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Abhishek Raghuram @ Seshadripuram College, 09 Apr 2017

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam : Sankaranarayanan

Morsing : Pramath Kiran

List :

01 dasharatha nandana – asAvEri – Thyagaraja

02 koluvai unnAdE – bhairavi – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

03 sItApatI nA manasunA – khamAs – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @prEmajUci nApai peddamanasu jEsi

04 endarO mahAnubhavulu – shrI – Thyagaraja ( A )

05 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

What a splendid evening. This list above is not the actual indication of what happened on stage, but if I say that is all he sang in a 3 hr concert probably give you an idea. Yesterday, he was in his sublime best. No exhilaration, none of the usual vocal and physical vigour. It was all a sedate, moving affair.

A brilliant start of asaveri, impressive selection of a kriti, sang very slow kicked off the evening. An outstanding alapana of bhairavi followed. Slow mesmerising phrases to start, continued in the same tempo almost the entire alapana, extremely pleasing.  It was ‘koluvai unnade’ again, almost a repeat of his Nadasurabhi concert 5-6 months ago. But who is complaining. Khamas alapana again was in the similar lines. He has taken some extra liberty here in his usual style, with some very refreshing phrases. Predicted ‘SitApatI na manasuna’ right. Another awesome neraval at premajuci. It was at the same venue, a couple of year ago, I heard one of the best ‘sItapatI’ from NEyveli Santhanagopalan with Narmada on violin. The kalpana swaras that followed was outstanding again. Wholesome feast, was enhanced by a entertaining tani avartanam bu the percussion duo. Sankaranarayanan on his part was brilliant through out the evening.

I was expecting a pallavi to follow, but he agreed to a request from an elderly gentleman for ‘endarO mahanubhavulu’. I guess, the person requested might have been expecting a ‘gOshti gAna’ type of endaro mahanubhavulu. Abhishek had other ideas. A sumptuous shrI alapana followed. I was hoping for a short tanam at this time, which would have taken the whole affair to a different level.  Arguably, after MDR I have not heard anyone sing ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ to this impact. One to cherish for a long long time. I loved some of the add on he did during the chittaswara patterns. Fabulous stuff.

and that called for the bell. He had enough for the day, quickly closed the evening with a brisk mangalam.  But what an evening.

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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Ramakrishnan Murthy , Seshadripuram Ramaseva Samithi, 27th Apr 2016

VocalGu : Ramakrishnan Murthy

Violin : Charumathi Raghuraman

Mrudangam : Anantha R Krishnan

Ganjira : Guruprasanna

List :

01. shLOkam ( sadguru gajAsyavANim) – kalyANi

vanajAkshi ninne kOri (varNam) – kalyANi – Pallavi Gopala Iyer

02. tuLasIdaLamulacE – mAyAmALavagauLa – Thyagaraja ( N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘sarasIruha punnAga champaka pATala karuvaka’

03. idu bhAgya idu bhAgya idu bhAgyavayya – bilahari – Purandara Dasa ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @  ‘vasudheyoLu purandara viThalana nAmava, hasanAgi nenenenedu sukhiyAgabEku’

04. mAyamma yeninE – Ahiri – Shyama Shasthri

05. brOva bhArama – bahudhAri –  Thyagaraja

06. mAmava pattAbhirAma – maNirang – Dikshitar ( A,S,T )

07. R T P – pUrvikalyANi – mishrajAti tripuTa x 2 kaLai , eduppu at +3/4 ??

pallavi line ‘ dasharathabAla rAmabhadrayya, dayAnidhE’

rAgamAlika swaras in aThANa, kuntaLa varALi,varALi,____, behAg, suruTTi

08. shLOkam ( ay muraLi mukunda smEra) – kApi , hamsAnandi, sindhubhairavi

rAmanai taruvAi jagad rakSaka – sindhubhairavi – Arunachala Kavi

09. tiruppAvai ( vangAkaDal) – suruTTi – Andal

10. shLOkam (mangaLam kOsalEndrAya) – suruTTi

Another top notch concert by Ramakrishnan Murthy at the Seshadripuram College Grounds, yesterday. Pallavi probably was the low point of the concert, otherwise it was musically and in selection of composition was very impressive.

There was a slight strain in his voice, which was a mild irritant.  But it did not seem to trouble the artist in any way. On a listener’s part, I wish and pray that he take care of his voice as his music is precious and we need him to enthrall  us for many many more years.  The accompanying artist measured up to the main artist and it was a delight to see some of the work done by them to enrich the experience. Charumathi, especially, was very very impressive. Nice bowing, clear tonal quality, nice mannerism, good sense of proportion. Anantha can add a lot to the overall uplift of the concert. He with able supporting percussionist did some commendable job. I loved the initial few touches he did for the ahiri song. The percussion duo had two opportunities to show case their mettle. First one for mAmava pattAbhirAma, which was good but wasn’t measuring up to their caliber. However the second, post the pallavi, was of shear brilliance. Some nice intricate patterns for a mishra triputa tALa was delectable.

Back to the main artist. Nice, brisk varnam in kalyani to start the proceedings. Beautiful mayamalavagaula with some classy neraval at sarasiruha punnaga. Very well detailed and delivered, followed by some very impressive rounds of kalpana swaras. First alapana of the evening in bilahari. Ramakrishna Murthy started in such a wonderful way, but some how did not have the same impact for the rest of the alapana. However, Charumathi played a beautiful alapana. I was humming ‘intha kannAnandamEmi’ through out the alapana, but to our surprise, he sang a dasara pada, which is tuned in similar lines. To his credit, his diction was impeccable. Each words were clearly heard. Brilliantly selected neraval line, singing the first line for most part of the early stage and extending it to the complete line ( appropriate for the completeness of meaning). The kalpana swaras in two speed was equally good.

Two fillers of little impact , before the main. Somehow the ahiri kriti sounded a bit different. Anantha was a treasure to listen here. Bahudhari was good, hoped for a quickfire swaras to set the stage for a leisurely main. Manirang alapana was far better. His deliberations at the short mandra and madhya sthayi phrases were a beauty. Charumathi was good in her return too. Predictably, it was mAmava pattAbhirAmA. To me it was a dedication, marking my return from Sri Lanka ( albeit not triumphantly as Rama). This reminded me of an outstanding manirang witness at the same venue by TMK 6-7 years ago with a mesmerising neraval at ‘chatra chAmara’ ( goose bumps). RKM sang the kriti very well, but there was no neraval. He did cover it up with some awesome swara singing. I loved the split swaras at two places.

There was a real-time review of the concert by the organisers during the felicitation. Luckily, they wound it up pretty fast. RKM started a shortish pUrvikalyAni alapana with a clear intend of a pallavi. Tanam fared better. Pallavi was done with typical neraval style , but there was no trikalam. He sang a chain of ragamalika swaras and concluded it with a nice rollback through all those ragas with such an ease and pleasure.

There was enough time for a ragamalika shlokam followed by a sindhubhairavi composition and a tiruppavai. He extended the tiruppavai to a shlokam in the same ragam to conclude the concert.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Pantula Rama @ Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi 05 Apr 2015

Vocal : Pantula Rama

Violin : M S N Murthy

Mrudangam : H S Sudheendra

Morsing : M Gururaj

List:

01. endu kaugilinturA – shuddha dEshi  –  Thyagaraja

02. E dAri sancarintu rA –  shruti ranjani – Thyagaraja  ( A,S )

03.  cEDE buddhimAnu rA – aThANa –  Thyagaraja ( S )

04.  p(r)akkAla nilabaDi – kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

niraval & svara @ “tanuvucE vandana monarincucunnArA’  and ‘manasuna dalaci mE maraciyunnArA’

05  kOdanDarAmam anisham – kOkilAravam – Dikshitar

06.  RTP – bilahari – chaturashra tripuTa x 2 kaLai, 6 aksharam eDuppu

pallavi line ‘ shrI raghurAma cArutuLasidAma shRngAra rAma’

rAgamAlika swaras in sahAna & naLinakAnti

07.  tani Avartanam

08. shLOkam ( shrI rAma rAma rAmEti )- chenchurutti

rAma rAma rAma rAma rA rA sItArAma – chenchurutti – Thyagarana

09.  pUla pAnpu mIda bAga – Ahiri – Thyagaraja

10. nI nAma rUpamulaku – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja         ( all the charaNams )

Fabulous concert yesterday evening at the Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samith by Vid Pantula Rama. What a refreshing list of raga and compositions. Each selection and presentation were a gem and very unique. I always liked her concerts, in its overall preparation and presentations. Staying with the tradition, she offers so much freshness to the listeners on every occasion that I’ve listened to her. Yesterday was even better.

Concert started with a beautiful composition in shuddha deshi. Very mellifluous bringing the entire audience into the realm of a different world. Nice little rounds of svaras added to the beauty of the composition. Soon she started her first alapana of the day. The initial phrases reminded us of ‘KAntAmaNi’ but soon it was evident it is not as she moved to the next few phrases which had a nice folkish feeling to it. Having someone like Keerthi next to you make it easier for you to get the name ‘shruthi ranjani’. MSN Murthy repeated those moving ‘sancharas’ in his alapana as well. No surprises on the kriti as it probably was the only choice after that brilliant alapana. E dAri sancArintu rA was sung with the same rich emotive quotient as the lyrics was conveying. MSN Murthy was equally eloquent in his turn. The kalpana swara that followed was in keeping the same feel alive.

A quick fire aThANa came in like a machine gun fire with a similar top speed swara fireworks. The percussion team always like these fast tempo high octane singing. The overall decibel levels and speed went up many folds, but was enjoyable.

An elaborate alapana of kharaharapriya came in its full grandeur. The way it was build was evident that she is taking it up for main. A few return to the same phrase before building up from there was observed. It was an alapana of top class. Few choices for a submain flashed through mind as it was fairly early for the evening. She, of course, had other plans. P(r)akkala nilabadi was superbly sung. The syllable ‘r’ was very strong in her ‘prakkAla’. Most of the Chennai / Kerala based singers sing it as ‘pakkAla’, but I’ve seen many Andhra based artist do it as ‘prakkAla’. She sang neraval at ‘tanuvuche vandana’ and ‘manasuna dalaci’ alternately. So much of importance was given to the lyrical meaning and the way each words are pronounced in the early phases of the neraval, emphasizing on the meaning (which she later confirmed in a short remark). I heard her deliberating on ‘vandanamu manasuna’ a couple of times to some great effect. The second phase of the neraval was more traditional and structurally appealing. It was an outstanding niraval to sum it up. Kalpana swaras followed the same ‘two place’ approach , both at tanuvuche and manasuna. Very intelligently executed by both the vocalist as well as the violin accompaniment. The split swara continued to the till the end. Brilliant.

There was no tani avartanam and that meant she is going to sing a pallavi, which is what she announced. She sang another gem of kokilaravam kriti. The only composition which is not by Thyagaraja. I’ve heard this kriti from TNS and his disciples a number of times, but this sounded a bit different and in a more pleasing tempo. Probably, this might have minimal ‘kOkilapriya’ influence or vice versa.

Bilahari was the pallavi. Alapana was decent, nothing spectacular from either of them. Tanam was much better , the middle parts were very very good. Pallavi was set to Adi tala, no great shakes there either. I have a personal theory here on my preference. If the RTP is in any of the ‘non regular’ raga, I prefer the pallavi setting to be normal in tisra triputa or chaturashra triputa. However, if it is in any of the leading (! ) raga, I prefer some speciality in the pallavi setting. A bit of tala complexity, that showcase the skill/vidvat of the singer. Pallavi line was also just ok, she sang dhAma a few times ( or so I was hearing) and as dAma later part of the pallavi. There was ragamalika swaras but again noting great to talk about. Sudheendra and Gururaj played out a good tani avartanam. Sudheendra, especially was very good through out the evening though the overall amplification was slightly at a higher side ( not his alone ! )

Post main was again had some impressive selection. Most of them were new to me. The chenchurutti / jinjhoti kriti of Thyagaraja and a rare gem of ahiri divyanama kirtanam. Both were very very impressive. She concluded singing the mangalam in its entirety. I’ve not seen / heard any other artist apart from a few recordings of MDR, singing the mangalam in its completeness. Admirably, no one got up to leave until she completed all the charanams of the mangalam.

In all, a fabulous concert almost entirely of Thyagaraja kritis with some great selection of ragas and compositions.

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Neyveli Santhanagopalan @ Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi, 27 Apr 2014

Vocal : Neyveli Santhanagopalan

Violin : Dr.G Narmada

Mrudangam : K U Jayachandra Rao

Ghatam : Giridhar Udupa

Song list:

01.  SLOkam ( vakratuNDa mahAkAya) – nAtakurinji

chalamEla jEsi ( varNam) – nAtakurinji – Rangaswamy Nattuvanar ( S )

02.  sarasIruhAsanepriyE -nAta – Puliyur Duraisami Iyer ( A,S )

03.  sItApatE nA manasuna – khamAs – Thygaraja ( O,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘prEmajUci nApai pedda manasu jEsi’

04.  rAmabhadra rA rA SrI rAmachandra rA rA – Anandabhairavi – Bhadrachala Ramadasu ( short sketch)

05.  uyyAla lUgavayya – nIlAmbari – Thyagaraja ( O )

06.  teliyalEru rAmA – dhEnuka – Thyagaraja

07.  rAma nI samAnamevvaru – kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @’paluku palukulaku tEnelolugu mATalADu ‘

08.  rAma manthrava japisO – jOnpuri – Purandara Dasa

09.  rAma nAmamE tudi manamE -dEsh – Tanjavur Sankara iyer

10. tirupugazh – madhyamAvati

11. mangaLam – saurAshtram – Thyagaraja

Certain days, when all the constituents of the concert come alive, listener would want it to go and on. Yesterday was one such evening. Every one of them were excelling in their profession and there was no indication of fatigue of a long journey ( NSG, we heard returned from a a long tour of US in the morning) on the main artist.  The energy the excitement of the concert prior to the post main break died down quickly, leaving me a bit disappointed. However, one remember this concert for an awesome khamas neraval and a very refreshing kharaharapriya.

The mic-asura played havoc again. The sudden ‘hooting’ noise during the alapana, or a breathtaking swara prasthana played spoil sport many a times. It was funny but sad to see all four artists plugging their ears with their fingers at one point of time. It seemed to have settled later, but the potential threat was looming forever, like you hear a distant thunder giving a feel of an imminent rain.

Concert started with a brisk varnam in natakurinji rounding of with few rounds of fast swaras. A short nata alapana came before the kriti, an interesting choice, and some cracking swaras. The team settled and teamed very well from this point on till the rest of the evening. As we were driving to the venue, I was listening to a kathakalipadam in khamas ( kandEn nikaTE from naLacharitham) and was making a remark of khamas not being a favourite of mine. I might have said it a bit early, as I was to be treated with a real gem of khamas. He sang a stupendous neraval at prema juci nApai. Toying with the word ‘prEmajUci’ he build a tremendous musical castle in front us. Dr Narmada, was in equally brilliant during her turn. A cracker neraval should have an amicable finish, and the swara singing exactly did the same. Awesome affair , awesome.

Two-three short pieces came in succession, probably obliging to the slew of requests that started arriving as soon as the concert started. People had no sense of timing, walking in and out even during alapana or while Narmada is playing her return on violin for a swara essay. The dhenuka piece was especially interesting, with some interesting briga-laden sangatis he was portraying. Neelambari was sung in a very leisurely way, probably bit slower than what I usually hear. It was very appealing.

Kharaharapriya was the main, after he claimed a lot of request for rAma nI samanamevvaru. This was another treat. Instead of the usual standard alapana, he progressed it through multiple fragmented medium length phrases. The violin return more or less followed the similar pattern. While I might not be able to pin point the differences, I found it very refreshing. Rama ni samanamevvaru was good, neraval was grand , again he did the same effect as earlier with the words ‘paluku palukulaku’.  this reminded me of the Mani Iyer masterpiece ‘ethanayo piravi’ neraval for thookiya thiruvadi. A very intrinsic swara pattern followed, singing the swara in lower speed and the line paluku paukulaku in the higher speed, which he replaced with ultra fast arohana-avarohana pattern. Violin support faithfully followed the same to precision.

Percussion duo was very engaged through out. Giridhar Udupa, played to an equal measure to Jayachandra Rao. They accompanied brilliantly through out and played out a spirited tani avartanam. Post main was a disappointment in general. Even though he announced that “the concert will end at 9:15 and all of us leave together” to the people leaving midway, he quickly wound up with a devarnama and a quickfire tirupugazh before mangalam.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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Saitejas Chandrashekar , Harmonica @ Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi 26 Apr 2014

Harmonica : Saitejas Chandrashekar

Violin : J K Sridhar

Mrudangam : C Cheluvaraju

Ghatam : Sukanya Ramgopal

Song list:

01. valachi vAchi ( varNam) – navarAgamAlika – Patnam Subramanya Iyer

02.  vAtApi gaNapatim – hamsadhwani – Dikshitar ( O,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘praNava swarUpa vakratuNDam’

03.  enta muddO enta sogasO – bindumAlini – Thyagaraja ( O )

04.  tatvameruga taramA – garuDa dhwani – Thyagaraja

05.  akhilANDESwari rakshamAm – dwijAvanti – Dikshitar  ( A,S )

06.  raghuvamSa sudhAmbudhi – kadana kutUhalam – Patnam Subramanya Iyer ( O )

07.  nannu viDachi – rItigauLa – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

08.  jagadhOdhAraNa – kApi – Purandara Dasa ( O )

09.  tandanAna Ahi tandanAna (brahmam okkaTE) – bauLi ? – Annamacharya

10. pibarE rAmarasam – Ahir bhairav ? – Sadashiva Brahmendra

11. abhang ( goD tujhE rUp ) – mAru behAg – Thukaram

12. kAyOu Sri gauri – Sankarabharanam scale – Basappa Sasthri

13.  Western Notes – Muthaiah Bhagavathar

14.  Wedding Bells – ? – Chittibabu

15. harivarAsanam – Ayyapa Bhajan

16. bhAgyAda lakshmi bAramma – madhyamavati – Purandara Dasa

Of late, there had been a lot of discussion on the adaptability of certain instruments in carnatic music. TM Krishna in an article came out strongly against such practice. There had been many such reactions in the music circuits and among followers. The often chewed ‘gamaka’ richness of Indian Music is one of the strong points against these attempts. Western music instruments often designed to the scalar music is not accepted as appropriate for Indian Music. However, there had been many practitioners- more in private and far less in the performing area – attempting to wed these two aspects. Kadri Gopalnath, with his saxaphone seems to have cut a niche for himself, and with all credit to him as he seems to be the only one who stood out amongst the rest. Palladam Venkataramana Rao with Harmonium, recently a young prodigy Satyanarayana with Key Board, Anil Srinivasan’s various attmepts with Piano and not forgetting  Anayampatti Sri Ganesan on Jalatarangam are few who continue to grow the influence in their respective fields, despite the purists reservations. All of them seems to have found a way to work around the respective limitations of their instruments, develop the concept and musical knowledge that they possess through their chosen medium.

Sri Saitejas Chandrashekar is one such talent, who over last few years trying to develop a unique style in adapting this small wind instrument into the Carnatic Music arena. Harmonica or mouth organ as we commonly know, has its own limitations and I thought, will have larger challenge than the others mentioned above for its smaller size. It was amazing to see and listen to him overcoming these limitations with aplomb and delivering a wonderful concert at the Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi. I had been lucky to listen to his few earlier attempts, but this was for the first time, I attended a full length concert of Saitejas. In short, I am super impressed, and it helped me shed all my prejudice if at all I carried in my subconscious mind.

One goes to these concerts to typically appreciate the skill aspect of the musician in handling these instruments, like the admiration on has towards a mahout who managed the largest animal on the planet. The musical or the ‘manodharma’ aspect of his performance is often forgotten over the hype and awe around the technical handling and skills. What was interesting to note was that Saitejas ( being a vocalist) had immense musical talent, which come forth in his playing. The outstanding hamsadhwani he played yesterday was testimony to his knowledge and practice. A quick varnam was more setting the pace and place of the artists on stage. They coherence soon came into place with the hamsadhwani. To me, that was the ‘piece de force’ of the evening. An equally brilliant bindu malini and garudadhwani set the evening up for some grand music. Dwijavanti was the first long alapana. That probably was not as classy as the rest of the songs he played. Something was amiss, and the typical feel of dwijavanti wasnt there. The swara that added was much better. He quickly recovered with a cracking kadana kutuhalam. The early phrases of his short raga sketch was immensely enjoyable, which I guess could be a USP of the instrument. The kriti recaptured the attention of the audience, with some electrifying accompaniment support. So much was the hype, that the percussionist went berserk ( well, not really out of control) during this song.

Main reetigaula alapana was very good, so was the return. Nannu Vidachi was a good surprise. He played the kriti very well, I thought there was a short neraval, and some elaborate kalpana swaras eloquently executed. The percussion duo played out a spirited tani avartanam. Two senior vidwans were in all support and encouragement to the main artist. Violin provided adequate support and played good dwijavanti and reetigaula alapana. Violin accompaniment, I think is key to the success of harmonica concert. He or she should be able compliment the main artist, filling up for the limitations by improvising the overall effect. It require a lot of coordination between harmonica and violin players and an experienced pair could do greater impact to the concert.

Post main, he continue to showcase his prowess with a chain of songs, few expected a few surprises. Jagadodharana in kapi stood out, the abhang and pibare rama rasam was very good. Few ‘plain note’ kritis ‘kayou sri gowri’ and the HMB notes popularised by Mani Iyer were noted for their execution. Harivarasanam probably was an attempt to sing the popular song before concluding with bhagyada lakshmi baramma.

On my part, I was super impressed and was a revelation to me. I am well aware of the limitations of the medium. Notwithstanding the skills that he exhibited, I am largely happy with his musical aspect of his playing, which was impressive to me. The audience seemed to have liked it too. The large crowd that gathered around the stage post concert was testimony to a grand concert he had which visibly moved people. I wish he get more stages to perform and he continue to increase his repertoire and lead a new generation of artists.

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2014 in Concert songlist

 

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