Abhishek Raghuram @ Seshadripuram College, 09 Apr 2017

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam : Sankaranarayanan

Morsing : Pramath Kiran

List :

01 dasharatha nandana – asAvEri – Thyagaraja

02 koluvai unnAdE – bhairavi – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

03 sItApatI nA manasunA – khamAs – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @prEmajUci nApai peddamanasu jEsi

04 endarO mahAnubhavulu – shrI – Thyagaraja ( A )

05 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

What a splendid evening. This list above is not the actual indication of what happened on stage, but if I say that is all he sang in a 3 hr concert probably give you an idea. Yesterday, he was in his sublime best. No exhilaration, none of the usual vocal and physical vigour. It was all a sedate, moving affair.

A brilliant start of asaveri, impressive selection of a kriti, sang very slow kicked off the evening. An outstanding alapana of bhairavi followed. Slow mesmerising phrases to start, continued in the same tempo almost the entire alapana, extremely pleasing.  It was ‘koluvai unnade’ again, almost a repeat of his Nadasurabhi concert 5-6 months ago. But who is complaining. Khamas alapana again was in the similar lines. He has taken some extra liberty here in his usual style, with some very refreshing phrases. Predicted ‘SitApatI na manasuna’ right. Another awesome neraval at premajuci. It was at the same venue, a couple of year ago, I heard one of the best ‘sItapatI’ from NEyveli Santhanagopalan with Narmada on violin. The kalpana swaras that followed was outstanding again. Wholesome feast, was enhanced by a entertaining tani avartanam bu the percussion duo. Sankaranarayanan on his part was brilliant through out the evening.

I was expecting a pallavi to follow, but he agreed to a request from an elderly gentleman for ‘endarO mahanubhavulu’. I guess, the person requested might have been expecting a ‘gOshti gAna’ type of endaro mahanubhavulu. Abhishek had other ideas. A sumptuous shrI alapana followed. I was hoping for a short tanam at this time, which would have taken the whole affair to a different level.  Arguably, after MDR I have not heard anyone sing ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ to this impact. One to cherish for a long long time. I loved some of the add on he did during the chittaswara patterns. Fabulous stuff.

and that called for the bell. He had enough for the day, quickly closed the evening with a brisk mangalam.  But what an evening.

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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Ashwathnarayanan @ Ramaseva Mandali, Koramangala 08 Apr 2017

Vocal : Ashwathnarayanan

Violin :Pappu Gyandev

Mrudangam :-H S Sudheendra

Ghatam : Phanindra  Bhaskara

List :

01 nera nammiti (varNam) – kAnaDa – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar

02 varAlanDu kommani – gurjari – Thyagaraja ( S )

03 jaya jaya jaya jAnaki kAnta – nAta – Purandara Dasa ( O,S )

04 jnAna mosaga rAdA – pUrvikalyANi – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara  @ ‘paripUrNa niSkaLanka niravadhi sukhadAyaka ‘

05 mAmava pattAbhirAma – maNirangu – Dikshitar

06 rAma rAma rAma rAma, rAmA yennirO – vasanta – Purandara Dasa ( S )

07 nA moravina rAdA – gOpriya – Dr S Ramanathan

08 ELa nI dayarAdA – aThANa – Thyagaraja

09 nannu pAlimpa – mOhanam – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘karamuna shara kOdaNDa kAntitO’

10 bArO krSNayya – rAgamAlika – Kanaka Dasa ( Short sketch of mAND)

11 anri ulagam ( tirupavai) – bhImpLAs? – Andal

12 thillAna – chenchurutti – Veena Seshanna

13 srIrAma chandranukku jayamangaLam ( mangaLAm) – madhyamAvati – Arunachala Kavi

Proximity is not the only reason I decided to attend to Ashwathnarayanan today over other established artists at other venues. This year, I have decided to listen to as many youngsters as possible. His name has been coming up for a while as a name to watch out for. And yesterday’s concert fit that bill, perfectly well.

He has a strong powerful voice, with ease of deployment. Very clear diction, synonymous to the school and lineage he belong to, and a solid stage presence. He is very young and a bit of experience and polishing can catapult him into the big league.

He and the crew did a commendable concert yesterday. Very interesting choices of raga, some memorable swaraprasthana for the main, very moving melodious gurjari and some classy neraval for both Purvikalyani and Mohanam.

The area he might need to focus on ( for that matter most of the youngsters) is the kalapramanam. I guess, they carried away with the excitement and tends towards speed over ‘soukhyam’. Manirang, vasanta and aThana suffered from this. It could also possibly due to an over enthusiastic percussion support. Many times, I found HSS playing the beats different from the sahitya pattern, unsettling the flow. Also, each song ended with an unnecessary longer ‘theermanam’ ( or whatever it is called).

Only two alapana ( barring a short mAND sketch) in the evening. He can definitely organise it better. But both were scholarly. Mohanam especially was very good. These youngsters have a lot of ideas, but will have to sort of ‘organise’ these into a smoother delivery. Neraval for both purvikalyani and mohanam were very good. He has such a strong control over the laya, which was evident even in the singing of ‘sahitya’. His kalpana swara patterns were also very impressive, especially the mohanam.

Mamava Pattabhirama was all over the place. For one, he started with some unusual sangatis. The whole song was a bit ‘aggressive’ to my taste. It lost its natural beauty, which is not expected/accepted from some of of KVN’s lineage. He introduced the raga gOpriya to the audience, paying tribute to Dr.S.Ramanathan, whose birth centenary was yesterday. Gopriya is an interesting raga, with notes spread evenly across, making it impossible to do a grahabhedam.  A janya of Rishabhapriya, and not many composition available, apart from the one by Dr.SRamanathan. A nice gesture from the young lad.Post main was a beautifully rendered bAro krSNayya , a tirupavai and Chenchurutti thillana, before mangalam.

Very talented singer with a good voice, clear diction and well groomed manodharma. We will hear more from him and about him in the future.

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Posted by on April 9, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Padma Sugavanam @ Nadasurabhi , 19th Mar 2017

Vocal : Padma Sugavanam

Violin : Mathur Srinidhi

Mrudangam : R S R Srikanth

Ganjira : A S N Murthy


01  ??sarasijanAbha (varNAm) – ??mAyAmALavagauLa – Swathi Thirunal

(reached towards the end, I could be wrong)

02 shrI mahAgaNapatE shrI vallabhApatE – AbhOgi – N S Ramachandran ( N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘tAmarasa daLanEtra tAmasa timira nEtra’

03  vENugAna lOluni – kEdAragauLa – Thyagaraja ( A )

04  EdayyA gati – chalanAta – Koteeswara Iyer

05 ninnE nammitinayya – simhEndramadhyamam – Mysore Vasudevachar ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘pannagEndra shayanA, pannagAri vAhana’

06  shrIkanta nIyada – bhavapriya – Thyagaraja

07 RTP – hamsavinOdini – chaturashra triputa x 2 kaLai , +1 ( 2 akSara) eduppu

pallavi line ‘ nigama sudhA vinOdini, nIrajadaLa lOcani sadA-‘

rAgamAlika swaras in ‘ varALi , sAma, sAvEri, pUrvikalyAni’

07b. tani Avartanam

08 mOsa jEsEnE (jAvaLi) – sindhubhairavi – ??  ( O )

09  mareya bEDa manavE – behAg – Purandara Dasa (O )

10 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

I missed her concert a couple weeks ago at Pranava Arts. When the announcement of change of the main artist came from the organisers, I decided to make a point to attend.  Listening to her for the first time. I reached the venue as she was concluding the varnam.

What I found interesting is her selection of ragas and the compositions. Nice mix of composers, tala and tempo. Another impressive attempt with hamsavinodini as pallavi. I also found her grip on laya impeccable, especially during kalpana swaras where she did some fabulous stuff. The concert itself had a slow start, the spice was missing initially. It was from the simhendramadhyamam onward the concert elevated to the top gear. It was brilliant from there.

She sang a nice neraval for Abhogi kriti and had some elaborate swara patterns to end, giving us the glimpses of what is her mettle, the next couple of the songs weren’t great. Kedaragaula alapana wasn’t anything to write home about. Even the kriti did not really move me, despite being one of my favourite.

Simhendramadhyamam alapana was longer, lot of fast bhriga laden phrases to some good effect. I liked them, but some of the upper octave takes weren’t very pleasing. All my cribs end here. The kriti, classy neraval at pannagendra shayana, and the brilliant kalpana swaras that followed were the high point of the evening. I think, it was here, the rest of the artists on stage jelled together and found cohesiveness. She did some tremendous swara patterns here, with some improved percussion support.

By now, the change was visible, more at ease and confident. A energetic bhavapriya was sung before the main. A pallavi was in the offing, but hamsavinodini wasn’t one expected. Balamuralikrishna’s famous pallavi was the reference and she did announce that the pallavi was indeed composed by the legendary artist, with very clever padakSara usage. Tow phase alapana was very good. Tanam was even better. Pallavi neraval was good with very well executed trikalam. The percussion here ( and while following the violin) wasn’t upto the mark, as I found something amiss. Ragamalika swaras were good too, not sure if they too follow the ‘swarakSra’ pattern. I need to check.

Taniavartanam was very good. The percussion had their moments, they followed the singing pretty well except a few places. ASN Murthy produced some awesome music from the instrument. Srinidhi was the first to get into the groove, his alapana of kedaragaula and simhendramadhyamam were good, even though the volume output was low and was hardly audible against the high shruti sound.

Post main was again wasn’t great. A rarely heard javali and a customary ( sorry to say this) devarnama before mangalam. But, that has been my perennial complaint. I always liked artists who give some focus to this section of the concert.

Vid. Padma Sugavanam is having a busy month in Bangalore in March. I’m sure we will hear many more concerts of her in Bangalore in the months and years to come.


Posted by on March 20, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Amrutha Venkatesh @ Ranjani Fine Arts, 12th March 2017

Vocal  : Amrutha Venkatesh

Violin : B K Raghu

Mrudangam :  B S Prashanth

List :

01.  karuNimpa ( varNam) – sahAna – Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya

02.  shambh) mahAdEva – pantuvarALi – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘ shambhO mahAdEva sharaNAgata janarakSaka ‘

03.  nagumOmu galanEni – AbhEri – Thyagaraja

04.  bArayya venkaTaramaNa – sAvEri – Thyagaraja ( A )

05.  mAyamma shubhamimma – ranjani – M D Ramanathan ( A,S )

06.  riNa madanuta paripAlaya mAmayi – behAg – Swathi Thirunal

07.  kaligiyuNTe gada –  kIravANi – Thyagaraja ( A,S,T )

08.  ugabhOga ( ninnanE pADuvE ninnanE pogaLuvE ) – hamIrkalyANi

smarisO sarvadA hariya – hamIr kalyANi – Purandara Dasa

09. Aj AyE shyAm mOhan – mishra pahADi – Swathi Thirunal

10.  eppO varuvArO – jOnpuri – Gopalakrishna Bharathi

11.  tillAna ( dhIm nanana tittillAna tillAna) – brindAvani – Balamuralikrishna

12. mangaLAm – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

One of the important ingredient of any successful concert is the balance of the team. If that is set right, the concert will be one to cherish. Last evening’s concert at Ranjani Fine Arts was one such. There are many other aspect which made this concert a beautiful one, but the teaming definitely helped the cause. Amrutha was at her usual best. Very intelligent, clever and articulate in presenting a brilliant concert. But the supporting crew in Raghu and Prashanth, the concert rose to something special. Raghu, despite a personal loss, accepted the concert and played some delectable violin. His alapana for pantuvarali, ranjani and keeravani were top class and gave many aha moments. Prashanth, whom I first saw accompanying TNS at Sanjay Nagar, 5-6 years ago, has grown multi fold in his stature over the years.

Apart from a rare, interesting ranjani piece of MDR the overall concert was did not have any novelty factor. To my dismay ( not picking a defect here), there was only one neraval in the entire concert. Despite all this, the concert was of a very high standard. Her sahana varnam itself was brilliant with some very innovative takes and improvisations. Fabulous alapana for pantuvarali, largely on longer bhriga based phrases. Nice neraval ( singing neraval at the pallavi line – is this a new trend ?)  and some awe inspiring swaras to end, aptly supported by Raghu. A short saveri alapana did not really make an impact. But the “Dasara pada” was quite nice.

A brilliant ranjani alapana, mostly build through short nice phrases lifted it up again. Am I the only one noticing some Sanjay traces in her singing alapana ( the quick takes , even the facial gestures at times). Raghu was even better. Expected the GNB composition to follow, but she announced the MDR composition, which was a pleasant surprise. The swaras were impressive too, anchoring around ‘sa ri ga’ for a long time. Keeravani main, with a very refreshing alapana.  So much so that, for a moment I thought if it was ‘gowrimanohari’. Most of the alapana’s we here for keeravani are the same stale often chewed cud. This was indeed very different. Kaligiyunte was no surprise, what was surprising was her decision to skip neraval. There was elaborate swaras befitting the main. Prashanth, played a good tani avartanam, extending his good form through out the evening.

Post main is noted for the ugabhoga+devarnama in hamirkalyani and the mishrapahadi bhajan of Swathi Thirunal, set to tune by Sri Balamuralikrishna. The thillana and the jonpuri piece were ok. I haven’t been attending many concerts since the start of the new year, but this one was worth the time spent. Very well delivered concert.

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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Venu-Veena-Violin @ Odukathur Mutt 26 Feb, 2017

Violin : H K Venkatram

Flute : G Ravikiran

Veena : Aswin Anand

Mrudangam : Karaikkudi Mani

Ganjira : Guruprasanna


01 pArvatipatim praNaumi satatam – hamsadhwani – Dikshitar ( S )

02 tyAgarAja yOga vaibhavam – Anandabhairavi – Dikshitar  ( O )

03 shObhillu saptasvara – jaganmOhini – Thyagaraja

04 shiva shiva shiva enarAdA – pantuvarALI – Thyagaraja ( A-veena,N,S )

neraval&svara  @ Agamamula nuDiyinci

05 dattAtrEya trimUrtirUpa – ranjani – Ganapathi Sachidananda ( A – Flute)

06 svararAga sudhA – shankarAbharaNam – Thyagaraja ( A,S,T )

07 shiva darushana namagAyitu – madhyamAvati – Purandara Dasa

08 thillAna – mOhanakalyANi – Lalgudi Jayaraman

09 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

My first concert for the year, and I mentioned this to Sri H K Venkataram, as I met him before the concert. Expectation was huge with Sri Karaikudi Mani on percussion. I’m definitely pleased in the end.  Some beautiful music from the trio with an expected percussion upliftment from the maestro.

Started late from the announced time, after an impressive dance performance and around twenty minutes of tweaking the various system to perfection. Sri Karaikudi Mani wasn’t happy with his instrument tuning despite that, and made a switch to a different one during the concert. Concert started with a brisk hamsadhwani, which I initially thought was ‘ vande anisham aham vArana vadanam’, but was corrected by the artist. Some cracking swaras followed after the kriti presentation. A sedate Ananda bhairavi and a quickfire shobhillu came in in quick succession.

Aswin Anand played a brilliant pantuvarali alapana before a predictable shiva shiva shiva enarAda. Neraval at agamamula and good rounds of svarams to conclude the first detailed piece. Ravikiran played a short and nice ranjani followed by ‘dattatreya’, written by Ganapathi Sachidananda ( who, infact was the Guru of Karaikudi Mani) and was set to tune and popularised by KVN.

Venkatram played an elaborate shankarabharanam , in the more familiar and time tested patterns. Couple of impressive takes or ‘aha’ moments in a well conceived alapana. I was expecting an ‘akSayalinga vibhO’ or ‘sadAshivam upAsmahE’ , befitting the occasion, but they chose to play ‘swararaga sudha’ instead. There was no neraval but the swaras that followed was fabulous. Some nice laya variations for the ‘old time favourite’ patterns was very appealing. I thought Karaikudi Mani came into the fore at the Shankarabharanam. Some of his finger works for the kriti were mesmerising. As expected and eagerly awaited, the tani avartanam was of shear beauty. What variations and structures that was brought out by the master, which was duly complied with by the supporting artist in ganjira. Class act.

Sri Karaikudi Mani spoke at the felicitation time, which he usually avoid. He mentioned being part of the very first Venu-Veena-Violin conert around 35 years ago featuring N Ramani – Venkataraman and Lalgudi Jayaraman. He also spoke about the ‘mridanga shaileshwari temple‘ in Kerala, the only temple any where in the world for a percussion instrument. He said, the temple is not known to many people and he on his part is trying to offer a ‘golden mridangam’ to the temple and seek the blessings of the rasikas.

Concert concluded with a devarnama and a thillana. The first concert for me in 2017 and I am definitely very happy

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Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Uncategorized