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Saturday, March 23, 2024

The music that settles the mind and cheers the soul

Gaana Gandharvan K. J. Yesudas 
 2013 K. Puttu Rao Memorial Concert
By R.Sachi

Come the summer of 2024 and we have disputes, debates, controversies and campaigns for all kinds of reasons in all spheres. Even a jolly Darshini type of cafe named after Rameshwaram is not spared from attacks. How peaceful, then, to enjoy a full-fledged concert by the evergreen hero of Parvathi, Vid. K.J. Yesudas!

This is being shared now as a part of the Parvathi Finale. Look at the impressive song list! There are many sound bites from the master singer about the values and styles to be pursued in classical music.

  1. Vajajakshi - Kalyani - Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar
  2. Sri Gananatham - Kanakangi - Thyagaraja
  3. Speech clarifying the rare Kanakangi song
  4. Pavanaguru-Hamsanandi-Lalithadasa
  5. Speech dedicating the concert to Sri. Puttu Rao and family
  6. Mokshamu Galada - Saramathi - Thygaraja
  7. Seethamma Mayamma - Vasantha - Thyagaraja
  8. Lavanya Rama - Poornashadja - Thyagaraja
  9. Ninna Nodi Dhanyanadeno - Pantuvarali- Purandara Dasa
  10. speech about voice range
  11. Sri Ramam - Narayanagowla- Thyagaraja
  12. Tani
  13. Ranga baro- Nagaswarali? - Purandara Dasa
  14.  Speech on singing styles
  15. Swami Saneethadidolise- Abheri 
  16. Kya karoon sajani
  17. Oru Neram
  18. Allah Malik
  19. Enu Vara
  20. Harivarasanam

Concert details:

K.J.Yesudas- Vocal
Mysore Manjunath-   Violin
Neyveli  Venkatesh-  Mridangam
G.S.Ramanujam   Ghatam
3-9-2013  K.Puttu Rao Memorial concert at Jaganmohan Palace Auditorium.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Jai Ayodhya Ram! - Vintage MLV concert

1974 Rama Pattabhisheka Concert - Dr. MLV

The world is celebrating the consecration of Ram Lalla in Ayodhya in the new Ram Mandir built after the Supreme Court verdict. It ends 500 years of a slavish mentality and celebrates the most important incarnation in the Hindu Pantheon, Shri Rama, who stands for Dharma. 

रमन्ते योगिनः यस्मिन् सः is the etymology of the word "Rama". Shri Rama reveals His true nature and form only to the foremost of Yogis. But as the supreme king of all mankind, ruling from Ayodhya, he gives joy to all... of all species and at all stages of evolution! 

The celebratory song जगदानन्दकारक could have been sung only by a saint of the calibre of Sri. Thyagaraja. The entire song, the first of the Pancharathna krithis, celebrates the joyous nature of Shri Rama! No wonder the whole world is in joy as we witness the historic consecration of the Ayodhya Ram temple on 22 January 2024. What better way for the home of Parvathi to celebrate this than by sharing the audio recording of a great concert by the perennial favourite of rasikas, Dr. MLV, held on Shri Rama Pattabhisheka day in 1974 in Parvathi! Vid. MLV displays her virile and imaginative concert style full of cascading Brighas and songs to satiate the Rasika on the occasion of Sri Rama Pattabhisheka!

Come, let us enjoy this wonderful vintage classic of an MLV concert!

Concert Details

Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari and Party, 10 April 1974 at Parvathi Shri Rama Pattabhisheka concert.

Song List
  1. Gajavadana - Sriranjani- Papanasam Sivan
  2. Jagadanandakaraka - Nata - Thyagaraja
  3. Marivere- Lathangi - Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer
  4. Neerajakshi Kamakshi - Hindolam - Muthuswami Dikshitar
  5. Bagayanayya - Chandrajyoti - Thyagaraja
  6. Rama Rama Rama Rama Rama Enniro - Vasantha - Purandaradasa
  7. Hari Kambhoji Ragam Tanam Pallavi (raga changes - Kanada, Behag)
  8. Bhaja Man Ramcharan Sukhadayi - Bhajan -Sindhu Bhairavi - Tulsi Dasa
  9. Sundaramurti Mukhyaprana - Jinjhuti - Purandaradasa
  10. Shloka on Rama Pattabhisheka- Shahana, Durga, Kalyanavasantha, Mohana followed by Ram Bhajan
  11. Mangalam

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Memories of a Bygone Era

 Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman - Sri Ramanavami 1984 - Violin Solo

By R. Sachi

The Parvathi Finale is bringing up the December Season of Carnatic deluge with this upload of a vintage Lalgudi Solo concert from 1984 (~40 years ago!).

If you are a silver-haired veteran rasika, try explaining to the current generation of Carnatic consumers who are steadily fed on the Zomato/Swiggy fare of Youtube airbrushed videos, FB, Instagram reels and so on that once upon a time, one indeed went to great lengths to go and sit in a classical Carnatic concert featuring just a violin, with mridangam and ghatam, that went on for 3 hours. It would be impossible for them to relate to. Indeed, silver-haired veterans too are indeed feeding on such "clips" nowadays instead of the long-braided concerts on stage! What a quarantine from real Carnatic music!

The Lalgudi-Parvathi connection has been well documented in this blog. There are over 40 posts mentioning the maestro and his great achievements as well as his emotional bond with the family of Parvathi. In our lives, many such associations are divinely ordained. This is our way of celebrating the Bharatiya culture with no barriers of language or region.

This concert features a solo violin rendition, unlike many other Parvathi concerts where the doyen was featured along with his children. Here, he is accompanied on the mridangam by Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran and on the khanjira by Vid. Ramachar. The mridangam follows the violin like a musical shadow. You can notice this in every song in this concert, especially in Vasantha, where the maestro presents a majestic rupaka-driven swara array.

The master of manodharma often conjures up a dialogue between the two personas inhabiting his single four-stringed violin with such juicy content that you marvel at his multidimensional musical imagination- especially with his multi-string bowing which is simply awesome.

The Shankarabharana suite is a violin ensemble serenading you on an oceanliner deck matching the majesty, silvery glitter and high waves of the mighty ocean. It is a tribute to Shankarabharana with the famous composition Enduku Peddalavale of Saint Thyagaraja. The welcome inclusion of the Tani in this recording is befitting the title of the "Parvathi Finale" upload.

Come, let us celebrate a bygone era of concerts!

Concert Details
Held at the home of Parvathi, Sri Ramanavami, 13 April 1984.

Lalgudi G. Jayaraman - Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam
H. P. Ramachar - Khanjira

Song List
1. Varnam - Bowli - Lalgudi Jayaraman
2. Sri Narada - Kanada - Thyagaraja
3. Makelara Vicharamu - Ravichandrika - Thyagaraja
4. Smarane Sukhamu - Janaranjani - Thyagaraja
5. Ramachandram Bhavayami - Vasantha - Muthuswami Dikshitar
6. Raghuveera Ranadheera - Huseni - Thyagaraja
7. Endukupeddalavale - Shankarabharana - Thyagaraja (>60 minutes incl. Tani!)
8. Tani
9. Bagayanayya - Chandrajyothi - Thyagaraja
10. Bhairavi Ragam Tanam Pallavi - Raga changes in swaras - Yadukula Kambhodi, Bhavapriya, Anandabhairavi, Ranjani, Behag (pyrotechnics!)
11. Bgeshri Bhajan
12. Misrashivaranjani Thillana _ Lalgudi Jayaraman

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Tempo rules supreme - In cricket or in a Carnatic concert!

Vid.TV Sankaranarayanan, Ramanavami 1996 at 'Parvathi'

Excerpts for the Parvathi Finale

Long before cricket pundits understood this, the doyens of Carnatic music sensed it and created a concert format where tempo rules supreme. Indeed, in a Carnatic concert worth its name, there is never a dull moment. Some score at such a breeze that they garner applause like boundaries at will, thrills filled to the gills.

The T.V. Sankaranarayanan brand of Carnatic music celebrates tempo better than perhaps any other brand. Endowed with a robust and sonorous voice, his music always soared relentlessly like his famous pose with raised hands. When accompaniment was good, the sustained tempo was matched by musical values and made every concert memorable. This current concert audio being uploaded for the Parvathi Finale is no exception! The excerpts capture the best of music with many stellar songs enhanced richly by teamwork, another feature of good cricket.

Charukeshi is celebrated grandly, and Ganesh Prasad excels in the Darbari Kanada piece building up to the famous Govardhana Giridhara. The mridangam is very melodious with fine anticipation. The little bit of Tani in the excerpt is enjoyable. Unfortunately, we are unable to trace the name of the Ghatam artiste.

Happy Listening!

Concert Details

Parvathi Festival - Sri Ramanavami, Jaganmohan Palace - March 31, 1996

T.V. Sankaranarayanan– Vocal
B.U.Ganesh Prasad – Violin
T.A.S. Mani– Mridangam
? – Ghatam

Excerpts List

01 Anupama Gunambudhi - Athana - Thyagaraja
02 Adamodi Galade - Charukeshi - Thyagaraja
03 Sarasamukhi - Gaud Malhar - Muthiah Bhagavatar
04 Viruttam-Darbari Kanada
05 Govardhana Giridhara - Darbari Kanada - Narayana Tirtha
06 Mangalam

Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Doyen at Parvathi - Vid. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, 1978

Excerpts from the Doyen's Concert

1978 Sri Ramanavami Concert
Vid. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer - Vocal
Vid. T. Rukmini - Violin
Vid. Tanjore Upendran - Mridangam
Vid. Ramachar - Khanjira

Vidwan Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer strode the Carnatic scene for about 80 years as a colossus with his hugely charismatic and energetic vocal style that earned him the Sangeetha Kalanidhi when he was just 39. He had musical lineage and shone brightly as a torch-bearer for an energetic Carnatic music style that perhaps dominated the minds of students of Carnatic music who subsequently rose to become stars. His legion of Bhaktas included great singers like Vid. MSS herself, and instrumentalists like Vid. T.N. Krishnan and Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran and so on. Vid. Semmangudi also gave us his unforgettable musical creations through tuning a major portion of King Swathi Thirunal's compositions. The music and sahitya that came together in the final body of work made Swathi Thirunal a unique composer in Carnatic music.  

The home of Parvathi played host to the doyen many times. We have managed to retrieve for the Finale excerpts from his concert in 1978. He is ably assisted by Vid. T. Rukmini and Vid. Tanjore Upendran and Vid. Ramachar. The musical value of these excerpts is immense as it celebrates the coming together of two great personalities in Carnatic music - Vid. Semmangudi and Sri. K. Srikantiah.

Details (Parvathi Sri Ramanavami festival, 21.4.1978)

Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer – Vocal
T.Rukmini - Violin
Tanjore Upendran – Mridangam
H.P. Ramachar - Khanjira

Song List in the Excerpts

01. Enduku Nirdaya - Hari Kambhoji - Thyagaraja *** 02.     Nannu Kanna Talli - Sindhu Kannada - Thyagaraja *** 03. Ksheenamai - Mukhari - Thyagaraja *** 04. Ramachandrena Samrakshitoham - Manji - Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 05. Rama Jogi - Khamach - Bhadrachala Ramadas 06. Shloka Ragamalika - Kharaharapriya, Varali, Bilahari, Saveri, Keeravani, Kapi ***. 07. Parulannamata - Javali - Kapi *** 08. Sapashyat Kausalya - Jaunpuri - Panchapakesha Shastri

Saturday, July 8, 2023

The strings that resound in heaven - Vid. Chitti Babu - Veena Excerpts

Parvathi Finale

Vid. Chitti Babu - Sri Ramanavami at Parvathi - 1982 - Concert Excerpts

In heaven, there is said to be music always. Remember that the gods are blessed to listen to the greatest of musicians. If I imagine what music from here would hold even the gods in thrall, it would be the Veena music of Vid. Chitti Babu. Unlike the modern sounds of Veena, which mimic an electric guitar, his Veena resonated with a strange charm of pure, golden, metallic and acoustic vibrational soundscape. It was rich, melodious and invigorating. 

Yajnavalkya says,
वीणावादनतत्वज्ञः श्रुतिजातिविशारदः तालज्ञः अप्रयासेन मोक्षमार्गं नियच्छति
"The expert Vainika who knows ragas and talas well attain the path to liberation easily."

Vid. Chitti Babu arrived with his heavenly Veena music on the Mysore scene in the sixties. He enthralled audiences and even won the honour of getting the royal medallion. 

In this 1982 concert, he was accompanied by Vid. Palghat Raghu and Vid. Manjunath. Unfortunately, we could not retrieve the entire concert recording but only an excerpt of his Tanam and the Javali that followed. The Tanam is a bouquet of ragas which simply steal our hearts with their melody. The instrumental technique is something extraordinary by any standard. The purity of sound and the resonance of the plucking endorse the idea that Tanam was created only for the Veena!

The ragas are Shubhapantuvarali...
Followed by the delectable Javali in Kapi, "Sarasamulade" by Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar.

Then comes a Tillana in Tilang... 

While listening to all these ragas pouring out, one thought of Kalidasa's Shyamaladandakam. He begins by saying how the Devi holds the Manikya Veena tenderly. He mentions how she holds the Veena called Vallaki and thoroughly enjoys its music. This comes again and again. And finally, he says she is being regaled by the celestials-
श्रवणहरदक्षिणक्वीणया वीणया किन्नरैर्गीयासे "You are being praised by Kinnaras accompanied expertly on the Veena that steals ears and hearts"... Did Kalidasa hear Vid. Chitti Babu?

Concert Details

Chitti Babu - Veena
Palghat Raghu - Mridangam
Manjunath - Ghatam
Sri Ramanavami Festival, Parvathi, Mysore held on 4 April 1982.

Chitti Babu = Veena Palghat Raghu - Mridangam Manjunath - Ghatam Date 4 April 1982

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Finding the Inner Calm through Music

Dr. Sukanya Prabhakar - 2014 Putturao Memorial Concert

Dr. Sukanya Prabhakar is a well-known musician and teacher as well as an acclaimed researcher in Carnatic music. She hails from Mysore and comes from a family of musicians. She did research on Sri Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar krithis as well as musical instruments collected in the Mysore Palace many many years ago. She studied under maestros Vid. Ramaratnam and Vid. Gowri Kuppuswamy. She has been running her own music school as well as a publication under the name Surabhi. She is ably assisted by her daughter Dr. Sumana Vedanth in this concert. With doyens from Mysore on accompaniment - Sri.H.K. Narasimha Murthy on the violin and Sri G.S. Ramanujam on the mridangam as well as Sri Ramesh on Morsing, she presents here a consummate concert in characteristic style with palpable depth.

What characterises great Carnatic music? This is a debatable subject. But all our esteemed composers opine that really great music leads one to inner calm. If that is missing, music could well become a circus. 

Here, the Vidushi espouses this idea with choice songs, all presented in a sedate style, lacking nothing in Vidwat or musical appeal. Sonorous voices of the mother and daughter take turns in alapana and swaras and give us a wholesome fare.

The idea of inner calm is expressed beautifully by Saint Gopala Dasa in his song "ಏನು ಸುಖವೊ ಎಂಥಾ ಸುಖವೊ ಹರಿಯಧ್ಯಾನವ ಮಾಡುವರ ಸಂಗ", sung in Brindavani here. 

In this concert, there are wonderful compositions presented of famous composers in scintillating ragas. Two Kannada songs, one of them a Vachana, and a rarely heard Shanmukhapriya composition of Mysore Vasudevacharya, point to the Vidushi's expansive repertoire.

Concert Details
Sri K. Putturao Memorial Concert 2014 - jagan Mohan Palace, Mysore.
Sukanya Prabhakar - Vocal
Sumana Vedanth - Vocal Support
H.K. Narasimhamurthy - Violin
G.S. Ramanujam - Violin
Ramesh - Morsing
Date 2 September 2014

Song List
1. Shloka (Padma Purana) & Song-Neranammiti – Kanada Varnam – Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar
2. Sri Mahaganapathe – Nata – Mayuram Vishwanatha Shastry
3. Sabhapatiki – Abhogi – Gopalakrishna Bharathi
4. Sri Ranganayakam- Nayaki – Muthuswami Dikshitar
5. Enu Sukhav0 – Brindavani – Gopaladasa
6. Manamuto – Shanmukhapriya – Vasudevachar
7. Enage Bhoga Bhagya Beda – Durga –Muppina Shadakshari
8. Tam Tam Tam   - Khamach  Thillana -  Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer
9. Mangalam - Saint Thyagaraja