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Vishnudev Namboothiri @ Sri Yadugiri Yathiraja Mutt, 21 July 2018

Vocal : Vishnudev Namboothiri

Violin : B K Raghu

Mrudangam : B S Prashanth

List:

01 sarasUDA ( varNam ) – sAvEri – Adi – Kothavasal Venkataramana Iyer

02 telisirAma cintanatO – pUrNacandrika – Adi – Tyagaraja ( S )

03 ninna nODi dhanyanAdenO – tODi – Roopakam – Purandara Dasa ( A,N,S )

neraval & swaras @ dEsha dEsha tirugi nAnu Asha badhanAdE svAmi ‘

04 narasimha mAmava – Arabhi – Khanda Chap – Swathi Thirunal

05 venkaTa shailavihAra – hamIr kalyANi – Adi x 2 – Subbaraya Shasthri (  O )

06 kalayAmi hrdi nanda – kannaDa – Mishra Chap – Swathi Thirunal ( S )

07 shrI bhASyA kArasyatE – kApi – Khanda Chap – ??

08 mA jAnaki – kAmbOji – Adi – Tyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ rAjarAjavara rAjIvAkSa vinu’

09 gOvindA ninna nAmavE chanda – janasammOdini – Adi – Purandara Dasa

10 manda matiyu nAnu madana janakanu nAnu – durga – khanda chap – Purandara Dasa

11 mangaLam – saurAStram – Adi – Thyagaraja

What a stupendous concert. Pardon me is I use too many superlatives today.  Well, it was worth every words of it. The team today was brilliant. You may stop reading now 🙂

Reaching Malleswaram on a Saturday evening is a nightmare. The google map showed 1hr 18 mins and I thought I am going to miss the start. But, as it turned out, I reached before the main artist, who had a similar experience with the traffic. To attend this, I had to skip two of my favourite artists, performing at the nearby Belundur.

Concert started after the Swamiji of the Mutt, reached the venue and blessed the artists and the audience.  And credit to the organisers for having paid respect to the recently departed mrudangam maestro B K Chandramouli, before the concert. Swamiji, later in the evening spoke about Sri Chandramouli and their association at length.

Concert started with a brisk varnam and soon moved into poornachandrika. Some brilliant swaraprasthana at the end, gave an indication of what is going to come for the rest of the evening.  A fantastic thodi alapana came in soon. What a start, how beautifully he constructed and weaved the alapana with some mesmerizing phrases. Super class and one of the best I’ve heard in recent times. B K Raghu was equally fabulous in his turn, played many delectable phrases and added to the overall impact of the thODi hurricane. The kriti was even better. From the selection to the neraval and the two speed kalpana swaras were outstanding. I am very impressed with his diction, which seldom see in artists from Chennai when they sing Kannada Compositions. The thodi effect took a while to leave as he eased into an Arabhi and a very melodious hameerkalyani. Another couple of short pieces came in with kannaDa and kApi. Again, he sang some cracking swaras for kannada. The kApi kriti was on Ramanuja, which was apt for the place and occasion.

Kamboji affair was akin to the thODi one. Outstanding alapana from the main artist, equally measured and impactful approach from Raghu.  The power of the voice was at its best as he easily moved across the ‘sthAyi’s at will. The mandrasthayi long passages were a treasure in the beginning and the high octane output at the tArasthayi towards the middle phase were very appealing.  Superb alapana.  O rangashayi was ringing in my mind  ( Swamiji made a similar observation, later) but it was mA jAnaki. Again, no words to describe. He was in top form. The long neraval was superb. He was tracing many unknown paths, especially in the higher registers. I thought he even reached tArastAyi shaDjam at one place ( nishAdam for sure) in some of the breathtaking neraval phase. He continued on the same tempo with kalpana swaras, later switching back to the first ‘kAlam’ form some of the more intrinsic patterns. Outstanding.  Prashant had a field day. He is improving leaps and bounds every time I watch him play. Yesterday he played with a lot of elan, anticipated well, added to the overall effect of the concert. He also played a very commendable tani avartanam after the main.

Couple of devarnamas constituted the rest of the evening. Swamiji later blessed the artists with his knowledge and keen observations on the music. The supercharged atmosphere was visibly evident from the faces of the listeners and the artists. Audience thronged the artists to congratulate them. Brilliant musicians and an outstanding concert.

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Posted by on July 22, 2018 in Concert songlist

 

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Vasudevan Ram, Guru Utsava @ Ranjani Fine Arts, 21 Jul 2018

Vocal : Vid Vasudevan Ram

Violin : Anand Viswanathan

Mrudangam : Rakshit

List:

01 shLOkam ( guru brahmO gurur viSNO ) – kalyANi  ( O, violin return )

gaNapatE mahAmatE – kalyANi – Roopakam – Dikshitar  ( Ambi?? )

02 paripAlayamAm – rItigauLa –  Roopakam – Swathi Thirunal ( A )

03 viruttam ( en tAyum enakkaruL tantayum nI ) – kApi – Arunagirinathar ?

kArtikEyanai kaNNAra kANAvENDumE – kApi – Roopakam – Mayuram Viswanatha Shasthri

Shri Vasudevan presented the inagural concert of the 2 day long Guru Utsava of Ranjani Fine Arts. A short half an hour concert, which was planned beautifully. It is difficult to plan and control a short duration concert. You have to omit or miss more than what you could incorporate.

He started appropriately with the guru vandana shlokam, sang beautifully. Anand played a nice little alapana of Kalyani before the kriti. Nice idea of including the Guru and Ganesha in one piece. Another good alapana of reetigaula, with some innovative takes by Vasudevan, followed by Anand with a short reply. The time was running out and I could see Vasudevan was stepping up the tempo. Paripalayamam was sung at a pace faster than usual tempo.

A short viruttam from Kandar Anubhooti ( ?) before Mayuram Viswanatha Shastri’s composition to conclude the short but pretty nice concert.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2018 in Concert songlist

 

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O S Thyagarajan @ Ranjani Fine Arts , 14 May 2016

Vocal : O S Thyagarajan

Violin : Mullaivasal G Chandramouli

Mrudangam : Akshay Ananthapadmanabhan

List :

01 dinamaNi vamsha – harikAmbOji – Thyagaraja ( O,S )

02. teliyalEru rAma – dhEnuka – Thyagaraja

03. sItamma mAyamma – vasanta – Thyagaraja ( N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘dharajita bhAgavatAgrEsarulevvarO vArellaru’

04. dvaitamu sukhamA – rItigauLa – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

05. shrI kAnta nI eDa – bhavapriya – Thyagaraja

06. evvarurA ninnu vinA – mOhanam – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

07. dAcukO valEnO dAsharathi – thODi – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval @ ‘saumitri tyAgarAjuni’

08. eppO varuvArO – jOnpuri – Gopalakrishna Bharati

09. shObanE – pantuvarALi – Thyagaraja

10. vinAyakuni – madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja

11. mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

This was the second concert of OST in 7 days, at the same locality. As expected, this was again a ‘Thyagaraja’ special concert, making tribute to the legendary composer on his 250th birth centenary. To most of us who attended the previous concert, it felt as though he started off from where he left us last week. Same exuberance, same focus and involvement passed on to the others on the stage as well as the listeners. I found his voice to be in much better shape than last week. He was able to move up and down the octaves with ease, which he deployed extensively during alapana. However, he was a bit restrained from his free flowing mood of  the previous week, probably because of the ‘sabha concert settings’.

Ritigaula and mohanam alapana were the best part for me. I liked them more than the main thodi alapana he did. Both reetigaula and mohanam were marvelous. He did spent ample amount of time in setting the stage with slow short phrases to some extremely impressive ‘sanchAra’ moving across three octaves as he progresses. Few quick ‘akara’ phrases , quirky shifts of modulation, few longish higher octave expositions of the beauty of the raga were very very impressive for both reetigaula and mohanam, and to a much lesser effect in thodi. Mullaivasal Chandramouli almost always matched the sojourn of the lead singer with his violin during his turn. Some of his ‘deviations’, especially for mohanam was praiseworthy. With his special stand and the placement of violin was a bit unconventional but he was excellent through out.

Concert started with a harikamboji kriti as in the case of last week. It came to full flow only during the vasanta neraval. Interesting place to sing neraval and in his customary style he did a fantastic job. Ritigaula was fabulous. These days one get to hear only ‘janani ninnu vina’ and occassionally  a ‘paripalayamAm’ or’ninnu viDachi’. It’s  been ages since I heard ‘dvaitamu’  in a concert. He did sing this in a faster tempo, not sure  if that was the actual  ‘kalapramanam’. Fantastic rounds of kalpana swaras followed. I hoped for a neraval, though. After a short bhavapriya filler, mohanam came into fore.Very  good again and another nice choice of kriti. Thodi alapana was good in parts, but ‘dacukO valeNo’ choice was superb. Yet another masterpiece almost in obscurity. There was a grand neraval and much bigger and longer kalpana swara befitting a main. I still dont get why artists sing neraval at ‘saumitri tyAgarAjuni’, which to me sounds incomplete and meaningless. Akshay Ananthapadmanabhan was having a difficult day. He was continuously tuning his instrument through out the concert. Probably this pre-occupation affected his performance to some extend. He uses the modern mrudangam and had all the ‘handyman’ tools with him which he used after every kriti and post alapana before the song. The spanners, screw driver, hammer, ‘sAlagrAma :-)’ etc were used alternately. He is a talented musician and that was evident in the brilliant tani avartanam he played post the main.

Eppovaruvaro was an aberration in otherwise a complete ‘thyagaraja composition’ concert. OST sang that well, but one hoped for better support for this song. Shobane and vinayakuni completed the remainder of the evening before the closure. I always believe, singers can do a better preparation and present much better ‘post main’ kritis. Having said that this was another immensely enjoyable concert, very traditional and orthodox classical music performance.

 

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2016 in Concert songlist

 

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Sukanya Prabhakar @ Gayana Samaja , 9th Nov 2014

Vocal  : Sukanya Prabhakar

Vocal Support : Madhavi Kaushik

Violin : B Raghuram

Mrudangam : C Cheluvaraju

Ghatam : Srishylan

Thematic concert on Swathi thirunal, commemorating his 200th birth anniversary

List:

01.  sarasijanAbha (varNam) – kAmbOji – Swathi Thirunal

02.  parama puruSa jagadIshvara – vasanta – Swathi Thirunal ( S )

03.  sEvE shrIkAntam – mOhana kalyANi – Swathi thirunal ( A,S )

04.  Alapana ( sAvEri , nATakurinji, dhanyAsi, mOhanam, mukhAri , pUvikalyANi,madhyamAvati)

bhAvayAmi raghurAmam – rAgamalika ( as above) – Swathi thirunal

swaras in sAvEri , nATakurinji, dhanyAsi, mOhanam, mukhAri , pUvikalyANi,madhyamAvati – for respective charanam

05.  bhOgindra shAyinam – kuntaLa varALi – Swathi Thirunal

06.  shankara shrI girinAtha prabhO – hamsAnandi ( N )

neraval @ padmanAbh man kamal virAjE

07.  RTP – kharaharapriya – khaNDa tripuTa x 2 kaLai  starting at +2

pallavi line ‘pankajanAbha pAda sEvakam tirunAl mahArAjam ‘

no rAgamalika swaram

tani Avartanam

08.  jaya jagadIsha nanda kishOra – yamunAkalyANi – Swathi Thirunal

09.  bhujaga shAyinO – yadukula kAmbOji – Swathi Thirunal

Very impressive concert. I was expecting a traditional fair from her with a lot many Kannada devarnamas and a few rare kritis. As she sat down to start, she mentioned the 200th birth anniversary of Sri Swathi Thirunal. She did a brief lecture on the composer Maharaja pointing out his achievements and specialties of his compositions, including the use of hindustani ragas, invention of new ragas such as mohana kalyani ( highly debated though) and the varieties of his musical outputs both in the forms ( varnam, padam, keerthanams etc) and the languages ( South Indian and Hindi apart form Sanskrit).

Even at this point I wasn’t thinking of a possibility of a thematic concert from the vidushi. She started of with the kAmbOji varnam , again attributed to Swathi Thirunal. It started in a very slow tempo and a bit shaky to begin with, but soon got back to control. Vasanta kriti came in next with some brilliant rounds of kalpana swaras. After a short confusion regarding the inclusion of her disciple into the proceedings, with B Raghuram pre-occupied with the feedback speaker issue, the team got into the rhythm. A spellbinding finish to the kalpana swaras was a treat.

A shortish mohanakalyani alapana was good from the lead singer continued amicably by ‘shiSya’ and concluded. B Raghuram played a decent return. Pallavi line was sung so beautifully, very melodious. She sang a couple of very moving repeats of the pallavi line to some good effects. There was some rounds of good swaras, with Madhavi Kaushik actively participating and concluded with aplomb.

A series of raga alapana came in sequence from sAvEri to madhyamAvati, indicating the arrival of ‘bhavayami raghuramam’. Each raga was take up for 2-3 minutes one after other in sequence. Madhavi sang nAtakurinji and mOhanam while the senior did the rest. B Raghuram in his turn ( post the vocalists completed all seven alapana) played beautifully. His progression from one to other was splendid and smooth as a feather ( except probably at mukhAri to pUrvikalyaNi) and so was the descending sequence. Bhavayami raghuramam brings the memory of MDR, but the vidushi sang very well. She did a clever thing to accomodate kalpana swaras. Starting the chittaswarams of the respective raga in the charanam, she took off with her kalpana swaras and came back to the chittaswaram to conclude the particular charanam. It was very innovative and executed very well.

A quick filler of bhogindra shayinam in a slower tempo and hamsanandi kriti shankara sri girinatha prabho came in succession. She lingered around the ‘padmanabh man kamal viraje’ detailing it into a neraval , a feat repeated by Madhavi with equal eloquence followed with B Raghuram. It did not continue to a full fledged neraval, to my disappointment.

A detailed long alapana was grand. Started with some moving phrases, picking up steam as it progressed. She handed over the mantle to Madhavi in the middle before taking control and concluding it majestically. Raghuram;s return was equally commendable. Tanam was long and detailed. Pallavi line composed for the occasion was apt, even of the line per se was just ok. Pallavi with trikalam was brilliantly executed and was elaborate. Swaras was limited to the main raga and there was no ragamalika swaras. Cheluvaraju was in his own elements through out the day. He and Srishylan played out a classical tani avartanam in khanda triputa post the RTP.

Post main was limited to one kriti before the yadukula kamboji mangalam of Maharaja. The organisers praised her knowledge on devarnamas and requested her to sing a couple of ‘devarnamas’ and conclude the concert. However, as it was a tribute to Swathi Thirunal, she wanted to sing Swathi compositions only, which made him to re-track his words and hastily agree with the singer.

It would be inappropriate if I do not mention the young Madhavi Kaushik. She sang brilliantly through out the day. Making the most of every opportunities given to he during the concert, be it the alapana of mohana kalyani, the kalpana swaras ( especially the mohanakalyani) or the neraval line for hamsanandi , she did commendably well and was wholeheartedly appreciated by the audience. I was given to understand that she was the winner in the ‘pallavi’ segment in the competition held by Gayana Samaja. Very good talent to watch out for.

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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R Suryaprakash @ Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha, 12 Oct 2014

Vocal : R Suryaprakash

Violin : M A Sundareswaran

Mrudangam : C Cheluvaraju

Ghatam : Srishylan

List:

01.  shLOkam ( vakratuNDa mahAkAya) – nATa

shivatraya mahAgaNapatim – nATa – Svarna Venkatesha Dikshitar ( S )

02.  rAmanAtham bhajEham – pantuvarALi – Muthusvami Dikshitar  ( Short Sketch , N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘kumAra guruguha mahitam kapi vrindAdi sannutam’

03.  sEvikka vENDum ayya – AndOLika – Muthu Thandavar ( A,S )

04.  sItAvara sangIta jnAnamu – dEvagAndhAri – Thyagaraja ( A )

05.  kA vA vA – varALi – Papanasam Sivan ( S )

06. chakkani rAja mArgamu – kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘ kaNTiki sundara taramagu rUpamE ‘

07.  ninna oLumegE nAnu – sAramati ? – Purandara Dasa

08.  RTP – sumanEsha ranjani –  khanda triputa x 2 kalai , +1 from samam

pallavi line ‘ mAnini nigamAgama sanchAriNi , sumanEsha ranjani’

ragamalika swaras in  janaranjani and shivaranjani ( not sure if there was one before this)

09  eppO varuvArO – jOnpuri – Gopalakrishna Bharathi

10  Western Notes

11  thillAna ( nAdru dhIm ta shim nAdru dhIm ) – shuddha sArang- R Suryaprakash

12  shrikAntha enagiStu dayamADO – bhAgEshrI – Purandara Dasa

13.  mangaLam – saurAshtram / srI- Thyagaraja

What a cracker of a concert. From the start, it was an awesome fare. Lasting nearly three and half hours, Sri Suryaprakash, enthralled the audience with some outstanding singing. Taking the clue from the pallavi line of the main kriti one asked himself  “When there are excellent royal paths, why enter bylanes, O Mind?”

On such an evening, it is difficult to pick and highlight what stood out. The majestic and ‘royal’ kharaharapriya , the impressive pallavi in sumanesa ranjani , brilliant and refreshing andolika alapana or the impressive list of post pallavi kritis. One can pick any from the list above and he did a great job for eah of these pieces.

Concert started with a rather rare Nata kriti of Svarna Venkatesh dikshitar, making his presence felt with some smashing rounds of swaras. Launching into a short sketch of pantuvarali, he moved on with the Dikshitar’s master piece ‘Ramanatham bhajeham’. I always love a pantuvarali or purvikalyani up in the list, beginning of a concert. More so, if they are without or short alapana but necessarily with neraval and swaras. Exactly that was given. Good enough ( by duration)  neraval at the predictable ‘kumara guruguha’ and some classy kalpana swaras was the highlights of pantuvarali.

A very refreshing alapana of andolika with many nontraditional sangatis was a treat. Sri Sundareswaran was equally brilliant, giving us some phrases of ‘ragasudharasa’ in his return. But it was ‘sevikka vendum ayya’ adorned with some good rounds of swaras. Yet another impressive alapana came soon in devagandhari , yet again M A Sundareswaran gave us hint of ksheerasagara. He sang seethavara, I would have been ok with either. Another Mani Iyer classic of kA vA vA received with some admirable responses from the audiences. HE added a few rounds of quick fire kalpana swaras. Appreciatively, he chose to sing the swaras at two places alternating between kA vA vA and pazhani malai urayum muruga vA ( if I remember correctly) and it had an immense impact.

When he started the first phrases of kharaharapriya, there was an enthusiastic response from the violinist. He sang a splendid alapana of kharaharapriya, meticulously detailed and appropriately stretched with careful build up. M A Sundareswaran started off by playing ‘samAnamevvaru’ eliciting some laughter across the hall. The duo made some appreciative remarks before continuing. It had to be chakkani raja, despite the samanamevvaru prompt. With the memories of Mani Iyer’s singing in mind, it had to match the expectation. Sri Suryaprakash presented the kriti with all the grandeur and royalty. Superb and very elaborate neraval at ‘kaNTiki’ and equally apt kalpana swaras to live upto the expectations of the musician and the kriti.

Cheluvaraju and Srishylan played a good tani avartanam. The duo was playing to the occasion with some nice finger works , specially sri Cheluvaraj, who invoked some sublime sounds while accompanying the kritis, also by keeping away from playing allowing the essence of the music to sync with the audience.

For a usual concert it was now time to enter the closing up kritis. He sang a devarnama, probably in sAramati, post the main.Prior to the concert when I met up with Sri Suryaprakash, he hinted at a special RTP for the day and he kept me guessing without letting out any hint. Since the time is already around 7:45 nearly 2:45 mins into the concert, I wasn’t hoping for a pallavi. He however announced sumanesa ranjani to the delight of the audience. Alapana was pretty nice, as Sri Sachi mentioned, it was something appropriate for his style of singing.After his turn he said, we all want to listen to the veteran artists to show us the merit of the raga asking Sundareswaran to play. He played a shorter version of the same. Tanam was again very well rendered, with Cheluvaraju chipping in. Pallavi, coined by him less than 48 hrs ago ( he said) had some good swarakshara use. He did use the pallavi line ‘mA ni ni’ very effectively in the swara singing. Trikalam was done effectively for a couple of rounds. He also added a couple of raga malika swaras, both janaranjani and shivaranjani were brilliant , especially the ‘radio tune’ start by Sundareswaran in his turn.

Probably there were a couple of requests most of them were his guru’s or parama-guru’s favorites. Wome one requested for a thillana of his composition, and he obliged with the sudha sarang thillana of his own. There was more requests, again he sang a devar nama in bhageshri before the mangalam.

Fabulous concert, very satisfying and fulfilling. All that is expected and more was delivered. Music of high quality and aesthetics. One of the best concert of the recent times for me. Kudos to the artists.

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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