/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Mother Goddess in our Prayers – Parvathi

Vid. Chandan Kumar – Flute, 2013 K. Puttu Rao Festival

An Appreciation by Shri R. Sachi

We extend our season’s greetings to Rasikas worldwide as we share a lovely flute recital recording. Vidwan Chandan Kumar, the great-grand son of the legend Mysore T. Chowdiah, is a well-known, highly talented, flautist with concert engagements around the globe. He has a pleasant blowing technique and brings considerable vidwat into play with a wide repertoire. In this concert, he offers a range of krithis with some excellent violin and percussion accompaniment.

In his remarks to the audience, Mr. Srikantiah shares his appreciation of Chandan Kumar’s flute technique and states how, per his request, the concert includes famous compositions of Mysore Vasudevachar. The youngster’s music carries the blessing of the violin legend Vid. Chowdiah.

Mr. K. Srikantiah also records his affection and appreciation for the long musical career, as a performer as well as an excellent teacher, of Vid. H. K. Narasimhamurthy, who has produced many violinists shining on the concert stage today.

Coming to the fare in this concert, Vid. Chandan Kumar presents a rare krithi of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar in the raga Dharmavati (called Dhaamavati in the asampurna paddhati). The song itself is a prayer to Parvathi (the text is reproduced below from Vid. T. K. Govinda Rao’s compilation):

It is a notable aspect of Carnatic music that all vaggeyakaras, from Purandara Dasa to the Trinity as well as the 20th century composers like Papanasam Sivan and Vasudevachar, have composed works in praise of the mother goddess.

Just like the presiding deity of Mysore is the goddess Chamundi, the presiding deity of the family of Mr. Srikantiah is goddess Parvathi. The genius of our civilization is exemplified by the worship of the mother goddess. We combine the ideas of the Eternal Principle, earthly beauty and filial affection in a unique way in our worship. Sri Adi Shankara’s Soundarya Lahari is a veritable blueprint for seeking salvation through prayer to the Mother Goddess. In this composition, Sri Dikshitar gives a quick résumé of Parvathi: the youthful consort of Shiva, the Eternal Light and ever-loving Mother.

Come, let us enjoy an excellent flute concert of nearly three hours.

Concert Details

M.A.Chandan Kumar ----- Flute
H.M.Smitha ------------------- Violin
C.Cheluvaraj --------------- Mridangam
G.S.Ramanujam ----------- Ghatam
on 2-9-2013 during K.Puttu Rao Memorial Music Festival at Mysore.

Song List

01. Evari Bodhana- Abhogi- Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 02. VinayakaNinnuVina-Hamsadwani- E.V.Ramakrishna Bhagavatar
*** 03. TeliyaleruRama- Dhenuka- Thyagaraja *** 04. Bhajare Re Manasa- Abheri- Mysore Vasudevachar *** 05. Parandhamavati- Dharmavathi- Muthuswami Diskhitar *** 06. RaghuvamshaSudha- KadanaKutuhala- Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 07. RaRaRajeevaLochana- Mohana- Mysore Vasudevachar + Tani *** 08. Speech-K Srikantiah *** 09. Govardhana Giridhari- Darbari Kanada – Narayana Tirtha *** 10. Tillana- Dhanasri- Swati Thirunal ***

Monday, November 3, 2014

Divine Grace- its Processes and Effects

Hyderabad Brothers, 1998 - Ramanavami

An introspection by Shri R. Sachi

We are very happy to share with Rasikas worldwide excerpts from a brilliant vocal duet of the senior vidwans, D. Seshachary and D. Raghavachary, popularly known as Hyderabad Brothers, held during the Ramanavami festival at "Parvathi", Mysore, in 1998.

The Hyderabad Brothers duo made a mark for themselves during late 1970’s and have won many honours since, especially the prizes for for the best concerts of the season in the Music Academy, Madras, year after year. They have a beautiful vocal duet technique and employ a deeply classical idiom to connect instantly with their audiences. They received the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for the year 2013.

The excerpts we share here have an enduring musical value. Consider the range of ragas essayed: Nata, Sriranjani, Ravichandrika, Kambhoji, Bhairavi, Tilang, Durga…What a range of krithis, and what contemplative lyrical depth. Many of the compositions dwell on the aspect of divine grace. What is divine grace and how does one become ready for it?

The very first song, a classic composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar, gives an inkling…

Swaaminaatha paripaalayaashu maam… kaamitaartha vitarana …bodha roopa nityaananda karana

So at a basic level, the Lord protects and nurtures us. At the next level, He fulfils our desires and wants. But His grace has its full effect in enlightening us on the ultimate reality of divine bliss, and taking us beyond worldly wants.

The following songs also highlight the same theme:

Brochevaarevare…bhavaabdhitaraNopaayamu nerani tyaagaraajuni karambidi..

Who else, but you, oh Rama, will take me across by hand over the ocean of worldliness.

Niravadhisukhadaa..saadhumaanasa susadana

Dwelling in the pure heart, you confer eternal bliss…

The Kshetrayya padam sung here, Rama Rama in Bhairavi, may appear at one level to depict the pangs of a lover, but Shringara is one of the nava vidha bhaktis. Radha, Andal, and Meera, all represent the yearning for the Lord that results in Mukti.

We also have in the concert an interesting admonition to the worldly man by Purandara Dasa. This Durga raga composition Dharma Shravanavidetake was made famous by GNB. The words used by the composer are quite strong, stating that it is totally futile for a man, even if born in the upper caste, to observe religious rituals and listen to spiritual discourses, until and unless he realises the futility of pursuits in the material world and yearns for liberation. He says, huttukurudage deepavidetake bhrashtanigeke kuladharma, meaning that the light of a lamp is useless for a man born blind, just as a depraved man should not flaunt the rituals of his high birth.

We can thus conclude that being eligible for grace is the only thing within our powers. Grace flows and confers on us the pleasures of this world, but more importantly, the bliss of liberation. And as all the saint composers stress, it is a question for us of looking for the true enduring reward of existence and not the trinkets of material prosperity.

Come, let us enjoy a brilliant concert recorded at Parvathi 16 years ago!

Concert Details

Hyderabad Brothers
(D.Seshachary and D.Raghavachary) -------- Vocal

H.K.Narasimhamurthy ----------------- Violin
Cheluvaraj ------------------------ Mridangam
Srinath ------------------------- Ghatam

on 9-4-1998 during Ramanavami at Parvathi.

Song List

01 Swaminatha-Nata-Muthuswami Dikshitar*** 02 Brochevarevare-Sriranjini -Thyagaraja*** 03 Niravadhisukhada-Ravichandrika-Thyagaraja*** 04 Kambhoji Raga-Tana*** 05 Pallavi-Kambhoji & swaras-Kambhoji, Bilahari, Saveri*** 06 Rama Rama- Bhairavi padam - Kshetrayya*** 07 Rama Rama-Tilang-Purandara Dasa*** 08 Dharmashravana-Durga- Purandara Dasa*** 09 Mangalam***

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Importance of Team-work in a Carnatic Concert

Vid. Nedunuri Krishnamurthy – Ramanavami concert 1971 at Parvathi ( Excerpts )

An analysis by Shri R. Sachi

We feature this time the well known Vidwan, Sangita Kalanidhi Nedunuri Krishnamurthy, one among the many stalwarts who have come and performed in Parvathi over six decades. Endowed with a very resonant voice, and presenting a large repertoire in Telugu, Sanskrit and other languages, with chaste diction, with a pleasant, engaging, manodharma, Nedunuri has achieved success with audiences as well as accompanists for a long time.

In this concert from 1971, he is accompanied by Vid.Lalgudi Jayaraman, Vid. Umayalpuram Sivaraman, and Vid. TH Vinayakram. This is a star-studded ensemble and you can surely look forward to some wonderful music, the result of great team-work. After a very emotive Mohana and Nanu Palimpa, we have three very rakthi-filled renditions. There is also a percussion interlude between Umayalpuram and Vinayakram. The whole concert exudes a sense of balance and melody.

The following two excerpts from “An Incurable Romantic”, the authorised biography of Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, by Lakshmi Devnath, show what an excellent rapport Nedunuri enjoyed with Lalgudi.

Recently, when Nedunuri was conferred a title by a reputed Sabha in Bangalore, a glowing tribute was paid by Vid. Umayalpuram Sivaraman.

For the past 40-50 years, these three artistes have been shining stars on the Carnatic concert platform.

We read in the “Karnataka Sangita Vishaya Vishwakosha”, by Dr. V. S. Sampathkumaracharya, that Nedunuri was born in East Godavari district in 1927. He comes from a family of musicians. He went to Dr. Pinakapani in 1949 for advanced studies. In his long career spanning more than six decades, apart from being a very respected concert artiste, he has held many teaching positions in several established institutions all over Andhra Pradesh. His lessons on radio and television have helped thousands of music students. He has received the title of Asthana Vidwan from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam for his great contribution to popularising Annamacharya compositions. In fact the song, in Revathi, “Nanati Bratuku” made famous by MSS, was tuned by him. He has also set to music the compositions of Kaivara Yogi Narayana, hailing from a small town in Karnataka.

Come, let us enjoy a vintage concert from the masters.

Concert Excerpt details

Nedunuri Krishnamurthy-Vocal
Lalgudi Jayaraman-Violin
Umayalpuram Sivaraman-Mridangam
TH Vinayakram-Ghatam 6-4-71 at "Parvathi" during Ramanavami.

Song List

01. Mohana Raga *** 02. Nanu Palimpa – Thyagaraja *** 03. Tani Avarthanam *** 04. Challare Ramachandru-Ahiri-Thyagaraja *** 05. Ramamantrava Japiso-Jaunpuri-Purandara Dasa *** 06. Gayathi Vanamali-Durga- Sadashiva Brahmendra ***

2008 - K.K. Murthy Memorial Chowdiah Awards
Nedunuri Krishnamurthy (left) with R. Vishweshwaran
[ Photo Courtesy: The Hindu ]

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mandolin Srinivas – A Prodigious son of Music

In our Eternal Memories: Mandolin U. Srinivas (1969 ~ 2014)

A Tribute by Mysore Prabha

“U. Srinivas passed away” was the breaking news on TV. It was heart-breaking news for us.

Though Lalgudi Krishnan had already given us the shocking news, my mind just refused to accept the fact. How could this happen? Though we knew that he was ailing, we never doubted his recovery. But fate snatched U. Srinivas away from amidst us. To put it in renowned novelist and writer R. K. Narayan’s words, “He jumped the queue”. U. Srinivas has moved on to another world, leaving behind his prodigious, melodious, soul-stirring music for us to enjoy.

There is probably no other musician from India who attained national and international acclaim at such young age as U. Srinivas did. He was recognized as a child-prodigy when he started performing at a very young age of 8-10 years. He continued to be a prodigy even in his 40s, because, no other musician produced such wonderful music on the mandolin (the supposedly ill-suited instrument for carnatic classical music) like Srinivas did. It is to Srinivas’ credit that he has greatly popularized Indian music in western countries. He was always a crowd puller whenever and wherever he performed-in India or abroad. His music always pleased the connoisseur and the layman alike.

My family’s association with U. Srinivas dates back to 1984. It was on 10.4.84 that Srinivas first visited our home,”Parvati”, in Mysore, to perform during the annual Ramanavami music festival conducted by my father, K. Srikantiah. He was a small-built lad and I remember the shy boy sitting on the carpet with his mandolin next to him, gazing and touching his mandolin continuously, as if afraid someone would snatch it away from him. He had no eyes for anything or anyone else, and spoke only in monosyllables. The pandal next to our house and the roads surrounding it were jam-packed with music lovers waiting to listen to the highly acclaimed child-prodigy. The little boy timidly got on to the stage – and then! The audience was transported to a heavenly world of music emanating from his magical fingers! Starting then, he gave about 8 to 10 concerts for us spread over two and a half decades. Surprisingly, despite all his name, fame and glory, he was still the same, child-like, humble Srinivas when he performed for our K. Puttu Rao music festival (Inaugural concert) in 2011. Little did we know that it would be his last concert for us, and also in Mysore. It was our privilege to honour Srinivas during our Silver Jubilee year Ramanavami festival in 1994. It warmed our hearts when Srinivas said in his speech that he considered himself one in our family.

U. Srinivas has left us after leading a highly worthy life in his short life-span. He has achieved in about three decades what probably would take three births for others to achieve. The country and the Carnatic music world have lost one of its rarest gems. The Indian music world will forever be proud of its prodigious son- Mandolin Srinivas. There cannot be another Mandolin Srinivas.

My family and I pray that Lord Rama blesses Srinivas’ soul with eternal peace.

Friday, September 19, 2014



A Heart-felt Testimony by Shri R. Sachi

Life’s most stirring moments come when we are least prepared. Who can forget the wide-eyed wonder of a child witnessing the sunrise or a rainbow.. Who can explain the joy of meeting one’s beloved after a long separation. Who can explain the unbounded joy that a legendary musician gives with almost no warning?

And who can articulate the utter, desolate, loss felt by us when we heard this morning of the passing of Mandolin U. Shrinivas?

All within a short span of time, this boy wonder won millions over with his bewitching smile and bewildering mastery of an art form as complex as Carnatic music. Add to that his mastery of an instrument as foreign to India as the Mediterranean Mandolin. And we begin to appreciate the phenomenon of Mandolin U Shrinivas. As a boy of humble beginnings in an Andhra village, he came from as far away as you can imagine from the Brahmin bastion of the Carnatic Tanjavur delta. He came on the musical stage like the child Krishna strode the streets of Mathura. And everyone of us became for a moment a child full of wonderment, beholding the sunrise, or witnessing the rainbow in the sky for the first time.

Paeans have been heaped on Mandolin Shrinivas by every rasika, critic, and art patron in every genre- Carnatic, Jazz, Hindustani and World music. In a normal year, Shrinivas would traverse the continents a dozen times, and enthral audiences one day at the Music Academy, next day at Parvathi, the day after at Kala Ghoda and the next somewhere in London.

To the home called Parvathi, Shrinivas came often, like a school boy to his grandparents for summer holidays. He gave unstintingly of his brand of music which had a pristine thrill. And he would go away smiling, with the promise to return soon.

But today, he has travelled to a different plane. Bathed in tears, we can only envy the world he has gone to, because our loss is the gain of those souls in that world.

Long live the legend.

Shrinivas plays Siddivinayakam as only he can, at the age of 16 (1985)

Shrinivas speaks about his association with Parvathi (2011)

Shrinivas plays Saramathi – Mokshamu Galada (1988)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Rama’s Coronation – the glory of righteousness and devotion

T. V. Sankaranarayanan Ramanavami concert, 1991

An Appreciation by Shri R. Sachi

In this excellent concert, held more than 23 years ago, Vid. T. V. Sankaranarayanan gives a very classical recital in his energetic style with fitting accompaniment.

After presenting many great pieces, he sings this traditional shloka in a Ragamalika:

Vaidehi-sahitam suradrumatale haimE mahaa-mantapE
madhyE pushpakam-aasanE maNimayE veeraasanE susthitam|
agrE vaacayati prabhanjanasute tattvam munibhyah param
vyaakhyaantam bharataadibhih parivritam raamam bhaje Syaamalam ||

MEANING: I bow down to Lord Rama, the dark-coloured one, who is seated in a heroic posture along with his consort Sita, who hails from the kingdom of Videha, beneath the heavenly Parijata tree, under a golden canopy, on a flower bedecked gem-studded throne.

With Hanuman, the wise one, seated in front, Rama interprets the lofty scriptures to the sages present, while the sole subject extolled by the scriptures, the divinity incarnate Rama himself is resplendent, surrounded by his virtuous brother Bharata and others.

This shloka holds in its brief discourse all the essence of what Rama and Ramayana stands for. After he won the hand of Sita, the divine daughter of the enlightened king (Rajarshi) Janaka, Rama obeyed his father’s order (handed out under Kaikeyi’s duress) and spent fourteen long years in the forest. During that time, he played his regal role of upholding righteousness and protecting the good souls. He liberated, with the help of Sugriva’s army, Sita from the evil kingdom of Ravana and returned to Ayodhya. His virtuous brother, Bharata, lay in waiting, having served as his designate all these years, just to see Rama established on the throne. At the coronation of Rama, many sages gathered, along with that great hero among devotees, Hanuman, and Rama found the occasion to be appropriate to expound the scriptures to those present. The scene was truly a sight for the gods.

We can observe how the poet has woven in the virtues so many great characters in Ramayana as well as so many beautiful aspects of that moment of coronation. This was the high point in India’s celebrated ancient epic poem, Ramayana.

Saint Thyagaraja worshipped the Rama Pattabhisheka idols all his life. The great composer Muthuswami Dikshitar is stated to have composed his Manirangu masterpiece “Mamava Pattabhirama” when he visited Thyagaraja and witnessed his worship of those Pattabhisheka idols.

The themes of righteousness and devotion form the core subject of Carnatic musical compositions. The home of Parvathi has worshipped Lord Rama in his Pattabhisheka form under a Parijata tree for decades and served the cause of Carnatic music with devotion. This presentation of Vidwan T.V. Sankaranayaranan, with excellent accompaniment by vidwans Mysore Nagaraj and Harikumar, is another gem in Parvathi’s offering to rasikas.

Concert Details

T.V. Sankaranarayanan-------vocal
Mysore Nagaraj------------------violin
Hari Kumar------------------------Mridangam
on 24-3-91 during Ramanavami festival at Parvathi.

01 Vigneshwara-Arabhi-Tulasivanam*** 02 Rara mayintidaka-Asaveri-Thyagaraja*** 03 Pantuvarali Raga*** 04 Appa Rama bhakti-Pantuvarali-Thyagaraja*** 05 Kharaharapriya Raga*** 06 Rama neeyada-KHP-Thyagaraja*** 07 Sloka(Ragamalika)-Mangalam***

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Instrumental Innovations in Carnatic Music

Kadri Gopalnath Saxophone, 1982

Reflections by Shri R. Sachi

( Photo courtesy: The Hindu )

Carnatic music gives a prominent role to melodic instruments and instrumental innovations. Since the time of Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, the western instrument violin has been embraced and enhanced in our music. The traditional veena and flute have undergone many innovations. In addition, the clarinet, the mandolin, the guitar, and even the keyboard have all made inroads into Carnatic music. Most importantly, the saxophone has made an emphatic entry as early as in the 1970’s, and its synonym is Vid. Kadri Gopalnath.

Born into a Nagaswara vidwan family in Mangalore (1949), Kadri was fascinated when he heard the saxophone in the Mysore Palace band. He took to the instrument, tamed it to Carnatic ways, and has an impressive list of admirers over the years, from Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer to A R Rahman. He has been conferred a doctorate by Bangalore University, the title Sangeetha Kalashikhamani from Indian Fine Arts, Chennai, and most recently the Veene Sheshanna Memorial national award. He underwent advanced musical training under Vid T. V. Gopalakrishnan (this year’s Sangita Kalanidhi designate by the Madras Music Academy.) Whereas some purists may criticise the saxophone as being less than perfect in microtonal raga and gamaka reproduction, there cannot be any debate regarding Vid. Kadri Gopalnath’s contribution to popularising Carnatic music and the instrument saxophone especially among lay audiences of this generation.

We reproduce below an extract from his concert review in the New York Times, 1987:

" KADRI GOPALNATH plays South Indian classical music on the alto saxophone. A western listener, trying to imagine this, might expect something like the sinuously bluesy playing of a few jazz saxophonists, notably John Handy, in encounters with Indian musicians. But Mr. Gopalnath's approach is quite different. He originally played the nadaswaram, a large, throaty South Indian reed instrument, and has been able to transfer the bends, slurs and quavers of the traditional instrument to the western one with remarkable thoroughness. He is more or less reinventing the alto saxophone, using it to do things neither its western classical exponents nor the jazz players who have perfected it as an expressive instrument could have imagined. "

Vid. Kadri Gopalanath has been popular among Parvathi audiences, especially youngsters and lay listeners. We are glad to share some excerpts from his 1982 concert held during Ramanavami celebrations.

Concert Details:

Kadri Gopalnath ---- Saxaphone
A,R.Krishnamurthy --- Violin
P.G.Lakshminarayan -- Mridangam on 9-4-82 at 'Parvathi'

Song List

01 Srichamundeshwari-Bilahari-Mysore Vasudevacharya *** 02 Panchashatpitharupini-Devagandharam-Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03. Nanati bratuku- Revathi-Annamacharya *** 04. Baro Krishnaiyya- Ragamalika- Kanaka Dasa *** 05. Smara Varam varam – Bahudari- Sadashiva Brahmendra *** 06. Venkatachalanilayam – Sindhu Bhairavi – Purandara Dasa ***

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 - K.Puttu Rao Memorial Music Festival

An Invitation


Its getting close to that time of the Year again !

Spring-summer time and with it a celebration in Carnatic Music !

Please welcome once again to Mysore !

To the 2014 K. Puttu Rao Memorial Festival !

Music's Bylanes X : Ways of Honoring A Parent

[ 1996: K. Puttu Rao-Palghat Mani Award to Guruvayur Dorai ]
[ Lalgudi Jayaraman Presides ! ]
[ First 3 Images are all Courtesy: Percussive Arts Center,Bangalore ]
[ Music Research Library ]

Aug 21, 1955 - Visionaries All !
K.Puttu Rao with Sir. M. Viswesvaraya & Governing Council Members
National Institute of Engineering, Mysore

A Building to Behold

Among the many spectacular monuments, buildings, temples and architectural pieces that India projects in its landscape, there is one that is a great testimony to India’s modern architecture.

This is the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, one of the many attractive buildings in the design of an entirely modern city. The city as we all know is Chandigarh, and its famous architect was Le Corbusier, a French Architect.

[ Courtesy: Punjab and Haryana Government Web Page ]

We also show you (below) the very rich and attractive type of tapestry that Corbusier himself created, one to each courtroom, to cover the entire rear walls. Le Corbusier encapsulated a number of symbols of man, earth, nature, emblems of India and the scales of justice in abstract, geometric patches. They were also created in this way for acoustical reasons.

[ Courtesy: Punjab and Haryana Government Web Page ]

While readers may be wondering what all of this has to do with Music? (and Carnatic Music so down south), we just wanted to tell you of a spontaneous discovery that we made in our Internet world:

“ The High Court was the first building to be made wholly of concrete. A sum of Rs 4 Million (then) was spent on its construction. The commendable success for the completion of the building by the target date was entirely due to the able administration of Shri P L Verma, Chief High Court building under construction Engineer and Secretary Capital Project and his assistant Mr R C Singh, Executive Engineer.

The construction of this unique building, which opened a new phase for concrete construction, was done by Messrs Hindustan Construction Corporation Ltd. Bombay under the supervision of Shri K C Iyya.

It is one of the most beautiful High Courts in India with 40 spacious and luxuriously furnished courtrooms; 3 Bar rooms; a well-equipped Judges' library, a dispensary and a very good canteen. Its location in the lap of Himalayas beyond the limits of the city, beside Assembly Hall and Sukhna Lake adds to its beauty."

Amongst the many things, we just wanted to introduce you to Shri K. Puttu Rao’s First Born. With this we have come somewhat full circle in a mention of all of the nearest family members, directly or indirectly, in our pages.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Shiva and Vishnu- Aspects of the Same Divinity

Vid. Papanasam Ashok Ramani
Excerpts from "Parvathi" 1995 & 1999 concerts

A concretisation by Shri R. Sachi

We are pleased to share with rasikas worldwide excerpts from two concerts held in Parvathi in the nineties, featuring the vocalist Vid. Ashok Ramani, who is the grandson of the great composer of the twentieth century, Sangita Kalanidhi Papanasam Sivan.

Born in 1964, Ashok Ramani commenced music training at a very young age with his mother Dr. Rukmini Ramani (daughter of Papanasam Sivan). Subsequently he was under the tutelage of Dr. S.Ramanathan, Calcutta K.S.Krishnamurthy and Bombay Ramachandran. He was a disciple of Palghat K.V.Narayanaswamy for over 17 years and has been training also under Vidwan P.S.Narayanaswamy.

( Courtesy: shivanisai.org )

Ashok Ramani has produced a multimedia CD Rom and related material on the great composer Papanasam Sivan for the Cleveland Aradhana in 2001.

( Courtesy: Sruti website )

Vidwan Papanasam Sivan (1890-1973) is one of the most respected composers in Carnatic music. Coming from humble beginnings, he learnt music and Sanskrit more as a spiritual pursuit. At the request of Smt. Rukmini Devi, he taught small school children of the Besant Theosophical School in the 1930’s the basics of Carnatic music. He shone later as an exemplary composer in the Classical field as well as classical music–based films. In fact he has composed in several languages, principally Tamil and Sanskrit. Great musicians like KV Narayanaswamy, DK Pattammal, DK Jayaraman, MS Subbulakshmi, have all learnt these compositions directly from him. Even at the height of his fame, he used to lead bhajans at the Kapaleeshwarar Koil temple in Mylapore. He was awarded the Mahamahopadhyaya title for his mastery of the Sanskrit language. The Madras Music Academy distinguished itself by conferring the title of Sangita Kalanidhi on Sri Sivan in 1971.

Let us look at this beautiful composition of Papanasam Sivan in Hindolam, sung by Ramani ( text and meanings from Karnatik.com ):

raagam: hindOLam
taaLam: roopakam
Composer: Paapanaasam Shivan
Language: Tamil


maa ramaNan umaa ramaNan
malaraDi paNi manamE dinamE


maara janakan kumaara janakan
malai mEl uraibavan paarkaDal
alai mEl tuyilbavan paavana


aayiram peyaraal azhaippinum
aayiram urumaarinum - uyar
taayin migu dayaaparan padam
tanjam enbavarai anjal enraruLum


The one married to Lakshmi (Vishnu) and the one married to Uma (Siva), I bow down to your feet as beautiful as a flower, my love, every day.

Father of the god of love (Vishnu), and the father of Murugan (Siva). The one who lives on the mountain Kailaash (Siva), even the one who lies on the waves of the ocean of milk(Vishnu) upon his snake, I worship you.

Even if I call you with a thousand names (done for Vishnu), even if you change forms in a thousand ways (Siva), with more loving compassion than even one’s mother, you bless all at your feet. One who surrenders oneself at your feet will not be afraid, because you will bless and take one with you.

This clearly shows that the quarrels of misled devotes about Shiva and Vishnu are extremely puerile. Both in the Vishnu Sahasranama and in the Bhagavadgita, there are ample assurances that God is one and we simply choose to worship different aspects as suitable to us.

Come, let us enjoy the great music offered by Vid. Ashok Ramani. The accompaniments in both concerts are excellent and enhance the musical experience.

Part I

Ashok Ramani ----- vocal
S.V.Narayan ------ Violin
P.G Lakshminarayan --- Mridangam
0n 14-4-95 during Ramanavami at "Parvathi", Mysore

Song List

01 Tulasidala-Mayamalavagowla)-Thyagaraja ***
02 Enduku nirdaya- Hari Kambhoji- Thyagaraja ***
03 Maa Ramanan-Hindolam- Papanasam Sivan ***
04 Maname Kanamum - Bhimplas-Papanasam Sivan ***
05 Krishna mukunda murare-Yaman-Papanasam Sivan ***
06 Sloka(Ragamalika)-Rama namam-Desh-Tanjore Sankara Iyer ***

Part 2

Ashok Ramani---Vocal S.V.Narayan ---- violin G.S.Ramanujam --Mridangam Srinath ---- Ghatam on 3-4 -99 during Ramanavami.

Song List

01 Sarasuda(Varna)-Saveri-Kothavasal V Iyer ***
02 Rama Bhakti-Shudda Bangala-Thyagaraja ***
03 Tanavari Tanamu-Begada-Thyagaraja ***
04 Charukesi RTP (Only Pallavi & ragamalika) ***
05 Saravanabhava-Shanmukhapriya- Papanasam Sivan ***
06 Aaneyu karedare-Narajanma bandaga-Madhuvanti-Purandara Dasa ***
07 Karpagame-Madhyamavati-Papanasam Sivan ***
08 Mangalam ***

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Efficacy of Prayer

Vid. K. J. Yesudas, 1992 Ramanavami, Parvathi

Reflections by Shri R. Sachi

We gladly share another favourite concert from the Parvathi Ramanavami archives, of Vid. K. J. Yesudas, held in 1992. The concert is remarkable for three reasons, viz., the voice quality of the celebrated singer, the wide repertoire of songs in so many ragas, and the the manifest affection showered by Sri K. Srikantiah in his speech.

When a prominent rasika, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, stated once that in the west, the government would have insured an incomparable voice like that of Yesudas, the vidwan is known to have responded that God Himself had insured his voice and that was enough. Vid. Yesudas makes his oft-heard comment in this concert also that all religions lead to the same God and we should not quarrel but only offer our sincere prayer. This prayerful mood is present throughout this concert.

One could well ask: why should one pray, and to whom, and what is the return on investment? Man after all does not find God until his prayers are answered. So why pray to this unknown entity? To this question, many songs in this concert offer answers, from famous saint composers. The song of Saint Thyagaraja “Teliyaleru Rama” has been discussed before in this blog ( Chitti Babu 1975 ). There the saint bemoans the worldly ways of the ritualists who are not on the true path of bhakti. Now let us see the import of the verse sung by Vid. Yesudas here from Narayaneeyam :

yOgindrAnAm thvadangEshvadhikasumadhuram mukthi bhAjam nivAsO
bhakthAnam kAmavarshadyutharukisalayam nAtha thE pAdamulam
nithyam chithasthithammE PavanapurapathE KrishnA kArunya sindhO
hruthvA nishshEshathApAn pradishathu paramAnanda sandOha lakshmim

The saint poet Bhattattiri prays to Guruvayoorappa that as the Lord’s feet have an incomparable attraction to the yogis, and become the abode of those who have attained Moksha. It is also like the wish fulfilling tree of Heaven, and grants all the wishes of the devotees. The poet pleads that the Lord’s feet should be always established in his mind, for that would dispel all his suffering and grant the greatest wealth of all, liberation.

So it seems rather certain that the devotee has to first find the prayer in his heart, and that will lead him to the Lord. It is not the other way round. Bhagavan Krishna states as much in the Bhagavadgita (9.12):

ananyAs cintayantO mAm
ye janAh paryupAsate
tesAm nityAbhiyuktAnAm
yOga-kSEmam vahAmyaham

Translation: The Lord states, “considering those who have only me in their thoughts, and have single-pointed and constant devotion to me, I shall take care of their well-being and address all their wants.”

What is noteworthy is that the true devotee who prays does not make a plea to God with a list of wants and needs. He simply has constant and unwavering devotion. God’s grace, and bliss, descend on such a true devotee.

So, come, Rasikas, let us sit and enjoy this wonderful concert!

Concert Details

K.J.Yesudas ------- Vocal
T.G.Tyagarajan ------ Violin
T.A.S.Mani -----Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ---- Ghatam
Ramanavami festival at Parvathi on 15-4-92.

Song List

01 Varnam-Sarasangi- Patnam Subramania Iyer? *** 02 Vatapi- Hamsadhvani- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03 Guruvina gulaama- Hamsanandi- Purandaradasa *** 04 Lavanya Rama –Poornashadja- Thyagaraja *** 05 Raghuvamsasudha-Kadanakutuhala- Patnam Subramania Iyer *** 06 Ksheerasagara-Devagandhari- Thyagaraja *** 07 Teliyaledu Rama-Dhenuka--swara ***08 RTP in Gamanasrama Raga *** 09 Tani *** 10 KS and Yesudas speech *** 11 SreeRamam-Narayanagowla- Thyagaraja *** 12 Rama Janaki jaane-Yaman kalyani- Yusufali Kacheri*** 13 En nenjil pallikondavan- Kalyani- Salem Eshwar *** 14 Mangala darshana-Anandabhairavi- Dakshinamurthy *** 15 Swami sangeeta-Abheri-Allepey Ranganath *** 16 Krishna nee begane-Yamankalyani- Vyasaraya *** 17 Gopalaka pahimam-Revagupti- Swati Tirunal *** 18 Yogeendranam-Narayaneeyam ***

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Carnatic Music and its inherent strengths

Vid. Madurai Somasundaram 1977

Reflections by Shri R. Sachi

We are very glad to share a spectacular concert of Vid. Madurai Somasundaram from the 1977 Ramanavami series at Parvathi. Rasikas are quite familiar with our love for this unique vocalist. He brought to Carnatic music an energy and creativity unmatched. He exulted in the company of great accompanists. He engaged the audience in an inimitable empathy. He sang songs we wouldn’t hear from anyone else perhaps. He made up songs for the occasion at will. He wore his heart on his sleeve. He left a deep imprint on our hearts.

This concert is no exception. We are unable to catalogue the names of composers for many items. But suffice it to say that we attribute it all to Vid. Madurai Somu. Because these songs live and breathe through his musical genius. He also thrives on some excellent violin and mridangam accompaniment by the very melodious Vid. Chalakudy Narayanaswamy, and the energetic Vid. Tanjore Upendran. Not to forget Vid. Seshagiri das-Khanjira, and Vid. Krishnamurthy-Ghatam. Egged on by the redoubtable Vid. Somu, they all combine to create impactful percussion at several points in the concert.

Vid. Somu also refers affectionately to Sri. K. Srikantiah, and sings a song on the lord Srikantheshwara of Nanjangud. Vid. Somu attributes his melody-soaked music to Saint Thyagaraja’s guidance, and at once launches into Ragasudharasa. His approach elicits many bursts of encouragement and applause from the audience. If you see closely, the photo below shows the world-famous writer R.K. Narayan (bespectacled) sitting at the edge of the stage with characteristic intensity.

The major ragas in this concert are Thodi and Kharaharapriya.

At the end of it all, we can only feel bemused by the inherent richness of Carnatic music. What variety, what lyrical abundance, what an expanse of ragas and talas, what a scope for improvisation, for team work and finally spectacular peaks of aesthetic pleasure. Only a great World Cup tournament of the beautiful game football, in exuberant Brazil, can approach to being a distant parallel to our beloved Carnatic music.

Concert Details

Madurai Somasundaram -------- Vocal
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ----- Violin
Tanjore Upendran ------------ Mridangam
Sheshagiri Das -------------- Khanjira
M.A.Krishnamurthy ----------- Ghatam
on 6-4-77 at "Parvathi" during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List

01 Varnam- Thilang? ***
02 Vallabha Mahaganapathe-Gomethakapriya ***
03 Manasuloni-Varamu-Thyagaraja ***
04 Pasupathi Shankara-Dakshayani ***
05 Thodi alapana ***
06 Rama Bhadra Ra Ra-Thodi-Bhadrachala Ramadasu ***
07 Evarani-Devamruthavarshini-Thayagaraja ***
08 Ragasudarasa-Andolika-Thyagaraja ***
09 Kharakarapriya alapana ***
10 Chakkani Raja- KHP-Thyagaraja ***
12 Srikanantheshwara-Sindhu Bhairavi ***
13 Bhajamana Bhajare-Jhinjhuti? ***

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Their Violins Sing of a Great Tradition

Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi Violin Duet
K PuttuRao Memorial Concert 2013

Shri R. Sachi reflects :

We are very happy to share with rasikas worldwide this beautiful concert of the well-known Lalgudi siblings. Last year witnessed the passing of the great legend Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman. Visitors to this blog would know the deep and decades-long bond between the home of Parvathi and the Lalgudi family. It was therefore only fitting that the violin duet concert of Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi should be a major attraction during the K Putturao Memorial Festival 2013.

The most appropriate way to describe the music of the brother-sister duo is that their violins sing. And they sing pure Carnatic music in the Lalgudi bani. And most importantly the violins sing of a wonderful tradition in their family as well as the guru-shishya parampara of Carnatic music starting from Saint Thyagaraja.

The concert features a rich traditional Lalgudi fare, commencing with his varnam composition in Bhauli to his tillana in mishra Shivaranjani. The major selections are Kambhoji- O Rangashayi, the Thyagaraja classic and Rangapuravihara- the Dikshitar classic. Both these are dedicated to Ranganatha, the lord of Srirangam. Srirangam is one of the great temple towns of the world. This temple has attracted the inspired devotees over millennia, from Andal to Ramanuja to Kulashekhara Alwar to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Saint composers Thyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar and many others.

It is difficult, or perhaps impossible, to truly understand how the Hindu temple tradition, the bhakti movement, and the offering of classical music to the lord, have shaped the Hindu worshipper. We can only feel immeasurable pride and gratitude in respect of this tradition.

Concert Details

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi ------- Violin Duet
Ravishankar ------------------------ Mridangam
Shashishankar -------------------- Ghatam
on September 1, 2013 during K.Puttu Rao Music Festival.

Song List

01 Arunodayame-Bhauli- Lalgudi Jayaraman *** 02 BrovaBharama -Bahudari-Thyagaraja *** 03 RangaPuravihara –BrindavanaSaranga-Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 04 ManasunilpaShakti –Abhogi- Thyagaraja *** 05 BhajareBhajamanasa -Kannada -Thyagaraja*** 06 MaaraVairiRamani-NasikaBhushini – Thyagaraja *** 07 O Rangashayee-Kambhoji- Thyagaraja *** 08 Bhajan-Meera-Bagesri *** 09 VenkatachalaNilayam- SindhuBhairavi –Purandara Dasa *** 10 Tillana -MisraShivaranjani – Lalgudi Jayaraman ***

PS: we regret the audio disturbances at the beginning of the concert.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Concert to Remember

Vid. T.V. Sankaranarayanan, Ramanavami 1986

We are very happy to share a full Ramanavami concert from the 1986 series, by Sangeetha Kalanidhi T.V. Sankaranarayanan. This was a memorable concert in the company of stalwarts Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran and Vid. Bangalore Venkataram. We have shared portions of this concert already, but we discovered the remaining tracks and felt compelled to share the full concert with rasikas worldwide, given the weighty offering by some of the greatest names in Carnatic music.

Concert Details

T.V.Sankaranarayanan ------- Vocal
Lalgudi Jayaraman --------- Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran ----- Mridangam
Bangalore Venkataram ----- Ghatam
on 23-4-86 at Parvathi during Ramanavami festival

Song List

01 Yochana-Durbar- Thyagaraja ***
02 Brochevarevarura-Khamach – Mysore Vasudevacharya ***
03 Raju vedale-Todi- Thyagaraja ***
04 Mohana Raga ***
05 Mohana Rama-Thyagaraja + Tani(cut) ***
06 Bantureeti- Hamsanada - Thyagaraja ***
07 Neene doddavano- Revathi- Purandara dasa ***
08 Shloka- Kedaragowla, Kapi, Hamsanandi + Srinivasa – Papanasam Sivan ***
09 Dasarathasuta- Jaunpuri-Vanamamalai Jeeyar ***
10 English note- Muthiah Bhagavatar ***
11 Mangalam ***

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ruminations of a Rasika

Reference to Vid. K.V. Narayanaswamy, 1978 Ramanavami

R.Sachi: Transcriptions of conversations with Sri K. Srikantiah

K. Srikantiah - Moments of Inspiration

" I wish to share my unbounded joy after listening again to the 1978 Ramanavami concert recording of Vid K. V. Narayanaswamy that we have just posted.

To preface my specific comments, let me share how I have been blessed by Lord Rama to enjoy the greatest of Carnatic music from 1940s in the best of places including the holy setting of Thiruvaiyyaru, as well as all the leading sabhas such as the Madras Music Academy. I have had a close acquaintance with all the stalwarts including Mysore Vasudevacharya, Chowdiah, Ariyakudi, Chembai, GNB, Mani Iyer, Semmangudi, and almost all others of that generation. Lord Rama granted me the opportunity to arrange many of their concerts at home, and our tradition of Ramanavami music festival continued for many decades with five generations of male and female artistes.

To make good concert recordings for posterity was not an easy task. As the tapes were scarce, I had to get them from America. The old faithful Philips reel-to-reel recorder has been serving the cause of Rama all these years.

I say all this as a prelude to expressing my feelings about the latest posting of the KVN 1978 concert.

I am simply overwhelmed by its impact.

I just heard it again after the posting. It gives a feeling like being flanked on one side by the might Himalayas and on the other side by the endless ocean. KVN has risen to Himalayan heights in his raga alapana of Kharaharapriya. The way he has rendered the song, with the neraval on the line "manasuna talachi mai marachi" gave me goose bumps.

His swaras took me to a different world. And Raghu - with his deep strokes like the roar of the ocean, throughout the concert! Particularly in the Kharaharapriya krithi, at the start of the anupallavi, and during neraval and swaras, his strokes are simply masterful.

This is such a wonderful concert that I have to express my feelings of endless gratitude to Lord Rama. One should be really fortunate to enjoy this level of music. I wish more and more Rasikas partake of this feast. "

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thyagaraja’s Ecstasy of Devotion

Vid. K.V. Narayanaswamy, 1978 Ramanavami

An appreciation from R. Sachi

During this Ramanavami season, it is our great pleasure to share with rasikas a fine concert by the Sangita Kalanidhi Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy. KVN, as he is affectionately called, is an eternal favourite of Carnatic music lovers around the world. As the most famous Shishya of the most famous legend in CM, Sangitakala Shikhamani Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, KVN is the torchbearer of a truly classical tradition that gives deeply enriching, aesthetic and devotional, experience to every listener. KVN had perfected his art to maximise the lasting beauty of classicism, eschewing all dramatics and frills. He came across in person as someone who lived this spirit 24/7 as they say these days.

This concert also features the famous combination of KVN and Raghu. This combo is as proverbial as the famous Ariyakudi-Palghat Mani combo. Other examples are MSS-TK Murthy and Ravi Shankar-Alla Rakha. Indian classical music places great emphasis on rhythm or tala (Srutirmaata layah pitaa). So when such a great combination of a lead performer and percussionist clicks, we get decades of great musical excellence, based on a musical rapport at the gut level. This is a bonus in this concert too.

KVN and Raghu collaborated and taught together at a US university during the ‘60s. Here is the disc cover of their famous LP, brought out with an introduction to South Indian music:

Coming to this concert, it is full of rich melody and song repertoire. Spanning major ragas eg. Shankarabharana, Kharaharapriya, Mohana, and Todi (a rare Tillana), KVN delivers his trademark raga alapanas, neraval and swaras in a succinct manner. The shlokas and the Kannada padas are suffused with devotional fervour. Talking of which, the famous krithi Nanu Palimpa, expressing Thyagaraja’s ecstasy of devotion, is rendered with a lot of verve. This krithi is reported to have been composed by the saint on beholding a beautiful painting of Sri Rama, painted by one of the Walajapet disciples Pallavi Ellayyar and carried on foot over a long distance to be presented to the saint. The meaning of this song as given in The Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja is reproduced below:


Oh Lord of my Life! Have you come walking all the way to bless me,knowing fully the unexpressed secret longing of my heart, that to have a vision of your lotus-eyed face is the sole purpose of my life! You have been gracious enough to appear before me with a body resplendently blue colored, adorned in the chest with strings of pearls, with shining bow, and arrows in hand and accompanied by Sita.

We therefore feel blessed to be able to share this concert with Rasikas.

Concert Details:

K.V.Narayanaswamy ------- vocal
T.S. Veeraraghavan ------- Violin
Palghat Raghu ----- Mridangam
K.S.Manjunath ---- Ghatam
on 24 -4-1978 during Ramanavami Festival at "Parvathi", Mysore.

Song List

01 Bhaktibhiksha-Shankarabharana- Thyagaraja *** 02 Kharaharapriya Raga *** 03 Pakkala nilabadi-Kharaharapriya – Thyagaraja *** 04 Rangapuravihara- Brindavana saranga- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 05 Nanu Palimpa-Mohana- Thyagaraja *** 06 Shlokas – Khamach, Mayamalavagowla, Behag, Sindhubhairavi *** 07 Harihara ninnanu- Sindhubhairavi – Purandaradasa *** 08 Kandu dhanyanade- Behag- Kamalesha Dasa *** 09 Tillana –Todi –Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar *** 10 Mangalam***

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ingredients of delicate artistry in Carnatic music

Vid. S. Sowmya – Ramanavami 1995

An appreciation from R. Sachi

We are pleased to share with rasikas a fine vocal concert from the 1995 series, by Vidushi S. Sowmya.

S. Sowmya is a Carnatic music vocalist as well as a vainika. She learnt music initially from her father Dr. Srinivasan, and later from Dr. S. Ramanathan and Smt.T. Muktha. In 1998, Sowmya co-founded Carnatica - an institution dedicated to classical music and dance instruction, archival, talent search and other related activities. She co-authored the first comprehensive reference CD-ROM on Carnatic music, Nadanubhava. She is also a visiting professor at the Advanced School of Carnatic Music of the Music Academy Madras.

S. Sowmya is a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras with postgraduate qualifications in chemistry. She has been awarded a PhD for her research into the technical aspects of mridangam design and construction. We learn also that she is on her way to acquiring a PhD in Sanskrit from Madras University.

While listening to this present concert, we are to be forgiven for forgetting all these academic accomplishments of this distinguished vidushi. What shines forth is a high order of delicate artistry honed under great teachers including two legendary maestros. We feel her music is suffused with a rare quality in Carnatic music called “saumya” guna or delicate artistry.

The word “saumya” in Sanskrit signifies the epitome of aesthetic evolution. The dictionary defines it as resembling the moon, placid, gentle, mild, auspicious, happy, pleasant, cheerful and even “cool”- the buzzword these days. In the Bhagavadgita, after beholding the Vishwaroopa, Arjuna is so badly stirred and shaken that Krishna decides to cool him down with his “saumya” appearance – bhUtvA punaH saumyavapuH mahAtmA (BG 11.50). Even in the lalithAsahasranAma, Devi is described as sAmagAnapriyA saumyA (v.168).

In this concert, a young and extremely melodious Sowmya sings so many beautiful ragas – Saveri, Athana, Begada, Vasantha, Pantuvarali, Anandabhairavi, Shankarabharana, Bageshri, Nadanamakriya…each song is presented with a delicate voice modulation which has the stamp of scholarship as well as artistic sensibilities of the highest order. The Begada krithi is a rare Kannada one, and the alapana (seldom attempted by women vocalists!) is like a beautifully painted landscape. The swaras in Pantuvarali and Shankarabharana show her solid vidwat. The Anandabhairavi song is her gentle tribute to the vainika-gayaka Muthuswami Dikshitar.

The accompaniments of Vid. Narayan, Vid. Sharma and Vid. Srinath add further charm to this concert.

So, let’s enjoy the wonderful music of Vid. Sowmya!

Concert Details

S.Sowmya ----- Vocal
S.V.Narayan ---- Violin
Ananthakrishna Sharma ---- Mridangam
Srinath ------ Ghatam
on 9-4-95 during Ramanavami at Parvathi, Mysore

Song List

01 Sarasuda-Saveri Varna - Kotthavaasal Venkatrama Iyer *** 02 Anupama gunambudhi -Athana- Thyagaraja *** 03 Nimma bhagya- Begada -Purandara Dasa *** 04 Rama Rama -Vasantha- Purandara Dasa *** 05 Shiva Shiva- Pantuvarali -Thyagaraja *** 06 Manasa Guruguha- Ananda bhairavi – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 07 Swararagasudharasa- Shankarabharana –Thyagaraja *** 08 Shloka & Rogaharane –Bageshri – Jagannatha Dasa *** 09 Karunajaladhe –Nadanamakriya- Thyagaraja *** 10 Mangalam

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In Memorium: Shri B.M.N. Murthy

The Hindu: The man who knows everything
[ http://www.hindu.com/lf/2004/03/15/stories/2004031508690200.htm ]

We live in a world today where it is not uncommon for a person in the media to likely interrogate you (when you discuss someone not given to essential mainstream) in a capsuled fashion such as “Can you describe this person in two sentences or less?”

In remembering Shi B.M. Narayana Murthy we would say “Yes” with an aplomb, though rather with a certain sadness today. He passed away last week.

“Yes, we can and we are honored that we knew him. He was a man who lived his whole life in dignity and treated all those whom he came across with that same said dignity”.

He was of course many, many things more, as we have leaned on him a few times ourselves in this blog to borrow some of his articles from that vast fund of his resourcefulness.

He had retired professionally as Chief Engineer, Life Insurance Corporation of India. But after his retirement he dedicated his entire time to guiding and informing "the younger generation" in India of the spiritual wisdom of their country, reminding them to know something of the great traditional lineage to which they belonged. Many of them did listen to their "Nani Uncle" and endeared themselves to him.

BMN Murthy - Chennai Industrialist A.N. Srinivasa Rao

He was a voracious collector from his youngest days of books and periodicals and a very well read person on “any subject under the sun” which could project a value. He applied himself by sharing his fund of knowledge in penning beautiful articles in not only jogging our memories but in introducing us to names and events about which we may have hardly known anything.

His house was a veritable library and we came to know of his prodigious writing when we realized that by July 2013, he had completed the penning of a staggering 700 weekly articles spread over a period of twelve and half years.

No subject would escape his serene mind . On music you could find him waxing on the mastery of a Veena Seshanna or a Madurai Mani Iyer; on religion it could be the exemplary teachings of a Chandrasekhar Bharathi or the MahaPeriyava of Kanchi; in poetry he would be at home equally to a Kalidasa or a Keats; or in a cheerful bid towards inculcating positive thoughts he would bring to our attention that "Poverty and Humble Beginnings Are No Impediments to a Success in Life". He would bring any number of examples to bear testimony to that in a Rt. Hon. V. S. Srinivasa Sastri, a Michael Faraday, a Charlie Chaplin or a Justice Kapadia.

We close with our prayers to the essential memory of a very decent and good man.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rama - The Abiding Subject of Carnatic Krithis

Vid. K.S. Gopalakrishnan – Flute 1977

A Contribution from R. Sachi

1977: Vidwan K.S. Gopalkrishnan in “Parvathi”

We are pleased to share with rasikas a wonderful flute recital held in the Ramanavami festival in 1977 at Parvathi, Mysore. Vid. KS Gopalakrishnan has been rather elusive and inaccessible to most Carnatic rasikas all these decades, although he is readily hailed by the cognoscenti as a great flute maestro. In this concert, like the one we shared before with rasikas from 1976, he indelibly stamps the music with his melodious manodharma and virtuosity.

The concert begins with the enchanting phrases of Ravichandrika. The raga name evokes images of the sun as well as the moon! The raga itself is a favourite of Saint Thyagaraja, with well-known krithis. The song Nirvadhi Sukhada is a special one. It is very popular with instrumentalists who render it at breathless speed. But here, Vid. Gopalakrishnan has created a wonderfully evocative mood and for the first time we feel like contemplating the meanings of the lyric. And the line śaṅkarādi gīyamāna sādhu mānasa susadana captures the Saint Composer’s sentiment about Rama. According to him, Rama is worthy of worship and therefore is the subject of his own songs: Rama is unparalleled in grandeur, grace and capacity to instil devotion. Lord Shiva himself sings Rama’s glories. And Rama dwells in the hearts of his devotees. No wonder that in the Ramanavami festivals at Parvathi, we have had a continual flow of wonderful music full of songs dedicated to Rama by so many stalwart musicians.


niravadhi sukhada nirmala rūpa
nirjita muni śāpa
śaradhi bandhana nata saṅkrandana
śaṅkarādi gīyamāna sādhu mānasa susadana
māmava marakata maṇi nibha dēha
śrī maṇi2 lōla śrita jana pāla
bhīma parākrama bhīma karārcita3
tāmasa rājasa mānava dūra
tyāgarāja vinuta caraṇa


O Lord who confers unceasing comfort!
O Lord of blemish less form!
O Lord who removed the sage's curse (on Ahalya)!
O builder of the causeway on the Ocean!
O Lord saluted by Indra!
One sung about by Siva and others, abiding in the hearts of pious people!
Please protect me, O Lord with emerald-like body!
One enamored by the precious Lakshmi!
O Nourisher of dependants!
One with terrifying prowess!
O Lord worshiped by the very hands of Bhima!
O Lord far-removed from people given to
inertia (darkness) and passion (action)!
O Lord whose feet is praised by Thyagaraja!

( Source: sahityam.net )

The concert features an expansive Abheri and the krithi Bhajare Re Manasa Sri Raghuviram of Mysore Vasudevacharya. The flute maestro is in a mood of creative exuberance as he develops the raga, the song and then embarks on an array of raga-malika swaras at the end of the song. This is like a shahi bhojan with a series of unexpected delicacies! The violin, mridangam and ghatam accompaniment are very good, too.

Details : Concert held on 7-4-1977 during Ramanavami at "Parvathi"

K.S.Gopalakrishnan ------- Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy ---- Violin
Tanjore Upendran ------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ------- Ghatam

Song List

01 Niravadhi Sukhada – Ravichandrike- Thyagaraja *** 02 Manavinalakincha – Nalinakanthi - Thyagaraja *** 03 Abheri Raga *** 04 Bhajare re manasa-Abheri – Mysore Vasudevacharya Ragamalika swaras (Dwijavanti, Shekharachandrika, Mohana,Hindola, Bageshri, Sindhubhairavi) *** 05 Karunai daivame –Sindhubhairavi – Madurai Srinivasan *** 06 Cheline netlu Javali - Paras - T Chinniah *** 07 Ramgovind Hari (?) Kabir Bhajan –Desh *** 08 Thiruppugazh- Hamsanandi *** 09 Tillana –Kamach -- Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer *** 10 Mangalam ***

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Doyen Vid. Prof. Mysore V. Ramarathnam – A Remembrance

In our desire to be true to many things over a very large landscape, we as a team sometimes come up short in featuring some very respected personalities who may have done exemplary things to a community or have contributed their might in the field of music.

It was during our recent post of the reverential Vidwan Dr. R.K. Srikantan, that we happened to reflect on some of the great difficulties that we have often had to run into in making available a concert. One realized that one could not do a full concert posting on many, due to not having recordings, or to having lost many that were there, over time.

Even though memories of GNB, Chembai and the Alathur brothers used to resonate so high with members, one was not able to post even a single concert on them that was performed in "Parvathi". Similarly, though we have mentioned T. Chowdiah several times, we have been hard put in playing even two or three of his recordings. Then, there is the whole list of Karnataka musicians, who have always been such constant fixtures in a continuous life with “Parvathi”, such as Titte Krishna Iyengar, M.A. Narasimhachar, R.N. Doreswamy, Flute B.N.Suresh, V. Deshikachar (in a long list); on whom we have never been able to do a sufficient posting.

Somewhere, we also missed out, previously, in expressing our gratitude to Prof. V. Ramarathnam who passed away on November 15, 2008, at a grand age of 91.

Reproduced below is a rare and historical photograph that once used to adorn the "Parvathi" walls. For the sake of accommodations to this blog, and to display the faces of the Vidwans in a magnification, we have seen fit to split the large photograph into two halves.

1939: This Photo is an "at home" celebration given by K.Puttu Rao at his Mysore residence 'Parvathi' to felicitate T. Chowdiah on being conferred with the title 'Sangeeta Rathna' in the company of all the leading musicians of the day. [ Vidwan Ramaratnam can be seen in the bottom picture, standing second row from top, third from right ]

In such circumstances we turn to Sri Srikantiah on his thoughts:

“ Vidwan V. Ramaratnam was closely associated with me ever since he landed in Mysore city under the Shishya vritti of Sangeeta Rathna T.Chowdiah, who was our family friend.

Prof. Ramaratnam used to be in touch with all the great artistes in Carnatic music like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Alattur Brothers, Musuri Subrahmanya Iyer and others, and learn many fine compositions from them. He was always eager to enrich his knowledge in Carnatic music.

I had the privilege of honoring him during our Silver Jubilee Sri Ramanavami Music Festival in the Year 1994. "

" Prof.Ramaratnam had a very long and distinguished music career in his life. He served as the Vice-Principal of Ayyanar College for 20 years, Principal of Mysore University Music College for 12 years, and presided over the 14th Music conference of Bangalore Gayana Samaj. He gave many Music concerts in every music sabha getting great acclaim from music rasikas.

Ramaratnam has also brought out many valuable carnatic music publications for the benefit of music students. There was abundant depth in his music knowledge.

It is very unfortunate that recordings of his performances at 'Parvathi' are missing, along with a few other valuable recordings. ”

We are also extremely glad for Prof. Ramarathnam having brought out his own reminiscences and for having narrated such a beautiful history of Mysore during his times.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Doyen Vid. R. K. Srikantan – A Remembrance

1994 Ramanavami Concert of Vid. R. K. Srikantan at Parvathi, Mysore

Contributed by R. Sachi

1972: Vidwan R.K. Srikantan in “Parvathi”
With: Vid. T.A.S Mani (Mridangam), Vid. Anoor Ramakrishna (violin)

We offer our respects and prayers for the doyen of Carnatic music, Vid. R. K. Srikantan, who passed away this week in Bangalore. As a mark of our respect, we share an excellent vocal concert of his from 1994. His voice, repertoire, and vidwat on display in this concert, when he was already 74 years of age, are truly noteworthy.

Mr. Srikantiah’s Reminiscences

" I knew Vid. Srikantan from 1950’s. As a young musician, along with his brother, he used to visit our house to meet and learn from the masters like Musiri and Semmangudi whenever they stayed with us in Mysore. He went on to take up employment in AIR, Mysore. He performed and taught Carnatic music for seven decades. He was full of encouragement to young musicians of Karnataka. His leading disciple, Vid. M.S. Sheela, has perfomed a few times in Parvathi.

Vid. Srikantan received acclaim and awards from all over the world, though belatedly. It is remarkable that he continued to perform and teach well into his nineties. His passing is a great loss to the world of Carnatic music."

Concert Details

R.K Srikantan ..... Vocal
R.S. Ramakanta......vocal support
Mysore Manjunath...violin

on April 26, 1994 during Ramanavami.

Song List

01 Chalamela (Varna)-Durbar- Tiruvottriyur Thyagayya *** 02 Kamalambike - Nata –Jayachamaraja Wodeyar *** 03 Undedi Ramudu –Harikamboji- Thyagaraja *** 04 Rama ninnu - Anandabhairavi – Veene Sheshanna *** 05 Paramatmudu –Vagadheeshwari –Thygaraja *** 06 Kalyani Raga *** 07 Varava kodu enage- Kanaka Dasa *** 08 Eti janma –Varali – Thyagaraja *** 09 Bhairavi Raga *** 10 Olaga Sulabhavo-Vyasaraya *** 11 Hare Venkatashaila – Sindhubhairavi – Sripadaraja *** 12 Nadupai – Madhyamavati- Thayagaraja *** 13 Mangalam***