/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": May 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scholarly Touch : Prof. T. R. Subramanyam

Carnatic music is an interesting field of art. It is as much cerebral as it is musical. Given its rigorous classical structure, much like the German language, it has a terseness to it that generally puts off those interested in light music. But at the same time, the more “Mensa' types are attracted to it, as every composition presents a kind of riddle, with its raga, tala structure, and composer's style. Some musicians even go out of their way to mystify the audience.

But what can one do with good training, an improvisation technique that does not bore and at the same offers a cerebral version of Carnatic music? The answer presents itself as Prof. T. R. Subramanyam (TRS). As you listen to his music, the first thing that strikes you is his fine voice. A rich timbre, a facile movement to the higher octave, brigas and modulation, all are present. He has a charming way of pronouncing words, and also a zest in rendering songs.

TRS is a disciple of Musiri Subramanya Iyer. He formally graduated from the university. TRS retired a few years ago from the University of Delhi, where he was a Professor in the Department of Music. He has given many lec-dems, including on Ragam Tanam Pallavi.

In this Parvathi concert, he renders Palisemma Muddu Sharade in Trishra Eka Tala, in Shriranjani. This rendition is quite interesting, and is his own tune. Similarly his Pantuvarali composition “Idu Bhagya” is gripping. TRS's admiration for GNB's music is evident in several places in the featured concert. The concert recording itself rather truncated, but has many interesting moments. The accompanists have risen to his challenge and both the violin and mridangam excel in several places.

TRS renders a fantastic string of ragas and sings a wonderfully evocative shloka, Adi Shankara's Meenakshi Pancharatnam, which is unforgettable.

The Hindu writes, “Apart from having been a successful performer and a very generous teacher, TRS has also been one of those few vidwans who have greatly encouraged the younger generation of artists by attending their concerts irrespective of the bhani which they follow.”

Parvathi Concert Details

T.R Subramanyam ---Vocal
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy---Violin
V.Kamalakara Rao-----Mridangam
Manjunath -----Ghatam
on 9-4-1974 at Parvathi

[ 01. Evarani- Devamruthavarshini- Thayagaraja *** 02. Rara mayintidaka – Asaveri – Thyagaraja *** 03. Palisemma muddu Sharade- Shriranjani- Purandara Dasa *** 04. Idu Bhagya – Pantuvarali- Purandara Dasa *** 05. Mokshamu Galada -Saramathi – Thyagaraja *** 06. Vara Narada – Vijayashri – Thyagaraja *** 07. Kalyani Raga Alapana ( Vocal and violin) *** 08. Shivakamasundari – Mukhari – Papanasam Sivan *** 09. Meenakshi Pancharatnam – Ragamalika (Poorvi Kalyani, Nayaki, Saama, Hamsaanandi) *** 10. Dhyanavu Krutayugadalli – Ugabhoga- Sindhu Bhairavi *** 11. Tamboori Meetidava – Sindhu Bhairavi – Purandara Dasa ]

Parvathi Days
( Text from R. Sachi's soundbites of Shri. K. Srikantiah )

"... on some days the house would just be a bedlam... starting early in the morning with the first cup of coffee ... sounds of my mother doing puja intermingled with Balamurli exercising his vocals... refrains of Parur in another room with the violin... TVG banging away on the mridangam in a third room...."

" .... along with these types of things going on all the time...there was that Bidarama Krishnappa Rama Mandiram too with its brilliant 'Kutcheris'... Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer... and Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer... all these great heavyweights would come... I am young and I am engulfed in their music...Maharajapuram used to sing brilliantly Bilahari, Abheri, Arabhi...Mohana...I don't think there was any greater music than those wonderful times....now Father is also President of the Rama Mandiram... as I told you earlier Maharajapuram Vishwanath Iyer brought his wife with him on an occasion... and my father invites them both for lunch the next day... before that the previous day the funds at the gate were less...so my Father immediately before the 'mangalam' orders me to go home and ransack his coat pockets and almirah and bring whatever money there is in our house... he would always make up a respectable total himself ... this was the life back then..."

Friday, May 14, 2010

"The effervescence of gay abandon" : Begum Parween Sultana

South Indian cuisine is so variegated and tasty that it is impossible to tire of it, and everyone craves for the tangy and sharp taste of the savouries day after day. The sweet dishes are not far behind, and after any festive meal, the one question asked by those who missed the feast is, “what was the sweet dish?”

So one has to wonder about the almost fatal attraction that sweet dishes from eastern India have for us south Indians. It is difficult to get past 'rossa gulla', but 'ras malai 'and 'misthi doi ' take one’s consciousness to a different plane indeed. Such is the ceaseless joy of life’s surprising beauty.

We talk of taste, delight and surprise also in music. When Begum Parween Sultana, hailing from eastern India, descended on the southern musical scene In the seventies, people were simply mesmerised. One could not but help think of Goddess Saraswathi. Her resonant voice, her regal demeanour, her vocal calisthenics, her roof-blowing top octave, her measured modulation, all left the listener in a stunned silence of musical nirvana.

And surely, the Begum came and regaled the rasikas in Parvathi too!

Begum Parween Sultana has been conferred the title “Sangeet Samraa~jni” by the Assam government. She was born in 1950 in Nowgong, Assam, and trained under her husband Ustad Dilshad Khan of Patiala Gharana.

Patiala Gharana boasts famous exponents like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar, and thumri singers Naina Devi and Girija Devi.

Begum Parween Sultana is the youngest-ever winner of the Padma Shri award (1976). She began performing at the age of 12. No mention of Parween Sultana is complete without her unforgettable rendition of “Bhavani Dayani” in Bharavi. There is also a fine film song in her voice (Khudrat 1980).

We now feature a fine Concert ( Ramanavami series, date 5 April 1977 ) held in "Parvathi" for the delight of the devoted rasikas.

[ 01 Madhuvanti Khayal - 02 Misra Khamaj Thumri - 03 Misra Piloo Surdas Bhajan - 04 Bageshri Bhajan - 05 Manj Khamaj Bhajan ]


[ Dr. S Dandapani, retired as Professor of Educational Psychology from the Regional College of Education, Mysore NCERT after three decades of teaching graduate and post graduate students besides guiding Ph.d. scholars. He did his M.A. in Psychology from Presidency College, Madras and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Mysore. He was also a Fullbright Scholar in the USA under the East-West Center Exchange Program. The following text is extracted from the letter whose motif is shown above ]

" .... you brought musicians from all over India (including Parveen Sultana!) to regale Mysoreans during Sri Ramanavami...we, some of the connoisseurs reflect back to the memorable days of celestial music that we heard in your sprawling house. Those were unforgettable days...I used to pack my children and my wife to ....listen to the music of Jesudas and others with my tape recorder. I used to watch your supervising the 'pandalwalas' , erecting the structures a few days before the festivals with a hand fan to cool yourself. You used to look strikingly smart and sleek with your simple half-hand white shirt and dhoti and 'angavastram'. Your ancestral house with a lovely lawn in front, a portico, a sprawling drawing room where the portraits of your father and mother would be hung on the wall, your Puja room where your daughter also used to join the archana by the Purohit to do puja to Sri Rama....You were very fond of Madurai Somu! The great MDR with his tuft used to regale us with his baritone voice. I witnessed the concert of Radha- Jayalakshmi ....."


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

'Rare and Refined' : Vidwan T. K. Rangachari

"...Ananda Sagara in Raga Garudadhwani a favourite of my grandfather...The swara patterns he weaves with Garudadhwani is simply simply superb..."

- D.B. Ashvin ( Carnatic Vocalist and grandson of Kalaimamani T. K. Rangachari )

[Text by Sri R. Sachi ]

Just after that delectable fare from 'Chandru' ( previous post ), we feature another concert, by a doyen and teacher, Vidwan T. K. Rangachari.

Regrettably, we have not much biographical detail about this master. We are informed that Vidwan T.K.Rangachari (1912-1979) learnt music initially from Namakkal Narasimha Iyengar and later trained under K.Subbiah Bhagavatar. He was a student in Annamalai University where he earned a Sangita Bhushanam diploma. Later he was a lecturer at the same university and also taught at the Central College of Music in Chennai.

Vidwan Rangachari was a frequent and popular performer in Mysore. In fact he performed in the company of Lalgudi Jayaraman at the wedding concert of Mr. K. Srikantiah. And later too in many festivals. In this 1969 Ganesha Chaturthi festival, he is brilliantly supported by M. Chandrasekaran and Vellore Ramabhadran.

After the Bhairavi Varnam, Vidwan Rangachari presents the arangetram of his own musical composition in Mandari of the Ganesha Pancharatnam of Adi Shankara. This shloka, with a pronounced Trishra rhythm in the words, was composed by Adi Sankara perhaps to be recited in a celebratory mood by all. The very first stanza emphasizes how Ganesha enjoys the 'kadubu' treat, and wears the crescent moon as adornment in his crest. He protects all those who delight in the beautiful aspects of God's creation. No wonder the debut of this song occurred auspiciously in Parvathi – a place where rasikas enjoyed listening to great music for many decades.

The third song is surely a rare one in Narayani- by Thyagaraja. The next item is also a rare one- Brovamma in the raga Manji. This raga has a unique flavour and distinguishes itself from Bhairavi by some lovely, languorous off-beat movements.

Vidwan Rangachari has fulsome praise for Chandru, and even holds him responsible for choosing Evari Mata in Kambhoji!

Vidwan Rangachari seems inspired by the mridangam to sing Sogasuga. He then takes up a shloka from Mukundamala, a lovely ragamalika which will linger long in our hearts.

The Vidwan reveals his earnestness when he apologises for any likely mispronunciations in Kannada when he sings Jagadoddharana.

All in all a concert that should be described as 'rare and refined'.

CONCERT in "Parvathi" on September 19, 1969l

Vellore Ramabhadran------Mridangam

[ 1. Viriboni – Bhairavi Ata Tala varnam – Pachimiriyam Adiyappa 2. Ganesha Pancharatnam- Adi Sankara (Raga Mandari, set by T.K. Rangachari) 3. Bhajanaseyu Margamu – Narayani – Thyagaraja 4. Brovamma – Manji – Shyama Shastri (partial) 5. Evari Mata – Kambhoji – Thyagaraja 6. Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu - Sriranjani-Thyagaraja 7. Mukundamala Shloka - Raga Malika - Kulashekhara Alwar 8. Jagaddodharana - Hindustani Kapi - Purandara Dasa 9. Tillana - Tilang ]