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Monday, October 1, 2018

Musical Genius is always through Divine Grace

Vid. Mandolin U. Shrinivas 1984 'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert

Review by R. Sachi

We are pleased to share yet another wonderful concert of an unprecedented genius in the Carnatic world, Mandolin Shrinivas. Shrinivas was almost a member of the Parvathi family.

Nowadays we are presented a number of youngsters hardly ten to twelve years old, as prodigies. They are also compared to Mandolin U Shrinivas. But we think at Parvathi that there can be no other musician like him. He did not have a family tradition in Carnatic music, nor rigorous training from infancy, nor influential patronage. He emerged from the rustic hinterland on to the concert stage through sheer effort and more importantly, divine grace. His success, his enchantment, and his leaving us destitute through his early passing away, are all part of a unique “divine leela”.

There is this famous shloka of how Goddess Saraswati confers literary and musical gifts like a mother breastfeeds her child:

saṅgītamatha sāhityaṁ sarasvatyāḥ stanadvayam |
ekamāpātamadhuram anyadālocanāmṛtam ||

So a Shrinivas is nurtured musically by Divinity in ways we cannot fathom.

In this 1984 concert, where he is ably assisted by senior musicians like Sri. Govindaswamy, Sri. Upendran, and Sri.Venkatram, we see the early signs of his genius, through his rendering a wide variety of famous compositions with panache.

His choice of the song, “Marivere” appears to be his constant prayer to the Goddess for grace.

Come, let us enjoy the concert without further ado!


U.Shrinivas....... Mandolin
M.S. Govindaswamy... Violin
Tanjore Upendran... Mridangam
Bangalore Venkataram.... Ghatam
On April 10, 1984 at 'Parvathi' during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List 01. Vanajaksha Atatala Varnam - Kalyani –Pallavi Gopala Iyer *** 02. Srimahaganapathi – Gaula – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03. Raghunayaka – Hamsadhwani –Thyagaraja *** 04. Endaromahanubhavulu – Sriraga- Thyagaraja *** 05. Saraswathi raga *** 06. Anuragamule – Saraswathi – Thyagaraja *** 07. Marivere – Ananda Bhairavi – Shyama Shastri *** 08. Niravadhisukhada – Ravichandrika – Thyagaraja *** 09. Todi alapana *** 10. Tana+Kaddanuvariki – Todi-Thyagaraja *** 11. Enta muddo – Bindumalini – Thyagaraja *** 12. Raghuvamshasudha – Kadanakutuhalam – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 13. Jagadoddharana – Kapi- Purandaradasa *** 14. Baro Krishnayya – Ragamalika – Kanakadasa *** 15. Thillana – Desh – Lalgudi Jayaraman *** 16. ? -Sindhu bhairavi -? *** 17. Thriuppugah – Hamsanandi – Arunagirinathar *** 18. Mangalam ***

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Celebrating a true understanding of our music

Vid. Trichur V. Ramachandran – 1997 Concert Excerpts from 'Parvathi'

An R. Sachi Review

We are very happy to share this time some excerpts from a Ramanavami Concert held in Mysore by the home of 'Parvathi' in 1997. Sangeetha Kalanidhi Trichur V. Ramachandran sings beautifully in this concert held 21 years ago. The accompaniment is very good too. The result is a rich concert experience.

The vidwans who play in this concert come from a tradition of excellence. They have pursued a true understanding of our music. Nowadays it is fashionable to say that our music is not this, not that, and so on. Some are even arguing that we should give up this "nonsense called Bhakthi". On the other hand, some critics jokingly say that practitioners of Carnatic music have progressively deleted time-honoured elements in our music, like Sruthi, Soukhyam, Bhaava, and so on.

What did the great composer Saint Thygaraja have to say on this in his composition Vidulaku Mrokkeda, sung so well in this concert?

Like all rasikas all over the world, we feel blessed whenever we listen to good music. Come, let us enjoy this concert, although we are able to retrieve only some excerpts.

Concert Details:

V.Ramachandran --------------- Vocal
S.V.Narayan ---------------------- Violin
Arjun Kumar ----------------------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ------------ Ghatam
on 25-4-97 during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival at 'Parvathi'.

Song List:

01 Maha Ganapatim- Nata – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 02. Vidulaku mrokkeda –Mayamalavagowla- Thyagaraja *** 03 -Mundu venuka-Durbar – Thyagaraja ***04 Seetamma mayamma-Vasantha- Thyagaraja *** 05 Illi nodalu Rama-Mohanakalyani – Purandara Dasa ***

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Unfaltering Tradition

Hyderabad Brothers – 'Parvathi' Festival 1994

Review by R. Sachi

Welcome to this recording of excerpts of a wonderful concert in the Parvathi festival held 23 years ago in Mysore.

We feature the vibrant duo Hyderabad Brothers in the company of Vid. M. Manjunath, Vid. Nagai Narayan, and Vid. Chandramouli. We decided to feature this concert for its sheer musical appeal, despite the missing second half of the concert recording.

We quote from last.fm. (This was written some years ago):

" With a great understanding between each other and with knowledge and voices to match, the Hyderabad Brothers have mastered the art of delivering captivating Carnatic music concerts. From the time they gave their initial performance in Madras, they have taken the world of Carnatic music by storm by virtue of their immense scholarship and strict adherence to tradition. In a short period of time they have become extremely popular artistes.

The Hyderabad Brothers complement each other stunningly. Seshachari's deep, resonant voice and the softer, mellow voice of Raghavachari, blend well to melodious effect. On and off the stage, Seshachari, the younger brother is more extroverted; Raghavachari is more content to play the quieter role. Seshachari, who is a staff artiste with All India Radio, Hyderabad, is an accomplished mrdangam player as well! Raghavachari works for the national Mineral Development Corporation. "

Concert Details

Hydrabad Brothers (Raghavachari and Seshachari) ...... Vocal
Mysore Manjunath ........................... Violin
Nagai S Narayan ............................. Mridangam
B N Chandramouli ........................... Khanjira
on 28-4-1994 during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List

01 Swaminatha Paripalaya – Nata – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 02 Mayamalavagowla Raga*** 03 Deva deva kalayamite – Mayamalavagowla – Swathi Thirunal *** 04 Saranga Raga*** 05 Arunachala Natham – Saranga- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 06 Amrutavarshini Raga*** 07 Anandamrutakarshini – Amruthavarshini – Muthuswami Dikshitar ***

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Mother worship in Carnatic music

Vids. M. Chandrasekharan and Bharathi
K.Puttu Rao Memorial Violin Concert 2014

Review by R. Sachi

Welcoming the spring season of 2018, called Vasanta Ritu in India, we offer you a lovely violin concert by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri. M. Chandrasekharan, accompanied by his daughter and disciple Vid. Bharathi. The accompaniment by Vid. Cheluvaraju on the mridangam and Vid. Ramanujam on the ghatam complete a great team offering rich music in the Carnatic idiom.

Vid. Chandrasekharan is noted for his patent dark glasses as well as his singing violin with a unique personality. He has provided superb violin accompaniment for many decades to the best Carnatic musicians. His sensitive and imaginative approach to solo music is also recognised by rasikas. “Chandru” is a dear friend at the home of Parvathi and he has performed dozens of times in the Parvathi festivals. He casts a timeless charm even today on the audiences.

We have given much information about the Vidwan and his association with Parvathi in the previous concert postings. However, the subject of his mother’s influence on his music, and its importance in the context of Carnatic music, cannot be overemphasized.

Chandru’s violin guru was his mother, Smt. Charubala Mohan. We quote him from an interview to the Times of India in 2016:

Elaborating on her teaching style, Chandrasekaran says, "Her unimposing attitude gave me ample freedom to develop my own style and also appreciate various kinds of traditional music." Recalling one of his practice sessions with a smile, he says, "Just once she gave a gentle tap on my thigh because the bow for the violin kept slipping even after she taught me the technique. After that, I started doing it correctly."

Understanding the importance of exposure, Charubala ensured her son did not miss out on the performances of Carnatic stalwarts. From techniques to compositions, young 'Chandra' - as she fondly called him developed an ear for a variety of styles. "My mother would accompany me for almost every concert. If she couldn't make it, she made sure she sent someone with me. I rarely missed a performance," he reminisces.

The idea of the Mother Goddess is unique to Hinduism. Further, in Carnatic music, we have a huge body of compositions worshipping the Mother. In his famous Darini Telusukonti, Saint Thyagaraja says:

The saint was a devotee of Sri Rama, but found it fit to make this prayer to the Mother Goddess. This kind of prayer to the Mother pervades the krithis of many other composers, too, particularly Sri.Shyama Shastri, and Sri. Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Come, let us enjoy a lovely concert from a veteran master and his talented daughter!

Concert Details

M.Chandrashekharan --------- Violin
Bharathi --------------------------- Violin
Cheluvaraju ----------------------- Mridangam
Ramanujam --------------------- Ghatam

on 4-9-2014 during K.Puttu Rao Music Festival at Mysore.

01 Siddhi Vinayakam Anisham-Muthuswami Dikshitar-Chamaram (Shanmukha Priya) *** 02 Sri Jaalandhara-Jayachamaraja Wadiyar-Gambhira Nata *** 03 Enta Muddo-Thyagaraja-BinduMalini *** 04 Dattatreya Trimurtirupa-Ganapathi Sacchidananda Swamiji-Ranjani *** 05 Nagumomu-Thyagaraja –Abheri - ragamalika swaras medley: Begada, Basant, Desh followed by Tani *** 06 Tune only-Bagesri *** 07 BaroKrishnayya-Kanakadasa-Ragamalike *** 08 BhagyadaLakshmi-Purandaradasa-Madhyamavati ***

Monday, October 9, 2017

Nostalgia – that Priceless Ingredient in Carnatic Music

Vid. Neyveli Santhanagopalan
1990 'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert

R. Sachi - 'Distinguished artists and some memorable times'

Dear rasikas, we are pleased to share, just before Deepaavali, a gem of a concert from 1990.

Mysore, or Mysuru as some spell it, just witnessed a grand Dasara festival. Dasara is a big deal for Mysoreans. It is a world of nostalgia. It also brings every year hordes of tourists who soak in the sights and sounds and tastes of a great royal city.

What is life without nostalgia? In fact, nostalgia is the priceless ingredient of Carnatic music. Any rasika worth his salt would start regaling or boring you within a few minutes with stories of how Maharajapuram (not the son or grandson or great grandson but the big daddy, Sri Vishwanatha Iyer) sang that incredible Mohana in 1955. Or how GNB wore that wonderful perfume called Swag and women used to swoon over it. How MSS gave that incredible benefit concert when she sang O Rangashayi for 50 minutes. Or how Palghat Mani Iyer played the main role in that concert 50 years ago. Or how Mahalingam warred with Chowdiah musically on stage in 1958.

We also gloat in nostalgia at Parvathi. We are proud of its 70+ years heritage of concerts. In fact we bring you now a vintage 1990 concert of the incomparable Vidwan Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan. He is a multifaceted genius and performs as well as teaches around the world. He perhaps holds a world record for training huge choir ensembles in USA.

Sri. Santhanagopalan gives in this concert held over 27 years ago a delectable concert, with melody and depth. The accompaniments of Sri. Mysore Nagaraj on the violin and Sri. Rajagopal, a veteran artiste, on the mridangam, Sri. Krishnamurthi on the ghatam, are very enjoyable.

After a vervy Hamsadhwani, we have a classic Pantuvarali. Then comes a great Nalinakanti and then a sweet Kapi. What more is needed for a diehard rasika?

Kapi is an eternal favourite in Carnatic music. Whereas Jagadoddharana is perhaps one of the most famous Carnatic songs, there are gems composed by Thyagaraja that allow for the elaborate treatment of a main piece in Kapi. Here Sri. Santhanagopalan, ably accompanied by Sri. Nagaraj, paints a resplendent portrait of a raga rich in colour with many star-studded melodious phrases. Appropriately, he sings the song wherein Saint Thyagaraja says he cannot describe in words his infinite joy in singing the name of Rama.

The post-tani songs in Tilang, Bhimplas, Hamsanandi and Behag, are full of bhava and round off a great fare.

Concert Details

Neyveli Santhanagopalan ----------- Vocal
Mysore Nagaraj ------------------------ Violin
M. A. Krishnamurthi......................... ........Ghatam
on 10-4-1990 during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival

Song List

01 Intachala- Begade Varna – Veena Kuppaiyer ***02 Raghunayaka-Hamsadhwani-Thygaraja *** 03 Pantuvarali Raga *** 04 Raghvara ninnu-Thyagaraja *** 05 Nalinakanti Raga *** 06 Manavinala kinchara-Thyagaraja *** 07 Kapi Raga *** 08 Inta soukhya-Thyagaraja *** 09 Tani *** 10 Rama Rama –Tilang-Purandara dasa *** 11 Nandatanaya –Bhimplas-Purandara dasa *** 12 Viruttam:: Punnagai onru podhume- Hamsanandi-Ambujam Krishna *** 13 Tillana –Behag – Papanasam Sivan *** 14 Mangalam ***

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Worship through Music

Vid. Chittibabu
'Parvathi' Ganesha Festival 1968 Concert

A Review by R. Sachi

Dear rasikas, we wish you all a wonderful season of festivals, come earlier than usual in 2017. The famous Gauri Ganesha Festival of Mysore is upon us. Endless prayers, homas, image worship with the choicest of flowers, distribution of Prasad, the grand immersion procession, all fill our minds and hearts with the greatest joy.

Vid. Chittibabu should be described as a unique musician who produced the sweetest veena music in the world. We have already shared two concerts of his before. Here is a full concert performed 49 years ago in Parvathi Mysore! Vid. Chittibabu stormed the scene when Mr. K. Srikantiah introduced him to the appreciative audiences of Mysore in the 60’s.

In this concert, accompanied by some spirited percussion (Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran. Vid. Ramachar and Vid. Vaidyanathan), Sri. Chittibabu unleashes a plethora of beautiful ragas and songs.

The veena speaks to our hearts in the most loving manner. There cannot be any worship better than music. The great poet Kalidasa says in the Shyamaladandakam,

madālasāṁ mañjuḻavāgvilāsām |
mātaṅgakanyāṁ manasā smarāmi ||

Translation: I pray to Gauri, daughter of Matanga Muni, of delicate limbs and lustrous mien
like the blue mountain, the charming maiden speaking with the sweetest voice, and
caressing the bejewelled veena.

The home of Parvathi, who have worshipped through music for seven decades and more, are conducting one more festival on 31 August, in memory of Sri. K. Puttu Rao. Here is the cordial invitation to all rasikas!

Vid. Chittibabu Concert from 49 years ago
Vid. Chittibabu – Veena
Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran – Mridangam
Vid. H.P. Ramachar – Khajira
Vid. Vaidyanathan – Ghatam
- Ganesha Festival held at Parvathi on 31 August 1968

Song List

01 Paridana micchite-Bilahari- Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 02 Manivinala kinchara-Nalinakanti –Thyagaraja *** 03 Kamboji Raga*** 04 Tana in Ragamalika*** 05 Pallavi(Parimala Rangapate)-swara*** 06 Chinnanjiru kiliye(Ragamalika)- Subramanya Bharati *** 07 Govindamiha-Bageshri- Narayana Tirtha *** 08 Jagadodhaarana-Hindustani kapi – Purandara Dasa *** 09 Devaranama*** 10 Kommalo koyila*** 11 English note*** 12 Come september*** 13 Mangalam and Veda***

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Manasa Guruguha – The Intellectual’s Delight in Carnatic music

Vid. Hemmige S. Prashanth
K. Puttu Rao Memorial Concert 2014

A Review by R. Sachi

We bring to all our rasikas a fine vocal recital of the young musician, Vid. Hemmige S. Prashanth, from the 2014 K. Puttu Rao Memorial Festival, held at Jaganmohan Palace, Mysore.

Sri. Prashanth is a graduate in electrical engineering and pursues a career in technology, in addition to being a keen student and performer of Carnatic vocal music. He has trained under a great master- Sangeetha Kalanidhi K.V. Narayanaswamy- for a number of years. A sincere effort to seek out a great teacher is often rewarded by Providence by addressing the needs and aptitudes of the student by taking him to an appropriate Guru who embodies mastery, insight, and grace. That is the message of the Bhagavadgita which says
Bg 4.34
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

Meaning : Know THAT by long prostration, by question, and service, to the "wise" who have realised the Truth. They will instruct you in (that) 'Knowledge.'

The quintessence of Sri Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy’s music was melody, balance, finesse, and subtlety. We can see many instances of that in the concert finely presented here by Vid. Prashanth, in the able company of Vid. Govindaswamy on the violin and Vid. Srinivas on the mridangam and ... on ghatam.

An important composition presented in this concert is “Manasa Guruguha” composed by Sri. Muthuswami Dikshitar in Ananda Bhairavi. Sri. Dikshitar, an incomparable composer, offers through his works constant delight to any intellectual who takes interest in Carnatic music. Sri. Dikshitar represents many confluences:

1. Musical confluence of Carnatic and Hindustani music.
2. Spiritual confluence of Adavita, Sri Vidya Upasana, and Guruguha/Skanda Upasana.
3. Combination of intricate metrical structures woven into a composition along with subtleties of the raga bhava.
4. Samskrita and scriptural erudition harnessed to elaborate on the Bhakti marga.

The Ananda Bhairavi composition is one of the Guruguha Vibhakti kritis, wherein each composition, addressed to Guruguha or Subrahmanya, employs a certain Vibhakti form for the nouns (in this case, Dwitiya Vibhakti, called Accusative case in English).

In this composition, the individual intellect (Manasa) is advised to pursue the path of liberation, by first recognising the twin realities of the Avidya (=ignorance) enveloping us, and at the same time, the opportunity afforded by one’s human birth (with its perceptive, intellectual, and Sadhana potential). Both these realities are God’s creation. At the same time, the path of liberation is also shown by God, and He grants the removal of ignorance by one’s surrender to Him. When one is ready, the Guru, who is none other than the human form of the Divine, takes the disciple under his care and shows the way.

Come, let us enjoy this wonderful concert!

Concert Details

Hemmige S.Prashanth ----------- Vocal
M.S.Govindaswamy ---------------Violin
B.R.Srinivas ------------------------ Mridangam
?????---------------------------------- Ghatam
Held at Jaganmohan Palace on 1-9-2014 during Sri K.Puttu Rao Music Festival at Mysore.

Song List

01 Neranammiti- Kanada- Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar *** 02 Ra Ra Mayintidaga -Asaveri- Thyagaraja *** 03 Kanjadalayatakshi- KamalaManohari – M Dikshitar*** 04 Manasa Guruguharupam –AnandaBhairavi- M Dikshitar *** 05 BirinavaraLicchivo- Kalyani – Shyama Shastri *** 06 BhogeendraSayinam- KuntalaVarali- Swathi Thirunal *** 07 Kaligiyunte Gada-Keeravani- Thyagaraja followed by Tani *** 08 Matadabaradeno- Khamach – Bangalore Nagaratnamma *** 09 Kandu Dhanyanade- Behag – Kamalesha Vitthala Dasa*** Mangalam