/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Our Tribute to a Doyen of the Harikatha World

Sant Bhadragiri Achyut Das

A Tribute by Mysore Prabha:

The doyen of Harikatha world, Sri Achyut Das, is no more. In his passing away, he has left a void probably never to be filled.

Harikatha is one of our ancient, traditional art forms, where philosophy and life values are taught to people in a musical form. My father, Sri. K. Srikantiah, time and again says, “one can with effort become a singer, a dramatist, an orator, a scholar, a humorist, a linguist. But only a combination of all these qualifications added to excellent memory can make a person a Harikatha Vidwan. Such is the depth and merit of our Harikatha Art.”

This dying art was kept alive thanks to a few scholars like Sri Achyut Das (1933-2013). His Harikathas would have flashes of Carnatic music, Hindustani music, abhangs, bhajans, humour, bhakti , satire, navarasas and worldly knowledge. No wonder it would reach out to a large number of people and attracted a huge fan-following. Sri Achyut Das performed in various languages like Kannada, Marathi, Konkani, Tamil, Telugu, etc. Listening to 3 hours of his Harikatha would be equivalent to reading 300 hours of various books. That was the sort of knowledge that a listener would gain!

Sri Achyut Das was a very close friend to my father, K.Srikantiah. His Harikatha performance was a regular fixture in our annual Sri Ramanavami Music Festival at Mysore for the past 40 years. His pleasant countenance, the kind,loving smile on his bright, graceful face, his friendly voice, will all be etched in our memories forever. He was a 'Sadhu' in the true sense of the word. Such was his affection for my father that he, himself, would call us around December-January, give a date for his performance for our on-coming festival in April, and then start off on his far-flung tours.

And on the day of his programme, without any prior intimation, he would be at the venue of the programme in Mysore promptly at 6 in the evening- be it from Bangalore, Hassan, Maharashtra, Andhra, or even a place as remote as Chambal Valley! He used to tour all over India in his well-equipped caravan-like orange coloured van. He always had a kind word, a blessing, an ncouragement to anyone and everyone who came to him. It was my privilege and honour that he released one of my audio cassettes, 'Haridasa Vani' in our Ramanavami pandal on 19th April 1986.

Sri Achyut Das has without doubt led a worthy life - touching a lot of lives with his discourses. It was our proud privilege to honour this saintly vidwan during our silver jubilee Ramanavami Festival at Mysore in the year 1994.

Our tribute to this great soul is in the form of presenting one of his Harikathas, "Seetha Kalyana" at Parvathi.

May his soul rest in peace.


Sant Bhadragiri Achyut Das - Harikatha ‘Seetha Kalyana'
on 19-4- 86 at "Parvathi" , Ramanavami Festival

01 Seetha Kalyana - Katha commencement*** 02 Seetha Kalyana - Rama Dhyana*** 03 Seetha Kalyana - Bhajana Shravana*** 04 Seetha Kalyana - Ma Nishaada*** 05 Seetha Kalyana - Sri Rama Janana*** 06 Seetha Kalyana - Vishwamitra-Rama Vanavasa*** 07 Seetha Kalyana - Ahalya Shapavimochana*** 08 Seetha Kalyana - Shiva Dhanurbhanga*** 09 Seetha Kalyana - Seetha Swayamvara*** 10 Seetha Kalyana -Mangalam***

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Master class in Carnatic Vocal Music

Prof. T.R. Subramaniam, Parvathi 1972

A Tribute by R. Sachi

Through sharing this concert with rasikas worldwide, we offer our respectful remembrance of the late Prof. T.R. Subramaniam (1929-2013). Over the years, Prof. TRS came and performed many times in Parvathi.

(Photo from one of several TRS concerts in Parvathi)

While we were reading the various tributes and obituaries on his recent passing away, and preparing this upload, the title for this posting suggested itself. You have here a master class in how to sing a great Carnatic vocal concert. A master class from a vidwan who was always a student and a teacher, one who earned a devoted following among rasikas, fellow artistes and students for several decades.

We quote Vid. Chitraveena Ravikiran on Prof. TRS:

" Few people have brought to the Indian music field as much innovative spirit, intellectual merit and more than all these, a positive attitude as Prof T R Subramaniam has done for several decades. His story reveals that he has not only done different things but also done things with a difference. Right from the beginning, he carved a special path for himself, one that several others are following today.

Prof TRS has made wonderful use of the gifts he possessed – an analytical and objective brain, exposure to several great styles, creativity and strong laya sense. He combined these to create a style of his own that wafted into the music field in a refreshing manner. It goes without saying that his approach and all too well known musicianship have accorded him a great status today "

Prof. TRS was active even on the last day, teaching in the Music Academy (4 Oct., 2013). For many decades, he had been a music professor in Vijayawada College, later Delhi University , finally settling down in Chennai where he set up the Music Education Trust to implement his ideas of creative musical exploration and developmental pedagogy. His Lec-dems on RTPs and other subjects are very well known and available through several DVDs.

Importantly, the concert opens uniquely, with three consecutive pieces offered as a tribute to Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar (MD), youngest of the trinity and often cited as the most accomplished vaggeyakara in Carnatic music. The first one is MD’s Malahari krithi in praise of Ganesha, then follows a rarely heard MD composition in Hindola in praise of Saraswathi; the third being a tribute by the famous Tanjavur Quartet in raga Purvi Kalyani to their incomparable guru, Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Then there comes a another major item to cherish- the Abhogi exposition and the krithi Nikeppudu daya by Mysore Sadasiva Rao.

Prof. TRS is well known to be masterly in rendering Kannada compositions, especially rare Dasarapadas, with impeccable diction and with his own original musical score. In this concert he has sung a Purandaradasa krithi, in which the saint composer is himself giving a master class in how a musical concert should be!
tāḷa bēku takka mēḷa bēku

Ollē vēḷe bēku gāna kēḷabēkembuvarige

gaḷa śuddavirabēku tiḷidu pēḷabēku
kaḷavaḷa biḍabēku kaḷe mogavirabēku

yatiprāsavirabēku gatige nillisabēku
rati pati pitanoḷu ati prēmavirabēku

aritavarirabēku haruṣa heccalubēku (sabheyalli)
purandara viṭhalanalli sthira bhakti irabēku

Here is a free –style translation:

For a great musical experience, there should be “Tala” and appropriate accompaniment. One should find a quiet time (without hurry!). The lyrics should have poetic graces like Yati and Prasa (alliteration, rhyme); and the right tempo and time sense. Both the musicians and the listeners should harbour great love for the Lord (Vishnu=Ratipatipita). The singer should sing with a clear voice and be knowledgeable (like Prof. TRS!) He should cast aside worldly cares, and have a happy countenance. The listeners should be knowledgeable too (both musically and spiritually). The concert should spread joy all round. And one should have firm devotion to the supreme Lord, Purandara Vitthala.

After singing this beautiful song in Sriranjani, Prof. TRS takes up Mohana and later the Natabhairavi RTP, both highly cherishabe renditions. The concert concludes with some lovely Kanakadasa and Purandaradasa compositions and a Lalgudi tillana. Throughout the concert Prof. TRS motivates the accompanists to give of their best.

So dear rasikas, come, let us sit in the master class of Prof. T.R. Subramaniam and listen to some divine music.

Concert Details

Vid. T.R. Subramaniam ------------ Vocal
Vid. V.Sethuramiah ------------------ Violin
Vid. Tanjore Upendran ------------- Mridangam
Vid. ??? ---------------------------------Khanjira

on 2 April 1972 at " Parvathi " during Ramanavami.

Song List

01-Panchamathanga-Malahari- Muthuswami Dikshitar*** 02-Saraswathividiyuvathi-Hindola-Muthuswami Dikshitar*** 03-Satileni-Purvikalyani-Tanjavur Quartet*** 04. Nikeppudu daya – Abhogi – Mysore Sadasiva Rao *** 05-Varanarada-Vijayashree-Thyagaraja*** 05a-Talabeku-Sriranjani-Purandaradasa*** 06-Mohanarama-Mohana*** 07-Yarukkum Adangada Nilli-Begada-Muthiah Bhagavatar*** 08-Thathwameruga-Garudadhwani-Thyagaraja*** 09-RTP-Natabhairavi (+Ganamurthi )*** 10-Haribhaktisara stanzas-Behag, Valachi- Kanakadasa*** 10a-Vasudevana nenedu - Valachi-Purandaradasa*** 11-Tillana-Bageshri- Lalgudi Jayaraman***

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Charge of the Youth Brigade

Vid. Sanjay Subrahmanyan
1993 Ramanavami Concert, Parvathi, Mysore

Narration by R. Sachi

They say nature abhors a vacuum. There’s proof for this statement in Carnatic music. Just as the great doyens of the 1930’s-1950’s were winding up their act on Planet Earth, God decided to bring forth a new brigade of Carnatic stars. Between 1965-1975 (arbitrary dates), a number of future Carnatic stars were born, in different parts of India, all to converge towards great teachers of Carnatic music, hone their skills with great perspicacity, and climb on to the concert stage early and attraction attention.

This youth brigade have gone on to prime time slots in all major Vizhas and festivals. They have forayed into film music to garner Oscar nominations. They are beginning to win the Sangeetha Kalanidhi titles ahead of much older musicians. They have inspired alternative film makers. They have gone and performed in war-ravaged Sri Lanka. They criss-cross the globe, publishing their “Fall” and “Spring” tours on websites and microblogs. They explore multi-lingual repertoire. They enthusiastically feature in CM-HM_Jazz jugalbandis. They sing four-plus hour RTP concerts. In other words, they drive home the point that all’s well in Carnatic music.

A leader of this “who’s who” youth brigade is Vid. Sanjay Subrahmanyan. Mr. K. Srikantiah recognized his talent early and is highly impressed by Sanjay's style of singing, with his depth of classicism and brisk flow of creativity. Sanjay has sung 3-4 times during Parvathi Ramanavami celebrations. Mr. Srikantiah still remembers the 'Sahana' which he has sung in the 1993 concert we feature here.

[ Courtesy: The Hindu ]

In a recent profile, the Sruti magazine states that Sanjay was first sent to learn the violin from Vid. V. Lakshminarayana, at the age of seven. A bicycle accident and a broken wrist later, he took up vocal music. Thereafter, his grandaunt, Rukmini Rajagopalan (student of Parur Sundaram Iyer and Papanasam Sivan) shepherded and nurtured him. He later came under the dynamic guidance of the renowned musician-teacher Calcutta K.S. Krishnamurthi, who stoked Sanjay’s creative urges and groomed him to become the kind of free spirited performer he is today.

Sruti also states that interestingly, Sanjay never had the experience of a traditional gurukulam (and the resulting pathantharam or style imbibed during such an experience) for any prolonged period of time. By his own admission, he was drawn to the music of some of the most legendary musicians of earlier generations. One can sense the influences in his music – G.N. Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.D. Ramanathan, Ramnad Krishnan, S. Kalyanaraman, and at times, even T.N. Seshagopalan. Nevertheless, there is not a hint of imitation in his music, only an original amalgamation and recreation of the styles which inspired him. Sanjay has of late been learning from a nagaswara exponent Semponnarkoil S.R.D. Vaidyanathan.

It is no exaggeration to say that Sanjay commands a huge and devoted fan following of three generations of Carnatic rasikas around the world.

Concert Details

Sanjay Subrahmanyan ------------- Vocal
T.T.Srinivasan ------------------ Violin
P.G.Lakshminarayan -------- Mridangam

Held on April 7, 1993 during Ramanavami festival in Parvathi, Mysore
(we regret we can’t find a photo from the concert)

Song List

01. Sarasuda (Varna)- Saveri- Kotthavasal Venkatarama Iyer *** 02. Samayamide -Kedara-Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 03. Brochevarevarura-Khamach – Mysore Vasudevachar *** 04. Needu chranamule- Simhendramadhyama-Thyagaraja *** 05. Vandanamu- Sahana – Thyagaraja *** 06. Kaddanuvariki-Todi – Thyagaraja *** 07. Sapashyat Kausalya - Jonpuri -Panchapakesha Sastri*** 08. Jinjhuti Tillana- Veene Sheshanna *** 09. Thrippugazh - Harikambhoji- Arunagirinathar *** 10. Pavamana - Saurashtra- Thyagaraja ***

SPECIAL NOTE : We record our heart-felt condolence on the sad passing away of the great musician and teacher Prof. T.R. Subramanyam. His concert held in Parvathi in 1973 that we have shared here earlier is an all-time favourite.

We intend to post shortly another great concert of this wonderful scholar-musician. May his soul rest in peace.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Establishing the Instrumental Solo Concert in Carnatic Music

N. Ramani, Ganesha Festival 1972

Text Courtesy: R. Sachi

We are happy to feature here another lovely concert of the evergreen favourite Dr. N. Ramani. Held during the Ganesha festival in 1972, the concert offers delectable fare typical of the golden years of instrumental concerts in Carnatic music.

Vidwans (L to R): Vellore Ramabhadran, K.S. Manjunath, N. Ramani, M.Chandrasekharan

There have been several narratives of the way instrumental music concerts made their impact on the Carnatic music scene from late 1950’s. Of course there were many stalwarts wielding the bow, or flute or veena, even before, who had established themselves as path-breakers. Then of course there were the Nadaswaram vidwans who not only commanded respect but were emulated in several major Banis of vocal and instrumental music - especially for their raga elaboration and swara rendering.

But we can clearly see a golden era during 1960’s and 1970’s when instrumental solo concerts commanded audiences and appreciation from connoisseurs. Today, there is no dearth of young talent among solo instrumentalists. But somehow they seem to have yielded ground to vocalists for a number of reasons. In any case, the home of Parvathi was witness to many stellar concerts of doyens performing instrumental solos, starting with Mahalingam, Lalgudi, Ramani, Doreswamy Iyengar, Emani, Chittibabu, TN Krishnan, M Chandrasekharan, KS Gopalakrishnan, Sikkil Sisters, Mandolin Shrinivas, Mysore Manjunath and Nagaraj, and so on. Even in this year’s K. Puttu Rao festival, there were two instrumental concerts - the Lalgudi siblings on the violin and Chandan Kumar on the flute - to regale audiences. This Parvathi site is already a treasure of over 25 instrumental solo concerts and more are coming!

In this concert, we can sense the enthusiastic mood of the artistes right from the word go. The two songs on Vinayaka are rendered with aplomb. The rare Mandari krithi is presented with panache. In Mohana, the opening phrases are clearly from the Lalgudi Bani, which Ramani holds in high regard. Chandrasekharan is full of anticipation. Throughout this concert, his violin sings so sweetly that Ramani rises to even greater heights. Ramani suffuses each song with superb raga bhava. The listeners are treated to excellent renderings of Bhavanutha, Palinchu Kamakshi and then a fine Kambhoji RTP. There is a Tani in Vellore style also. The audience appreciation can be clearly heard in many places, especially during the ragamalika swaras and the lighter items.

We are sure you will immensely enjoy this offering, and we promise you more stellar concerts soon!

Concert Details

N.Ramani --- Flute
M. Chandrasekharan---Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran --- Mridangam
K.S. Manjunath ---- Ghatam

Held on Sept 12, 1972 at 'Parvathi" during Gowri-Ganesh festival

Song List

01-Viriboni-Bhairavi- Pachimiriyam Adiappayya*** 02-Vatapi-Hamsadhwani- Muthuswami Dikshitar*** 03-Gajavadana-Sriranjani- Papanasam Sivan*** 04-Endukitu Chapalamu - Mandari - Patnam Subramanya Iyer*** 05-Bhavanutha-Mohana- Thyagaraja*** 06. Palinchu kamakshi – Madhyamavati – Shyama Shastri*** Excellent Tani!!! 07-Evarani-Devamruthavarshini- Thyagaraja*** 08-RTP-Kambhoji ( ragamalika swaras -Shahana. Nilambari, Bowli, Darbari Kanada)*** 09-Tillana - Tilang - Lalgudi Jayaraman*** 10-Bhajan- Madhuvanti*** 11-Ashtapadi-Desh- Jayadeva*** 12-Thiruppugazh- Kannada _Arunagirinathar*** 13-Mangalam***