/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Style that makes Singing look so Simple – Vidushi M. S. Sheela

[ Courtesy: Ganesh-Goddesses-New-Year-2013-HD-Wallpapers ]

We bring you our warm Greetings of the Season and Sincere Wishes for a Very Happy 2013!

We thought we will feature this time a lovely concert held in "Parvathi" in 2005 of Vidushi M.S. Sheela.

The following review of the Music comes to us from Sri R. Sachi ....

" Vid. Sheela is very well known in Carnatic music circles for many years now. She features in prime time slots in big music festivals in the company of well-known accompanists. She has performed in Parvathi festivals four times so far, including in this year’s Puttu Rao Memorial festival.

Hailing from a musically endowed family, Vid. Sheela sang her first notes under the guidance of her mother late Smt M N Rathna, a popular musician of yesteryears. Strict and rigorous training under Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr R K Srikantan added lustre to her musical prowess. She has a postgraduate degree in Music from Bangalore University, and is a Gold medallist.

We quote a critic who heard her many years ago:

"This disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi R K Srikantan has learnt kritis with purity of padanthara and attention to bhava that her rendering of Dikshitar classic "Madhurambikayam" (Hemavathi) touched one's heart. Later, her detailed sketch of Sankarabharanam had a diaphanous harmony that brought out the leonine character of this raga - both in the middle register and the top one - her melody enveloping herself and the audience in a warm embrace. "Enduku Peddalavale", the Tyagaraja masterpiece was striking, in the panoply of moving sahitya, raga enchantment and intellectual application."
- K S Mahadevan, The Indian Express, Chennai, December 18, 1997.

Here, Vid. Sheela has given a most delectable concert effortlessly. To this writer, her singing style is unique in appearing to make classical singing so simple. No doubt that is the result of God’s gift of a voice with depth and range, a keen musical intellect, and excellent training. Her repertoire spans many great composers including Veene Sheshanna, Mysore Sadashiva Rao, Mysore Vasudevachar, Mysore Maharaja, and Dasasahitya, apart from the weighty compositions of the trinity.

The highlights of this concert, with enthusiastic accompaniment by Mysore H.N. Bhaskar on the violin and Vid. Krishna on the mridangam (also Vid. Manjunath on the ghatam) are Lathangi and Bhairavi.

Lathangi is according to “A Raga’s Journey”, a sweet and sour raga. Lathangi could invoke in one’s mind images of a tribal tableau during the Republic Day Parade, showcasing grass-skirted, feather-crowned dancers from the North East, sporting bows and arrows. It is enchanting as well as intriguing. Its instant charm is not without reason. It poses challenges to musicians as this melakarta is quite gingerly positioned with just one-note variations from the scales of popular mainstream ragas like Pantuvarali, Simhendramadhyama and Kalyani. In the words of Prof. S. R. Janakiraman, “when you sing the Chatushruthi Rishabha in Lathangi, you should immediately bring in Anthara Gandhara and Shuddha Dhaivata, to ward off Kamavardhini (Pantuvarali), Kalyani and Simhendramadhyama, as the three fellows will be waiting to seek entrance...” Maybe for these reasons, Lathangi is sparingly attempted by less-than perfect singers. There are also only 11 krithis listed in Lathangi in a popular compilation as compared to 144 krithis in Kalyani!

Here, in this concert, Vid. Sheela seems to thrive as she unfolds the raga and sings Marivere by Patnam Subramanya Iyer, with élan. Then comes Bhairavi. Upacharamu, a classic composition of Thyagaraja, receives royal treatment. She elaborates the raga and also does great niraval and swara prasthara at “Kapatanatakasutradhari”. Bhaskar’s responses, as well as the following tani by Krishna and Manjunath, show how she has built up the tempo in the concert and inspired them.

The closing items in Janasammodini and Pilu establish a clear position in our minds of a great artiste with mastery over the Carnatic idiom in both classic and devotional segments.

So let us welcome 2013 in a fitting way, listening to Vid. M.S. Sheela and her ensemble! "

Concert Details

M.S. Sheela -Vocal
H.N. Bhaskar - Violin
V. Krishna -Mridangam
Manjunath -Ghatam
Held in Parvathi Ramanavami festival, April 20, 2005.

Song List

01. Kambhoji Ata tala Varnam – Swathi Thirunal *** 02. Gananathaya – Gowla- Ambi Dikshitar *** 03. Soagasuga – Sriranjani – Thyagaraja *** 04. Marivere – Lathangi – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 05. Sogasujuda – Kannadagaula – Thyagaraja*** 06. Intakante – Kannada – Patnam Subramanya Iyer*** 07. Paripahimam – Shubhapantuvarali – Mysore Vasudevacharya *** 08. Upacharamu – Bhairavi – Thyagaraja ***09. Tani*** 10. Shloka – Hamsanandi, Janasammodini *** 11. Ramamantrava Japiso – Janasammodini – Purandara dasa *** 12. Karuna Jaladhe – Pilu – Traditional *** 13. Sitakalyana – Kurinji – Thyagaraja *** 14. Mangalam ***

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Music's Bylanes - II: 2012 - K.K. Murthy Music Festival and T. Chowdiah Awards

July 21, 2005
Late K.K. Murthy and N. Dharam Singh (Ex-CM) celebrate
the birthday of then KPCCI President Mallikarjuna Kharge
[Courtesy: THE HINDU - Photo: K. Gopinathan]

Readers can recall, that as our blog continued to progress, we often continued to reflect on the inspiring activities of the Chowdiah Memorial, that unique building consecrated to the memory of the great Violinist T. Chowdiah by the late K.K. Murthy ( younger brother to K. Srikantiah and youngest son of Sri. K. Puttu Rao).

Nov 24, 2012
India's Union Labor Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge and Academy of Music Members are seen with award winners: Pt. Vasanth Kanakapur, Mysore Nagaraj, Mysore Manjunath and T.K. Murthy at the K.K. Murthy Memorial Music Festival in Bangalore.
[ Courtesy : The Hindu ]

As an exercise in “lateral thinking”, we also drew parallels with our many experiences of an Alice Tully Hall (in Manhattan), of a Washington Smithsonian and of the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), so perfect within their individual identities.

We often reflected, also, on the many touches that a distinguished memorial like the Chowdiah memorial could do more with, as acts of ‘right’ embellishment.

These were things, that were easily within the reach of a “pro-active” citizenry of music patrons, and not necessarily dependent on any government agency’s help.

We often felt that a few deft touches would render a more complete identity to the man, Chowdiah, who once bestrode the landscape as a colossus armed but solely with a Violin, a man of towering musical knowledge and the command of a giant personality.

Nov 24, 2012
Mridangam’s great Vidwan T.K. Murthy is seen once again, honored with the K.K. Murthy Award by Union Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge and Academy office bearers.
[Courtesy: The Hindu]

(1) As starters, we had felt earlier that the building, recognized as a performing arts museum dedicated to Chowdiah’s illustrious name, needed indeed to house his famous violin for all to view permanently.

We remember having spoken about this and emailed even some people who would hear us out, from time to time. We are not sure , if any “wind” carried our message to any of the powers to be, but a recent report from The Hindu does gladden our hearts.

The Chowdiah Memorial now finds itself in the possession of the famous man’s violin ( click ).

R. Subbaraj Urs, Secretary, Academy of Music: “…Chowdiah’s violin would be under the safe custody of the academy. After all, the hall was designed after his violin..."

Readers will note that T. Chowdiah’s instrument was unveiled earlier, in “Parvathi”, Mysore on April 15, 1970 in the distinguished presence of Karnataka Governor Dharma Vira and Minister Rajasekhara Murthy.

Violin Virtuosos! Vidwan Manjunath and Vidwan Nagaraj celebrate being honored with the KK Murthy awards.
[ Courtesy: The Hindu ]

(2) As we have come to believe with some research, Chowdiah had in his lifetime of seven decades, provided for a staggering number of concerts. He had criss-crossed many a geographical boundary, and squeezed time and space sufficiently, to render many a performance even in a single day.

Granted that not all of his performances were recorded (he passed away in 1967 when the country had barely come to grips with tape recorders), it would still be a safe bet that many a recording by him probably lies scattered somewhere, largely uncared for , in worn out tapes junked in some ancestral holding.

It draws a parallel somewhat , with the findings of the notes of the mathematical genius Ramanujan; the accidental finding of scattered notes in a relative’s abandoned trunk; which discovery became instrumental in sparking a worldwide interest in Ramanujan!

The grass root patrons of music need to provide an 'all around call' for people to release any recordings that they may have of T. Chowdiah into a central custody at the memorial, so that an audio-visual display of a musical era can be dedicated to the legend and his peers in the open foyer of the memorial.

The permanent exhibit should be on anything related with T. Chowdiah: photographs, tapes, writings, compositions, notebooks with each item preserved, tagged and the names of donor persons acknowledged. The recordings should be cleaned and amplified and a playing booth created so that people may hear them at their leisure.

Then only, can a future generation, be made to understand the footprints of a cherished past and the value in a heritage associated in someone’s name.

We hope that another “gust” of the wind will carry our plea to the like minded preservers of the heritage.

Vidwan Vasant Kanakapur conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Music's Bylanes - I

While we wait for our very learned friend in music, R.Sachi ( click ) to process another delectable concert for us, we thought we’d walk the Rasikas through some music's by-lanes .

The following pictures were the results of ‘prying’ into more “Parvathi” albums. This time though, it was courtesy of Shri K.L. Rao’s family. No, not the founding father of India’s Irrigation industry! but the third elder son of Sri. K. Puttu Rao, about whom we spoke earlier as having once lived in Chennai, next to the hallowed Music Academy in Mylapore, and who provided dedication as an engineer to the Chennai Harbor, during the 60’s.

Here are some pictures of Carnatic music’s greats, in a more relaxed venue and in more informal postures.

Could we say that this was their way of “jamming”?

Supreme maestros all! (L to R): U.K. Sivaraman, M.L. Veerabhadriah (Palghat Mani Iyer’s disciple), K.S. Manjunath , T. Chowdiah

T.Chowdiah with Sri K.L. Rao.
It looks to be a respite after lunch,
as we detect the faint outlines of a ‘pan’
being chewed by Chowdiah!

The 'Krishna' of Music! [ click ]
Maestro M. Bala-Murali-Krishna and party!

[ If one views keenly one can also notice Vid. M.A. Narasimhachar in the audience]

Veena Maestro Chitti Babu
pondering away ‘dreamily’
amidst musical notes in a warm up !

Veena’s other great exponent Doreswamy Iyengar
seen with stalwarts Vellore Ramabhadran, K.S. Manjunath, T. Chowdiah

Monday, November 26, 2012

Classicism as the Core: Vidwan O. S. Thyagarajan - 1994

[ The following text is due to R.Sachi ( click ) ]

This time we are happy to feature a well-known senior vidwan, Sri. O.S. THyagarajan. He has come and performed in Parvathi around 8 times over the past few decades.

Recalling his music, Sri K. Srikantiah says, “there are a few artistes who are simple, not after crowd-pulling music, and focused on giving a wholesome concert with classicism as its core value. The foremost among such artistes was Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy. Sri O.S. Thyagarajan comes in the same mold. A man of few words, I found his music and personality endearing for its calmness."

[Courtesy: The Hindu ]

Gleaning from various sources on the Internet:

Sri O.S.Thyagarajan was born on April 3,1947. He is a classicist who paints in glorious colours the fine shades of raga, krithi and swara in his numerous concerts.

He had his earlier training under his father Sangeetha Bhooshanam O.V. Subramanian, and later under the celebrated maestro Lalgudi G. Jayaraman and finally, Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.M. Thyagarajan. An ‘A- Top’ graded artist of the All India Radio and of Doordarshan, he has been giving a large number of concerts well appreciated and relished.

The titles conferred on him are “Sangeetha Choodamani” (Sri Krishna Gana Sabha), Sangeetha Kala Sagara (Kalasagaram, Hyderabad), “Nada Gana Kala Praveena”, “Sangeetha Samrajya” Madurai, “Nadha Booshanam” Shanmukhananda Sangeetha Sabha, and New Delhi.

He is regularly featured by all leading sabhas in Chennai as well as throughout India and has toured many countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Middle East, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and many cities in Europe. He worked as Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, and Annamalai University for 5 years. He has trained many disciples too.

In an interview he gave a couple of years ago, OST, as he is fondly known, called upon artistes to spread “Sasthriya Sangeetham." He recalled his first lesson from his guru in 1980. “Never try to get applause by singing something absurd and if you don’t get applause despite sensible singing never bother. This is one lesson I remember even today,” he said, revealing his utmost reverence for the two Thyagarajas – the saint composer and his guru.

In this concert held in Parvathi in 1994, we enter straight away into a concert in full swing, to the strains of the raga Asaveri. Featured in Thyagaraja’s opera, Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam, the song is a plaintive cry by the devotee to the lord:


Oh Raghuvira! Tyagaraja's fortune! Pray, come to my house; I bow to you. Bless me. I cannot bear the separation any longer. Till now, with unfulfilled desire, I have been in long and vexatious search for you. Pray, do come today at least, in all your glory. My purpose in seeking you is to implore you every morning to teach me, to have the privilege of the Darshana of your enchanting face, to stand by your side and worship you every day, and thus be blessed. Believing that you alone are my refuge, I have allowed myself to be in your grip. Why do you forget this, and why do you not come to me promptly?

(Taken from The Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja)

The other songs, with enthusiastic accompaniment on the violin and mridangam, are a scintillating Shanmukhapriya “Marivere”and “O Rangashayi”rendered in a majestic Kambhoji by Vidwan O.S. Thaygarajan.

The concert is well recorded and the five items featured all showcase melody, virtuosity and bhava, all in the mould of pure classicism.

Concert Details: ( "Parvathi" Ramanavami, April 12, 1994 )

Vocal - O.S. Thyagarajan
Violin - H.K. Venkatram
Mridangam - T.A.S. Mani
Ghatam - G.S. Ramanujam

Song List:

01.Rara Mayintidaka – Asaveri – Thyagaraja*** 02. Marivere – Shanmukgapriya – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 03. O Rangashayee – Kambhoji – Thyagaraja *** 04. Narayanaya Namo Madhavaya – Karnaranjani – Narayana Tirtha *** 05. Sri Raghavam - Shloka – Kapi, Varali, Sindhu Bhairavi ***

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Worshipping Chamundi – The Spirit of Navaratri


We feature during this Navaratri, music from the duo of Parween Sultana and Dilshad Khan. They performed in Parvathi 22 years ago. In this concert, they have sung a beautiful khayal with words of prayer to Goddess Saraswati, the deity conferring the gifts of music and arts. Then follow a thumri and bhajan in Pahadi. They round off the concert with their signature bhajan “Bhavani” in Mishra Bhairavi.

This concert is significant on many levels. The famous city of Mysore, with its presiding deity of Chamundi and the celebrated Dassara Navaratri festival, attracts musical stalwarts from all parts of the world. Just as the Maharaja was the patron of philharmonic music and western composers, he was also a great Sri Vidya "upasaka" and Carnatic composer in his own right. So Mysore symbolizes a very open milieu for excellence in music, and also symbolises the spirit of Devi worship (especially during the Navaratri festival). Navaratri is dedicated to worshiping the Devi in her forms of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Chamundi or Bhavani.

CHAMUNDI DEVI - MYSORE [ Courtesy: shobhakarandlaje.com ]

We also offer our respectful remembrances of the great Vidwan Madurai Mani Iyer, whose birth centenary is on 25 October 2012. We feature here a fine article ( "Periyava & Music" - CLICK ) by Mr B. M. N. Murthy [see Footnote], which narrates how this Maha Vidwan was known for his wonderfully beautiful and worshipful music.

We reproduce (partially from the article):

Happy Navaratri!

Concert Details

Begum Parween Sultana & Ustad Dilshad Khan – Hindustani Vocal Duet

Held at Parvathi, October 10, 1990

Song List

01.Hamsadhwani Khayal *** 02. Thumri – Pahadi *** 03. Nandanandana Giridhari Bhajan*** 04. Bhavani Dayani – Bhajan – Mishra Bhairavi ***

[ FOOTNOTE: Mr. B.M.N. Murthy has had a very distinguished career in Civil Engineering, retiring from professional life as Chief Engineer at LIC, India. What has been very remarkable in his life, is his rare collections and subsequent writings on India's great heritage and achievements. Many people, particularly the younger generations, have been very thankful to him for disseminating this knowledge to them. The Hindu, as we tagged previously, also wrote on his inspired efforts. From time to time, we too draw on his articles. He hails from a family of renowned "Vaidikas" connected very closely with the House of Sringeri ]

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Report on Sri K. Puttu Rao Memorial Festival – 2012

The second annual K. Puttu Rao Memorial music festival was held in Mysore at Jagan Mohan Palace auditorium from 31 Aug. 2012 through 4 Sept. 2012.

The festival got off to a flying start with a violin duet recital by Mysore M. Nagaraj and Mysore M. Manjunath. Before the concert, K. Srikantiah welcomed the gathering to the 5-day festival he was conducting in memory of his late father Sri K. Puttu Rao.

[ Speech in TRACK PLAYER; English Translation in APPENDIX I ]

Mysore Dr.Manjunath also spoke briefly about his and his elder brother Nagaraj’s close association with Mr Srikantiah and about the music at "Parvathi" from their childhood days.

[ Speech in TRACK PLAYER; English Translation in APPENDIX II ]

On the second day, Abhishek Raghuram performed and enthralled the audience with his vocal music. He recollected how he, as a child, had listened to a rendition of “Krishna Nee Begane Baaro” by Lalgudi Jayaraman (his maternal grand-uncle) that had been performed in a Parvathi concert to the mridangam accompaniment by his grand-father Palghat Raghu. Abhishek sang that particular song in Lalgudi Jayaraman style, to the immense enjoyment of the rasikas.

Neyveli Santhanagopalan gave a classic vocal recital on the third day, full of Bhakti and Soukhya, to the delight of critics and common man. Next day, M S. Sheela gave a traditional performance with items which were a combination of the popular and not-so-common kritis in her ever-youthful, melodious style.

The grand finale of the festival was a lively Kathakalakshepam by Vishakha Hari. She chose a portion of Sundarakanda of Ramayana as her subject. The discourse was in Tamil and English. Having undergone extensive musical training over the years under the maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman himself, Vishakha gave a splendid display of her prowess in Carnatic music, , and her fluency and command over English as well as Tamil during the discourse. This was her first Harikatha performance in Mysore city, and the audience were left in awe, asking for more.

The main artistes were ably supported by well-known accompanists in all the concerts, who had a big role in the success of the concerts. Music critics who have reviewed the concerts in various newspapers [ see review1 and review 2 ] have hailed the success of the performances.


Mysore M. Nagaraj and Mysore M. Manjunath - Violin Duet
Neyveli Venkatesh - Mridangam
Ramanujam - Ghatam
T. Dileep - Khanjira


00.K Srikantiah-welcome *** 01 Speech -Mysore Manjunath*** 02 Viriboni Varnam – Bhairavi – Pachimiriyam Adiappaiah*** 03 MakelaraVicharamu- Ravichandrika- Thyagaraja *** 04 MarivereDikkevarayya- Shanmukhapriya- Patnam Subramania Iyer*** 05 Manasulo Ni Marmamulu- Hindola – Thyagaraja*** 06 Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kamboji (+Nilambari, Kanada, Hindustani Todi?)*** Tani Avartanam *** 07 Antakana Dhootarige- Bageshree – Purandara Dasa *** 08 Teerada Vilayattu- Ragamalike – Subrahmanya Bharathi *** 09 Nanati Brutuku- Revathi- Annamacharya *** 10 Bhagyada Lakshmi- Madhyamavathi- Purandara dasa ***



" A hearty welcome to this music festival taking place in memory of my late father K. Puttu Rao.

There is no need for me to introduce the artistes on the stage to you: Vid. Nagaraj and Vid. Manjunath. I have known their father Vid. Mahadevappa from the time he came over from Tamil Nadu to learn music from Vid. Chowdiah’s brother, Vid. Puttasamiah.

Having known artistes from around the world, young and old, I can emphatically state that if any artiste were to be called lucky, that would be Vid. Mahadevappa. Without exaggeration, I can say that Vid. Mahadevappa deserves all the fame for having brought up these two talented youngsters with great discipline and strict musical training, so well. Today, whether it is Tamilnadu, or Maharashtra or anywhere else, these brothers are in great demand. In fact they have so many lead duo violin concerts that they have no time at all for providing violin accompaniment to others. Many times they have travelled overseas and performed extensively. Starting on 5 Sept., they will be touring America and Canada for two months.

Tracing the roots of their success, I can repeat that it is entirely due to their upbringing and discipline imparted by their father. They perhaps never went to movies or stage-plays, or indulged in idle gossip with other musicians. After the departure of Vid. Chowdiah, I was wondering if at all there would be another famous musician from Mysore. I am happy these brothers have come on the scene to carry on the name of Mysore.

The key to violin play is dexterity in fingering and bowing techniques. Nagaraj and Manjunath have this in ample measure. That apart, they have a big repertoire of kritis. Great composers like Thyagaraja have no doubt composed songs with many sangatis, but embellishing them with special ‘sanchara’s, adding swaraprastara without too much or too little, are their forte. In addition, they have great humility and refrain from talking ill of other artistes.

When we held concerts in the home of Parvathi, and Vid. Mahadevappa used to bring along these boys. I had to gently decline admission to the children below 10 and beg excuse as we had a strict rule. These children would then park themselves on the lawns and listen to the concerts. Once Vid. Mahadevappa requested me to hear a young Nagaraj, saying that he was playing the violin quite well. I remember distinctly that this same Nagaraj came home, and played Mohana so well and followed it up with Vasudevachar’s “Ra Ra Rajeevalochana”. I wonder if Nagaraj himself remembers this episode! So also with Manjunath. Each vies with the other in excellence. They have come up with so much talent, I cannot praise them sufficiently.

My best wishes to them for their forthcoming US trip. Let us all pray for their continued success.

A couple of incidents are relevant here. When I had billed Vid. Yesudas for the first time in Mysore in 1972, he had a car breakdown near Mandya and could not reach Mysore in time to perform on the day. A huge audience who had gathered, were disappointed and I did not hide my anger when he called up early next morning. This episode, providentially, paved the way for our deep-rooted friendship lasting so many decades till date! Vid. Yesudas apologized profusely and requested that the festival be extended by a day so that he could come and sing. I agreed. But then I found that I could not get a violinist for accompaniment. I remember: quite near here, around Maharaja’s High School, I was proceeding in my car and chanced to meet Vid. Mahadevappa. I told him of my difficulty in finding a suitable violinist. Vid. Mahadevappa said that if I had no objection, Nagaraj would fill in. At that time, Nagaraj was a mere stripling! You can see his photo from that concert in the website “A Home Called Parvathi”.

Yesudas was understandably apprehensive that a young boy would be playing the violin. But I assured him that I had full confidence in the youngster’s ability. That day, AIR had arranged a live broadcast by drawing a telephone line from our home. The next day, so many who had heard the broadcast called me, and expressed great appreciation about the violin accompaniment and surprise about Nagaraj’s talent at such a young age. That started off his career and today with his brother, he is doing very well. Vid. Mahadevappa is 3 years younger than me, I wish him long life to witness and enjoy the success of his children.

Vid. Neyveli Venkatesh will play the Mridangam today.I extend him my welcome. Prof. Ramanujam will play the ghatam. He has always been a strength to us. Of course, he has his own private complaint that I have not billed him any time on the mridangam. But somehow we have got used to his ghatam accompaniment and so it continues.

There is another very surprising fact about those on the stage today. We have always associated the Police Department with the "lathi" (stick) and Law and Order matters. But today, the Vidwan on the Khanjira is Mr. T. Dileep, Superintendent of Police, Mysore, whose hobby is music. He has learnt from Vid. TAS Mani- a veteran who has played 20-30 times in our Ramanavami festivals. We earlier had another SP, Mr. Ramanujam, who had great interest in music and had learnt the violin from Vid. Mahadevappa himself. But he had not performed in public. So in my 70+ years in the field of music, this is the first time that I am seeing a senior Police official come on the stage to perform for us. I wish that Mr. Dileep should continue to perform and graduate to the Mridangam. On the Tambura we have Ms. Pushpa Iyengar.

I welcome all the artistes and all of you once again."



" On behalf of all of us, I would like to share with you the immense respect that we have for Sri K. Srikantiah . As he himself told you all, I can still remember his words “Do not allow him in, yet! he is not yet 10 years old, “ and with that he kept me outside. I had to sit myself down outside the ‘pandal’ (canopied area).

After that day’s concert he asked our father: “Mr. Mahadevappa, does your second son also play the Violin?”

“He does up to a certain extent,… he is learning … he is doing pretty good…”

Since I was not allowed inside, I kept busy playing outside by myself. After the concert, after my elder brother’s performance, I was called inside and asked to demonstrate my playing. I have never forgotten that day’s picture. How much love he (K. Srikantiah) has had for all of us?…how much affection? …for this development and upholding of music, he grew it all the way from its foundations to a huge tree so that it may hang over us in protection…that Sri Srikantiah was such a grand organizer can never be doubted!...

Over all these years, amidst so many of the Vidwans, be it Maharajapuram Santhanam, be it Semmangudi, be it UK Sivaraman, or T.K. Murthy, whomever we have talked to, have always without fail inquired about this great and one only organizer from Mysore, Sri K. Srikantiah…”Srikantiah yapdih irkara?” is always the first question. In terms of Jesudas, let us not even mention him …Jesudas has always been addressed as “Dasa”, in the most affectionate of terms, by only Sri Srikantiah …there was that much of regard…

…when we were so young and about to start our fledgling ‘Katcheries’ (concerts)…we were always concerned about where we might slip up, what Mr. Srikantiah may say or about what he may get angry with us…it was always with a trepidation that we would start our performances….I still remember this.

…this great man who has bred such a giant musical heritage in Mysore…and how much he has been responsible for spreading the music all around…are things known to all of you …

…that he has this affection for us, for all of us, is our good fortune….that his blessings and all of your blessings be always upon us…. This is what I ask from you all, always....

Namaskara! "



Friday, September 14, 2012

A Rare Artiste – N. Ramani

The festive season has begun. After Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesha Chaturthi and Navarathri will follow soon. No better time than now to feature a beautiful flute recital of Vidwan N. Ramani! It is drawn from the treasure trove of Parvathi. In this concert of 1972, Vid. Ramani has been ably accompanied by Vid. Chalakudi Narayanaswamy, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran and Vid. H. P. Ramachar. 

(Courtesy: kutcheris.com)
 Abheri, with the evergreen favourite Nagumomu, takes centre-stage. Vidwan Ramani elaborates the raga with varied hues. There are ample Hindustani touches as well as solid Carnatic nuances. The vision built up is one of vivacity, richness and elegance. Vid. Narayanaswamy responds with an extremely sweet touch. Nagumomu, with all the paraphernalia of an elaborate and brilliant swara dialogue, follows. 

This is only a truncated set of excerpts we have been able to retrieve. But some gems shine therein. Dharmavathi, with the rare krithi Bhajana Seyaradha of Mysore Vasudevachar, follows. This raga has an unusual stimmung, with dark corners and lush foliage. Perhaps the Dandakaranya forest in Rama’s time would have been vibrant with this raga. Dharmavathi seems very well suited to sing Rama’s praises, and we give below the sahitya and translation. Vasudevachar sings of Rama in the raga Dharmavathi. Rama, the crown prince who stands as the epitome of Dharma, even when wrongfully banished into the forest for fourteen years.

 Bhajana seya rada (Dharmavathi, Rupaka) – Mysore Vasudevachar

P: bhajana sēya rādā ō manasā śrī rāmuni - Can you not sing the praises of Rama, O Mind?

AP: aja bhavēndrādi nutuni sujanāvana lōluni (bhajana) - The one extolled by Brahma, Siva and Indra; one who enjoys protecting the noble.

C: paranārī sahōdaruni paripūrṇa kāmuni dharaṇijā manōharuni para vāsudēvuni śaraṇa janādhāruni sarasīruha nētruni niravadhi sukha dāyakuni paramātmuni bhakta pāluni - The brother to others' wives; fulfiller of desires, stealer of Sita's heart; the great Vaasudeva, Supporter of those who take His refuge; lotus-eyed, giver of boundless comforts; Supreme Lord, protector of devotees. 

We came upon an exposition of this same Dharmavathi krithi by Vid. Ramani elsewhere , dated as during 2008 Ramanavami. The mood and vibrancy in that rendition is identical to the one here during Ramanavami at Parvathi in 1972. Dr. N. Ramani is truly a rare artiste with such a wonderful mastery over this difficult instrument and an exemplar of the classical idiom for over over 5 decades! No wonder Vid. Ramani has been a great favourite with rasikas in Parvathi. This is in fact the fifth concert we feature here. 

What follows Dharmavathi is quite interesting. Bhaja Govindam, in the tune made popular by MSS. Then comes a beautiful Behag tillana composed by Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman. And finally a rare Thiruppugazh in Kannada raga! A truly fulfilling listening experience in the festive season. 

Concert Details
(Ramanavami Concert at Parvathi, on 25 - 3 - 1972)
N.Ramani ------ Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ----------- Violin  
Vellore Ramabhadran ------------ Mridangam        
H.P.Ramachar ------------- Khanjira 
Song List
01-Evarani-Devamruthavarshini-Thyagaraja-6.39 ***02-Nagumomu-Abheri- Thyagaraja - 36.28***03-Bhajana seyarada-Dharmavathi - Mysore Vasudevachar-16.53*** 04-Bhaja Govindam - ragamalika - Adi Shankara-8.03***05-Jagadoddharana - Kapi - Purandaradasa-4.47***06-Tillana- Behag- Lalgudi Jayaraman-4.42***07- Thiruppugazh - Kannada - Arunagirinathar-1.39***08-Pavamana- Saurashtra-Thyagaraja-0.24 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In Memoriam: Sri Kunigal Puttu Rao Music Festival 2012

Once again,the Sri K. Puttu Rao Music Festival in Mysore, is upon us for 2012.

Through these pages we invite all the Rasikas to join in with us at the music festivities being held at Mysore.

We present below, a calendar of events:


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Music is Man’s Ultimate Response to Creation - 2012 Sangeeta Kalanidhi Designate Trichur V. Ramachandran

Mr. K. Srikantiah and the Parvathi family express great happiness and offer felicitations and best wishes to this year’s Sangeetha Kalanidhi designate Vidwan Trichur V. Ramachandran.

The Masters weave their magic - 1972!

L to R: Palghat Raghu, Vikku Vinayakaram,
Trichur V. Ramachandran, Parur M.S. Gopalakrishnan

We have already featured a much-appreciated concert of Vid. Ramachandran held in Parvathi during the 1974 festival.

We now have pleasure in featuring a 1972 concert of his, in the company of two other Sangeetha Kalanidhis, Vid. M. S. Gopalakrishnan and Vid. Palghat R. Raghu. This concert again shows the mesmeric attraction that the GNB bani has, with its verve, tempo and highly colourful repertoire. As if in response to audience requests, Sri TVR has sung in this concert all the GNB trademark compositions, including Ragasudharasa, Darini, Radhasametha Krishna. The accompaniment of Vid. MSG, Vid. Raghu and Vid. Vinayakram make this concert truly special.

Mr. Srikantiah recalls meeting Sri TVR first in Vidushi MLV’s house, whom she introduced as training under her with the national scholarship. Sri TVR later came and performed a few times in Parvathi in various festivals.

Mr. Srikantiah turns meditative as he recalls how five generations of musicians have come and sung in this home. To name some: Maharajapuram Vishwanatha Iyer, Mysore Vasudevachar, Chowdiah, Ariyakudi, Musiri, TR Mahalingam, GNB, Alathur Bros., Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi, MSS, DKP, MLV, KVN, MDR, TKR, Sathur, Somu, TVS, TVR, TRS, TSK, Lalgudi, TNS, MSG, TNK, Ramani, Doreswamy Iyengar, Emani, Chittibabu, MC, Mani Iyer, Palani, Raghu, Sivaraman, Ramabhadran, Upendran, Radha Jayalakshmi, Sikkil Sisters, Bombay Sisters, and many current stars like U Shrinivas, Mysore Nagaraj and Manjunath…the list is almost endless.

When we consider these great artistes, and the impact they had on the rasikas, we cannot but recall the famous words of India's Poet Laureate and 1974 Padmabhushan,"DVG"(D.V. Gundappa), in his 1943 opus Mankuthimmana Kagga, describing how music evokes feelings in us as our ultimate response to the wonderful creation around us:

Tune, scale and song; dance and dramatic fine art- all
Awaken from mind's slumber many moods
Expressing our innermost nature. Art is man's commentary
On the Supreme Spirit, oh Mankuthimma!

So again, our heartiest congratulations and best wishes to Vidwan Trichur Ramachandran!


Ramanavami Concert March 29, 1972

Vocal: Trichur V. Ramachandran
Violin: M. S. Gopalakrishnan
Mridangam: Palghat R. Raghu
Ghatam : T. H. Vinayakram

Song List

01.Neranammithi – Kanada Varnam – Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar *** 02. Vinayaka Vghnanashaka-Vegavahini-Muthuswami Dikshitar ***03. Paraloka Sadhaname – Purvikalyani-Thyagaraja ***04. Ragasudharasa-Andolika-Thyagaraja ***05. Sada Palaya – Mohana – GNB *** 06. Teliyaleru Rama – Dhenuka – Thyagaraja *** 07. Darini Telisukonti – Suddha Saveri – Thyagaraja *** 08. Ananda Natesha – Todi- Ramaswamy Sivan *** 09. Paramukha melara – Suruti – Thyagaraja (also ascribed to Mannargudi Rajagopala Iyer) *** 10. Shankarabharana raga *** 11.Enduku Peddala-Shankarabharana-Thyagaraja *** 12. Himagiri Tanaye- Shuddha Dhanyasi – Muthiah Bhagavathar ***13. Sarasa sama dana – Kapi Narayani – Thyagaraja *** 14. Shloka – Hamsanandi, Dhanyasi, Begada, Kapi*** 15. Radha Mukha Kamala – Kapi – Papanasam Sivan *** 16. Radha Sametha Krishna – Mishra Yaman – Traditional *** 17. Sitakalyana Vaibhogame – Kurinji- Thyagaraja *** 18. Dhanashri Tillana – Swathi Thirunal *** 19. Mangalam ***

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rama’s story was always meant to be sung - Malladi Brothers’ Duet- 2006

We are happy to feature a duet by the popular Malladi Brothers this time.

Malladi Brothers (Vid. Sreeramprasad and Vid. Ravikumar) have a musical lineage that includes their father and grandfather as well as three outstanding gurus: the highly respected scholar Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, the long-famous Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, and the creative genius Vid. Voleti Venkateshwarulu.

Malladi Brothers have rich and facile voices that combine well and make an impact from the word go. Carnatic music shines when presented in rich resonant male voices that euphoniously harness violin and mridangam accompaniments. This is on full display in the concert we feature here. Malladi Brothers are currently very active performers all over the globe. They have come and sung in Parvathi festivals a few times.

( Courtesy: The Hindu )

In Carnatic music, there are many famous duos past and present: brothers and sisters who have made a lasting impact, like Alathur Brothers and Radha Jayalakshmi. What is the instant appeal of duos? It is interesting to know that in a way the very first documented musical concert was that of twins, Kusha and Lava. They sang for no less an audience than great sages and in Lord Rama’s court. They had been trained by Valmiki himself! What a glorious concert tradition! We reproduce the relevant verses from the opening pages of Valmiki Ramayana:

Translation: That sage Valmiki after observing sacred vows has rendered the entire epic in the name of 'Ramayana', 'Sublime Legend of Seetha' and 'elimination of Ravana'. To read or to sing it is melodious, adaptable to music with three scales and sevenfold tune, and orchestral to the tunes of string-instrument and rhythm included. Aesthetics like romance, pathos, comic, fury, fright, valour etc., embodying the epic. This is sung by Kusha, Lava. They are conversant with the art of music and proficient with the pitch and pausing their voices, and those two brothers have not only a wealthy voice, but they also look like celestial singers. They have charm in their appearance and melodiousness in their voice, they are like the two reflections of one original object, and thus they came out from the body of Rama, separately.

So Malladi Brothers are in a long and illustrious line of duos who have captured our hearts through the ages with their music!

The Paramaguru of Malladi Brothers, Dr. Sripada Pinakapani, holds a high place among the scholarly musicians of our country. In his childhood, no one would have predicted a musical career for this would-be physician, as he was averse to delve into the “girlish pursuit”. But his musical vistas opened when at the age of 11 he began lessons with his sister’s music teacher Mysore Lakshmana Rao, who taught him first a krithi in Todi (The Hindu). As they say, the rest is history. The Todi song referred in The Hindu interview is the second piece in the concert we feature here.

The brothers go on to give us a concert of rich repertoire, including two major raga essays-Pantuvarali and Kharaharapriya. Kharaharapriya is the centerpiece, with elaborate raga alapana, a vibrant krithi “Pakkala Nilabadi” embellished with with neraval and swaras, followed by an energetic thani avarthanam.

In Pantuvarali, a melodious vocal essay is presented with many meditative moments, well complemented by the violinist. Pantuvarali ( The correct technical name is Kamavardhini) comes out as a raga of great power from Thyagaraja. We feel this raga’s timeless appeal stems perhaps from its nodal alignments to Kundalini chakras! This is probably an area for deep research, an idea supported by two recent articles on this raga: A Raga’s Journey: Poignant Pantuvarali and Mystical Flights of Ragas. We can gauge Thyagaraja’s assessment of this raga’s musical and devotional impact by listing just the famous compositions (there are many others too):

1.Vadera daivamu manasa
2.Siva Siva Siva yana rada
3.Raghuvara nannu
4.Sambho Mahadeva
6.Naradamuni vedalina
7.Ninne neranamminanura
8.Appa Rama bhakti

So all in all, in this concert, we dwell in the realm of a classical art form that traces its beginnings to Valmiki and Kusha-Lava duo. We are treated to some absorbing concert fare by Malladi Brothers representing a great guru parampara. We have some wonderful delineations of Patuvarali and Kharaharapriya (the eternal Parvathi favourite). So let us sit back and enjoy the concert!

(Ramanavami Music Festival, held on 8 April 2006)

Malladi Sreeramprasad and Malladi Ravikumar – Vocal Duet
Mysore V. Srikanth – Violin
Tumkur Ravishankar – Mridangam
M.A. Krishnamurthy - Ghatam

Song List:

01. Evari Bodhana – Abhogi Varnam – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer *** 02. Gajanana Yanuchu – Todi - ? *** 03. Sita Lakshmana Sahitam – Athana – Thyagaraja *** 04. Vadera Daivamu – Pantuvarali – Thyagaraja *** 05. Sringara Lahari – Neelambari – Mysore Lingaraje Urs *** 06.Ninu Vina – Balahamsa – Mysore Sadashiva Rao *** 07. Kharaharapriya Alapana *** 08. Pakkala Nilabadi – Kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja *** 09. Tani *** 10. Kande Na Govindana – Mand – Purandara Dasa *** 11. Akati Velala – Revati – Annamacharya *** 12. Ramachandru Ditadu – Dwijavanti – Annamacharya *** 13. Anta Ramamayam – Varali – Bhadrachala Ramadasu *** 14. Bayarani Baliche – Kapi Javali – Tirupathi Narayanaswami *** 15. Patiki Harati re Sita– Surutti – Thyagaraja *** 16. Mangalam *** (Please note this recording was not made from a line-in audio).

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Glory of Serving the Lord is also through His Grace: Prof. T. R. Subramanyam at "Parvathi" 1973

We bring to you a splendid concert by Prof. T. R. Subramanyam this time. A recognized scholar, teacher and gifted musician, he has shone in Carnatic music for many decades now. We had earlier posted a concert of his to much appreciation. This time too, his concert has all the ingredients of a memorable performance, with wonderful accompaniment by Sri M. Chandrasekharan, Sri Vellore Ramabhadran and Sri K.S. Manjunath.

(2009 photo, Courtesy: The Hindu)

A noteworthy inclusion in this concert is a rendering in Khamach of a rare composition of Mysore Sadashiva Rao (ca. 1790-1880). Being a disciple of Walajapet Venkataramana Bhagavatar (a disciple of Saint Thyagaraja), Rao is said to have met and served the saint in Walajapet. He moved later to Mysore and became the royal musician in the court of Krishnaraja Wodeyar III. His famous disciples included Veene Sheshanna and Veene Subbanna. Mysore Vasudevacharya is said to have compiled his compositions. Vidwan Sadashiva Rao is hailed as the harbinger of the Mysore Bani.

In his brilliant book, “Splendours of Royal Mysore”, Vikram Sampath narrates an interesting episode. Sadashiva Rao’s definitive night-long exposition of Todi brought a misguided musician to his senses. The musician had before arrogated to himself mastery over Todi and had even mortgaged the Raga for a financial consideration to a zamindar in his native land. After listening to Rao’s Todi, he surrendered his ego and confessed that he had not known the heights of Todi before. Wodeyar himself came in disguise to witness the master class, and later revealed himself to honour the great vidwan. Vikram Sampath also narrates that a young Sadashiva Rao had at a young age composed and presented extempore “Thyagaraja Swamy Vedalina” in Todi to Saint Thyagaraja himself and won his appreciation and blessings. Many interesting episodes from Mysore Sadashiva Rao’s life are listed also in karnatik.com. His famous compositions are Saketa Nagaranatha (Harikambhoji) made famous by GNB, Ee Maguva (Dhanyasi), and Sri Kamakotipeethasthite (Saveri).

In the Khamach composition, “Sadashiva Kavi” sings of the lord of Srirangam, describing in detail His grandeur as the deity goes in a procession, and how devas, rishis, and Vaishnavas are performing devotional services. The composer says he is blessed to attend the grand event in Srirangam, and be able to serve the lord, and says that it is all His grace. This sentiment is highly evocative for all of us, as we consider how the Sri Rama Navami festivals initiated in Mysore by Vid. Sadashiva Rao afterwards inspired generations of musicians and rasikas like Bidaram Krishnappa, Sri Puttu Rao, Mysore T. Chowdiah and our own Mr K. Srikantiah, to continue the glorious tradition. This has been a continual act of worship joined by a galaxy of great musicians, some of whom we feature here.

The enthusiastic accompaniment of Vid. M. Chandrasekharan and Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran often draws out appreciation from the Prof., with words “Appadi!”, “Appadi!” The rich atmosphere of inspired manodharma sangeetha by the ensemble abounds in creativity and even a touch of flamboyance, and all rasas are served in full measure to the lucky set of rasikas. In reflection, all the bells and whistles added by TV Mahotsavams today seem peripheral to the fundamental, rich mood of Carnatic music. Nothing indeed seems lacking in this presentation 39 years ago by Prof. T. R. Subramanyam.

There is more. The musician has chosen a Kannada poem to present like a viruttam. It is composed by Betageri Krishna Sharma (1900-1982)-his pen name was Anandakanda- who was a school teacher, poet and journalist. He composed the following poem in Belgaum in mid-1930’s. We reproduce below an extract from Sahitya Akademi’s History of Indian Literature: .1911-1956, struggle for freedom : triumph and tragedy by Sisir Kumar Das:

We are sufficiently inspired by Prof. T. R. Subramanyam’s brilliant rendition (in ragas Mohana, Kannada, Bageshri and Abheri) to give you the full text of the poem:

A rough translation:

How wonderful is this Kannada language, an enchanting nectarine flow! It’s akin to the high-pitched songs of parrots, the joyous songs of cuckoos, the tête-à-tête of squirrels in early morn.

Its melody flows from the lips of Goddess Sarasvati, singing to her vina’s accompaniment in unceasing splendour.

The cascade from Krishna’s flute has inspired gopis to dance in moonlight, and that joy has filled Kannada.

Well, we reluctantly come down to earth from that mood, and give you the list of songs. Mr. Srikantiah points out that in this concert also, Prof. T. R. Subramanyam has shown noteworthy prowess in kalpanaswaras, especially daatu movements and swaraksharas, that will have an amazing appeal to rasikas.

Ramanavami Concert, Parvathi, Mysore
Date: 18th April 1973

Vidwan T. R. Subramanyam – Vocal
Vidwan M. Chandrasekharan – Violin
Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran – Mridangam
Vidwan K. S. Manjunath – Ghatam

Song List (Please note the mridangam sounds prominent in this 39 year-old mono recording)

01. Kanada Varnam Nera Nammithi – Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar *** 02. Gajavadana – Hamsadhwani- Purandara Dasa *** 03. Neebhakti bhagyasudha- Jayamanohari – Thyagaraja*** 04. Paramadbhuta Maina – Khamach – Mysore Sadashiva Rao *** 05. Mama hrudaye – Reetigowla – Mysore Vasudevachar*** 06. Varanarada – Vijayasri – Thyagaraja*** 07. Meevalla –Kapi-Thyagaraja *** 08. Vaddane Varu- Shanmukhapriya – Thyagaraja *** 09. Tani (partial)*** 10. Etu nammina – Saveri – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer *** 11. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Sriranjani+Kanada *** 12. Enitu Inidu (Kavite) – Mohana, Kannada, Bageshri, Abheri – Anandakanda*** + Bhajare Manasa – Mysore Vasudevachar *** 13.Ma Ramachandruniki shubhamangalam- Kedaragowla- Thyagaraja ***

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mandolin U. Shrinivas – Puttu Rao Memorial Concert 2011




We feature this time a brilliant concert held last year at the opening of the Puttu Rao Memorial Concert series on 31 August 2011.

Held in the Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore, the concert marked an auspicious beginning for the new festival, and also brought a heavy downpour in the city. Braving the weather, a few hundred rasikas came to attend a memorable concert.

The story behind the scenes was no less dramatic. Vidwan Shrinivas had come straight from his US tour, and his baggage was wrongly directed by the airline to Mumbai. There were only a couple of hours before the concert after the KFA flight landed in Mysore. What was needed was an assortment of electronic amplification attachments for the mandolin as well as the artiste’s concert attire. The elderly host Sri.K. Srikantiah and his assistants managed to put everything together in a short time. A much relieved Vidwan Shrinivas came up with a highly cherishable recital.

The concert is recorded in good quality audio. Vidwan K.V. Prasad has provided sonorous and highly responsive mridangam accompaniment.

We bring you the whole concert on audio as well as a You Tube clip of the opening moments.

It is befitting to ruminate on how Carnatic music has embraced the phenomenon called Mandolin Shrinivas before we give you the full audio stream.

A few years ago, I was asked to recommend some music to be played at a family function attended by music lovers. The music had to be classical, yet contemporary and beyond banis and genres. I readily suggested Mandolin Shrinivas’s CDs. Which one? Anyone would do, I said. After all, his music sets an Olympian benchmark in creativity, melody, classical interpretations, lyrical depth, rhythmic dynamics and variety. There is NO other musician like this genius.

How come we have such a phenomenon called Mandolin Shrinivas in a highly tradition-bound mileu called Carnatic music?

In afterthought, the answer is not difficult to understand. Carnatic music traces its beginnings to Saint Purandara Dasa some five centuries ago. At the same time, Carnatic music has shown a great capacity for creative evolution and sometimes even revolution so much so that it is garnering new audiences worldwide even today. This dynamic mileu is unparalleled in its many dimensions:

1. The range of ragas, a few hundred of them, all organized in a beautiful structure, codified and exemplified by the stalwarts’ renditions. Some innovations are seen in this area even today.

2. The range and complexity of talas, or rhythmic cycles, with complex, dynamic, slow/fast structures with a beauty unique to Carnatic music. The tala dimensions are constantly innovated and unravelled by great exponents even today.

3. A whole world of compositions, all dedicated to our deities, and telling a wonderful story full of rasa. This lyrical dimension is best described as an ocean, with unfathomed depths and countless treasures.

4. Incorporation of western instruments like violin, guitar, piano, and mandolin into mainstream music. A whole new variety of wind and percussion instruments have also ascended the concert stage.

5. Enthusiastic adoption of electronic amplification for the concert stage.

Not all these innovations meet with universal approval. But even then, critics do not protest with any belligerence. It seems almost that “we are willing to try anything once”.

We need to remember these aspects in order to understand the phenomenon called Mandolin Shrinivas. Not only has this genius wowed the biggest exponents of Carnatic music, he has also experimented and extended his presence on the world music stage in an emphatic way. Mr. Srikantiah told me how Vidwan Shrinivas was invited to perform at the Barcelona Olympics. A fitting honour for a creative genius who is one of the finest examples of the youth of shining India.

We don’t need to dilate on this subject. We merely refer the rasikas to Mandolin Shrinivas’s website.

Concert Details ( held on 31.8.2011)

U. Shrinivas (Mandolin)

V.V. Srinivasa Rao ( Violin )

K.V. Prasad ( Mridangam )

G.S.Ramanujam ( Ghatam )

Song List

01. Viriboni – Varnam, Bhairavi – Pachimiriyam Adiappayya***

02. Sharanu Siddhivinayaka – Saurashtram- Purandara Dasa ***

03. Raghunayaka – Hamsadhwani – Thyagaraja ***

04. Annapoorne – Sama – Muthuswami Dikshitar ***

05. Mokshamu Galada – Saramathi – Thyagaraja ***

06. Varanarada – Vijayashree – Thyagaraja ***

07. Rama Nee Samanamevaru – Kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja *** Thani Avarathanam ***

08. Krishna Nee Begane – Yamuna Kalyani – Vyasaraya ***

09. Chinnanchiru Kiliye – Ragamalika – Subrahmanya Bharathi ***

10. Bhajan – Ahir Bhairav ***

11. Thiruppugazh – Desh ***

12. Chandrashekhara – Sindhu Bhairavi – Aanai Vaidyanatha Iyer ***

13. Dhanashree Tillana – Swathi Thirunal ***

14. Mangalam ***

Friday, April 27, 2012

Reliving Beautiful Moments with Vidushis Radha Jayalakshmi, 1962

In an earlier posting we spoke of the visit of the Vidushis Radha & Jayalakshmi to "Parvathi" in 1962. But, we were not ready then with the concert from that performance ( you can guess why? ).

Instead, we posted another one of their performances from "Parvathi", the April 9, 1971 concert with Vidwans Kandadevi Alagirisamy (Violin) and Vidwan Mannargudi Easwaran (Mridangam). This was along with Sri. T. Chowdiah's 1962 speech, highlighting only a few of his words.

Smt. Radha and Smt. Jayalakshmi ( connected both by blood as cousins, and in music through their sheer artistry ) have left many a beautiful memory in "Parvathi".

If connoisseurs of wine are permitted a gush over the quality of a product depending on how old it is, then how much more meaningful would it be for us to be revering these great artists of the past, on music meant, only as 'ambrosia' for the Gods?

To retain the historical perspective to this blog, we are providing you with some sentimental echoes from Sri. K. Srikantiah:

"... Radha-Jayalakshmi have given about 10-12 concerts at Parvati during Ganesh festivals and Ramanavami Festivals.

They have had a close association with 'Parvati' for nearly 3 decades.

During 60s and 70s R-J were a much sought after performing duo. They were always crowd pullers, and invariably their concert used to be a grand success.

Their planning of a 3-hr concert was always excellent. R-J had created aunique niche for themselves in the Carnatic Music World with their inimitable, precise, clear rendition of kritis,comprehensive Raga presentation, creative Swaras, and Devotional Devaranamas with great mass appeal.

R-J were disciples of Sri Balu, who was a favourite disciple of G.N.Balasubrahmanyam. Sri Balu was himself gaining prominence which was unfortunately stopped by his untimely death.

One can discern the GNB baani in all concerts of R-J...."

As before, we also draw upon our own team member in music Sri. R.Sachi to write once again on this vintage 1962 Concert by the duo ( to see his own beautiful blog - please click here )

" We bring you this time excerpts from a Parvathi house concert held in 1962, on the occasion of Gouri Ganesha Festival.

Radha Jayalakshmi were a singing duo famous in the forties to the seventies. Jayalakshmi was a noted cine playback singer as well. They made a place for themselves at the top, alongside MSS, DKP and MLV. Inheriting a brisk and melodious singing style from their guru Sri GNB, they came several times to perform to full houses in Parvathi house concerts and later during Ramanavami festivals.

Held 50 years ago, the featured concert was organized by Mr. K. Srikantiah, then a young man, inheriting the mantle from his late father Sri. K. Puttu Rao (1894-1959). The audience consisted of many cognoscenti, all of whom had known Sri Puttu Rao closely.

An enthusiastic member was Sangeetha Ratna Sri T. Chowdiah. You can, as you listen to the excerpts, hear his ooh’s and aah’s. He was gracious enough to say a few words in the end, which we translate below: "

"So many distinguished people are gathered here, so who am I to speak?

If you want me to speak about today’s music, I request that someone else should cover the other aspects also.

Well, I will speak about two things today: about the great family legacy of Sri Puttu Rao and also about today’s concert.

In this age, it is very rare to find examples where the children preserve the family heritage, rare to see that the children follow in the great footsteps of their distinguished father. In this regard, Sri Puttu Rao should be considered indeed very fortunate.

Sri Puttu Rao was a noble soul and engaged in many activities. He did not simply confine himself to the goings-on of his legal profession and court proceedings. He was a very religious, culturally enlightened, and distinguished, pillar of society. He was himself a very learned man in matters of music and could sing well.

We see fortunately that his sons are fulfilling every dimension of his legacy: to follow the spiritual pursuits of Sri Puttu Rao, one son has taken the vows (in the Sringeri Sankara Math).

To continue further Sri Puttu Rao’s deep interest and patronage of classical music and fine arts, another son (K. Srikantiah) has taken up several activities. And finally, to further the family’s real-world interests and continue the ritualistic traditions, we have the first son joined by the remaining sons. What a rare and splendid example of children following in their venerable father’s footsteps indeed! It seems Sri Puttu Rao has made sure his sons will uphold the family tradition of excellence in each field. I pray to God Almighty to give them long life and success in their endeavours.

Coming to today’s concert, what can I say? I was totally carried away by the music and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful fare. Each raga, every song, sruthi, laya -every aspect was excellent. Even the accompaniments were of a high order and very mature. We know how sometimes accompanists work at cross purposes- then the music suffers.

The whole experience was like enjoying a sweet delicacy cooked with splendid ingredients- all milk, sugar, kesari, badami, pacchakarpura…it was like that.

I am particularly fond of these youngsters Radha and Jayalakshmi. I have known them from the days of their tender youth. They are the shishyaas of my close friend Sri G.N. Balasubramaniam. I have said before… they are to me “GNB in sarees”. They truly embody the excellence of their master. Just as we extol a daughter for being as good as her mother, the disciple should emulate the guru sincerely and be a worthy successor.

Nada is paramount. One should dissolve oneself in the sruthi and live the music. This is after all a spiritual endeavour. The language and words are secondary. Today’s Shuddha Saveri was very good, high-class. Same with Thodi and Kalyani. With such music, the words seem less important.

I also earn my living as a mere musician, otherwise I would have done 'kanakabhisheka' to these artistes for any of those ragas.

The mridangam was resonant like a ghatam.. a well tuned ghatam-it merged with Panchama well.

I have known the family very well....Sri Puttu Rao was very religious and noble, a most generous man. His good deeds have borne fruit… therefore we are having excellent concerts like this one being held in his house. Mr. Srikantiah is a very worthy son of his father. I believe Sri Puttu Rao is feeling very happy today in heaven above.

Rarely are brothers this friendly and harmonious in nature. Not only those, their wives are also very affectionate towards one another. The strong root of this family is their worthy mother whom they all revere so much. The mother ( Smt. Parvathamma) was always engaged in prayer and worship.

To the family, the musicians and all the lucky ones gathered here…. May Lord Ganapathi bless all of you and shower prosperity."

Concert Details

Radha-Jayalakshmi ---- Vocal

R.S Gopalakrishnan ---- Violin

Krishnamani ----------- Mridangam

on Sept 4, 1962 at Parvathi during Gowri-Ganesh Festival.

Excerpts List

01.Pallavi “Sada Sriramam bhaja re Manasa” Kalyani, Bouli, Saraswati, Kuntalavarali*** 02. Tarakka Bindige – Tilang – Purandara Dasa *** 03. Agre Pashyami Narayaneeyam – Bilahari, Saveri, Natabhairavi, Madhyamavati*** 04. Smara Varam Varam – Sindhu Bhairavi -Sadashiva Brahmendra *** 05. Sri T. Chowdiah’s speech *** 06. Mangalam ***

Monday, March 19, 2012

Remembering God without a List of Demands confers True Joy – Dr. N. Ramani

We are privileged to feature another splendid flute recital from the Parvathi Ramanavami series, this time of Dr. N. Ramani from 1975. He is accompanied by stalwarts and the concert sparkles with great music.

After the preliminaries of Nata (Mahaganapathim) and Chakravaka (Neranammithi), Vidwan Ramani presents a delightful Bilahari.

In the ‘60s, Prof. P. Sambamurthy, the musicologist, visited Mysore and gave extremely interesting lectures about Carnatic music. He demonstrated how a flute could be constructed so it would be easier to play. Of course we are not suggesting that anyone can produce good Carnatic music by merely being able to blow into a flute! Prof. Sambamurthy then also spoke of the impact beyond cultural borders of melodies we develop via our ragas. He stated that the raga Bilahari instantly evokes joy wherever it is heard, even by someone totally new to Carnatic music. We remember his words as we listen to the Bilahari presented here. It is a timeless favourite at Parvathi.

The song that follows is a lovely composition of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. He describes the charms and glories of Krishna, and the devotee is urged to remember God, not in the context of his own miseries, but for the devotee to delight in the glories of the Almighty: “Smara sadā mānasa bālagōpālam”. This chronicler once asked Vidwan KVN what he liked about Swathi compositions. The maestro stated that the Maharaja always spoke the language of the aesthete, a devotee who did not think of God from a perspective of misery. This song is a good illustration of that.

And that brings us to the violinist from Kerala, Vidwan Chalakudy N. S. Narayanaswamy (1925-2003). He has accompanied many stalwarts at Parvathi. A disciple of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Sri Narayanaswamy was a Professor of Music at Shri Swathi Thirunal College of Music , and Staff Artiste of the AIR at Tiruvanantapuram from 1946 to 1956. Later, he was the Principal of the Sri Swathi Thirunal College of Music at Tiruvanantapuram for a number of years.

After Bilahari, we are treated to a wonderful alapana of Amrithavarshini. Vidwan Ramani evokes a wide spectrum of moods with his manodharma and virtuosity on the flute. Later we have a grand Kambhoji prelude to ‘’O Rangashaayi.’’

Once again, the Parvathi favourite Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran adorns this recital with his wonderful mridangam.

And there is a bonus: a scintillating Thani!


The upa-pakkavadyam prominent in so many Parvathi concerts is the khanjira wielded by Vidwan H. P. Ramachar. Over many decades, he endeared himself to artistes and audiences with his enthusiastic presence. We quote below excerpts from the Kutcheribuzz obituary in 2006:

Having chosen music as life at the early age of seven, he had the fortune of accompanying the doyens of music as well as the young stars. He was a staff artiste of AIR, Bangalore. Performances in India and abroad brought him fame with his innovative approach, imagination and undying enthusiasm that remained unaffected by age. He had also participated in percussion ensembles alongside the likes of Zakir Hussain and Vellore Ramabhadran. Ramachar also directed a unique percussion ensemble of women percussionists called – ‘Mahila Laya Madhuri’.

He was a recipient of a number of awards and honours, some of which are: Rajyotsava award of Government of Karnataka, ‘Laya Kala Nipuna’ and ‘K Puttu Rao Memorial Palghat Mani Award’ of Percussive Arts Centre, ‘Sangeetha Kalaratna’ of Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

Homage by Prof. T. N. Krishnan:

" I am extremely sad to know about the sudden demise of my good friend and colleague H P Ramachar the well known, versatile Kanjeera Maestro. It is still fresh in my memory. the many concerts we had played together with the Stalwarts like Ariyakudi, Chembai, Maharajapuram, Semmangudi, GNB, Madurai Mani Iyer. Alathur Bros, Mali and others. Mr Ramachar was a very nice person and sincere friend. His contribution to the growth of music in general and percussive arts in particular is quite phenomenal.

My association with him on and off the concert platform dates back to more than six decades. His passing away is a great loss not only to the music world, but personally also. I am sure his tradition will be looked after and kept alive by his talented daughter Smt Latha. My sincere condolences to all the family members."

Concert details

Ramanavami concert held at Parvathi on 22 April 1975.
N. Ramani – Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy – Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran – Mridangam
H. P. Ramachar – Khanjira

Song List
01. Mahaganapathim – Nata – Muthuswami Dikshithar*** 02. Neranammithi – Chakravaka- Mysore Vasudevachar*** 03. Smara Sada Manasa – Bilahari – Swathi Thirunal *** 04. Anandamrithakarshini – Amrithavarshini – Muthuswami Dikshithar *** 05. Nenarunchinanu – Malavi – Thyagaraja *** 06. O Rangashayi – Kambhoji – Thyagaraja *** Thani*** 07. TBA – Revathi – TBA*** 08. Sharavana bhava – Shanmukhapriya – Papanasam Sivan *** 09. Hey Govinda – Desh – Meera*** + Sadho - Ahir Bhairav - Surdas *** 10. Kavadi Chindu *** 11. Mangalam ***