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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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M S Sheela @ Sree Ramaseva Mandali, Fort school, 04 May 2016

Vocal : M S Sheela

Violin : Nalina Mohan

Mrudangam : H S Sudheendra

Morsing : B Rajashekhar

List:

01. ninnE kOriyunnAdi (varNam) – kAnaDa – Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya

02. garuDa gamana samayamidE – nAgasvarLAi – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

03. E mani pogadugurA – vIravasantam – Thyagaraja

04. nAradamuni vedalina – pantuvarALi – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘ nArAyaNa nAmamulanu pArAyaNa moralincuDu’

05. paTTiviDuvarAdu – manjari – Thyagaraja

06. sarasvatIm bhagavatIm – hamsavinOdini – Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar ( A )

07. teliyalEru rAma – dhEnuka – Thyagaraja ( S )

08. vara rAga layA – chenchu kAmbOji – Thyagaraja

09. shrI chAmuNDEshvari pAlayamAm – bilahari – Mysore Vasudevachar

10. rAma kathA sudhA – madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ ‘bhAmAmaNi jAnakI saumitrI ‘

11. hAgE irabEku samsAradalli – mOhanam – Purandara Dasa

12.  mElukO  shrI perundEvi maNavALA  – bhauLi – Alluri Venkatadri Swamy

13.  karuNA jaladhE dAsharathE – pIlu – Thyagaraja (not sure if it is the same song)

14. bhAgyAda lakSmi bArammA – madhyamAvati – Purandara Dasa

15. mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

I haven’t attended many concerts this Ramanavami season. Of the 10 odd concert that I manage to be part of, this one, undoubtedly was the best. She was in her elements. Almost everything was perfect in planning and execution. The supporting team was so prompt and apt with their participation.

Some days, it is difficult to select what was your pick of the day. Yesterday was one such. Outstanding pantuvarali , fabulous swara for nagasvarali, nice hamsavinodini alapana ( though I’ve heard her sing this many times and every time I mistook it for ravichandrika), very intelligent selection of shorter pieces – be it veeravasantam, manjari, dhenuka or chenchu kamboji – which helped in cleverly pace the concert, marvelous madhyamavati , especially the neraval and brilliant and elaborate kalpana swaras …you decide.

Having caught in the web of Bangalore traffic, I could reach the place midway through the varnam. As we settled in and ready to receive, she started a nice little nagasvarali alapana. Cracking rounds of kalpana swaras set the stage for the remaining of the evening. After every detailed exposition, she sandwiched with a short piece, very intelligently selected. Veeravaantam was done after nagasvarali and before pantuvarali. Classy pantuvarali alapana by both vocalist and violin followed by a impressive nAradamuni vedalina. As I always maintain, apantuvarali or purvikalyani upfront in the concert gives it an uplift. Crisp neraval and a very very impressive kalpana swaras. Awesome stuff. A detailed hamsavinodini alapana, very elaborate and scholarly exposition.

Couple of short pieces in quick succession. Dhenuka was very moving, including the swaras she sang at the end. Even the swaras were sung in unhurried leisurely way. A chit was forwarded to her and she enquired ‘bilahari?’. I guessed the requester probably wanted bilahari as main.  Though she obliged  the request, it was not main. This session probably could have worked better.

Madhyamavati main was a fitting tribute to Thyagaraja, whose 250th birthday was yesterday, as I see in few posts. In fact, she sang most of the kritis of Thtagaraja’s compositions. Alapana was grand, meticulous clearly build and progressed as one would expect. Nalina Mohan too did a commendable job. Rama katha sudha was no surprise. She sang very detailed neraval and even bigger kalpana swaras. Some intelligent swara patterns, impressive laya intricacies which was fabulously supported by the percussion team was pleasure to watch. Rajashekhar on morsing was having a field day, bringing out some unheard sounds and techniques with the tiny instrument. once during the neraval, he played without using his right hand – using only mouth – for an entire cycle of neraval. Occassionally, he got carried away, over enthusiasm taking the control over restraint, caused minor trouble to the violinist. However, the percussion duo played a good tani avartanam.

Post main had a series of shorter pieces. I am one who likes some innovation here. Instead of singing 5 compositions mixing it with shlokams or ugabhogas would have made better appeal to me. However, having witnessed a fabulous concert, I have no complaints this time.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Bangalore S Shankar @ Sree Ramaseva Mandali, 03 May 2016

Vocal : Bangalore S Shankar

Vocal Support :  Ramani Shankar

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

Ghatam : B R Ravikumar

List :

01 chalamEla jEsEvura (varNam) – shankarAbharaNam – Swathi Thirunal ( O )

02 siddhi vinAyakam anisham – SaNmukhapriya – Dikshitar ( A,S )

03 bhajarE rE mAnasA – AbhEri – Mysore Vasudevachar ( O )

04 shrI venkaTEsham varam – thODi – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘mArajanakam mAdhavA nAmakam ‘

05 shrIdhara kEshava nArAyaNa – kalyANavasantam – Nadopasana Srinivasan

06 pakkAla nilabaDi – kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja  ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ tanuvuchE vandana monarincucunnArA ‘

07 akhilANDEshvari rakSamAm – dvijAvanti – Dikshitar

08 RTP – shankarAbharaNam – Chaturashra Triputa x 2 , +3/4 eduppu?

pallavi line ‘dAsharathE karuNA, payOnidhE inakula tilakA’

no rAgamAlika swaras

08b. tani Avartanam

09 navarasa shLOkam ( shringAram kshiti) – khamAs (shringAram), aThANa ( veeram) , sahAna ( karuNam), rEvati ( adbhutam) , mOhanam ( hAsyam), ranjani (bhayAnakam/bhIbhatsam) , kApi (raudram/shantam)

09b  charaNamulE nammitE – kApi – Bhadrachala Ramadas

10 shringApurAdhIshvari shAradE – kalyAni – Padmacharan ( A V Krishnamachar)

11  manavE mantrAlaya – suddha sArang – Padmacharan ( A V Krishnamachar)

12 tirupati venkaTa ramaNA – sindhu bhairavi – Purandara Dasa

13 thillAna ( dhIm na na na tillillAna) – brindAvani – Balamuralikrishna

14 mangaLam – saurAshtram/ madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja

Vid Shankar’s concert is like a cool breeze on a hot summer evening. It can have such a soothing effect on you. Very traditional, very involving, subtle ascend through the concert and ,though predictable a nice rounded off wind up. It might not give you the exhilaration or an adrenalin rush like ‘performers’ but will give you a sense of completeness. I particularly likes his concerts, largely because of the ample neravals he plans in his concerts.

Yesterday’s concert was no different. It did have a breezy start with the shankarabharanam varnam ( not often heard these days) and reached the top with a classy pallavi in the same ragam , as is the wont in the older tradition. He did  sing some ineffective pieces in the middle, like the Nadopasana Srinivasan’s composition and not so emotive akhilandeshwari, but otherwise it was one of the top class effort from the team.

One should also give a lot of credit to the supporting artists on the stage. K U Jayachandra Rao played with such brilliance ( with some on stage prompting and gestures from Shankar) through out the evening. His following for the composition was such a delight to watch last evening. Charulatha was her usual high standard, probably over did a bit during alapana a couple of times. His son Ramani who sang along and also shared alapana of kharaharapriya and thodi(?) pretty decently.

Shankarabharanam pallavi was the best of the evening. Beautifully delineated two stage alapana from Shankar and an apt return from Charulatha. Tanam was even better singing with a lot of deliberation and done in two speedss, with a few aha moments. Pallavi neraval again was classy. I thought he did a splendid job at the pallavi, with some interesting sangatis thrown in. Very elaborate trikalam was done by both vocalist as well as violin. Swara was rather short for not having ventured into typical ragamalika swaras of pallavi. The percussion duo played a good tani avartanam.

Shanmukhapriya ( albeit short) and kharaharapriya alapana were good. Thodi alapana was even better. Neraval for both thodi and kharaharapriya was very well done. Kalpana swaras were sung for all three, but I thought they were rather shorter affair. Ramani chipped in for all neravals and kalpana swaras with his guru.

Navarasa shlokam was the highlight of the post main group. Some interesting selection of ragams to each ‘rasa’. I especially liked the choice of aThANa for veera, mOhana for hAsya and sahAna. This was again very very impressive. He sang a couple of compositions of Padmacharan. Having concluded a workshop on the compositions of Padmacharan ( a week ago) by Vid Shankar, I was expecting one or two to feature in the concert. Felicitation and Vote of Thanks was done at this time and the artist concluded the evening with a devarnama and a thillana.

Very traditional, well conceived and planned, complete in every aspect,  concert from Vid Shankar and team.

PS : While the concert was in full swing, the audience as well as the artist on the stage were involved  in another entertaining game. Picking and removing a small black insect from body.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Pattabhirama Pandit @ Srirama Seva Mandali, Koramangala on 18-Apr-2016

Vocal : Pattabhirama Pandit

Violin : TKV Ramanujacharyulu

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

List:

01. shrI patE nI pada – nAgasvarALi – Thyagaraja ( Short Sketch, S )

02. parama pAvana rAma – pUrvikalyANi – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @’kanakAmbaradhara karuNAnvita sura’

03. viDalAjaturA – janaranjani – Thyagaraja

04 RTP – thODi – chaturashra triputa, +1 eDuppu

pallavi in rAgamAlika ‘thODi, bilahari, rEvati’

pallavi line ‘ dAsharathE karuNApayOnidhE, ina kula tilakA ‘

rAgamAlika swaras in thOdi, bilahari, rEvati

05 rAma rAma rAma sItA tAma ennirO – tilang – Purandara Dasa

06 kaNDu dhanyanAdE – behAg – Kamalesha Vittala Dasa’  ( A )

07. jagadodhAraNa – kApi -Purandara Dasa

08. mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

shLOkam ( mangaLam kOsalEndrAya) – madhyamAvati

Seldom we witness a concert were the second item is taken up as main. Well, I am excluding TMK from this. That lifts the expectation high and it would be a huge task for the artists to sustain the same vigour and standard through out the rest of the evening. Yesterday’s concert of Pattabhirama pandit was one such. What an opening and the first half he had. Beautifully started the concert with a nagasvarali piece after humming through a short alapana in such a moving way. Shripate nee pada was sung very well. He and the team also extended it with some splendid swara patterns. Brilliant start. He soon launched into a classical purvikalyani. Few faster intial phrases moved away to some outstanding passages at the slow speed middle and lower octaves. After a few deliberations he switched the gear with faster akara phrases initially in the lower octaves moving to the higher one. Some breath taking alapana came in at high, full of exquisite combinations and full throated singing. Top class stuff. Ramanujacharyulu was equally brilliant in his turn, largely playing around the same theme and a few improvised takes. Parama pavana rama, was a treat. Very elaborate neraval, at kanakambaradhara was very well done. Kalpana swaras sung at the end was the pinnacle of the performance yesterday. The team jelled well presenting some outstanding swaras. Jayachandra Rao was excellent here. The team was so moved, that Ramanujacharyulu , upon completion of his return, wanted to play along for another rounds before closing down. Unexpectedly, tani was indicated and expectedly Jayachandra Rao played a fitting tani avaratanam.

Having completed only 2 kritis so far, there was an anticipation for a pallavi and I was praying it to be anything other than Keeravani. There was a short janaranjani kriti before pallavi. Thodi it was, but wasn’t one that you talk home about. A fast alapana with few twists and turns came in two spurts, not really impressive. Violin return trid to restore some parity but it was very short to really make an impact. Tanam however was far better.  Both the artists played some delectable rounds of tanam. Interestingly pallavi was sung in 3 ragams. There was no trikalam or any structural intricacies in pallavi execution. Ragamalika swaras followed the same pallavi pattern.

Behag kriti was beautifully sung. A short alapana preceding it was good too. Jagadodharana, which brought in the memory of his legendary guru, was ok. And that ended the concert.

Pattabhirama pandit sang very well. The purvangam of the concert was awesome, and some of those dwindled out as the concert progressed towards the second half. He would have got into the time pressure, and adjusted pallavi to fit into the overall schedule. Very good concert, would have been outstanding with a small tweak in the planning.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Saralaya Sisters @Sri rama seva mandali, Koramangala 15th Apr 2016

Vocal : Saralaya Sisters

Violin : Kalpana Kishore

Mrudangam : Anoor Vinod Shyam

Morsing : Lakshmi Nayarana

List :

01 shLOkam ( AchAryA pavanO) – nATa

namO namO raghukula nAyaka – nATa – Annamacharya ( S)

02 shObhillu saptaswara – jaganmOhini – Thyagaraja

03 eLA nI dayarADu – aThANa – Thyagaraja (O)

04 rAmachandram bhAvayAmi – vasanta – Dikshitar ( A,S)

05 bhAvayAmi raghurAmam  – rAgamAlika – Swathi Thirunal

06 rAma nAma bhajisita – hindOLam – Gopala Dasa

07 parama pAvana rAmA – pUrvikalyANi – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar ( A,N,S,T)

neraval & swara @ ‘kanakAmbaradhara  karuNAnvita sura’

*I had to leave at this time

I had a bus to catch, travelling overnight. Planning to attend this was an after thought, to squeeze in an hour or two of listening, before rushing home and pack and leave. Inaugural concert of Sri Rama Seva Mandali ,Koramangala. I was pleasantly surprised to know that they have been conducting Ramanavami programs for the last 39 years.

Concert started 30 mins late, due to power unavailability. Every one including the artists waited patiently , entertaining ourselves with the game of ‘machar-catch’.  A sparce crowd at this time, but filled as the concert began.

I had to leave as young Vinod Shyam started his tani avartanam. Hence, this is an incomplete report and my opinion is based on what I heard, while there. Firstly, artists seems to have been finding it difficult with no feedback speakers. That would have impacted their overall performance.

I found most of the kritis were presented on a faster tempo. Speed in general was the essence. Even the short vasanta alapana was super fast. Having said that, the main pUrvikalyANi was presented very well. The alapana, kriti , neraval and Swara ( looked like they cut short a bit) were done in a pleasing manner. I am expecting that the remaining of they concert would have been just as great if not better.

Other trivial observation was the selection of tala. One could name this as a thematic ‘rUpaka tALa kacheri’. If I remember correct, 5 of the first 6 kritis were set to roopakam. So much so that i started searching for roopakam compositions in purvikalyani while the alapana was going on. I could have mistaken and I am open to corrections…

One takes from this concert was the new violinist on stage. I was given to understand that she has returned from US and this is her first concert in Bangalore since. She did a good job and some of her play during pUrvikalyANi were delectable.

I am listening to ‘Rama nAma bhajisita’ for the first time. I heard, Smt. Seethalakshmi Venkateshan has set this dasar pada ( Gopala Dasa) to tune. Similarly, the opening nATa kriti too was one that is not often heard.

Note: This is prepared and written using my handheld device. No proof read done. Many mistakes can be found. I will edit and correct those on my return.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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