Tag Archives: Essae Music Foundation

S Shankar @ Essae Music Foundation, 13 Nov 2016

Vocal :  S Shankar

Violin :  Mysore Nagaraj

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Ganjira : G Guruprasanna

List :

01 shLOkam ( vyAsO naigama charchayA) – kAmbOji – Walajpet Venkataramana Bhagavathar

02 mEru samAnA – mAyAmALavagauLa – Thyagaraja ( O,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘ aLakala muddunu tilakapu tIrunu’

03  dAsharathi ninnu kOri – riSabhapriya – Bidaram Krishnappa ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘kamalabhava sEvanuta charaNam vimala guNagaNa nAsharahita??’

04 anAtHuDanu gAnu – jingaLa – Thyagaraja

05 tuLasi bilva –  kEdAragauLa- Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘karuNatO nenarutO paramAnandamutO niratamunu’

06 mI valla guNadOSamEmi – kApi – Thyagaraja ( A )

07 manavi nAlakinca rAdaTE – naLinakAnti – Thyagaraja

08 entani nE varNintunu – mukhAri – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘kanulAra sEvinchi kammani phalamula’

09 amba brOvavE – dharmavati – Bidaram Krishnappa

10 kaddanu vAriki – thODi – Thyagaraja (A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘baddu tappaka bhajiyinche bhakta pAlanamu sEyu’

11 shrIrAma jayarAma shringAra rAmayani – yadukulakAmbOji – Thyagaraja (O)

12 shLOkam( mangaLapanchakam) – sAvEri,SaNmukhapriya, Anandabhairavi, hamsAnandi, surutti  – T N Padmanabha

This annual music event at Essae is one which I usually try not to miss. For last 9 years or so, if I  am not mistaken, Prakash and Srividya conduct concerts under the Essae Music Foundation, and November concert is always by his Guru and one of my favourite Vidvan Bangalore S Shankar. I like his music for a variety of reasons. It probably is as clean and clear as one can get. Clear diction, adherence to ‘pAThAntaram’, no unwanted baroque presentation, very impressive selection of kritis and their appropriate positioning and elaboration. And my special interests in neravals, which he gives me in big numbers :-).

Yesterday’s concert was again in the above lines. What a beautiful concert it was. Nice selection of kritis , 6 alapana, 5 neravals and an classy thOdi as main. He probably is not one who gives you that intellectual kick, but  his music has a charm, a freshness and thus an appeal.

The concert was announced as a tribute to Thyagaraja on his 250th year of birth as well as Sri Bidaram Krishnappa, whose 150th birth anniversary is in 2016. The concert was with some commentary, anecdotes and explanations as he introduced the compositions. After a shloka of Thyagaraja by one of his prime disciples, Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, he talked some nuances of Thyagaraja’s compositions. Before which, he gave a brief sketch on the life and music of Sri Bidaram Krishnappa. Hopefully, one day we could have a detailed lecture on some of these lesser known Musicians from Mysore.

Sri Shankar sang alapanas for rishabhapriya, kedaragaula,kapi,mukhari and an elaborate thodi. There was neraval for almost all of these. What was most impressive about them was also the selection of kritis, especially some of the fillers. A rare jingaLa, Bidaram Krishappa’s dharmavati composition and the kApi with a sweet alapana. Mysore Nagaraj was fabulous. The short kApi alapana he played still gives me goosebumps. Neyveli Venkatesh played excellent through out, and played a swashbuckling tani avartanam. While the exhilaration was in the air, he was much restrained this time. The percussion duo was fantastic.

If the concert started with a shlokam on Thyagaraja, it concluded with a mangala shlokam on Thyagaraja, which I presume was set to tune by Sri Shankar himself.

A musical feast. I loved every bit of it.

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Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Uncategorized


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Bangalore S Shankar, Magical Memories , MSS Tribute at Essae Music foundation 15th Nov, 2015

Vocal : Bangalore S Shankar

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : K V Prasad


01. shLOkam ( Om nama: praNavArthAya )

vanajAkSi ninnE kOri (varNam) – kalyANi – Palavi Gopala Iyer

02.  gajavadana karuNAsadana – shrI ranjani – Papanasam Sivan ( A – short)

03.  ennagANu rAma bhajana – pantuvarALi – Bhadrachala Ramadas ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘rAmachiluka nokaDa penci prEma mATalADanEpA’

04.  brOchEvAravarurA – khamAs – Mysore Vasudevachar ( A )

05.  kAmAkSi ambA (swarajati) – bhairavi – Shyama Shasthri ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘shyAmakrSNa sahOdari shivashankari paramEshwari (ambA )’

06.  nArAyaNA ninna – shuddha dhanyAsi – Purandara Dasa

07.  O rangashAyi – kAmbOji – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘bhUlOka vaikuNTham itiyani ‘

08.  rangapura vihArA – brindAvana sArang – Dikshitar

09.  bhAvayAmi raghurAmam – rAgamalika – Swathi Thirunal

10. shLOkam on MSS ( shAradAnugraha lasita) – kIravANi, Anandabhairavi, bEgaDa, yamunAkalyANi? – T N Padmanabha

maithrIm bhajata – yamunAkalyANi+kApi ?  – Chandrashekhara Saraswathi

This is the ‘unofficial’ annual concert of  the Essae Music Foundation. Every year in the Month of November, a concert of Vid Shankar used to feature with Mysore Nagaraj and N Vasudev as accompaniment. Each year, I used to attend this and each one of them were real gems. This time, the concert was announced as a tribute to M S Subbulakshmi on her birth centenary year. The program was called “Magical Moments – Evergreen Renditions of M S Subbulakshmi”. Hence what is in store was very clear. The only difference this time was the change in accompaniment. Sri K V Prasad, who had accompanied MSS for over 20 yrs, was an apt choice for such a program.

Despite this being a concert consists of kritis popularised by MSS, Sri Shankar was very judicious in his picks. While the list was 100% in adherance with the theme, he carefully picked and varied the ‘tALa’ as well as the composers. He also did another important thing by singing each of these compositions in his own style, not necessarily reminding us of the MSS rendition by mimicking the style.

He also spoke at the beginning and through the concert while introducing each composition. He started the evening telling us about his early association with the music of MSS. He recollected the 1966 UN concert of MSS, which was being shown n various part of India. His first encounter was through these as a 16 year old boy. He also explained the connection of MSS family with Bangalore, through various cousins and relatives of Sri Sadashivam in Bangalore.

Concert by itself was of very high standard as one would expect from Shankar. Many alapna, albeit short ones for shriranjani and khamas, three neravals which I always cherish and some impressive swara prashtana. Pantuvarali was the first with a detailed alapana. Bhadrachala Ramadasa kriti was excellent. So was the neraval. I like this line for neraval instead of the ‘rAma rAma rAmayanucu’. His khamas alapana was cut short as he decided to give few snippets about the vaggeyakara ( a book of Vasudevacharya’s composition with notation in English is being written /prepared by Shankar is set to release on next sunday ). Varadarajan compensated for that miss with a mesmerising short khamas alapana. Bhairavi alapana and the swarajati was very good.

I was betting between O rangashai and Shankaracharyam to be the main, more shifted to Shankarabharanam after he sang the khamas kriti. But he started kAmbOji alapana to settle the matter. I am still recovering from a brilliant kamboji of TVS a day before, and not planning a comparison here. Shankar sang a majestic alapana and Varadarajan did another wonderful return. O rangashai came in its grandeur with a brilliant neraval and fitting swara prasthana. K V Prasad gave an amazing tani avartanam at the end. He was just brilliant yesterday.

Missing Dikshitar composition till now was filled in with a sedate rangapuravihAra and as expected bhAvayami raghuramam from Swathi Thirunal’s bucket. I found he sang this a bit faster than usual ( or I am hard coded with MDRs version in my head). He concluded the concert with a mangala shlokam written in praise of M S Subbulakshmi by Sri T N Padmanabha. This was writtern for a felicitation function, he explained but details of which I fail to recollect.

A very well thought out and planned concert by Shankar and a fitting tribute to the legend whose centenary year is being celebrated this year.

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Posted by on November 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Veeneya Bedagu – Life & Music of Veena Seshanna Lec-Dem by Prof. Mysore V Subramanya @ Essae Music Foundation, 17 Mar 2012

Lecture  Demonstration :  Prof. Mysore V Subramanya

Supported by :

Ashwin Anand ( Veena)

Ramani Sankar ( Vocal)

Giridhar ( Vocal)

Aditya ( Violin)

B R Srinivas ( Mrudangam)

The Lecture Series at Essae Music Foundation is back with another Lec-Dem on a Karnataka vaggeyakara. Prof V Subramanya, eminent musician and critic, and most importantly, the great grandson of Veena Seshana, came in to introduce the life and music of his great grand father.

The tri-murtis of Carnatic Music is known to every one who are interested in this genre of music, started Prof. Subramanya. But, he continued, that many would not be able to name the “Mysore Sangeetha Trimurtis’. Few will be able to name one, but not beyond that. Naming Seshanna, Subbanna and Bidaram Krishnappa as the trimurtis from Mysore, he said Seshanna was the most prominent of these musicians by far.  You always prefix Veene before Seshanna, as one does ‘Mahatma’ in front of Gandhi. Veena and Seshana had attained the status of ‘abhinnabAva’ or synonymous to each other.

Similarly, Mysore is known for its palace and the Maharaja. After that, it is Veena that comes in to one’s mind after that( masala dosa, set dosa, Mysore pack etc to follow) . Mysore Kingdom was associated with this divine instrument for a long time. He said “veeneya belagidu Mysuru’….

Seshanna was born in the year of 1852, when the kingdom was under the rule of Mumudi Krishnaraja Wodeyar. He has a long lineage of musical heritage in his family. Unless the present musicians, where we see 2-3 generation of musicians in their family, Veena Seshanna was 24th generation of the musicians , both vainikas and the palace vidwans. The early generations, were in the palace of Tanjavur during Nawab’s time n Mysore. Bhakshi Venkata Subbayya, the great grand father of Veena Seshanna, was brought back to Mysore by Mummdi , to start the music again in the palace. He was not only given the asthana Vidwan post, but was also given the powers of a ‘Diwan’.

Of his ancestors, Pacchimirium Adiappayya, famous for composing the varnam Viriboni, stands apart from the rest. Viriboni is considered as the crown jewel of all varnas, and Prof Subramanya said, a concert can not fail, if it started with viriboni varnam, which is the most popular varnam till date.  Viriboni is a complete composition, even though it is a varnam, with all the beauty of Bhairavi. Adiayappayya was given the citation as ‘Veena Margadarshi” – Guiding lamp. He referred to a 78 rpm record of M S Subbalakshmi,in which she had sang this varnam. He said, after listening to that rendition, one DO feel like stopping the plate, without continuing, wanting to listen to it again, such was the beauty of that piece. King Sharabhoj(?) of Tanjavur in recognition to the contribution of Adiappayya, presented an entire village of ‘kapistala’ to the musician. This village is later came in to the hands of the family of Moopanar. The family was moved back to Mysore, where they were given utmost respect. The king himself was a musician, who has written a geete in the respect of the musician, composed in Reetigaula, and is called ‘sapta tALESwari gItE’.

Seshanna was born in 1852, to Bhakshi Chikkaramappa,as his last son. Chikkaramappa, himself ws a vainika in the court of Mysore Maharaja. At the age of 10, Seshanna had his major break through. King Mummudi, though a Kshatriya, was very pious. Apart from his regular ‘trikala sandhyavandana’ he used to celebrate all the religious functions. during Shivarathri, he used to invite all the major musicians of South India to have a full night musical fair.  The musicians used to sing elaborate pallavi in various raga and tala, and the court musicians were asked to perform in the same raga or tala immediately after that , keeping the local musicians fully attentive and on guard.  In one such occasion, a musician from Tamil Nadu performed a complicated pallavi, to the shock and surprise of the court musicians. No body could grasp and sing the same, and while they were anticipating the wrath of the king, the young boy ( of 10 yrs) Seshanna, came forward ( to his father) and offered to attempt. His father was taken aback and was scared. The king, not only a learned musician, his physical appearance with all that huge mustache was very intimidating. However, left with no option, he said, this can be performed by my son. Seshanna, matching the shruthi, sang the alapana for 10 mins and pallavi with trikala. The court , mesmerized by his singing, gave him a standing ovation. Extremely pleased Maharaja, placing the child in his lap, showered him with presents. He asked Chikkaramappa, to take care of the young prodigy prophesying him to be a great musician.

Seshanna’s father passed away, when he was only 12 yr old. He came under the protection of his widowed elder sister Venkamma, since then. Venkamma, molded the musician in Seshanna. Seshanna continued his learning under Mysore Sadashiva Rao and Dodda Seshanna ( father of Subbanna).  Venkamma’s regime was very strict. The boy has to practice his lessons every day and was fed only on completion. There was a daily practice chart, which was followed by Seshanna and Subbanna ( who was his cousin).

Sadashiva Rao was the direct disciple of Walajpet Venkataramana Bhagavathar, who was a direct disciple of Thyagaraja himself. Sadashiva Rao had the privilege of performing in front of Thyagaraja, singing a kriti in Thodi, in respect of the great composer himself. Prof. Subramanya said, there is a ‘bhajana mandapa’ in Walajpet on the way to Chennai, which was build by Walajpet Venkataramana Bhagavather, and there you can see a painting of Thyagaraja, drawn by one of the disciples. In the same premise, there is another painting of Walajpet Bhagavatar teaching his students, which also feature Sadashiva Rao as one among them.

Seshanna was the ‘asthan vidwan’ in the court of Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar, who himself was proficient violin player.  There are confirmation of concerts where the Maharaja himself accompanied the main singers. Later Krishnaraja Wodeyar, became the king of Mysore, and Seshanna continued to be the asthan Vidwan in his court as well. It was Krishnaraja Wodeyar, who gave the title of ‘Vainika Shikhamani’ to Seshanna. He received titles and gifts from almost all the kingdoms of India, from Travencore to, Baroda. All in all, Seshanna received 42 Gold Medals from various parts of the country. To his magnanimity, all the 42 were given away to people by Seshanna. One Barkathulla Khan, Chowdiah when he demonstrated the 7 string violin, Bidaram Krishnappa and many more were recipients of these medals. His house was thronged by musicians and music lovers. 40-50 people were regular for lunch and many more during the day.

Seshanna had the rare privilege to perform in front of the visiting Emperor George IV in 1912, the only musician from South India. The memorabilia of the same is present in the Buckingham Palace. There was also a famous painting by Raja Ravi Varma on Veena Seshanna. He later joked that he was planning to bring a replica of that painting to present to Essae Music foundation, but will do it on a later occasion.

Seshanna can be said as the principle archtect of the Mysore lineage of Veena. He gave a new definition to all aspects of Veena playing, be it its fingering technique, the importance given to the lyrics, or the method of holding the Veena. He was even mastered the art of playing the Veena standing, which Prof Subramanya said, he atempted once and failed miserably.

There are many books and publications on Veena Seshanna, Yuga Purusha, Purusha Saraswathi, Vainika shikhamani etc.


Veena Seshanna’s kritis are not very popular in the current concert scene. Barring a few musicians and few compositions ( especially Thillanas) , his name is not regularly heard. Prof Subramanya said, it is not surprising, since most of the musicians learn to sing 25 odd kritis and sing the same for next 50 years. He joked that he can predict most of the singers, these days.

Seshanna had a large ‘sishya-parampara’ to boast. Most of the current vainikas of Karnataka are insome way or other connected to this great musician. some of his direct disciples include Bhairavi Lakshminarayanappa ( L Raja Rao’s father) , Chitrashilpi Venkatappa, Thirumalai Rajamma, A S Chandrasekharappa, V N Rao and Veena Venkatagiriappa ( Guru of Doraiswamy Iyengar).

He composed kritis for performing in Veena, Vocal and for Bharatanatya. His compositions include swarajatis, varnams, devarnamas, keerthanas, thillanas and javali ( one javali). He has composed in various tala, many ragaas including a few rare ragas.

Swarajati or Jatiswara

There are 12 swarajatis of Veena Seshanna. He said in Tamil Nadu music circle, they differentiate Swarajati and jatiswara by sahitya. In Karnataka, there is no such practice of differentiating between swarajati and jatiswara. Most of the swarajatis of Veena Seshanna are without ‘sahityam’, hence can be called Jatiswara. Recently, he said, the sahitya of Junjhuti swarajati was found. He has written swarajatis in common ragas as well as a few not so common ragas like Vanaspati and Manavati. He deployed various tala structure from the common chaturasra triputa( Adi) to khanda aTa ( 1 ), sankIrna tripuTa ( 1) and roopakam (1). Apparently, there are only two compositions in Sankeerna Triputa and one of them is by Veena Seshanna. He said, the bhairavi swarajati can also be sang as a pallavi.

Kamboji swarajati, is special. Each charana starts at each swara starting from shadjam , progressing to tara shadjam. There are two charanams starting at nishadam.

01 swarajati – kAmbOji   by  Ashwin Anand ( Veena )

The kapi swarajathi has another interesting take on the raga. Set to Khanda Ata tala with ateetha eduppu, it is fairly difficult to play on Veena.  The kapi has the arOhana of kharaharapriya and a vakra avarohana  ( Note : I could be wrong here in understanding, do correct me if I’m wrong).

02 swarajati – karNaTaka kApi  by  Ashwin Anand ( Veena )


Seshanna composed 9 varnams in total, in both Ghana ragas and apoorva ragas ( like jhala varALi). There are two ragamalika varnams one in 14 ragas and the other in 18.

03 nIrajAkshi ( varNam 0 – sAvEri – mishra jhumpa  by Ashwin Anand ( Veena )


He composed 11 keertanas again in popular ragas and few in rare ragas like gowri, natakapriya etc. King Krishnaraja wodeyar once remarked that there are no sufficient kritis in many of the melakarta ragas that can be performed in concerts and asked the court vaggeyakaras to create in each of these ragas. Seshanna took up this challenge and composed one in ‘rishabhapriya’. There are other notable compositions in this raga by Koteeswara Iyer and Vasudevacharya.

04 manasulOni (?) – rishabhapriya   Roopakam  by  Ashwin Anand ( Veena)


Seshanna is widely known as a vaggeyakara for his thillanas. He has composed 17 thillanas, most of them in praise of his maharaja ( poshaka mudra). He has composed in varied ragas including a few inspired by hindustani music ( like darbari kanada, behag and kapi).  Thillanas are usually fast paced suited to perform towards the end of the concert. However, Seshanna’s thillanas are usually with ‘vilamba kala’ starting. In his thillanas, the raga bhava is preserved as is the case with a keertana.

The junjhuti thillana is said to be his signature composition. Unlike its hindustani equivalent, here it is not a ‘sampoorna raga’. The arohana stops at dhaivata. on a side note, he said Mysore and Junjhoti has a long connection. Junjhoti is often used in the music of dramas, and the audio versions of some of the old drama performance are available even now.

Veena Seshanna, to his credit, has explored all the possibilities of this raga composing swarajati, javali, devarnama and thillana. Prof Subramanya recollected a discussion he had with Doraiswamy Iyengar, who had high regard for the junjhoti thillana of Seshanna.

06 thillAna – junjhoti   by Ashwin anand ( Veena)

He said, Veena Seshanna’s compositions are difficult to learn and perform but are good to listen. He commended on the effort by Ashwin in taking up some of the difficult compositions to perform today, as the Vainika paved way to vocals.


The demonstration continued with the vocalists on the stage.

06  swarajati – bhairavi   by giridhar

07 varNam ( mAyA A mELarA ?) – nAtakurinji   by Ramani Sankar

08 rAma ninna nera nammiti – Anandabhairavi  by Giridhar

Seshanna has composed two thillanas in thodi which are noted for its dhAtu and jati prayogas.

09 thillAna ( na diri diri dhIm dhIm tanana tana dheeem) – thODi  by giridhar


There are 5 devarnamas by Seshanna on 5 deities

10 shiriyE twaritadindalendanu ? – junjhoTi  by Ramani Sankar

Prof V Subramanya concluded his lecture thanking the organiser, the artist who supported him and the audience. He said, Seshanna’s compositions are difficult to perform, but remembering a great vidwan is a great way to honour the artist and the blessings of Seshanna will be bestowed upon all those who performed and listened to him today.


Essae Music foundation by choice, bring presenters who has direct connection with the artists and Vaggeyakaras being presented. This gives tow fold advantage. One, the unknown facets of the musicians and his compositions will be presented with a new insight and two, they bring in a kind of authenticity to the lecture. Prof V Subramanya is known for his knowledge and his command on the subject and language. His presentation today marked by his trademark humour and clarity of thought. He never bore people with mundane and unimportant data, but make the lecture attractive by his appropriate measured approach.

On the artists part, they all participated effectively to the proceedings and a special mention should e given for Ashwin who was very impressive in his Veena play.

Note : This is from the notes of a running lecture and I might have missed a lot of important aspects. More over, Prof Subramanya gave his lecture in his stylish, clear Kannada ( no mishra Kannada) which make me handicapped from absorbing the complete essence of his words. This report would have suffered from that as well, an aspect I am trying to improve. That said, if there are any errors, factual or interpretation, they are entirely mine and request you to let me know if you notice any. I would like to make the corrections as appropriate.


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Essae Music Foundation, Lec-Dem


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Prof. K Venkata ramanan – Lec Dem on The Life and Music of Harikeshanallur Muthaiah Bhagavathar

Vocal : Prof. K Venkataramanan

Vocal Support: Ramanathan

Violin : Mathur Srinidhi

Mrudangam : Padmanabhan

Professor Venkataramanan started the morning  referring Sri  Muthaiah Bhagavathar as Sangeetha Chakravarthy. He would rather talk less and sing more kritihs that reflect the genius of Sri Muthaiah Bhagavathar, he said, before starting the proceedings. However, to the benefit of the audience, he went through the life history briefly.

Sri Muthaiah Bhagavathar, born to Lingam Iyer and Anandavalli Ammal on the 15th ov November 1887 at a village called Punalveli near Rajapalayam in Thirunelveli District. His ancestors on his mothers side were reknowned Tamil scholars. While he was only 7 years old, his father passed away and he was brought to Harikeshanallur, under the protection of his uncle. At the age of 9 he started learning music from Fiddle vidvan Sambashiva Iyer of Tiruvarur in Tanjavur District, along with learning languages Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit apart from Vedas. He returned to Harikeshanallur at the age of 19. His early recognition came from the State of Travancore. Moolam Thirunal Maharaja presented him Rs1000 and a ‘Veerashringhala’ pleased with his concert. He married to Sivakami , daughter of his uncle at the age of 22.

On the request of Krishna Bhattji, he learned the Marathi Style Harikatha and started performing vaLLi kalyANam, kausalya KalyANam and few others in the ‘satdhi neeti’ style. In early 20th century, he performed in the Mysore Palace in front of Krishnaraja Wodeyar, and he was appointed as the ‘asthana vidwan’ where he stayed for long and most of his compositions were originated during this tenure. He wrote ‘Chamunda Ashtothara’ in Kannada, Shiva Sthrotra in Sanskrit, Navavarana kritis, all types of varnams, Thillanas. King asked him to compose a band song to be performed “Jumbo Safari” and while the discussion was on, he composed the ‘notes’ on the go and sang then and there. State of Mysore recognised him with a citation of “Gayaka Shikhamani” the first such award of the many that followed including Sangita Kalanidhi.

In the year 1936, Travancore Maharaja requested him to popularise the kritis of Swathi Thirunal. He suggested to start a Music Academy to teach Swati Kritis, but insisted on creating jobs for those who pass out of the college. The post of Music Teachers were created in every school on this request, a practice continued in Kerala State even today. Muthaiah Bhagavathar, joined the College as its first principal and appointed eminent musicians like Keshava Bhagavathar, N V Narayanaswami and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer as the teachers. He also got the fees to very manageable levels for the students. Prof Venkata Ramanan recalled having paid Rs 5 per month as tuition fee in his early years and Rs 8 for advanced training.

In 1941, he authored a book titled ‘Sangita Kalpadruma’. He was given D Lit by Travencore University for his contribution to Music , subsequent to the release of the book. He was the first musician to receive doctorate. He joked, that these days every one is receiving Doctorate’, loosing its value. Sri Muthaiah Bhagavathar passed away on the 30th June 1956.

Muthaiah Bhagavathar will be remembered for his contribution to Carnatic Music as a composer. He has composed many kritis in his lifetime which are popular in the concert circuit. He has also considered to have introduced numerous new Ragams to the Carnatic music arena.

He started his concert with a varnam on Chamundeswari.

01 mahishAsura madhini – AndOLika ( O )

02 siddhi vinAyakam – mOhana kalyANi – ( A, S )

Muthiah Bhagavathar composed all types of varnams , tAnavarnams like the above, pada varnam and daru varnams. He chose to sing sAma varnam saying even though it is short it is special. The other daru varnams in khamAs ( more popular) and vasanta ( at this point Sri Bangalore Shankar who was in the audience, chipped in with hindustAni kApi) , which are difficult to learn and sing and he did not prepare.

03 balumOsa mayyanurA ( daru varNam) – sAhAna ( A )

He said ragams sAranga malhAr and nAgabhUshani are like twins. Unless you are familiar to both these ragas, you will not be able to identify one from the other. Explaining the differences ( I guess, nishadam in avarohanam in nagabhushani) he said, he will sing a composition each to clarify the differences.

04 srI mahAbalagiri nivAsini – sAranga malhAr ( A,S )

05 gaNEsha skanda janani – nAgabhUshaNi ( A,S )

NiroshTha is another interesting raga from this genius composer. As the name suggest, nirOshta does not uses ma and pa ( the close of mouth thus eliminated). The krithi composed by Muthaiah bhagavathar does not have sAhitya and swara that require closing of the lips.

06 rAja rAja rAdhitE – nirOshTha

Urmika, he says was composed with the memory of durga in ‘bhadrakAli avatar’. The composition of Muthaiah Bhagavathar, uses words and phrases from ‘lalita sahasranamam’ cleverly mingled with his brilliance. Urmika, to the layman is Simhandra madhyamam minus dhaivatam.

07 kALarAthri swarUpiNi – Urmika ( A,N,S )

         neraval and swara at pallavi line

08 uraga rAja maNi valayE – paSupati priya

09 sarva jagat vyApinam bhajEham – manOrama

10 niramayE niranjanE – kuntaLa varALi

11 yArukkum aDangAda – bEgaDa

12 satchAmara ramA vANi – hamsAnandi

13 Notes ( da ri sa ri ga ri da ? )

14 thillAna ( dhim ta rara ) – hamsAnandi

this thillana was compolsed for Sri Chithira Thirunal Maharaja

15 jaya mangaLam nitya Subha mangaLam – vasanta

SLOkam ( lOkA samastA sukhiNo bhavantu ) – madhyamAvati

What a performance. The alapanas of Saranga malhar, naga bhushani and Urmika, the swaras that he sang, the neraval for Urmika,..every thing as top class. One need to preserve some of these gems of Muthaiah Bhagavather as he demonstrated the nuances of the compositions. He was ably supported by the accompanying artists, and I was very impressed by the young Srinidhi, who was outstanding through out. Wonderful Sunday morning with some fabulous music.


Posted by on December 11, 2011 in Concert songlist


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Bangalore S Shankar @ Essae Music Foundation, 30 Oct 2011

Vocal : Bangalore S Shankar

Violin : Mysore M Nagaraj

Mrudangam : N Vasudeva


01 SlOkam ( sarva vighna haram dEvam) – naLinakAnthi

       evarunnAru nannu brOva ( varNam ) – naLinakAnthi – Mysore Vasudevacharya

02  ennEramum un nAmam – pUrvi kalyANi – Shyama Shastri  ( A , N , S )

       neraval & swara @ ‘anbuDan unnai nAn aDaikkaLam aDaindEn akhilANDEshvarI abhirAma sundarI’

03  pAlisamma muddu shAradE – mukhAri – Purandara Dasa ( A, N, S )

        neraval & swara @ ‘ shringArapura nilEvAsini dEvi sangIta gAna vilAsini ambA’

04  srIdhara kEshava nArAyaNa – kalyANa vasantham –  Udayashankar ( from a kannada movie ?)

05  raghupathE rAma rAkshasa bhImA –  sahAna – Thyagaraja ( A, N, S )

        neraval & swara @ ‘ sarasIruha nayana sajjana hridaya nikEtana’

06  RTP – brindAvana sAranga – chathusra triputa , 2 kaLai

       pallavi line ‘ brindAvana vihAra karuNAkara srIkara’

      ragamAlika swaras in rEvati , mOhana kalyANi , sindhu bhairavi , brindAvana sAranga

07  sAma nigamAgama – bhAgESrI – Sachidananda

08  SlOkam  ( SrI rAmam jagadEka vIram) –  rAgamAlika – hamsAnandi , ___ , AbhEri , surutti

Blissful concert today by Vid Shankar at the Essae music Foundation. I am a great sucker of neravals and Shankar never disappoints. Every concert I attended had a minimum of three neravals.

Concert started with the naLinakanthi varnam of Mysore Vasudevachar, which is not often heard in the circuit. A detailed alapana of Purvikalyani came pretty early and the tamil kriti of Shyamashasthri was a surprice. The neraval was long and detailed so as the swara that followed. Up ahead of the chart a 30 minute rendering gave hints of what to follow. Another alapana, this time in Mukhari followed suit. The alapana was slightly at a faster tempo, and had some great violin return from Nagaraj. Palisamma Muddu Sharade, a kriti of Purandara Dasa came ; even this I thought was slightly at a faster tempo. I’ve heard TMK singing this much slower. The beginning wasnt very smooth, but the faster tempo made a lot of sense during the neraval. It was fantastic by both vocalist and the violin.  

A filler in kalyAna vasantham was new to me. A quick search indicated this from an album by PB Srinivas. Not sure, though. Sahana came next again with some briliant alapana by both Shankar and Nagaraj; some exceptional play by Nagaraj. Thyagaraja kriti raghupathe was another charm, again followed with neraval and swara singing. By now there was a hope for a grand main to follow.

Brindavana Saraga brought rain showers. Despite few hiccup with the seating, the alapana continued in its grandeur. Equally brilliant was the violin return. Soundararajam was my prediction, but he started to sing tanam, with Vasudeva chipping in with mrudangam accopanying the tanam. Shankar was also putting talam during tanam. Tanam was good.  Pallavi was set to Adi talam and there was no trikalam sung. He started with ragamalika swarams in revathi , mohanakalyani and sindhubhairavi before the swaras in main raga.

Tani avartanam was good , Vasudeva continuing his generally high standard of percussion support. Post main had an intersting kriti in bhageshi with the lyrics is formed by the swaras of the raga. Shankar explained the lyrics and its meaning.  He concluded the concert with a longish slokam in ragamalika ending with surutti.

Skipping Matallica for this one was worth the time.


Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Concert songlist


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