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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rich Violin Strains from Mysore


Vid. M. Nagaraj and Vid. M. Manjunath
'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert – 1998


Expressions from R. Sachi


We feature this time a violin duet by the famous Mysore Brothers, Vidwans Nagaraj and Manjunath. Mr. K. Srikantiah has been a kind of godfather for them from their earliest performing days, and speaks with beaming pride of their international star status now. The brothers have mastered the instrument and can present any type of music, from the melodious and soft type, to the strident and fast-paced music.

Having accompanied many stalwarts at Parvathi as well as performing duets at the annual festivals, the brothers have enjoyed much popularity at Parvathi. They are invariably accompanied by strong percussion, and this time we have Vid. Bhaktavatsalam on the mridangam, and Vid. Krishnamurthy on the ghatam. There is an elaborate Ragam Tanam Pallavi as well as a Tani in the posted concert.


[Photo Courtesy: imsom.org, Minnesota]


Among the songs presented are many famous compositions of Saint Thyagaraja appropriate to the Ramanavami sentiment. Come, let us enjoy the concert!


Concert Details

M.Nagaraj & M.Manjunath ------------ Violin Duet
T. Bhaktavatsalam -------------------------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ---------------------- Ghatam
During Ramanavami festival at Parvathi, Mysore on 5-4-1998.

Song List

01. Marugelara-JayanthaShri-Thyagaraja *** 02. Mamava Raghurama- Saranga- Thyagaraja *** 03. Brova Bharama – Bahudari- Thyagaraja *** 04. Kharaharapriya Raga *** 05. Rama Neeyeda- KHP- Thyagaraja *** 06. Bhogindrashayinam- Kuntalavarali- Swathi Thirunal *** 07. Kalyani Raga, Tana *** 08. Pallavi (Ragamalika) *** 09. Tani *** 10. Bhajan- Raag Haricharan *** 11. Mangalam



Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ananda Natesa - a unique conception of God in HInduism


Vid. KJ Yesudas 1982 'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert


A coverage by R. Sachi


We feature another full-fledged concert of Vid. KJ Yesudas this time. The love affair between "Parvathi" and Sri Yesudas continues after many decades and at his Putturao Memorial concert last year, almost crowd control measures were needed when 2500 people thronged the Jagan Mohan Palace. His popularity has always soared high for his delightful presentation style and unparalleled voice. In this concert, held 34 years ago, he enjoys the company of two stalwarts and eventual Sangeetha Kalanidhis, Vid. M. Chandrasekharan and Vid. Palghat Raghu. As usual, the excellent recording quality, despite its being a home recording, is a precious gift of "Parvathi" to all rasikas.




The song list includes the Tamil composition Ananda Natesa. The conception of God in cosmic dance is unique to Hinduism. Celebrated in iconography, art, music, dance and culture, this symbolism goes beyond mere beauty. The five elements are present in this dance, and the chidambara is a metaphor for the daharaakasha, the abode of the Infinite in our bosom.

Ananda Coomaraswamy, the famed writer and researcher, had this to say about the conception of Nataraja.
From the Dance of Siva by Ananda Coomaraswamy (1918) (also the image reproduced below):

" Now to summarize the whole interpretation we find that the Essential Significance of Siva's Dance is threefold: First, it is the image of his Rhythmic Play as the Source of all Movement within the Cosmos, which is Represented by the Arch; Secondly, the Purpose of his Dance is to Release the Countless souls of men from the Snare of Illusion; Thirdly the Place of the Dance, Chidambaram, the Centre of the Universe, is within the Heart. So far I have refrained from all aesthetic criticism and have endeavoured only to translate the central thought of the conception of Siva's dance from plastic (i.e.sculptural form) to verbal expression, without reference to the beauty or imperfection of individual works. But it may not be out of place to call attention to the grandeur of this conception itself as a synthesis of science, religion and art. How amazing the range of thought and sympathy of those rishi artists who first conceived such a type as this, affording an image of reality, a key to the complex tissue of life, a theory of nature, not merely satisfactory to a single clique or race, nor acceptable to the thinkers of one century only, but universal in its appeal to the philosopher, the lover, and the artist of all ages and all countries. How supremely great in power and grace this dancing image must appear to all those who have striven in plastic (an expression used to describe art forms such as sculpture etc.) forms to give expression to their intuition of Life! "



So dear rasikas, come and enjoy pure melody from 35 years ago!


Concert Details

Vid. K.J. Yesudas -------------- Vocal
Vid. M. Chandrasekharan-- Violin
Vid. Palghat Raghu ---------- Mridangam
Vid. M.A. Krishnamurti ---- Ghatam
On 5-4-82 during Ramanavami at 'Parvathi'.

Song List

01. Evaribodhana- Abhogi Varna-= Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer *** 02. Vatapi-Hamsadhvani- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03. Rakshamam - Nata - Meenakshisuta *** 04. Pavanaguru-Hamsanandi- Lalithadasar *** 05. Santana Ramaswaminam-Hindola vasanta- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 06. Abhimanamennadu- Kunjari- Thyagaraja *** 07. Mokshamu galada-Saramati- Thyagaraja *** 08.Todi Raga *** 09. Ananda Natesa-Todi- Ramaswamy Sivan *** 10. Shankarabharana Raga *** 11. Tana-Pallavi-Ragamalika swaras *** 12.Nandanandana-Desh- Lalitha Dasar *** 13. Kannanai Kandayo -Sindhubhairavi-Lalithadasar ***14. Shadj ne paya- Ragamalika- Tansen *** 15. Mangalam ***




Thursday, May 5, 2016

Cometh Spring, Cometh the Song-bird


Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy, Putturao Memorial Concert -2014


An appreciation from R. Sachi


We welcome sunny days and cool showers everywhere by featuring this wonderful concert of Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy, held on 3rd September 2014 in the Putturao Memorial festival at Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore.

Spring is the god among seasons: RutUnAM kusumAkaraH (BG 10.34) Poet Jayadeva begins the AShTapadi with the words, vasante vAsantI, comparing Radha to a beautiful flower in spring. He goes on to say:


" lalita lavanga latA pariSeelana kOmala malaya sameerE "
" madhukara nikara karambita kOkila koojita kunja kuTeerE "

TRANSLATION: The Malaya breeze is so enchanting as he arrives and impetuously embraces the tender, charming creepers again and again. The forest bower is permeated with the sweet kuhu sound of the cuckoos and the drone of bees as they bumble to and fro.


Cometh spring, and cometh the song-bird. Poets never tire of describing the mystique of this wonderful phenomenon. Just as spring arrives invariably on Life's cue, the song-bird arrives, from nowhere almost, replete with song and celebration, schooled mystically in a long tradition of song which defies logical comprehension.

The mystique of spring and song is enacted also in Carnatic music year after year. Somehow, as mysteriously as the advent of spring brings the song-bird, the nurturing environment of Carnatic music brings out a bouquet of fresh, bewitching, talent amidst us. Sri K. Srikantiah expresses this sentiment after almost every Parvathi festival. The young Vid. Ramakrishnan Murthy (or RKM) stands out amidst such talent. For anyone who thought Irvine, California is no match for Mylapore in cultivating Carnatic talent, RKM offers a big surprise.




All credit to his parents for nurturing RKM's musical sensibilities from his school days. He pursued music with a precocious passion, even through those teen years of breaking voice. He learnt from Smt. Padma Kutty whom he describes as the finest teacher for serious beginners. He continued with Vid. Delhi Sunderrajan, Vairamangalam Lakshminarayan, Chinglepet Ranganathan, and is now under the well-known Vidwan R.K. Shriram Kumar. All these teachers have sculpted a musician of great maturity, serious talent, versatility, and endearing charm. Many who hear RKM for the first time remark how he is a "young KVN" (you will also agree after hearing his rendering of the tillana here!). His niravals, swaras, and alapanas stay long in our memory after each concert. He is honing his diction in every language- Sanskrit, Telugu, Tamil and Kannada. He never hurries through any song. To add to all this, he takes in his stride with genuine humility the awards, positive reviews, and audience applause.

True to its tradition of bringing the best talent to Mysore, Parvathi featured RKM in the 2014 Putturao Memorial festival. An added attraction was the senior accompaniment arranged for the young RKM - in Vid. H.K. Narasimhamurthy, Vid. Anoor Anathakrishna Sharma and Vid. Manjunath. The audio recording is excellent and brings out the mridangam naada very well.

We can see the result right away in the very first song, Shobhillu. In this song in Jaganmohini, Saint Thyagaraja exhorts every musician to sing with melody, grammar, and correct voice technique as a form of worship, in a musical tradition going back to the Vedas. The concert continues with the Subbaraya Shastry composition, Janani Ninnuvina. Then comes the pièce de résistance, Meenakshi Memudam Dehi, a masterpiece of a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar, with the words vINA-gAna-daSa-gamaka-kriyE.

The navarasa shloka has been sung by RKM with great panache. This shloka is quite famous, and a staple of performers from the time of Semmangudi. IN RKM's exquisite rendition, words come out with beauty and melody, in a flurry of ragas matching the rasas respectively: Mayamalavagowla, Nata, Shahana, Hamir Kalyani, Ananda Bhairavi, Shubhapantuvarali, Begada, Hamsanandi, and Tilang. What a veritable treat!

This solid concert is a celebration at many levels: brilliant young talent, excellent concert manodharma of the main and accompanist performers, the tradition of Parvathi, and the great body of our compositions.


Concert Details

Ramakrishnan Murthy --- Vocal
H.K.Narasimhamurthy -- Violin
Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma -- Mridangam
M.R.Manjunath --- Ghatam
The concert was held on 3rd Sept 2014 during the K.Puttu Rao Music Festival at Mysore.

Song List

01. Shobhillu- Jaganmohini- Thyagaraja *** 02. Janani Ninuvina - Reetigowla- Subbaraya Shastry *** 03. Meenakshi Memudam Dehi-Gamakakriya/Purvi Kalyani- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** Tani *** 04. Evarani- Devamritavarshini - Thyagaraja *** 05. Navarasa Shloka*** 06. Ramarama-Tilang- Purandaradasa *** 07. Alwar pasuram, Venkatachalanilayam - Sindhubhairavi - Purandaradasa *** 08. Jagadoddharana - Hindustani Kapi- Purandaradasa*** 09. Jinjhuti Tillana - Veene Sheshanna *** 10. Mangalam ***




Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Satyam Shivam Sundaram


Vid. Trichur V. Ramachandran - Vocal, 'Parvathi' Ramanavami 1994


Perceptions on Noble Qualities by R. Sachi


We present, on the occasion of Ramanavami 2016, this beautiful concert full of melodious gems from Sangeetha Kalanidhi V. Ramachandran, with lovely accompaniment provided by Vid. Mysore Nagaraj, Vid. K.V. Prasad and Vid. Bangalore Venkatram.

The verve and musicality of the concert is heightened by the great sahitya of Saint Thyagaraja and others, emphasizing the divine triumvirate of Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Lord Rama embodies these three qualities and they can be perceived at least in part by every creature and being. Even Mareecha and Shurpanakha saw the Sundaram in Rama. All the virtuous denizens of the forest as well as the citizens of Ayodhya, Mithila, Kishkindha and Lanka could see Rama's auspiciousness or Shivam. But it was given only to a few to perceive the Satyam in him, like Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman and Vibhishana.




Come, let us enjoy the concert from 22 years ago!

Concert Details

V.Ramachandran ---------- Vocal
Mysore Nagaraj ---------- Violin
K.V.Prasad _----------- Mridangam
Bangalore Venkataram --- Ghatam

concert held in Mysore 'Parvathi' on 24-4-94 during Ramanavami.

Song List

01 Vandisuvudadiyali -Nata- Purandaradasa *** 02 Sugunamule -Chakravaka- Thyagaraja *** 03 Sundaratara deham-Pantuvarali- Thyagaraja *** 04 Paramatmudu velige -Vagadheeshwari - Thyagaraja *** 05 Mohana Raga *** 06 Nannu palimpa-Thyagaraja *** 07 Narayana ninna - Suddha dhanyasi - Purandaradasa *** 08 Ninyako ninna hangyako- Jaunpuri - Purandaradasa *** 09 Yetavuna nerchitivo- Yadukula kambhoji - Thyagaraja *** 10 Muralidhara gopala -Mand - Periyasamy Thooran *** 11 Sloka-Janati Rama -Ragamalika *** 12 Teerth Vitthala-Abhang- Ahir Bhairav *** 13 Karuniso Ranga- Jogiya*** 14 Mangalam ***




Thursday, March 3, 2016

Seeing the Romantic in Every Raga


M. Chandrasekharan & G. Bharathi-violin duet, 'Parvathi' Ramanavami 1981


An appreciation by R. Sachi


Courtesy: Times of India


Among the many musical stars that have shone brightly in the Parvathi sky, Sangeetha Kalanidhi M. Chandrasekharan, or Chandru to Sri K. Srikantiah, and Vidwan MC to others, is a bright and constant one. For many decades now, Vidwan MC has been a leading violinist wowing audiences with his remarkable violin accompaniment, solos, and duets. In Parvathi alone, he has performed a few dozen times. This blog has already featured him in 16/17 concerts, as an accompanist as well as in violin duets. This is a small indicator of the immense love and respect that is mutual between Sri KS and Vidwan MC.

For anyone who has attended a concert by Vidwan MC, three things are etched in the mind forever. First, his smiling face with dark glasses. Second, his unflagging enthusiasm throughout the concert. Third and most important, his violin playing which is remarkably sweet and highly effective in every type of music. What makes this musician tick?

Vidwan MC is 79 years old now, and has been playing the violin on the concert stage for more than 67 years. He sees music brilliantly, despite his visual handicap. He is loved by audiences and musicians worldwide. Playing the violin in a demanding genre like Carnatic music is not easy. The visual handicap adds many challenges. But not only has Vidwan MC overcome every difficulty, but he has also developed the inner eye to see music in a life-long romance. He sees the romantic side of every raga, always. The present concert is ample proof of this, and covers a range of compositions. Vidwan MC connects instantly with the audiences because he is so sensitive. He says in an interview, conducted by Kutcheribuzz on the occasion of his receiving the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title from the Madras Music Academy: " One can sense the preferences of the audience minutes after a concert begins. I see everything through my heart."

In this concert, the vidwan plays a rare composition "Ramesham Jagadeesham", composed by Bangalore Yogacharya Sundaram. It appears to be tuned in the raga Shuddha Malavi by Vidwan MC himself. In many places throughout the concert, Vidwan MC vocalises the lyrics as well.

Vid. Bharathi, daughter and disciple of Vidwan MC, has accompanied him in this concert with equal enthusiasm. Percussion support by Vid. TAS Mani and Vid. Ramesh draws praise from the main artistes.

Come, let us enjoy a lovely concert held in Parvathi, Mysore, 35 years ago!


Details

M.Chandrasekharan ----------- Violin
Bharathi ----------------------------- Violin
T.A.S.Mani ------------------ Mridangam
T.N.Ramesh ---------------- Ghatam

on 20-4-81 at "Parvathi" during Ramanavami

Song List

01. Manasa Etulo-Malayamarutha-Thyagaraja *** 02. Raghuvamsha-Kadanakutuhala-Patnam Subramania Iyer *** 03. Janani Ninnuvina-Reetigowla-Subbaraya Shastri *** 04. Bhuvaneshvariya-Mohanakalyani-Muthiah Bhagavatar *** 05. Nagumomu-Abheri-Thyagaraja *** 06. Ramesham Jagadeesham- Shuddha Malavi?-Bangalore Yogacharya Sundaram *** 07.Shanmukhapriya Ragam, Tanam *** 08. Ragamalika Pallavi *** 09. Seethakalyana-Kurinji-Thyagaja ***




Tuesday, February 9, 2016

MEMORIALS for CARNATIC MUSIC GIANTS in Mysore


Veena Seshanna Bhavana Special 1991


A Pictorial Essay Inspired by R. Sachi


Introduction

We have often written of the quiet grace of the city of Mysore. We have often drawn on its cultural milieu in terms of a glorious past. A past that came with the benevolence of its rulers and many patrons, who made vast contributions to the care of a citizenry through a good deal of attention to humanities, arts, architecture, education, charity and ecology.

We also attempted to capture a world of refinements in Mysore through particular connection with Music, and through a home called “Parvathi” that patronized the growth of Carnatic Music in a singular way.

Now, through a sudden global connectivity and in terms of the prestigious breath of of its Yoga teachers T. Krishnamachariar, B.K.S. Iyengar , Pattibhi Jois, latter's daughter Saraswati Amma and now through grandson Sharath Jois, Mysore seems to have suddenly garnered a spot for itself in the eyes of a world media.

To an international media, the value of Yoga lies more with commerce and statistics and in the increase of adherents towards body ‘Asanas’ (postures). It has seemingly less to do with any value that Yoga might have brought through its roots in having developed through millenniums in particular attention to an ‘Atma’ and Spirituality. The prestigious New York Times even thought fit to recommend in 2010 that Mysore might as well have been the fifth most desirable destination for a world inhabited by a travelling population.

While ‘economy’ is definitely a desirable thought in anyone’s mind at any time, for any given place, the advent of an economic ‘boom’ due to hordes of 'unconnected' people suddenly descending on a quaint Mysore does make us cringe a little; the cringe is on a distinctive past which is likely to be all washed away through the advent of frenzied ‘gazers' only, conditioned and pressing upon that which is only ‘ politically correct’ from their corner of the world.

With this in mind and before time ebbs away, we wish to savor a share of identity and history from the house of “Parvathi”, on how dreams were once built in Mysore with an adoration towards its musically accomplished.

Digging through saved archives, we came upon a copy of a contribution to a souvenir, the 1991 – Veena Seshanna Bhavana Special, with a narrative by Mr. K. Srikantiah.

We are reproducing Mr. Srikantiah’s text in font for more readability ( the printed copy of the article is also shown). We have also adapted the text with some external images.


Ganabharathi Editorial to the Article


“ With the gradual glide of State power from the kings to the people, the center for bestowing patronage on fine arts shifted to voluntary public organizations and individual philanthropists. Sri K. Puttu Rao of yester years and his illustrious sons Sri. K. Srikantiah and Sri K.K. Murthy, to mention only two of them of present times, have been rendering pioneering service to the cause of fine arts in Karnataka. Ganabharathi (R) remembers with gratitude the guidance and assistance Sri K. Srikantiah has given to it in the past thirteen odd years of its existence. “


The Article by K. Srikantiah


“ The construction of an auditorium in memory of Mysore Veene Seshanna in Mysore by Ganabharathi is my dream realized. After the death of Sangeeta Ratna T. Chowdiah it was my great ambition to see with my eyes auditoria coming up in Mysore and Bangalore in memory of the illustrious Musical Trinity of Mysore: Seshanna, Vasudevacharya and Chowdiah. “

“ In the year 1976, I suggested to my younger brother, K.K. Murthy to take up the heavy task of constructing a suitable hall in Bangalore in memory of our family friend T. Chowdiah. Against heavy odds and with tremendous skill he did achieve it and now the violin-shaped Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore is acclaimed the best auditorium in Asia. “

K.K. Murthy (right) seen with Commissioner M.S. Swaminathan I.A.S. and famed dancers Padmini and Ragini at the first fund raiser for the T. Chowdiah Memorial in Chikmagalur.

1970s – K.K. Murthy attempts a Hollywood in Bengaluru
with legendary V.Shantaram, owner of Rajkamal Kalamandir (RK) Studios


“Again when K.K. Murthy, in his capacity as Chairman of Bangalore Development Authority came to Mysore, to preside over the sila nyasa function of the auditorium to be constructed by Sri Nadabrahma Sangeeta Sabha, I told him to suggest to the organizers that the Bhavana could be named after Mysore Vasudevacharya, which he did.”

Padma Bhushan and famed CM Composer
Mysore Vasudevacharya [1865-1961]
[Courtesy: Heritage objects of Mysore ]

“With thunderous applause the suggestion was approved at the big assembly and now the Mysore Vasudevacharya Bhavana is a reality in the city."

Mysore Vasudevacharya Bhavana


" Sometime later, the organizers of Ganabharathi approached me for benefit concerts by my daughter, Mysore Prabha, for raising funds for their auditorium."



" I hinted to them to name their proposed auditorium after Veena Seshanna. They welcomed my suggestion wholeheartedly and now Veene Seshanna Bhavana is very much there. Is it not yet one more of my dreams coming true? ”

The Ganabharathi Building as dedicated to Veena Seshanna


“ Being myself a patron of art and an organizer of music festivals in Mysore for the past several decades, I am fully aware of the difficult task of raising funds from the public in this City for cultural activities and for building auditoria for such purposes. But, Ganabharathi within a short span of time, with oneness of feeling, dedication and marathon efforts, has made the Seshanna Bhavan a reality. The men behind Ganabharathi deserve praise from the Mysore public. May Ganabharathi deserve all praise from the Mysore public. May Ganabharathi and Seshanna Bhavan preserve and develop the rich classical heritage of Karnatak Music! “

“Once Mysore had occupied an important place in the map of Karnatak music. The noble rulers of the State were not only great administrators but also great patrons of art, notably music. Wherever talent was found, they encouraged it and many distinguished artists served as Asthana Vidwans of Mysore State and kept the torch of music burning brightly "


His Highness Sir Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV [ 1894–1940 ]

Great connoisseur of Carnatic and Hindustani music.

Played eight musical instruments himself

Mahatma Gandhi - The Maharajah was a Rajarshi
Lord Samuel - The Maharajah was comparable to the Emperor Ashoka
Paul Brunton – The Maharajah lived the ideal expressed in Plato's Republic.




“Seshanna, Bidaram Krishnappa and Vasudevacharya formed the Music Trinity of Mysore. They enriched the musical tradition in the State by their concerts and also by the schools they built around them. Mysore became very famous for veena, mainly due to two luminaries in the field, Seshanna and Subbanna. “


Veena Seshanna [1852-1926] - Veena Subbanna [1861 – 1939 ]
[ Courtesy: The South Indian 'Saraswati' Veena Web Site ]


" I had the privilege of knowing the biographical details and the musical attainments of these musical giants from the conversations I used to have with Vasudevacharya, Chowdiah and Chennakesaviah.”

" What Bradman was to cricket, Seshanna was to veena. Veena and Seshanna were synonymous. Seshanna was a 'Nadayogi' who lived like a colossus in the veena field."



Veena Seshanna (1852-1926)
[ Courtesy: The Hindu ]


"Seshanna had a hard life in his younger days. He used to say
“There was a time when I used to roam about in the streets of Mysore carrying veena on my shoulders, looking for homes where festoons were tied outside on the off chance of being invited to play veena. I have given many concerts for as low a fee as Rs 5!” "

Veena is a very difficult instrument to master. The belief in the music world is that at least a strenuous twelve-year practice is needed before an attempt is made to give a concert. With hard work, dedication and by combating all odds that came on his way and also by mastering all the intricacies in veena playing, Seshanna became a glittering star in the firmament of classical music. According to Vasudevacharya, whenever Seshanna commenced playing on the veena one would get a feeling that he was in communion with Goddess Saraswati.

Sankabharana, Kalyani, Kamach, Jenjooti, Begada and Kedaragowla were his favorite ragas. Seshanna had a perfect laya sense and fond of datu swaras. He could render an alapana for hours and also render sixty, hundred, one hundred twenty avartas without putting tala. That was the tremendous practice and knowledge he had in music. He would render certain ragas and kritis on the heart strings of the rasikas and tears would roll down the eyes of the assembled music lovers. The concert would continue even beyond four to five hours. Seshanna used to think of Veena all the 24 hours and was never bothered about his food or dress.

The giant Vainika passed away in the year 1926, leaving his name immortal in the field of Karnatak music. He was a prince among musicians and left fragrant memories about him which posterity will cherish. May Veene Seshanna Bhavana keep aloft for ever the classical grandeur the great vainika brought into Karnataka music ! “

15-8-1991
Chamarajapura
Mysore 570 004


Photocopy of K. Srikantiah’s original 1991 Article





POST-SCRIPT

The great musical composer of Mysore Sri Vasudevacharya had a personal and favorite Tambura with him, for many decades.

When Sri Vasudevacharya left for Kalakshetra, he blessed Sri K. Srikantiah and presented him with the instrument. Mr. Srikantiah, in turn, gifted the Tambura to the Bhavana. We show the photograph of the Tambura that Mr. Srikantiah presented.




MY DAYS WITH MYSORE VASUDEVACHARYA
by
K.SRIKANTIAH

" Right from day one to the time he passed away when I was in my thirties, he called me 'Magu' , which means 'child' in Kannada.

Whenever he came to our house, my father would send me to the close-by "Annapurneshwari Lodge" to get him his favorite "Jilebis"

Sri Vasudevacharya's informal performances in our home "Parvathi' would be frequent.

The accompanists would usually be T.Chowdiah on the violin and T.Puttaswamiah on the Mridangam.

My father would send me immediately on my cycle to extend invitations to rasikas like Vice Chancellor N.S.Subba Rao, Rallapalli Ananthakrishna Sharma, Titte Krishna Iyengar, Yoganarasimha (father of H.Y. Sharada Prasad -media adviser to former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi), Venkatesha Iyengar (father of Veena Doreswamy Iyengar), and other music stalwarts of Mysore.

After the concert, my father, a good host,would invite the entire gathering to have dinner, sometimes without the knowledge of the lady of the house ! But the lady, my mother, as always would rise up to the occasion, and get dinner ready in no time.

Vasudevacharya was unique in his 'Tana' rendition in 'Trikala'. It used to be extraordinary in terms of it's depth, development and expanse. He would without fail take it to Himalayan heights.

During my later years, I remember GNB profusely agreeing with me while we were discussing Vasudevacharya's 'tana'.

Saraswati Sangeeta Sabha had arranged it's maiden concert at the Rangacharlu Hall in Mysore by GNB-Chowdiah-Palghat Mani. I was seated next to Vasudevacharya in the audience. Sri GNB sang Kamach raga and Vasudevacharya's composition 'Brochevarevarura' with great aplomb. After listening to it, Vasudevacharya whispered in my ears-"Till date, I had never realized that my composition had so much grandeur in it". Soon after the concert, I went on stage and told GNB what Vasudevacharya said. The great GNB immediately came down from stage, tied his 'angavastram' round his waist, and prostrated before the great composer! "


K.Srikantiah lighting the lamp
Dedication to Mysore Vasudevacharya at Nadabrahma Sabha, Mysore
L to R : K.V.Murthy, Bhadragiri Sant Achuta Das, R.Guru, K.Srikantiah


Sant Bhadragiri Achuta Das unveiling the bust of Mysore Vasudevacharya


Thursday, January 21, 2016

In love with the tambura: Vid. K.V. Narayanaswamy, the master musician


'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert 1981


In deep admiration from R. Sachi




Whilst offering our best wishes to all our listeners worldwide for 2016, the new year, we share a wonderful concert of Sangita Kalanidhi K.V. Narayanaswamy, held in 1981 in Parvathi, Mysore. He is accompanied in the concert by two great artistes, Vid. Chalakudi Narayanaswamy, and Vid. Palghat Raghu.

The featured concert has many gems of songs, several of them embellished with the trademark KVN niraval and swaras, with the equally admired Raghu mridangam anticipation and embellishments. Throughout the 2½ hour concert, the voice, violin and mridangam are in such sweet synchrony. Dhanyasi, Athana, Shankarabharana, Yadukulakambhoji, Todi, and Khamach are among the lovely renditions.

Trying to describe Vid. KVN’s music is like holding a candle to the moon. He is the perennial favourite of all rasikas who look for melodious, truly classical, music full of sahitya bhava. In this concert, Vid. KVN sings an elaborate Todi followed by the Thyagaraja classic, Kaddanu Variki.

It is germane to reflect on the lyric of this song. The following translation (courtesy: Sri VG Govindan) gives the musical values cherished by the saint composer:

"O Lord well-praised by this tyAgarAja! Can the words of wise men, who declare that, ‘You are surely there for those who believe in You’, become untrue now?

You are such a merciful Lord who nourishes the devotees chanting Your names without wavering from their vow by even abandoning sleep, singing in a fine tune, with the voice resonating in alignment to the tambura being strummed well, with a pure mind.

Why would You not come near me in whom the wisdom has arisen to behold Your charming face shining with mirror-like cheeks? "

It is no coincidence that Vid. KVN also espoused similar musical ideals as Saint Thygaraja. In a detailed interview to Sruti magazine (Issue 27/28, December 1986) the vidwan speaks his mind clearly:

"Sruti is probably the most important thing to a musician. For getting sruti gnanam, there's no better method than tambura-playing. But the alignment of a tambura is a technically difficult task for new learners. Such people can use electronic sruti boxes, which are easy to handle, or even the plain old-fashioned sruti box with bellows. Staying perfectly in sruti and practising-that's all there is to good music.

There are many overtones in the sound of a tambura. Therefore there is need for one to be finicky about the wires to be used in the tambura. While I was teaching in college, I used to devote one whole class-period to train my students in this. I would say everyone should know how to handle a tambura and align its sruti. Just as a mridangam vidwan attends to his mridangam and keeps it correctly tuned and serviced, the vocalist should regard the tambura as his instrument and keep it perfectly aligned and neat. The tambura and sruti are what make the music possible.

I had once been to AIR-Bangalore where I met this tambura artist--I'm sorry I don't remember his name. It was a joy listen to the sound of his tambura, such was the flawless perfection with which he had both maintained it and tuned it. He said to me: "This [keeping perfect sruti] means much more to me than just a job."

On another occasion, a disciple of Pandit Jasraj strummed the tambura for me at a radio recital in Bombay. After finding what my sruti was, he got the tambura aligned in less than two minutes. It was absolutely miraculous, even divine. I confessed to him: I can't do it so superbly or so quickly."


It is interesting to note that the home of Parvathi was vouchsafed his personal tambura by Mysore Vasudevacharya and the family preserved it and donated it to Vasudevacharya Bhavana (Nadabrahma Sabha) in Mysore some years ago.


Concert Details:

K.V.Narayanaswamy -------------------- Vocal
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ---------- Violin
Palghat Raghu ----------------------------- Mridangam

on 14-4-1981 at 'Parvathi" during Ramanavami.

Song List:

01. Evari Bodhana- Abhogi – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 02. Saketa nagaranatha- Harikambhoji-Sadashiva Rao *** 03. Nee Chittamu- Dhanyasi- Thyagaraja *** 04. Bhakti Bhiksha- Shankarabharana- Thyagaraja *** 05. Ela Nee daya- Athana-Thyagaraja *** 06. Ora Jupu- Kannadagowla-Thyagaraja *** 07. Todi alapana *** 08. Kaddanuvariki- Todi- Thyagaraja *** 09.Sukhi Evvaro- kanada- Thyagaraja *** 10. Broche varu- Khamach- Vasudevacharya *** 11. Entanuchu- Yadukula Kambhoji- Thyagaraja *** 12. Janakiramana- Kapi- Vanamamaliya Jeeyar *** 13. Dasharathasuta- Jaunpuri- Vanamamaliya Jeeyar*** 14. Janati Rama –Shloka*** 15. Yake Bande- Sindhubhairavi- Vijaya Vitthala dasa *** 16. Kandu Dhanyanade-Behag-Kamalesha dasa *** 17. Kanada Tillana- Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar *** 18. Mangalam