Tag Archives: Sankaran Namboodiri

Sankaran Namboodiri with Kottakkal Madhu&Babu Namboodiri – Carnatic & Kathakali Jugalbandi @ Seva Sadan, Malleswaram , 7th Feb 2014


Vocal : Sankaran Namboodiri

Violin : Mathur Srinidhi

Mrudangam : M T Rajakesari


Vocal : Kottakkal Madhu & Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri

Chenda : Kalamandalam Krishnadas

Maddalam : Kalamandalam Raj Narayanan

Edakka : Kalamandalam Aneesh

Organised by : IPCA ( International Center for Performing Arts) , Yelahanka, Bangalore


( for identifying, those in italics are kathakalipadam)

01.  vAtApi gaNapatim – hamsadhwani – Dikshitar ( O,S )

  harihara vidhinuta – hamsadhwani – Thodayam

02.  SLOkam ( pItAmbaram karavirAjitam) – Sri   ( by both Madhu & Sankaran Namboodiri)

endarO mahAnubhAvulu – Sri – Thyagaraja

ajitA harE jaya – Sri – Kuchelavruttam  ( started at vijaya sArathE)

03.  pantuvarALi Alapana by Sankaran Namboodiri

Siva Siva Siva yenarAdA – pantuvarALi – Thyagarja

SLOkam ( chintayam iti) – pantuvarALi  ( by Madhu)

      avaLEtoru kAmini – pantuvarALi – Nalacharitham 3rd Day

04. Arabhi Alapana by Madhu & Sankaran Namboodiri

shArada rajani varunnu tEril – Arabhi – Arjuna Vishadavruttam

pAhi parvata nandini – Arabhi – Swathi Thirunal ( S )

05. sAmaja vara gamana – hindOLam – Thyagaraja ( S )

  entiha man mAnasE – hindOLam – Karnashapatham

06. yOchanA kamalA lOchanA – darbAr – Thyagaraja ( S )

   pUmAtinotha chArutanO – darbAr – Nalacharitam 1st Day

07. AbhEri alapana by Sankaran Namboodiri & Madhu

anganE njAn angu pOvatenganE – AbhEri – Nalacharitam 2nd Day

nagumOmu – AbhEri – Thyagaraja ( S )

tani Avartanam  ( mrudangam , maddaLam, eDakka & chenDa)

08. bhAgyAda lakshmi bAramma – madhyamAvati – Purandara Dasa

padma vallabha pAlaya bhagavan  – madhyamAvati – ?

The influence of carnatic music on the Kathakali padam ( a big and not so good influence these days) and vice versa ( especially on the Kerala based musicians) are not new to those who follow both the streams of classical music. Many Kerala based carnatic musicians are heavily influenced by the ‘sopanam’ style of Kathakali padams (few of them include these padams in their repertoire). Some of the aspects right stress and pronunciation, the appropriate ‘pada chedam’, the emotive content over structural brilliance, the ‘open throated’ singing style, the steady facial and physical control they exhibit even at the higher octaves etc are adaptable to carnatic singers. We see some of these as Keerthi once pointed out in the singing of MDR, KVN and few other Kerala born musicians. Similarly, Kathakali music has a long lasting connect to carnatic music. Some of the extinct ragas continue to thrive in Kathakali music such as kAnakurinji , sAmanthamalahari and pADi ( very distinct from the carnatic pADi).

Kathakalipada cutcheri as a form has evolved over the last two decades. Kalamandalam Sankaran Embranthiri, Venmany Hardas, Hyderali trio supposed to have given this a fresh life and made this into mainstream. There are more takers for this form now, with the new release of financial freedom experienced generally in this part of the world. The concept of jugalbandi is thus a natural progression. Inspired by each other, both the musical fraternity are now joining together experimenting with this system. The kathakali pada cutcheri itself is in the nascent state, and hence a jugalbandi is still in its premature stage. There are a few working-together and presenting a joint concert that is already performed in Kerala, but this must be for the first time, that such an event is being arranged in Bangalore.

One need to appreciate the organisers for bring this into Bangalore, and the artists themselves. The event in totality was very good and had no on stage confusion. The plan was clearly established ( on paper which both participant was constantly referring to) and executed until time as a villain played spoil sport. Both Sankaran Namboodiri and the Madhu-Babu pair, sang their part well. The handing over, the interchanges while singing the same part ( alapana, shlokam and the final madhyamavati piece) were beautifully handled. The selection too was decent ( they might have had a few more in stock, but had to cut short) with popular numbers from carnatic as well as Kathakali music.

On the side of improvement, one would like to see a more balancing of the singing. Sankaran Namboodiri, on his part was singing kalpana swaram for every kriti ( there is no equivalent in kathakali) and was indeed taken a larger pie of the proceeding with more agitated gestures. Kathakali singers on their part was calm and composed and had their share of elaboration through their version of ‘neraval’ like pada-sahitya sangatis.

Percussion artist supported their own group adequately. One could see the changing expression on the faces of the carnatic accompaniment. Rajakesari expression shown curiosity to start with changing into admiration and couldn’t resist himself by joining the ‘louder’ kathakali percussion team. Srinidhi, too seems to be in a similar state of mind. The percussion quadruple did play a shortish tani avartanam, with the mrudangam leading the fare and the rest playing out the ‘korvai’ part along with him.

Concert started with the hamsadhwani piece, with Sankaran Namboodiri singing vAtapi following the thODayam piece sung in hamsadhwani by Madhu & Babu in changing kalapramanam & tala. The slokam that followed was sung brilliantly by both Madhu and Sankaran Namboodiri before their respective Sriragam pieces. Sankaran Namboodiri chose to sing Endaro Mahanubhavulu, probably not the best choice for this, without the swara sahityam. Madhu and Babu sang the evergreen ‘ajitA harE’ from ‘kuchelavruttam’. Sankaran Namboodiri sang a short alapana for Pantuvarali, followed by Siva Siva Siva yenarAda with few rounds of swaras. I do notice that whenever artist from Kerala sing vAtApi or Siva Siva, there seems to be a strong influence of Chembai. Sankaran Namboodiri did a Chembai-ish swara play ( only one avartanam though) during his kalpana swaram.

Madhu and Sankaran Namboodiri shared the Arabhi alapana. Sarada rajani from the new ‘arjuna vishAda vruttam’ was sung by the kathakali duo with some brilliant neravalish sangathis with different naDai patterns at a few lines. The line ‘kaLa kaLaravamoDu kUDaNayunnu’ , especially, was brilliant. Sankaran Namboodiri on his turn sang pAvi Parvata nandini, a Swathi Thirunal navarathri kriti with yet another round of kalpana swaram. Hindolam was to follow, with Samaja vara gamana and very moving contemplative padam of Karna in karnashapatham’ ‘entiha man mAnasE’.

The organisers, by now were a worried lot as they had to close the concert by 9:00 pm, probably due to the rental agreement with the hall ( I am thinking aloud, and I might be wrong). There was chits, hand signals, kathakali mudras among others to convey this message to the artists on stage. A visibly disappointed Madhu was prompting Sankaran Namboodiri and the rest of the parts, including the main had been truncated to a large extent. They sang a fast ( Sankaran Namboodiri announced that he is going to sing a fast piece, and we smiled at ourselves as he was doing just that through out the evening) darbar before the announced main came in.

Madhu started the alapana taken over by Snakaran Namboodiri and concluded with some fabulous low octave singing by Madhu. He sang the ‘kATTALa’ padam to Damayanti from Nalacharitam 2nd Day ( I am not sure if this was usually sung in Abheri, my memory says the masters used to sing in madhyamavati) and Sankaran Namboodiri sang nagumomu with few rounds of kalpana swaras. A short tani avartanam followed lead by Rajakesari. They concluded with madhyamavati, altering between bhagyada lakshmi ( by Sankaran Namboodiri) and padma vallabha pAlaya ( by Madhu & Babu).

While the effort was laudable and the attempt was indeed very good, One can do a bit more preparatory work to make it more effective. One, they did not anticipate the approximate time on each piece, which seems to have caused the time pressure . Second, selection of the kritis should ideally be of the same kalapramanam. Endaro Mahanubhavulu probably not the right choice as against a nAmakusuma. Third, the shruthi’s seems to be a bit out of sync as I observed Madhu is singing at a higher pitch than he is used to. Fourth, they should balance it out among themselves, as one could see Sankaran Namboodiri trying to sing alapana and swaras for every kriti somewhat tilting the whole show.

Irrespective of these small observations, I enjoyed ( as the new word among nettizens) the evening. It was a commendable task and to their credit both Sankaran Namboodiri ( barring some of his agitating body gestures) and the Kathakali Duo ( Babu, especially was outstanding ) did a great job. Kudos to the organisers.


Posted by on February 8, 2014 in Concert songlist


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Sankaran Namboodiri @ Fort School Ramanavani Concert, 08 Apr 2012

Vocal: Sankaran Namboodiri

Violin : S Varadarajan

Mrudangam : Poongulam Subrmaniam

Ghatam: Sukanya Ramgopal


01. ??

02. brOchEvA ravarurE- khamAs – Mysore Vasudevacharya

03. ?? – aThANa –

———————————– I reached only after this —————————-

04. dorakuNA ituvaNTi – bilahari – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

       neraval & swara @ ‘ rAma brahma tanayuDau tyAgarAju tA baDucu’

05.  raguvar tumkO – Ahir bhairav ? – Tulsidas

06.  rAmanAma pAyasakE – bhImplAs – Purandara Dasa

07.  rAmanAmame stuti manamE – dEsh – Tanjavur Sankara Iyer

08.  dEva bandA namma ranga banda – ?? – Purandara Dasa

09.  tambUri mIti tava – sindhu bhairavi – Purandara Dasa

10.  thillAna (tana dhimta dhimta dhiraNa) – mAND- Lalgudi Jayaraman

It was the ‘Founder Day’ function at Ramaseva mandali, yesterday and Vid.Sankaran Namboodiri, was felicitated by the Mandali along with Rudrapatnam Brothers,  H S Sudheendra and Dayanand Mohite, for their contribution to carnatic Music. The function was scheduled to begin at 10:00 am, and to skip sitting through the function, I reached the venue around 10:45 to listen to Sankaran Namboodiri. However, the function had a delayed start ( possibly due to the late arrival of dignitaries) and to add salt to the wound, I was told that the concert started early and the team had already sang for 20+ minutes. So, much for my planning.

So, I had to sit through the ceremony. To their credit, the organisers managed to keep the program short ( well, all those speeches , shawl and garland , photo session etc had to be there). Rudrapatnam Thyagarajan spoke n behalf of the awardees, and Minister Ashok, did the honours ad gave his little speech. My congratulations to those feted , and we the listeners are indeted to them for their music and teaching.

Back to Sankaran Namboodiri, the concert resumed after the function without much delay. He directly choose to present the main for the day and in what a classical way ! Bilahari alapana was brilliant, with some good violin returns by Varadarajan. Dorakuna was very good , the neraval was fabulous. The kalpana swara that followed took the overall effect to a very different level, with Varadarajan pitching in beautifully. The percussion support was apt and the duo continued with a brilliant tani avartanam , a bit long for a shorter concert, though.

A chain of post main kritis followed from tulsidas to a couple of dasar nama. The ‘free food’ offer was in the air and Sankaran Namboodiri managed to hold the crowd until the thillana. As soon as he begun ‘tana dhimta’ one side of the ‘pandal’ emptied as the crowd imediately queued up near the door, leaving Sankarn Namboodiri with a handful of us to conclude. An extremely discourtious behaviour.

While, I regret the miss of the initial part ( I was told both khamas and atana were very good) I cherish the superb bilahari for a long time. Once again, congratulations to Sankara Namboodiri on his ‘recognition’ by Ramaseva Mandali.

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Concert songlist


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Sankaran Namboodiri , Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali, Jayanagar 18th Dec 2011

Vocal : M K Sankaran Namboodiri

Violin : C N Chandrasekhar

Mrudangam : M T Rajakesari

Ghatam : M A Krishnamurthy


01  gajavadana pAlisO – hamsadhwani – Adi – Vijaya Dasa  ( S )

02  rAgi tandirA – Ahir bhairav/chakravAkam? – Adi – Purandara Dasa  ( S )

03  pAhimAm pArvati paramESwari – mOhanam – rUpakam – Dikshitar ( A,S )

04  chalamElarA – mArga hindOLam – dESAdi – Thyagaraja ( S )

05  paridAnamichitE – bilahari – khaNDa chapu – Patnam Subramania Iyer ( S )

06  rAma nAma pAyasakE – AbhEri – tisra gati – Purandara Dasa

07  himAchala tanaya – Ananda bhairavi – Adi – Shyama Sastry ( S )

08  sadAmatin dalatu – gambhIra vANi – Adi – Thyagaraja

09  tanayuni brOva – bhairavi – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T)

        neraval & swara @ ‘ vatsamu veNTa dhEnuvu canunO vAridamunu’

10  krishNa murAri bhavabhaya hari – Saibhajan –  ??

11  rAdhikA krishNA rAdhikA – vAsanti ? – Jayadeva

12 kanDEnA gOvindana – mAND – Purandara Dasa

13  kshIra sAgara – dEvagAndhAri – Thyagaraja 

       ( started at anupallavi)

14  dEva bandA namma ranga banda – bhAgEshrI ?? – Purandara Dasa

15  thillAna ( dhim tana ta dhim tana ) – pahADi – LGJ

16  SLOkam ( srI vidyA shiva vAma bhAga )  – madhyamAvati

        mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

Sankaran Namboodiri gave another very good concert yesterday at SrI Jayarama Seva Mandali auditorium.  The elaborate Bhairavi and the chain of swara singing for most of the initial kritis were the highlights of the evening. He also chose to sing large number of Dasa compositions, which I thought was very apt for a non-Karnataka singer to do while perforning here.

Starting with a couple of kannada kritis ( rAgi tandirA was a bit awkward to sing so early in the concert), with some good round of swara’s set the tempo of the concert, getting the accompanying artists into the groove.  His first alapana of mOhanam came with some nice phrases,  and an intersting choice of Dikshitar kriti. While the kriti may not be a great one, it was interesting none the less. The swara that followed was appropriate and good.

A chain of various kritis followed before the main, each rendered pretty well and added with few round of swarams for most. The Gambhiravani kriti and the Anandabhairavi kriti stood out from the list. Ideally, I would have preferred lesser number of compositions at this stage, and another Alapana and a neraval.

The main bhairavi was brilliant, to say the least. After a couple of minutes, where I thought he wandered around, it settled into one superb alapana of Bhairavi filled with some great passages , traversing all three octave. Chandrasekhar was subtle and very emotive in his return adding to the overall effect of the alapana performed by the vocalist. Tanayuni brova ( what a welcome change!) came with all its grandeur with a brilliant neraval and some spellbinding kalpana swaras. Brilliant piece.

The percussion was good through out the concert.  Rajakesari and MA Krishnamurthy gave a spirited tani avartanam ( but was longish to my comfort ) adding to their already good show during the evening.

Post main was rather long, which seems to have included a couple of requests ( like the ksheerasagara, showing his mettle at the higher octave repeating 4-5 times at ‘tAraka rAmA’).  He concluded the concert with a thillana in pahadi.

Sankaran Namboodiri gave a very good concert yesterday. Look at the list above, it has all that variety that was needed.  Another alapana and a neraval is all I could have asked for, dropping a couple of kritis from the list.  But, that do not take away the good work he did last evening..

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Posted by on December 19, 2011 in Concert songlist


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Sankaran Namboodiri, at Nadasurabhi Cultural Association 19 June 2011

Vocal : Sankaran Namboodiri

Violin : Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam : H S Sudheendra

Ghatam : sukanya Ramgopal

01  namAmi vighna vinAyaka – hamsadhwani – Krishnaswamy Ayya ( S )

02  manavi nALakinca – maLinakAnti – Thyagaraja  ( S )

03  smaraNe ondE sAladE – malayamArutam – Purandara Dasa ( A,S )

04  tUkkiya tiruvaDi – SankarAbharaNam – Sudhananda Bharati ( A, S )

05  Ehi mudam dEhi – Ananda bhairavi – Narayana Theerthar

06  saravaNa bhava – paSupati priya – Muthaiah Bhagavathar

07  VenkatEshA ninnu sEvimpanu – madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja ( A, N, S, T )

          neraval & swara @ ‘ bhAgavata priya thyAgarAjanuta’

08  jaya jagadIsha harE ( sAi bhajan) – bhImplAs

09  bArO murArE – dEsh – Vadiraja Swamy

10  dEva banda namma ranga banda – behAg – Purandara Dasa

11  rAdhikA krishnNA rAdhikA – vAsanti – Jayadeva

12  thillAna ( dhim tana ta dhIm tana  tana dhIraNA) – misra pahADi – Lalgudi Jayaraman

13  mangaLam – saurAshtram/ madhyamAvati – Thyagaraja

This was my first concert after a long gap and the expectations were huge. He did not disappoint, but I hoped for more. To me the highlight of the concert was an outstanding swara prasthana for naLinakanthi and a surprise main of Venkatesha ninnu in Madhyamavati. 

Concert started with a hamsadhwani krithi on Vinayaka with a short set of swaras. Nalinakanti followed soon and the swara singing followed was brilliant, exactly reproduced by Charulatha in her turn. Malayamarutam was an average affair. Very short alapana, with no high points, and even ordinary rendering of kriti.  He redeemed himself with few decent swaras, though. Sankarabharanam, came with such hopes as he announced the intended kriti, before alapana. Sankarabharanam alapana was good, and ‘tUkkiya tiruvaDi’ came with such a freshness.  At ‘ethanayO piravi’ , you have a tremendous neraval line and the build up would have ben justified if he had sang a couple of minute neraval here, which was not the case. However, he continued singing kalpana swaras for Sankarabharanam.

Main Madhyamavati was a request, and I thought the alapana was very good. By now he was at his best and he was traversing the octaves at ease, and singing the bhriga laden ‘dhruta prayogas’ amazingly well.  Alapana was very detailed and progressive. Charulatha’s reply was also commendable. Venkatesha Ninnu sevimpanu was a surprise selection, over the more common Palinchu Kamakshi or Rama Katha sudha. Neraval at bhagavathapriya was done very well, so was the kalpana swara that followed.

There was time for a pallavi and there were request sent across. However, he chose to sing a few kritis instead. Vadiraja composition set in Desh and the pahadi thillana were good. Some how, I could not connect to the vAsanti version of the ashtapadi.

Sankaran Namboodiri has a great voice and he uses it to the best effect. Very bhriga oriented style and effortlessly singing in all octaves especially during the alapana were very pleasing.  While the concert was good, it would have gone a notch higher, had he included another neraval ( especially for the Sankarabharanam) or had a short pallavi to the list, since the there was ample time at hand ( the concert was just over 2:15hrs).

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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in Concert songlist


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Sankaran Namboodiri at Heritage Academy Ramanavami Festival 16th April 2008

Vocal : Sankaran Namboodiri

Violin : S Seshagiri Rao

Mrudangsam : Srinivas

Ghatam : Dayanand Mohite
Concert Songlist :

01 gum gaNapathe – hamsadhwani – Muthuswami Dikshitar ( S )

02 jaya jaya jAnaki kAntha – nAttai – Purandara Dasa ( O,S )

03 cUtAmu rArE – Arabhi – Thyagaraja  ( A,S )

04 dorakuNA iTuvanTi sEva – bilahari – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & Swara @ rAmabhrahma tanayuDau tyAgarAju tA bADucu

05 banTurIti kOlu – hamsanAdam – Thyagaraja ( S )

06 nAdOpAsana – bEgaDa – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & Swara @ tantri laya svara gAna vilOlulu

rAgamalika swaras in kApi , sahAna , laLita? and bEgaDa again.


07 tAmbUri mIti – sindhu bhairavi – Purandaradasa

08 jagan mathE jaga janani – hamsAnandi –  (sai bhajan )

09 dAsa dAsara manaya dAsanu dAsa – hindOLam – Kanakadasa

10 thillana – kadanakuthUhalam – T V Gopalakrishnan

11 mangaLam – saurashtram

Sankaran Namboodiri, once again entertained the Koramangala Audience with another brilliant concert.  Main krithi of the day, nAdopasana in bEgada was awesome and so was bilahari and Arabhi. Sri Sheshagiri Rao , who will be performing solo today had some beautiful takes in the Arabhi and bilahari alapana.  He gave  a superb support to the main artist.  Srinivas ( who was the last minute replacement for K U Jayachandra Rao , who could not attend the concert) gave a brilliant Taniavartanam with Dayanad Mohite, on an otherwise ‘just ok’ accompaniment.

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Posted by on April 17, 2008 in Concert songlist