Tag Archives: BTM Cultural Academy

T S Sathyavathi, Special RTP Concert , BTM Cultural Academy 23 Aug 2015

Vocal  : T S Sathyavathi

Vocal Support : Anjana P Rao

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

Ghatam : Sukanya Ramgopal


00 shrI gaNanAtha – malahari – Purandara Dasa    ( setting the amplifications)

01  praNavAkAram siddhivinAyakam – Arabhi – Oothukad Venkata Kavi  ( O,S )

02  RTP – shubha pantuvarALi – chaturashra triputa x 2 kaLai  +1 aksharam eduppu

parama karuNA sAgara, nannu brOva rAmA

rAgamalika swarams in malahari, bahudhAri, kApi, bEgaDa

03  thillAna ( nAdru dhIm nAdru dhIm, dhIm tana dhiraNA) – kAnaDa – tisra roopakam- Mysore Vasudevachar  ( O )

04  shLOkam ( mangaLam kOsalEndrAya) – madhyamAvati

The concert was announced as a special RTP concert. BTM cultural Academy conducts 2 such programs every year, one in Feb and the other in Aug. Each time, they bring artist of exceptional caliber to perform. Pallavi singing in the concerts have become a ‘tick in the box’ these days with artists unable to give it enough justice, after an elaborate main piece. The nuances and intricacies involved in singing a noteworthy pallavi is slowly loosing in the bargain. With the changing taste of the listeners, where virtuosity and speed/loudness receive maximum applause, it is not surprising that most of the pallavis are replication of another neraval singing. Only a few attempts the basic trikalam, and the creativity limits to singing ragamalika kalpana swaras.

Years ago, I had a chance to listen to a lecture demonstration of Vid Satyavathi at Indiranagar Sabha.  While the whole lec-dem had to be concluded without enough time for the pallavi part, it made a lasting impression on me. That memory, drove me towards BTM Sabha, in expectation of a grand pallavi.

A few lines of geetham was sung during the mike arrangements and tuning. She announced an Arabhi kriti of Oothukadu shifting through a few raga phrases to start the concert. Pranavakaram siddhivinayakam came with a few rounds of kalpana swaras. The ‘mike-asura’ played a few times, but settled as it progressed.

It was all set for the pallavi now. A grand 40 mins alapana came straight away. Starting at leisure, she slowly developed through building one passages to other many times to jaw dropping brilliance, many mesmerising sangatis after another , taking a break and letting charulata to go through them once again to recreate some of them. She allowed her disciple to start the phase two of the alapana. Ajana P Rao ( later announced) did a commendable job, before the boss took over the control and finished with a few cherish-able fast  phrases. Charulatha was up there with the main artist most of the time.

After a 40 min alapana, the tanam was shorter in comparison and my expectations – 15 mins or so, nonetheless. She demonstrated some of the trademark tanam singing ( I cant name all of them- ‘kukkuDa tAnam, mayUra tAnam etc ), each received enthusiastically by the audience.

Pallavi was set  to  Adi Tala in 2 kaLai. But the intricacies came in the way she explored the pallavi line neraval. She explained the neraval line will have a 3 stage ( or three part) elaboration. The ‘pUrvAnga’ was taken up in the first stage for trikAlam in the most common or traditional 4, 2,1 format moving up and down the speed. After the neraval and related kalpana swaras , she moved to the second stage. This time focusing on the ‘uttarAnga’, the same was done in tisra, khanda and misra ( 3, 5 and 7) variation and the related swaras.  The stage 3 of them, she said ( and did) , was by switching back to 1 kaLai, and doing the ‘pratilOmam’  ( if I understood it correctly) by doing the akshara based speed variations, again with its corresponding swaras. What was heartening to see was the entire team, including the young disciple, was prepared and delivered the whole concept impeccably. What a demonstration it had been. Brilliant stuff.

As expected there was ragamalika swaras to conclude the pallavi. The whole affair until now too nearly two hours. Jayachandra Rao and Sukanya Ramgopal, played a fitting tani avartanam after this. Again the focus was to keep the spirit of the pallavi intact. Some of the intricate patterns played was delightful.

A kAnada thillana of Vasudevachar was the only other kriti that was sung, which again being set in tisra roopakam was another speciality.

I am no expert in this subject and some of aspect she explained and demonstrated were beyond my grasp. I hope some one who attended this could throw some light on this in a better way. The mistakes here are my own, and if identified, I stand corrected.

All I can say is this, what an amazing artist and what an exhibition of knowledge, skills, preparation and meticulous execution.

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Posted by on August 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


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O S Thyagarajan @ BTM Cultural Academy 25,May 2013

Vocal : O S Thyagarajan

Violin : S R Mahadeva Sharma

Mrudangam : M T Rajakesari

Ganjira : B N Chandramouli

List :

01.  erA nApai (varNam) – thODi – Patnam Subramanya Iyer ( O,S )

02.  evarani – dEvAmrutakarshiNi – Thyagaraja

03.  dEva dEva kalayAmi tE – mAyAmALavagauLA – Swati Thirunal ( N,S )

neraval&swara @ ‘ jAtarUpa nibhacEla janmArcitam mamAkhila

04.  evarUrA ninnu vinA – mOhanam – Thyagaraja  ( A,S )

05.  aTu kArAdani – manO ranjani – Thyagaraja

06.  paridAnamichitE – bilahari – Patnam Subramanya Iyer ( S )

07.  ekAmrESa nAyaki – chAmaram (shaNmukhapriya) – Dikshitar ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘ kAnchi nagara nivAsinim kaivalya pradAyinim naLinim’

08.  sadA enna hrdayadalli – behAg – Vijaya Vittaladasa

09.  mangaLam – saurAshtram/madhyamAvathi – Thyagaraja

Listening to OST is driving through a road after the rush hour. There are no noisy , screechy maneuvers, no sudden speed bumps, no honking from the sides and you enjoy the ride. There are no exhilaration or rush of adrenalin. The so called ‘Bangalore season’ is now over and the concert scene is silent past two weeks. It was thus the right unwinding after the month long ramanavami season.

But, it wasn’t one such. While the characteristics of his concert was intact, in general it sounded like a hurried affair. Speed was the essence,  most of the kritis were fast paced, madhyamakala rendering. Both Mohanam and shanmukhapriya alapana had aggression and force as virtue rather than the normal slow, melodious meticulous build up. They were good, no doubt, and had some nice posture which aren’t usually seen ( especially the mohanam alapana), but was done in fast paced phrases.

Concert started fabulously with the thOdi varnam. The short sketch set things up beautifully and the swara , albeit very short, was indeed very good. Devamrutavarshini was quick as it is known to be, followed by Swathi kriti in Mayamalavagaula. The neraval was classy affair and so was the fast swaras culminating with some brilliant rounds of swara singing. Mahadeva Sharma was equally brilliant.

Mohanam was the first detailed alapana. As mentioned earlier, it was a done through fast short phrases, with some nice takes. A different mohanam was unveiling due to this. It was interesting. It had to be a fast tempo kriti and evarura was apt. There was no neraval but had some nice rounds of swaram added.

Two quick fillers before the main, mano ranjani and bilahari. There weren’t slow pieces either. Shanmukhapriya alapana was grand. Again, short fast paced phrases, a bit of to and fro with akara singing, but overall it was impressive. Ekamresa Nayaki was very good. As a welcome change, it was in the slow , befitting the 2 kalai adi. Neraval was fabulous, so was the detailed kalpana swara. Mahadeva Sharma was very good in general. His alapana and the neraval and swara accompaniment was very good. On the other side, percussion was a let down. Two senior vidwans on stage, but there was some alignment missing with the rest. There was an issue of overall balanceof the amplification, which would have caused this discomfort. He was playing his part, but it wasnt going in line with the vocalist. Tani Avartanam was decent.

Post main was very short and non-impressive. As the speeches were over, the secretary mentioned that the concert will continue. OST was quick to correct saying “not continue, but to conclude as he has to catch a train”. He sang a quick devarnama in behag and closed with the mangalam. A decent concert, but wasn’t a typical OST affair, which one hoped for.


Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Concert songlist


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Manasi Prasad , thematic concert @ BTM Cultural Academy 26th Apr 2013

Vocal : Manasi Prasad

Violin : Mathur Srinidhi

Mrudangam : N Vasudeva

Morsing : Bhagyalakshmi Krishna

Special thematic Concert “Rare Janaka Ragas of Popular Janya Ragas”


01 SLOkam ( nA ham)..

muddumOmu ElAgu – sUryakAntam – Thyagaraja ( O )

02  rAmA nannu brOvarA – harikAmbOji – Thyagaraja ( N,S )

neraval & swara @’meppulakai kannatAvu nappu baDaga

03  EdayyA gati – chalanAta – Koteeswara Iyer ( A )

04  idi nIku nyAyamA – gamaNASramam – Mysore Vasudevacharya

05  srI vaLLi dEvasEnApatE – naTabhairavi – Papanasam Sivan ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘ mAmava sadA SivakumArA’

06  RTP – dharmavati -khaNDa triputa x 2 kaLai , starting at +1/2 from samam.

pallavi line “vidhiyuvatE bhagavatE mahatE bhAratE, SAradE dharmavathE’

swara in dharmavathi, no rAgamAlika swaras.

06B.   tani Avartanam

07.  jAnE rO ( javaLi) – khamAs – ??

08  ugabhOga ( gOvindanA kaNDE) – hamsAnandi

kaNDEnA gOvindanA – hamsAnandi – Purandara Dasa

rang rang ro shAmji – hamsAnandi?- ?

09  thillAna ( tata dhIm tadhIm jhamta Namta tOm) – madhuvanti – Lalgudi Jayaraman

10  mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

Thematic concerts are where you get to listen to something new. They make the aritst to think differently, beyond the normal planning of a concert. Hence after a series of Keeravanis and Simhendramadhyamam, I was fairly confident that one of them will not feature today as the main. The theme is intersting, as she introduced this as “neglected parent of a famous child“. What I was inquisitive to see, was her choice of ragams for the theme. I was a bit worried when she picked up harikAmboji as one in the early stages. Agree, Kamboji and Khamas are prominent, but one get to listen to Hari kamboji in concert. But, it was ok, as the rest of them did justice to the scheme and theme.

Also, the concert did pick up steam after the harikamboji neraval and swara. There was some thing amiss in the overall listening ambiance. The sound system wasn’t all that clear. Vasudeva was subdued as one of the mike was picking up the vibration and causing al sort of discomfort with his left side. Every ‘beat’ on the left was overly echoing in the hall. Luckily, things settled after a few cushions and some shifting of the seating. The concert did move pretty well from there on.

First Alapana came in chalanata. Fairly decent affair by both vocalist and the violin. After hearing Sanjay sing a pallavi couple of years ago at Fort School, this is the first time I am listening to a detailed alapana, and it was good. Koteeswara Iyers kriti came in with style, and against my expectations, there was no kalpanaswaras. Vasudevachar’s gamanashrama kriti was next. Good choice, and I personally think this has larger scope of elaboration as there is a distinct flavour for this raga.

Natabhairavi was the main alapana of the day. Quoting Prof.SRJ’s remark of ‘regrettably neglected’ raga, she mentioned the famous MLV pallavi, which stood as a reference in Natabhairavi. On her part, Manasi Prasad gave a very good alapana of the raga and Srinidhi on his turn did another brilliant job lifting it up by a notch. Papanasam Sivan’s kriti with neraval and kalpana swara was top class.

A Pallavi was main in dharmavati. Neatly build up and progressed alapana with some exquisite phrases marked the evening, which superbly replicated by Srinidhi on violin. Despite a few repetitiveness, I thought she did a grand job. Pallavi was very good with well executed trikalam and swaras. However pallavi line was sung with some heavily accented diction I was confused if she is singing ‘vidhiyuvathi, bhagavathi’ or ‘ vidhiyuvathE bhagavatE’. There as no ragamalika swaras.

Post main she decided to pay respect to the janya ragas. A javali in khamas, a devarnama in hamsanandi before the Lalgudi thillana in madhuvanti ( the janaka of all three were performed in the main section) before the mangalam.

Overall, it was a very decent presentation. Her selection of kritis and composers were good. The measure was appropriate and the overall planning and control was amicable. The supporting artist joined in effectively. Vasudeva and Bhagyalakshmi were apt, and they played a nice tani avartanam. Very well planned and executed concert by Manasi Prasad.

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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Concert songlist


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Modumudi Sudhakar @ BTM Cultural Academy Aradhana Mahotsava 24 Jan 2013

Vocal  : Modumudi Sudhakar

Violin :  B K Raghu

Mrudangam : C Cheluvaraju
Ghatam :  Dayanand Mohite
Morsing :  S V Balakrishna
Theme : Annamacharya Aradhana
—————————– not sure how many I’ve missed ————————
05  koNdalalO nelakonna – hindOLam – Annamacharya  (  ??, S )
06  okapari kokapari koyyAramai – kharaharapriya – Annamacharya
07  enta mAtramuna –  brindavana saranga + rAgamalika  – Annamacharya ( O )
08  nalani meni naguvu bhUpula – pUrvi kalyANi – Annamacharya ( A,N,S,T )
      neraval & Swara @ ‘nallani mEni nagavu cUpula vADu tellani kannula dEvuDu’
09  parama pAdakuDu – shubhALi? –  Modumudi Sudhakar ??
10  muddugArE yashOda – kurinji – Annamacharya
Sri Modumudi Sudhakar is another artist I wanted to listen to. My previous experience of listening to him was a couple of Doordarshan telecast, which was impressive.  He too comes with a rich voice, with clear strength at lower octaves ( he did have issues at the high octaves yesterday). One has to listen to the entire concert to realy have an opinion. This case, I could not reach back from a business call, to experience that. Hence my observation is limited to the little that I’ve heard.
As I was entering the hall, the hindOlam kriti was going on. I am not sure of what was performed prior to this, and if there was any alap or neraval for this kriti. But what I enjoyed was the kalpana swaras, especially the long continuous swaras towards the end. Unlike the previous concert ( of Abhishek), he did it with such a soothing fashion, never getting hyper, never ever raising the tempo or voice, but with control and command. Kharaharapriya kriti came with no ‘baroque-ness’, played plain and simple followed by a ragamalika kriti. The short huming of Brindavana saranga was nice.
The main poorvikalyani alapana was decent, nothing to talk home about. The violin return was also apt. A not so familiar kriti ( in fact except okapari and muddgare, the rest of them were new to me) was sung. He choose to do neraval at the pallavi line, which was very good. Again, the kalpana swaras were brilliant. Very similar to the earlier hindolam expereiance, taking it to a brilliant closure.  The percussion trio completed their tani avartanam in quick time.
Post main had a kriti sung in shubhALi ragam.  I heard him saying it was composed by him. I could be wrong here. He said, this is Shubhali, a janya of shubhapantuvarali without the panchamam. The concert was concluded with the popular muddugare yashoda, which I think wsa a request, a shout from a gentle man in the front rows.

Posted by on January 25, 2013 in Concert songlist


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Abhishek Raghuram @ BTM Cultural Academy Aradhana Mahotsav 22 Jan 2013

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Mysore Srikanth

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

Ganjira : Guruprasanna

Morsing : Arunkumar

Theme : Thyagaraja Aradhana


01 gAna sudhA rasa – nAta – Balamuralikrishna ( S )

02  eLA nI dayarADu – aThANa – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

03  balamu kulamu – sAvEri – Thyagaraja

04  gurulEkha eTuvaNTi – gauri manOhari- Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T – Ganjira )

neraval & swara @ ‘ tatva bOdhana jEsi kApADu tyAgarAjAptuDanu’

tani Avartanam – Ganjira by Guruprasanna

05  sujana jIvana – khamAs – Thyagaraja  ( O,N,S,T – Mrudangam )

neraval & swara @ ‘cAru nEtra shrI kaLAtra shrI ramya gAtra tAraka nAma sucaritra dasharatha putra

tani avartanam – Mrudangam by Jayachandra Rao

06 baNturIti kOlu – hamsanadam – Thyagaraja ( S, T – Morsing)

tani avartanam – Morsing by Arunkumar

07 challarE rAmachandruni – Ahiri – thyagaraja ( O )

08  swara rAga sudhA – SankarAbharaNam – Thyagaraja ( A,S,T )

tani avartanam by all percussion

09 mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

His concert at Gayana Samaja was brilliant , but short lived. What he did in that one hour was the inspiration to leave office early and attend this concert. Especially because,the aradhana was dedicated on thyagaraja kritis. Concert was exhilarating to sum it up. It was high octane, highly spirited and a cracker to experience. At the end it was like getting out of a giant wheel after multiple spin. The excitement remain, but one felt a sense of relief that it is over.

Speed was the essence. It was like traveling in a high speed train, gasping for breath at times. Everything was at faster tempo. The kalpana swaras, which was excellent by the way, added to the speedy effect, by lifting the tempo as well as the decibel levels. The audience in the hall seems to have liked the whole journey, with enthusiastic responses after every kriti. In the melee, what was missing is the ‘serenity’, the “soukhyam’ as the music enthusiasts puts it. The peace, the calm or the soothing effectone experience in a classical concert was missing. May be it was intentional, to shake up and rejuvenate the spirit, but I thought a better mix of varying tempo, of selection of kritis with a little more variation would have made my evening. On a thematic concert, especially on Thyagaraja, had ample scope of bringing out a vast common and somewhat obscure kriits, few ragams which are regularly used few mix of deities ( I am making this up I know, but the list seems too predictable and ordinary).

The innovation was in allowing each percussion to have his own solo space. Instead of having all at one go tani avartanam, he choose to allow each instrument to play it alone at the end of each kriti. He delectably chose thee different tala patterns ; khanda chapu for Guruprasanna for Ganjira, roopakam for Jayachandra Rao for Mrudangam and a ultra fast Adi Talam for Morsing.  The thought of giving individual time was creditable, but it ate away from the time, he had for the main. Each percussion artist, did a phenomenal job during their turn, making the most of the opportunity.

Concert started with a Nata kriti of Balamuralikrishna in praise of Thyagaraja. It was Thyagaraja kritis from then on. A shortish alapana of aThANa, with no violin turn stared the day.  Gauri manohari alapana was detailed, and gurulekha etuvanti came as expected. The neraval was his attempt to play with the words with various combinations, done at a higher speed. Kalpana swara continued in the same tempo, increasing as it pinnacled.  Khamas was of a similar affair, again a short neraval after he toyed with the line charu nEtra..and tAraka rAma’ with one round of violin turn. Another similar fast swara avalanche receded on us, before the mrudangam tani avartanam.

If these were like travelling in Shatabdi, a bullet train came next. Traversing at break neck speed, bantureeti in hamsanadam, shattered all the previous speed records. The filler Ahiri too, sounded a bit fast to me. By this time, it was 7:40 and I was thinking now that he will conclude with few short kritis. An intersting Sankarabharanam alapana came in. Though short, lasting nearly 5 min, it had a very different and innovative take. This was fairly decent.  Swara raga sudha, gave hope for a proper main kriti being presented. Although, it too was a bit faster, the kriti was sung fairly well. He started the swaras at the famous ‘ga ma pa….ma ga…ri ga.. sa..ri ga’. Scheming around the same phrase, the duo ( vocal and violin) did give an impressive rounds of kalpana swara.  There was another 5 mins of tani avartanam , this time as a collective effort. He did not wait for the thanks giving and garlanding, moving on to sing the mangalam. The organisers had to request the audience to stay for another couple of minute to honour the artists and the sponsors.

In the end, I am a bit perplexed. Was the concert good , yes it was. Ws it great ? No , it wasn’t. Why wsan’t it great ? Well,  I don’t know.


Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Concert songlist


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