just my opinion.
    PS: I was lucky enough to be seated on the stage and I have to say Arjun Kumar’s performance too was fantastic yesterday.

  19. Badari

    October 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Rightly said. An amazing concert marred by impatience !!


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