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Friday, December 16, 2016

Captivating, Creative, Confident Genius - Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna (1930-2016)

A Retrospect on the great Master by R. Sachi

When someone writes the history of Indian classical music of the past 100 years, they are bound to mention in the very first list of all-time greats the name of Dr. Mangalampalli Balamuralikrishna.

When the maestro breathed his last recently, a torrent of obituaries and tributes poured in, from famous musicians, youngsters, veteran artistes, film directors, actors, and composers, as well as listeners from all over.

Balamurali, as he became famous in 1960’s, shook the orthodox Carnatic music world, with his brand of improvisational music, his refreshingly different rendition of sahitya, and his own compositions. He was melodious, multi-faceted, and innovative. If he came across to the public as arrogant and irreverent sometimes, it was a part of the package called Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. This is understandable when someone becomes popular before his teens, composes in all the 72 melakartas while still in his teens, and fearlessly innovates in every concert, becomes a popular film playback singer, attracts followers from the north as well as south of India, performs famous jugalbandis, and wins laurels the world over. He sang for nearly 80 years, collected a dozen doctorates, almost all awards in the country, and the Mahatma Gandhi Silver Medal from UNESCO in 1995, in addition to the 'Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres' by the French Government in 2005.

Balamurali performed in 'Parvathi' many times. His concerts were always popular. We feature photos from his early concerts and links to earlier uploads below:

Musical Bylanes I (CLICK)

(Vidwan's acceptance Speech in Chowdiah Memorial, Bengaluru Nov 29, 2009)
(Vidwan receiving the K. Puttu Rao-Palghat Mani Iyer Award May 31, 2005)
(Vidwan's vintage concert in 'Parvathi' in 1965)
(Vidwan's vintage concert and felicitation photos from 7-4-1971)

IN THIS CONCERT, Balamurali gives an irresistible feast of the best of his music. We have heavyweight ragas like Mayamalavagowla and Pantuvarali. Especially in Pantuvarali, he scales 3 octaves with ease and impact repeatedly. Nagaraj on the violin holds his own well. We then have a wide range of beautiful Thyagaraja krithis invoking devotion. We also have some highly meditative krithis of Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadasu and Sadashiva Brahmendra. We have the delectable Mamava Pattabhirama of Dikshitar, sung uniquely. The finale of the concert, the trademark Balamurali tillana and mangalam, rounds off a remarkable concert.

In the true spirit of his music, Balamurali will be more than delighted with the listeners of Parvathi blog enjoying this concert all over the world.


M.Balamuralikrishna --------------- Vocal
Mysore Nagaraj ---------------------- Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran -------------- Mridangam
Sheshagiri Das ----------------------- Khanjira
M.A.Krishnamurthy ----------------- Ghatam
on 27 -4-1983 at "Parvathi" during Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List

01 Merusamana – Mayamalavagowla -Thyagaraja *** 02 Bhajanaseyarada –Athana - Thyagaraja *** 03 Abhogi Raga *** 04 Nannu Brova- Abhogi -Thyagaraja *** 05 Pantuvarali Raga *** 06 Appa Rama bhakti – Pantuvarali - Thyagaraja *** 07 Sri Ramam sada bhajeham – Tanarupi- BMK *** 08 Karuna samudra- Devagandhari- Thyagaraja *** 09 Tani-truncated *** 10 Etirugananu – Nadanamakriya – Bhadrachala Ramadasu *** 11 Rama ninnuvina – Shanakarabharana - Thyagaraja *** 12 Peridi ninnu- Kharaharapriya-Thyagaraja *** 13 Raghunandana Raghunandana - Kedaragowla -Thyagaraja *** 14 Brahmagaligina padamu- Mukhari -Thyagaraja *** 15 Harirasamavihari- Hindola- Annamacharya *** 16 Pibare Ramarasam –Ahir Bhairav- Sadashiva Brahmendra *** 17 Hodi nagarimele- Ananda Bhairavi- Purandara Dasa *** 18 Jo Achutananda jojo mukunda –Kurinji- Annamacharya *** 19 Tillana Kuntalavarali -BMK *** 20 Mamava PattabhiRama- Manirangu- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 21 Mangalam ***

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Festival of Inner Light

Vid. Veena Doreswamy Iyengar
1981 'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert

A Deepavalli inspiration from R. Sachi

If one were to choose ten words to describe India and its culture, the word “Deepaavali“ would surely feature high in that list. What lights, sparkles, noises, food, gifts, and all-round cheer, does this one word bring to mind!

This year, everyone is telling everyone else that we should have less noise and pollution, and more prayer and goodwill toward one another. Is there a better way to bring this to everyone, than music!?

Featuring this time the famous vidwan from Mysore, Veena Doreswamy Iyengar, we offer you our Deepaavali greetings, and also some exquisite music.

He performed many times in Parvathi festivals, and was loved by the audiences for his sober and sweet music befitting the Mysore Veena Bani. This time he is accompanied by his son and successor, Sri D. Balakrishna, as well as the redoubtable percussion combo of Sri Palghat Raghu on the mridangam and Sri Manjunath on the ghatam.

The music offered spans a range of classical krithis, and noteworthy is the krithi of Saint Thyagaraja, “Nama Kusuma” in Sri Raga. In the Spiritual Heritage of Sri Thyagaraja, this is the translation offered:

“ Install the Lord on the golden throne of thought, seat Him on a music-bedecked seat, and worship Him with flowers of my chant of Rama and Shiva names, oh mind!”” The spirit of this Thyagaraja song closely follows Adi Shankara's composition, "Shiva Maanasa Puja".

Can there be a better definition of what is worship through music, and what is the festival of inner light, the true Deepaavali in our hearts!?


Vid. V.Doreswamy Iyengar --------------Veena
Vid. D.Balakrishna -------------------- Veena accompaniment
Vid. Palghat Raghu -----------------------Mridangam
Vid. Manjunath -------------------------- Ghatam

Concert held on 15-4-1981 at PARVATHI during Ramanavami.

Song List

01. Shahana Varna –Tiruvottriyur Thyagayyar *** 02. Merusamana – Mayamalavagowla-Thygaraja *** 03. Sarasvathi Manohari-? *** 04. Ninne nera nammi-Pantuvarali-Thyagaraja *** 05. Nama Kusuma – Sriraga-Thyagaraja *** 06. Nati Mata – Devakriya – Thyagaraja *** 07. Nidhi Chala – Kalyani-Thyagaraja *** 08. Brochevaru – Khamach- Vasudevacharya *** 09. Kanada Thillana – Vasudevacharya *** 10. Kalaye –Jinjhuti- Swathi Thirunal *** 11. Bhajare Yadunatham – Piloo-Sadashiva Brahmendra *** 12. Folk Song *** 13. Mangalam ***

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 - Aug 31 - K. Puttu Rao Memorial Music Festival

Thanks to all Rasikas & An Invitation
Concert by Priya Sisters

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Primacy of the Raga-Tana-Pallavi

Vid. T. N. Seshagopalan, 1984 Ramanavami at 'Parvathi',Mysore

Preview from R. Sachi

We are delighted to share this time, with rasikas everywhere, a lovely RTP concert of Vid. T. N. Seshagopalan in the able company of vidwans Mysore Nagaraj, Srimushnam Raja Rao and Bangalore Venkatram.

The time of this concert is the 1980’s, when Vid. Seshagopalan stormed the Carnatic music scene with his exuberant style, vocal range, and ever-innovative manodharma. Young stars of today are often guided by the methods of the early innovators in Carnatic music, and that list includes for sure GNB, BMK, and TNS. Being a thinking musician with a pliant voice, TNS wowed audiences all over with his impactful concerts in that period. He also had good accompanists always, and this concert is no exception.

The format of Raga-Tana-Pallavi or RTP is of great importance in Carnatic music. Its history goes back several centuries, and the concept of Pallavi is said to be traceable to concepts in Sangita Ratnakara. Many great musicians made their name in the past centuries based on their mastery of this idiom and an RTP concert would last several hours. Mr. Srikantiah recalls how Mysore Vasudevacharya was unmatched for his tana singing, in three octaves and three speeds.

In this concert, only a few portions of which survive on the spool tapes available, the RTP in Shankarabharana, with raga-malika swaras, lasts over 70 minutes. Even though the pallavi starts off in Khanda Triputa tala, it is presented with delightful laya and raga variations. We can begin to fathom the manodharma of a great artiste in the way he approaches the Raga-Tana-Pallavi, in the sense of whether it is a mere “check in the box” affair, or is meant to showcase some “cleverness”in sahitya, or he really explores its scope in a grand scheme of interpretation.

So come, and enjoy, the feast of TNS’s manodharma music! Mysore Nagaraj has played a highly competent accompanist role, especially in the raga-malika swaras. The percussion support too is admirable from Vid. Srimushnam Raja Rao and Vid. Venkatram.

Concert Details

Madurai T.N.Sheshagopalan ----------- Vocal
Mysore Nagaraj --------------------------Violin
S.Raja Rao ------------------------------ Mridangam
Bangalore Venkatram ------------------ Ghatam
on 16-4-84 at "Parvathi" during Ramanavami.

Concert Excerpts

01. Endaro Mahanubhavulu – Sri raga – Thyagaraja *** 02. Ksheerasagara Shayana – Devagandhari – Thyagaraja *** 03. Shankarabharana Raga *** 04. Tana-Pallavi-Ragamalika (Vasantha, Dwijavanti, Maru Bihag, Hindustani Kapi) ***

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 ***