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Rajesh Vaidya , Veena @ ‘sruthimelanam’ , Vellinezhi 23rd Aug 2014

Veena : Rajesh Vaidya

Mrudangam : Umayalpuram Sivaraman

Ghatam : Dr S Karthick

Ganjira : B Shree Sundarkumar

List:

01.  gajAnanayutam – vEgavAhini – Dikshitar ( O )

02. vAsudEvayani – kalyANi – Thyagaraja (A,S )

03. tani Avartanam

04. chandraSEkhara – sindhu bhairavi – ?

I do not know if I should put this up here. This cant be really called a concert. Hardly anything was played. More than half of the concert was tani avartanam. Nonetheless, this complete the three concert day at Sruthimelanam. Let it be here for whatever it is worth it.

The function felicitating one of the masters of Kerala percussion Sri Mattannur Shankarankutty ate into the concert time. No surprises here. I have gone through this umpteen times. No such function, especially if it involve ministers and other dignitaries involved ever conclude in stipulated time. The organisers managed the time extra ordinarily well until then probably had to let it go, considering the men on stage. This despite the start at 5:00 pm. Anyway, by the time the non musical functions concluded it was around 8:30.

The stage set for the concert soon, UKS took the mike and announced that this would be a one hour concert as they team has to travel back to Chennai. Luckily, he did not make another long speech. But, it took long to get the mike and amplification of all four instruments set to their desired level, each trying to outwit the other. Once, angrily UKS remarked until his volume is set properly, he is not going to play. Every other participants taking the mike and directing the ‘sound man’ in various language to increase the volume for UKS. It took another 20 mins before they finally set about the concert. UKS had earlier announced the kritis that could be expected from Rajesh Vaidya. It was thus clear that he is going to play only two kritis. I split the list into 4 to make it look decent, separating tani avartanam.

Vegavahini or chakravakam was played ok, adding a few rounds of swarams. UKS was at his elements, lifting the overall effect with his legendary fillers and some clever structural intricacies. The other two leading ‘upa-pakkavadyam’ artists by and large allowed the senior to take lead, playing very subtly through out.

Kalyani alapana was rather interesting. While it was clear that he wsa playing kalyani, one was figuring out what is that he is playing. At time, I thought he was doing some hindustany-ish alaap, at other times he was playing similar to tanam. The nontraditional alapana however did not last long. However, he played the kriti very well with some classy accompaniment from UKS. The swaras were interesting too. The percussion trio, lead by UKS played a long tani avartanam. UKS brilliant as expected and the rest matching to the senior allowing him to get his due credit and respect. Rajesh Vaidya played a quick sindhu bhairavi piece to conclude the concert, pack up , receive the honours from the organisers and leave. 25 mins of tani avartanam and 20 mins of veena playing in total.

This was a big disappointment after a mesmerising concert of AKC Natarajan earlier in the morning and a spellbinding ‘pANDi mELam’ by Peruvanam Kuttan Marar in the afternoon. It is unjust to blame the musicians, as they were ready and waiting for their time. Often these meetings gets extended eating into the musical time. Kathakali artists were readying themselves to take stage by 9:30, their stipulated time and for the rest of the night, until 6:30 am next morning, they enthralled the waiting audience, covering up for this disappointment.

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Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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A K C Natarajan, Clarinet @ “Sruthimelanam” , Vellinezhi 23 Aug 2014

Clarinet : A K C Natarajan

Nadaswaram(support) : Tirupati Ramesh?

Thavil : Mannargudi Vasudeval

Thavil : Kovilur K G Kalyanasundaram

Song List:

01.  sidhi vinAyakam sEvEham – mOhanakalyaNi – Dikshitar ( S )

02.  kadalE vADu gAdE – nArAyaNagauLa – Thyagaraja

03.  challaga nAthO – vEgavAhini – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

04.  kripa jUcuTaku – chAyAtarangiNi – Thyagaraja (A )

05.  ennEramum un nAmam – pUrvikalyANi – Shyama Shasthri ( A,S,T )

06.  bhOgindra shAyinam – kuntaLa varALi – Swathi Thirunal

07.  ?? – sindhubhairavi – ?   ( A )

08. tirupugazh

Rain was lashing on the make shift structure in the small remote town , interior of Palakkad district. Late morning of a Saturday, veteran master of the wind instrument held the audience captive with a mesmerizing performance. He was supported onto the elevated stage by someone, seated him on a chair, while the rest of the crew sat on the stage around 11:00 in the morning. Initial few notes, of testing the system were very awkward the blowing sound was amplified and not the musical notes. All that was quickly evaporated. What followed since then was an outstanding fair of pure melody and classicism.

Rain continued its dance on the tin roof, but no body knew. He catapulted into ‘sidhi vinayakam’ with no other preparatory attempts, no varnam no playing a few sketches of raga or testing the rest of the system. Nudged his able deputy who was on a shortish nadaswaram to join him. Played few rounds of swaras, starting a single note at a time, stretching to a phrase and into an avalanche to conclude. The deputy shadowing the master.

Kadale vadu was a surprise. Narayana gaula itself is rather rare these days, and probably after Chittoor Subramanya Pillai not many have sung this effectively. Keerthi was mentioning about the Vegavahini kriti of Thyagaraja, which he had heard AKC play. He might have read our minds, and started the alapana of vegavahini. Splending alapana was followed with the kriti we were talking ‘challaga natho’. Another cracking swara prasthana followed. A short alapana and chayatarangini kriti came in as a filler before the main.

A classy purvikalyani alapana came in deliberate detailed exposition joined by the nadaswaram vidwan. Shyama Shasthri’s tamil kriti was grand in presentation adorned with some splendid kalpana swaras. Two champion percussion team on thavil, played out a spirited tani avartanam , spellbinding the listeners who acknowledged the effort with a thunderous applause.

Swathi Thirunal’s kuntalavarali kriti and a beautiful sindhubhairavi piece constituted the post main, the later started after a short little alapana. A fast paced tirupugazh concluded the concert. An outstanding concert by the senior vidwan.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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Pallavur Krishnan Kutty , Kurumkuzhal at “Sruthimelanam”, Vellinezhi 23rd Aug 2014

Kurumkuzhal – Pallavur Krishnankutty

Violin – Kodunthirappalli Subbaraman

Mrudangam – Kallekulangara Unnikrishnan

Morsing – Nadalaya Gopi

List:

01.  sAmi ninnE (varNam) – SrI – Karur Devudu Iyer  ( O )

02.  SrI mahAgaNapatE – nAta – Dikshitar ( A,S )

03.  jAlandhara – valachi – Muthaiah Bhagavathar ( A,S )

04.  SrI saraswathi namOstutE – Arabhi – Dikshitar ( A )

05.  nannu pAlimpa – mOhanam – Thyagaraja ( A )

06.  rAma nAmamE tudi manamE – dEsh – Tanjavur Sankara Iyer

07.  enna tavam seydanE – kApi – Papanasam Sivan

Kurumkuzhal , a short wind instrument is an integral part of the percussion ensemble for ‘mELam’. While the ‘Chenda’ hold the centre stage, it is the kurumkuzhal that gives the melodic touch to the ‘mElam’. A group of ‘kurumkuzhal vidwans’ swaying front and back, bending down visually changing the and signalling the changes in the proceeding. The melodic interludes are immensely entertaining among the rhythmic high decibel beats of ‘chenda’ and ‘elathalam-cymbals’.  Resembling the look of ‘shehnai’ of North Indian Music tradition, this short instrument extends its possibilities beyond the ‘melam’ scene as we can see here. Few artists, skillful enough to make it to the center stage of a concert performance have been doing a few performance around Kerala for a while now. I haven’t had a chance to listen or watch a performance until now.

At the outset, this sounds similar to ‘nadaswaram’ but much sharper ( almost to the level of shrill voice – most likely due to the improper amplification settings) tonal quality. The miniature model of nadaswaram, thus have the ‘finger holes’ closer to each other which could be one of the reasons of the higher pitched sound. That however did not appear as a limitation to the artist or us the listener. While it is understood that each instrument has its own set of possibilities and limitations and the clever artist explore the raga and kritis which can be played in his or her instrument of expertise. Vidwan Pallavur Krishnankutty is one of the exponent of this instrument and have given a stellar performance on a Saturday morning.

A short concert lasting slightly over an hour started off with the Sriraga varnam. A short Nata alapana preceded the ganesha kriti, which was added with a few rounds of swara. A beautiful valachi alapana was a little more detailed and probably was the best of the morning. The violin accompaniment , played very well through out the concert, played a good alapana on his part too. Jalandhara, probably was the only choice and was done beautifully including some nice sets of kalpana swaras. A good short alapana of Arabhi followed soon with Sri Saraswathi namostute of Dikshitar. Mohanam was to be the main with another long detailed alapana. It wasn’t as impressive as the valachi, decent nonetheless.

Being a short concert and the next performance to follow, there was no tani avartanam. The percussion artist did support the proceedings adequately. However, I personally think, that for ‘kurumkuzhal’ like in the case of clarinet and nadaswaram, ‘thavil’ could have been the ideal choice of percussion. A Desh kriti followed and as he was planning to conclude, the organisers gestured him to continue for a while as the ‘clarinet Maestro A K C Natarajan was preparing himself for the next concert.  So, he continues with a beautiful kapi alapana and ennatavam before closing the affair.

I cant comment on the merits and demerits of this instrument in the carnatic concert. But in the able hands, with skill and knowledge, any instruments can achieve great heights. I am impressed with the way he played. Probably a full length concert would have made a greater impact.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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Smt Bhagyalakshmi Chandrasekharan @ Ranjani Fine Arts, 12th Oct 2013

Veena : Bhagyalakshmi Chandrasekharan

Mrudangam :  C. Cheluvaraju

Ghatam :  N. Gurumurthy

List:

01.  viribONi ( varNAm ) – bhairavi – Pachimirium Adiappayya  ( O )

02.  siddhi vinAyakam anisham – chAmaram ( shaNmukhapriya) – Dikshitar ( A,S )

03.  akhilANDESwari – dwijAvanti – Dikshitar  ( A )

04.  saraswati namOStutE – saraswati – N S Ramachandran ( A )

05. SrI dum durgE – srI ranjani – Dikshitar ( A,S )

06. mAtADadE mannAru krishna  – behAg – Vijaya Vittala Dasa

07.  aruLa vENDum tAyE – sAramati – MM Dandapani Desikar ( O )

08.  rAma rAma krishNA – gauLipant – Thyagaraja

09.  bhUri bhAgya lahari – pratApa varALi – Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar

10. RTP – kIravANi – khanda triputa   starting ( eDuppu) at +1

‘ghana rAga’ tAna mAlika in nAta, gauLa, Arabhi, varALi and SrI

pallavi line ‘ vANi gIrvANi kIravANi vINApANi mAm pAhi’

rAgamAlika swaras in ‘valaji, shubhapantuvarALi? , dEsh, rEvati

11. Arabhi manam – rAgamAlika – Tarangampadi Panchanada Iyer

12. dEvi bhavAni – jOg – ?  ( A )

13.  karuNA jaladhE dASarathE – nAdhanAmakriya – Thyagaraja

14. rAmachandrAya janaka ( mangaLam)- kurinji – Bhadrachala Ramadas

SLOkam ( shanthi manthram)

What a blissful evening. Such a serene and pristine concert. The Veena sang, she sang along, to herself at times, louder at other times. The music flowed out of her instruments, occasional shruthi realingment, nothing else distracted her or interrupted the proceedings. I closed my eyes (and listened) through out the concert. What an evening of music.

I am not picking and choosing one kriti from the rest. But had I been listening to this dwijavanti on a record, or on the TV, I would have switched off the device and refused to listen to anything else for the rest of the day. The four or five minutes of dwijavanti alapana was, for want of the right word, out of this world. Those four minutes made my day.

Shanmukhapriya, Saraswati and to a lesser extend Sriranjani each of the alapana were very good. The short kritis that came in before the main, be it behag, saramati, pratapavarali or gowlipant, were noted for the selection and presentation. These aren’t those familiar kritis which are in circulation in the concert circuit as regulars.

Keeravani was grand. Though I am having an overdose of keeravani this year, I was already in a mood to receive anything that was coming from those fingers. A typical grand alapana, followed with somewhat restrained tanam and an elaborate pallavi, with trikalam. Pallavi was the highlight of the day. She played some brilliant kalapramanam both in the pallavi and in the kalpana swaras. Cheluvaraju played brilliantly here. He seems to be correcting the talam, by gesturing his assistant ( the man with ghatam, in general had a silent day). Cheluvaraju, seems to be enjoying the concert as we were at the audience, and every response from him was measured and going with the spirit of the evening. He played a decent tani avartanam along with his disciple on Ghatam.

I said enough. Go listen to her if you get a chance !

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2013 in Concert songlist

 

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Sikkil Mala Chandrasekhar @ Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha, Annual Music & Dance Festival 10 Feb, 2013

Flute : Sikil Mala Chandrasekhar

Violin : Mysore Srikanth

Mrudangam : Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma

Ghatam : Ranganatha chakravarthy

List :

01 SLOkam ( vakratuNDa mahakaya)

sAmidaya jUDa (varNam) – kEdAragauLa – Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya

02  sidhi vinAyakam – mOhanakalyANi – Muthaiah Bhagavathar ( A,S )

03  marivErE gati – Anandabhairavi – Shyama Sasthry

04  rAma rAma rAma rAma, rAma ennirO – vasantha – Purandara Dasa ( S )

05  ranga pura vihAra – brindAvani – Dikshitar ( A,S )

06  bhAgAyanayya – chandra jyOthi – Thyagaraja

07 eDutA nilachitE – SankarAbharaNam – Thyagaraja  ( A,S,T )

08  jagadhOdhAraNa – kApi – Purandara Dasa

09 bhAvayAmi gOpAlabAlam – yamunA kalyANi – Annamacharya

10 tambUri mITi tava – sindhu bhairavi – Purandara Dasa

11  rAmam bhajE – durga – Swami Dayananda Saraswathi

12 bhAgyAda lakshmi bAramma – madhyamAvathi – Purandara Dasa

13  maitrIm bhajada – rAgamalika- Chandrasekhara Saraswathi

14 mangaLam – saurAshtram/SrI – Thyagaraja

“We are sold out”, said the organiser at the Ranjani Fine Arts concert. for once, I could not believe my ears, did he say we are sold out, as is the case of the new anticipated, to be block buster movie. Yes Sir, all the passes are already taken, and you may wait for a while, and see if any one has not claimed their tickets or occupied the seat. I observed very few ‘green cards’ on the table and decided to move from there. Ranjani ( the Sabha) couldn’t help Gayathri to listen to Ranjani-Gayathri concert.

Slightly disappointed, we were contemplating other options, Gayathri wanted to attend Sudha Raghunathan at Gayana Samaja. Driving towards that part of the town, I saw the message from Gayana Smaja. It said the hall was full by 4:45pm for the 6:00pm concert. For the third time, I had to change directions, and decided to give it a shot at the Indiranagar Sabha again. The previous day, the hall wsn’t crowded for Hyderabad Brothers concert.

I hadn’t listen to Mala Chandrasekhar, and instrument music isn’t my best choice. But, yesterday all that was forgotten. It was like boon in disguise. All the driving around and finally settling in at the Purandara Bhavan, possibly the best decision we’ve made. She was brilliant and presented a stupendous concert. Seldom we find the cohesiveness of all the participants in a concert and yesterday was one such concert. One should give special thanks to Sri Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma, for the way he supported the main artist. He had an outstanding day yesterday.

On her part Smt Mala Chandrsekhar, superbly played the instrument and presented every part of the concert with such a vigour. Her alapana of brindavani was classy , the short mohnakalyani was very good and the main Sankarabharanam was in all grandeur. What I liked the most was the swara singing especially for mohanakalyani, vasantha and brindavani.  Her selection of ragas for the evening, those she planned to do detailing, the measure of each kritis were very good. The mellifluous sound waves that came through the instrument with such a clarity in all octaves. The chain of beautiful songs she played post the main were equally good.

As said earlier, the accompaniment made the day special. Be it Mysore Srikanth , with a great brindavani, or Sri Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma , whose style of playing is always attractive to me, or the ghatam, playing a great tani avartanam with the main percussionist, all of them played to the occasion making it a wholesome concert. I don’t regret not attending the intended concert.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Concert songlist

 

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