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Sanjay Subrahmanyan at Ranjani Fine Arts, 10 Feb 2018

Vocal : Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Ganjira : Anirudh Athreya

List:

01 ninnE kOriyunna nApai (varNam) – mALavi – Calcutta Krishnamurthy

02 inta parAkA – mAyAmALavagauLA – Roopakam- Anai Ayya ( N,S )

neraval & svaras at ‘kannatalli tanri sujanulanna tammu’

03 kAntimati annai nI gati – kAnaDa – Mishra Chap- Papanasam Sivan ( A )

04 munnu rAvaNa – thODi – Mishra Jhumpa – Thyagaraja  ( A,N,S )

neraval & svaras at ‘ rAjarAja virAjavAha ravikulAbdhi rAja’

05 jagadIshA sadA mAmava  – nAtakurinji – Adi X 2 Swathi Thirunal ( A,S,T )

06 evvarE rAmayya – gAngEyabhUSaNi – Thyagaraja

07 RTP – dharmavati – chaturashra tripuTa x 2 Kalai , 1/2 Eduppu

pallavi line ‘ unadu pAdam oru tuNai ena nambinEn, sadA dayai puriyum sharavaNabhava guhanE’

rAgamAlika Svaras in bahudhAri, ranjani and bhImplAs

08 manamE kanamum – bhImplAs – Papanasam Sivan

09 rAmakrSNaru managE bandaru – tilang – Purandara Dasa

10 viruttam ( theerthakkarayinilE ) – bhAgEshrI – Subramanya Bharati

ninnayE ratiyenru ninaikkirEn – bhAgEshrI – Subramanya Bharati

11 apadUruku lOnaitinE (jAvaLi) – khamAs – Pattabhiramayya

12 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

“Surprise us”, requested the organiser as he handed over the stage to the artists of the evening.  Did I notice a glimmer of a smile on his face. Well, he can’t surprise us. The element of surprise is part of the expectation and standard set by him over the years. So, the surprise to us is to have an ‘off day’, which  wasn’t the case to be. Second time in this week, he was here with yet another scintillating concert. Probably, the ‘munnu rAvaNa’ can be the the surprise factor for those who was looking for one.

I am itching to use the superlatives again. The evening excitement started with the mAyAmALavagauLA piece. Fabulous neraval and svaras with some innovative support from Venkatesh. I will pass the kAnaDa, but to say the sedate kriti was very nice. Brilliant thOdi by both the artists. Some of his typical forays:  the holding on to the svara with a loooong single breath singing  – which always have people applauding, and the build up to some mesmerising higher octave passages and a clever termination ( again a staple ingredient for instant gratification from the audience). But beyond these, some of the takes were really superb. So was the violin return. Haven’t heard him singing munnu rAvaNa before. Again, he was very impressive in the neraval and some of the intrinsic swaras that followed.

Natakurinji was the main piece, if you insist  ( To me it WAS the thODi , but the tani avartanam followed nAtakurinji ). Elaborate alapana again. Similar progress with some elegant phrases. Tried some of the lower octave takes, to some lesser effect. Jagadeesha sadA mAmava was against our speculations of ‘kuvalayadala nayana’ or ‘ mAmava sadA varadE’. No neraval ( hence not main 🙂 ), but had some nicely set svara patterns with a whole lot of sweeping gamakas at ma,ga,sa swaras ( which went on for a while). Neyveli Venkatesh was very good through out, except a few places during natakurinji swaras. He later played superbly for the pallavi, following Sanjay during his various takes and variations (Aniruddh struggled a bit here). The tani Avartanam, especially the closing sequences were very good.

Dharmavati pallavi, this time. Nothing great to talk about the alapana. Rather shortish. But the tanam ( compensated for the depth in alapana) was delectable. From the start it was destined for an outstanding affair. Varadarajan was equally brilliant.  Long pallavi line set to Adi tala , 2 kaLai. But, the purvangam and uttarangam were set to two different speeds ( I don’t think, there was a naDai variation) and that was the key essence of the pallavi singing. Everything, including the trikalam he did, was around these speed variations between pUrvAngam and uttarAngam.  The bhImplAs svaras during the rAgamAlika stood out, which followed up with Papanasam Sivan’s composition , as is his wont.

This time we did not have a quick wind up post pallavi. The khamAs jAvaLi was the pick of this section.

The organisers were pleased. The huge hall was full, fabulous ambience, excellent seating and amplification systems and a start one would hope for , for the Annual Festival. I can pardon Arsene Wenger for another lose, as I was listening to another Arsenal Follower, providing us some relief  ( taking the clue from the closing speech from the organiser again).

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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Sanjay Subrahmanyan @ Spring Festival , Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira at Gayana Samaja, 06 Feb 2018

Vocal : Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Morsing : Bhagyalakshmi Krishna

List:

01. celimi kOri( varNam ) – gauLa – Adi – Veena Kuppiyer?

02. kanu koNTini – bilahari – Adi – Thyagaraja ( S )

03. ninnuvinA marigaladA – rItigauLA – Adi tisragati – Shyama Shastry ( A,N,S )

neraval & svara @ ‘ shyAmakRSNanuta bhakta paripAlanamu sEyuTaku’

04. annai jAnaki vandALE – sAvEri – Adi x 2 – Arunachala Kavi  ( A )

05. entha cheluvagE magaLu – yAgapriya – Adi – Purandara Dasa ( A )

06. shrI subrahmaNyAya namastE – kAmbOji – Adi  x 2 – Muthuswamy Dikshitar ( A,N,S,T)

neraval & svara @ vAsavAdi sakaladEva vanditAya’

07.  mAlOn maruganai ( viruttam) – SaNmukhapriya – Arunagiri Nathar

sharavaNabhava enum – SaNmukhapriya – Papanasam Sivan

08. RTP – jaganmOhini – mishra naDai

pallavi line ” ‘shivakAma sundari amba vandaruL, tandaruL’

rAgamAlika swaras in mukhAri, kalyANi, rEvati and dEsh

09 lALisidaLu maganA – dEsh – Purandara Dasa

10. mangaLAm – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

Yet again, despite reaching ahead of time, braving the evening traffic, I had to be contend with the ‘Balcony seat’. May be next time, I would take half a day leave and reach by 3:00 pm or so. The seats were largely occupied by the handbags and kerchiefs than human beings. So, alternately, I would send a proxy an hour early with my hand-kerchief. Is ‘denzo’ listening ? 5:45pm was the starting time and one would expect him to start at samam. But yesterday there was an ‘atheetha eDuppu’ by about 2 mins.

One couldn’t ask for more. 5 elaborate alapana, one master class of kAmbOji with a real heavy composition, a pallavi, a rare vivAdi in the mix. A fabulous evening of enriching music. A short gauLa varnam to start ( too short even to notice ; it got over in 3 mins) and a bilahari that followed, were just warm up stuff.  The game shifted with the reetigaula. He always sings that well, but I was super impressed with the return by Varadarajan. Good neraval and svaras to add to the brilliance. I have to say the same for sAvEri alapana too. Very good, and again Varadarajan was special here. Annai Janaki vandale was a surprise.

He started a vivAdi alapana and as we were deciphering the raga ( by successive elimination method  from gAngEyabhUSani to calanATa), he came to our rescue by announcing yAgapriya. 31st mELam, mostly known for Dikshitar’s kalAvatim kamalAsanayuvatim ( kalAvati as it is called in Dikshitar’s school – not to be mistaken with the other kalAvati of ‘ennaDu jUtunO’) . Impressive alapana especially from Sanjay followed with a dEvarnama. I notice this trend in his concerts for the last 3-4 years in Bangalore, where he sing one of the Dasa kritis upfront with an alapana and neraval / svara in almost all the concerts, not restricting them to the post main section, which I appreciate.

No fillers, as he started a classy kAmbOji alapana. I predicted a Dikshitar composition to follow and here comes ‘ShrI subramaNyAya namastE’. Awesome stuff by him and Varadarajan as they presented it with all its grandeur. Outstanding neraval, fitting kalpana swaras ( percussion was left wanting at times) for one  hell of an affair. Tani avartanam, to my pleasure was much subdued and done very well, a welcome change from him.

When he started the viruttam, I thought we are not likely to have a pallavi. But soon he started the alapana of jaganmohini. After a grand kAmbOji, this couldn’t have bettered the impact on me. But, it was good nonetheless with some impressive ragamalika swaras especially the rEvati ( Varadarajan again steel my applause) and dEsh which is extended to the dEvarnama lAlisidaLu maganA.

For a change, the organisers did not want to interrupt. Upon Sanjay’s indication he came on to stage and made very  short proceedings of thanking the artists and announced the next days program. One saw Sanjay, contemplating and physically warming up and was thinking of a viruttam or thillAna to come which wasn’t there.

These days, it is very rare to get five detailed alapanas in a concert without compromising on other aspect of music. This calls for him planning and structuring the concert impeccably. If one has to make a template and tick the appropriate squares , this concert would have all those covered.  One wonder, how he manages to do this day after day, every concert across all the parts of the world.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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Sanjay Subrahmanyan @ Nadasurabhi Annual Festival, 01 Nov 2017

Vocal : Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Ganjira: G Guruprasanna

List:

01 inta chAlamu sEyaka (varNam) – kAmbOji – aTa – Pallavi Gopala Iyer

02 kari kaLabhamukhAm – sAvEri – Eka? – Dikshitar ( S )

03 shrI pArvati paramAidvaita shivE – shrI – aTa – Kunrakudi Krishna Iyer

04 kaNDE kaNDE svAmiya bEDikoNDE – kannaDa – mishra chAp – Purandara Dasa ( A )

05 enta vEDukoNDu rAghavA – sarasvati manOhari – Adi – Thyagaraja ( N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘cinta dIrcuTakenta mODirA antarAtma nA centarAka nEn-‘

06 tAyE ezhaipAl – bhairavi – Adi – Papanasam Sivan ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @ eNNAda eNNamellAm eNNi eNNi eTTAda pErAsai kOTTai kaTTi’

07 Anandavalli – nIlAmbari – Adi x 2 – Swathi Thirunal

08 RTP – cHAyA ranjani – vilOma chApu x 4 repeats

pallavi line : ‘enkaL kulathinamudhE shrI rAmA tALElO’

rAgamAlika swaras in shankarAbharanam, aThANa, mukhAri, hamsAnandi

09 mannipugazh kOsalai tAn- rAgamAlila – rUpakam – Azhwar

10 ghaNTAmaNi ADudu – kAnaDa – Adi – Gopalakrishna Bharati

11 viruttam( vizhikku tuNAi) – ?,sahAna , behAg, jOnpuri

muruganai bhaji manamE – jOnpuri – Papanasam Sivan

12 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

Another one of his classic concerts. 3 hrs of high energy concert, never a lag, never a loss of focus or concentration. Variety of songs, another new varnam, a kannada kriti up front and a speciality pallavi. I guess, all that a listener wanted to absorb in a concert was there in its right proportion. Kudos to him.

One has to admire his professionalism. He was on stage at 5:55, allowing the organisers to finish the formalities of introductions. Concert started on time ( well, 6:05 ) and there was no break for next 3+ hrs.

Another not often heard varnam ( at least it was for the first time for me) , set the evening in motion. I heard a traces of Yadukulakamboji, caused some confusion on kAmbOji. But, Pallavi Gopala Iyers varnam was very good. A sudden burst of kari kalabha mukham came in , in the upper octave. He played around the same ‘ka(ga) ri’ in the kalpana swaras as well, singing ‘ga ri’ in three octaves and extending at kalabha mukham.  Made some good impression.

Another rare one followed. Kunrakudi Krishna Iyer’s composition in Shri, which started like shrI varalakshmi and had a lot of traces of pancharatna kriti, especially in the chitta swarams. First detailed alapana was in Kannada, both the artists playing it delectably well. As expected, a Purandara Dasa devarnama was sung. Enta vEdukondu had a similar high energy entry. He sang a classy neraval, toying with the words ‘enta dIrchina’ and few rounds of swaras.

Bhairavi alapana was grand. Through out the evening, I observed he was focusing his alapana largely on the upper register and the kritis in general was also picked in the same vein ( kari kaLabha, enta vEdukondu). Upacharamu jEsEvAr was playing in my min, but he decided to sing the Papanasam Sivan kriti. Another superb neraval at eNNAda eNNamellam. Some interesting laya intricacies during the kalpana swaras, which left the percussion team in somewhat disarray, while Varadarajan was in 100% adherence and support. He was in his usual best through out the evening. Tani avartanam was the Ctrl-C / Ctrl-V of a typical Neyveli Venkatesh affair. I find them so repetitive. Faster the finger moves, faster the shake of the head , louder the noise. However, yesterday he started with an entire avartanam only on the thoppi (left side) which produced a very similar sound of Ganjira. The audience definitely liked the affair as usual, evident from the applause they received.

It needed a sedate neelambari to cool things a bit before the start of pallavi. This time, he chose another new one chAyA ranjani. He explained this as a creation of GNB after being inspired by Bade Gulam Ali Khans ‘multani’. Alapana and tAnam were very good, as one would expect from Sanjay. Not sure from which text the pallavi text was adapted, but was nice. Trikalam was executed, so was multiple rounds of ragamalika swaras. There was a all Tamil post main kritis ( As some one joked post the concert, one doubt if it was ‘kannaDa rAjyOtsava’ or a Tamil Nadu one) before mangalam.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Sanjay Subrahmanyan @ Nadasurabhi Annual Festival ,05 Nov 2016

Vocal : Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Ganjira : Guruprasanna

List:

01 ninnEkOri (varNAmm) – Ahiri – Tarangampadi Panchanada Iyer

02 swAminAtha paripAlayAshumAm – nATa – Dikshitar ( S )

03 inta kaNNAnandamEmi – bilahari – Thyagaraja ( A )

04 kallu sakkare koLLirO – kalyANi – Purandara Dasa ( A )

05 kaDaikkaN nOkki kAvAtadu – thODi – Papanasam Sivan ( N )

neraval @ ‘mayilApurikkiraivA, kayilAsuttuRaivOy, magimai kuRaindiDumO’

06 dAriNi telusukoNTi – sudhasAvEri – Thyagaraja ( S, T )

07 chEtA shrI bAlakrSNam – dvijAvanti – Dikshitar

08 RTP – SaNmukhapriya – tishra tripuTa ,  khaNDa naDai, samam eDuppu

Pallavi line :  sharavaNabhava ennum tirumandiram sadA japi yen nAvE, Om’

rAgamAlika swaras in sahAna, chalanATa? , bhAgEshrI

09 sharavaNabhavaennum tirumandiram – SaNmukhapriya- Papanasam Sivan

10 dAsara nindisa bEDa – rAgEshrI – Purandara Dasa

11 viruttam ( UrilEn kANiyillai?) – hamsAnandi

kaNNanai kANbadeppO – rAgamAlika (hamsAnandi,nAtakurinji,bhImpLAs,abhOgi) – Subramanya Bharati

12 nirupamAna sAmi ni – behAg – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar

13 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

This man was in some form yesterday.  Voice is at the peak of its strength, which he used to its fullest capabilities, the atmosphere is charged with  overflowing audience, over enthusiastic percussion support ( to the level of distraction at times) and some very refreshing set of kritis. He started on the dot at 6:00 – one should give creditto the organisers for this, completing the formalities within the 5 mins window, and sang till 9:20-25. There was no gap between one kriti to other, as he seems to be eager to move to the next one. Only on a rare occasion, he gave a minute or two for Venkatesh to retune his instrument.

Yet another new varnam to the stage. Ahiri ata tala varnam was first time for me, and I guess to many of us in the audience. It is not about singing new varnam in every concert, it is also about which of those gems are worth bringing out to the forefront. He has been doing some wonderful stuff with that for a while now.

Yesterday’s nATa from Malladi Bros were very different, but for Sanjay it was the traditional fare. Even before the percussion conclude the varnam piece, Sanjay had taken off on ‘swAminAtha’. Elaborate swara was sung. But, did I hear he starting it at ‘ma,ga,ri’ ?

Bilahari alapana was short. I was expecting Vasudevacharya’s composition but he decided on a Thyagaraja composition. No neraval and swaras added. Similar was for the next kalyANi. However, despite my cold shoulder towards kalyANi, I thought the alapana was superb. The way he started it was one to cherish, shear beauty. I was hoping for some neraval here, but he wound it up soon. Papanasam Sivan’s thODi composition was again fabulous. The whole kriti was very nice and had one gem of a neraval followed. What a place to sing the neraval.

No traditional submain-main way of progressing the conert until now. He launched into the multiple sangati’s of darini telusukonti. A very very long rounds of kalpana swaras followed. Majestic stuff. I predicted he will hand over to Venkatesh and that is what he did. I am not a great fan of Venkatesh’s tani avartanam. He started it nice with some good left hand play, but soon returned back to his usual style. The crowd as usual seems to have been thrilled with his exploits.

To bring some balance to the whole concert, the pallavi has to be a major one. But before that, he sang a very melodious dwijavanti after a riotous, ear splitting percussion tani. It was very well sung. He did (mischievously) mimic Semmangudi as he concluded the piece. I was right with predicting shanmukhapriya as pallavi. What a classy alapana that followed by both Sanjay and Varadarajan. Sanjay, making use of the range had us mesmerised with some breathtaking higher octave passages and some ‘ati mandrasthayi’ sojourn. Haven’t seen him with such great voice condition for a while. Tanam is one of his strengths and last evening was no exception. No great invention of the pallavi line, but effectively set to tisra triputa in khanda nadai. The Om, was a bit stretched at times. Ragamalika swaras were sung as is wont, with the last bhAgEshrI taking up little longer. He did try some hindustni styled stretches of notes as he sang the bhageshri, and to a lesser effect by Varadarajan. Surprisingly, he did trikalam post the ragamalika swaras, and very detailed. I liked the way Neyveli Venkatesh supported here.  As expected, he switched back to adi talam and completed the Papanasam Sivan’s composition in shanmukhapriya.

A short viruttam, followed bby a ragamalika composition and  a devarnama concluded the concert. Another brilliant concert from Sanjay.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Sanjy Subrahmanyan @ Ganjaym Annual Festival ‘Flights of Fantasy’ 22nd Nov ’15

Vocal :  Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Neyveli Venkatesh

Ghatam : Perikavu L Sudheer

List:

01 sharaNAgata vatsala (varNam) – kadanakutUhalam – Calcutta Krishnamurthy

02 kari kaLabha mukham – sAvEri – Dikshitar

03 chalamElarA sAkEtarAma – mArgahindOLam – Thyagaraja ( S )

04  kaNDE kaNDE svAmiya bEDi koNDE – kannaDa – Purandara Dasa ( A,S )

05  marivErE dikkevarayya rAmA – Sanmukhapriya – Patnam Subramanya Iyer ( A,N )

neraval @ ‘ (venkaTEsha nIvu) nannu brOvakayuNDuta nyAyamA’

06  viruttam ( kulam tarum selvam ) – mOhanam

nArAyaNa divya nAmam – mOhanam – Papanasam Sivan

07  RTP – kharaharapriya – chaturashra tripuTa x 2 , +1 eDuppu

pallavi line ‘ oru taram shivachidambaram enru chonnAlum pOdumE’

tani Avartanam

08  viruttam ( ADum mayilAy) – behAg

karpakAmbikai nI allavO – behAg – Papanasam Sivan

09  uyyAla lOkavayya – nIlAmbari – Thyagaraja

09 thillAna ( nAdru dhIm tanana tana dhiraNA) – gambhIravANi – T K Govinda Rao

10 mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

Certain concert, you shouldn’t waste your time in dissecting and picking your choices of alapana, tanam or swaraprasthana.  They are wholesomely good in few cases or every thing was good as in the case yesterday. One is left wanting for the choice of adjectives. I for one, think yesterday’s concert was one helluva affair.

But I still want to talk about a few for posterity. Its always good to go back to some of your concert experiences after a few years. This will be one such concert and hence for my own future use let me note a few.

The whole lift of the concert to me started with the swara prasthana of margahindolam. Outstanding stuff here between the lead singer and the ever following violinist. The long phrased, long lasted ending swaraprasthana was a treat, embellished by an equally awe inspiring return by Varadarajan. On the other hand, this increased the adrenaline levels of the percussionist , especially Venkatesh, and there was no holding him back after that. More on that later.

A short and beautiful ‘kannaDa’ alapana and a surprise selection of kriti was next. Probably a new addition to Sanjay’s repertoire and this could feature in a few concert this season.  Another rounds of great swaras mostly pivoting around the ‘ri’  ( in fact he started the swaras at ‘ri’ kande kande ).  Percussion by now was in exhilaration and Venkatesh was changing the mrudangam for every song.

Shanmukhapriya which followed next was the best of the evening and one of the best I’ve heard in many years. I dont remember listening to Sanjay singing shanmukhapriya any time in last 4-5  years. What scintillating alapana he sang and an equally grand return on violin.  If this is not enough, there was an outstanding neraval too.  Instead of the standard  ‘sannutAnga shrI venkatEsha nIvu’ , he selected the next line ‘nannu brOvakayuNDuta nyAyamA’ adding ‘venkatEsha nIvu’ at the beginning. Tremendous impact. Very well done and detailed. Goose pimples ( I’m a sucker for grand neravals). There was no swaras. Nice viruttam in mOhana on ‘nArAyaNa’ on the EkAdashi day, before ‘nArAyaNa divyanAmam’ was apt and nice.

Kharaharapriya was the main. Majestic alapana fitting to the occasion. Largely the standard phrases with some classy ‘akaara’ extentions typical of him.  Similar pattern and exploration from Varadarajan who seems to have taken a bit longer than usual. No complaints.  For once, I thought ‘rAmA nI samanamevaru’ is in the offing, probably the alapana was directing me towards that. He started tanam, which was again was the next peak of the evening. Brilliant. Pallavi was in usual Aditalam with a familair pallavi line. He did a detailed pallavi neraval, and there was no trikalam in the typical sense. He then launched into an elaborate swaraprsthana in two speeds as in the case of the main item. There was no ragamalika swaras which was obvious by now.

By now the percussion was unbearable to the ears. Tani Avartanam was extremely loud and was the typical ‘beat the s..t out’ of the mrudangam style by Venkatesh with matching head movement to the fingers. Unlike me the audience seems to have liked the ‘visual treat’ if not the nadam. Perikavu L Sudheer,  seeing him for the first time in Bangalore, probably was shaken to the roots by this exuberance was overwhelmed and did not attempt to match the leader. He succumbed after few strokes and returned it back to the main percussionist. Luckily, the whole tani avartanam lasted 7-8 minutes.

Another viruttam and a kriti from Papanasam Sivan in behag came post main, which otherwise had a neelambari kriti and gambheeravani thillana.

Apart from the top class concert presentation, I was also impressed with his selection of kritis today. The two viruttam’s that he sang and the kind of mix he provided. This will remain in memory for a long long time for sure.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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