/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": August 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Chowdiah awards for Lalgudi

It was but only fitting that the brothers K. Srikantiah (as the President of the Chowdiah Rama Seva Samthi, Mysore) and K.K. Murthy (as President, Academy of Music, Bangalore) should have considered honoring the living legend Lalgudi Jayaraman in the name and memory of a past legend, Chowdiah. Though differing somewhat in age, both violinists shared memorable years in each other's company, occupied many of the same platforms in the exalted music venues, accompanied the stellar vocalists and other percussion greats of their times, had been their own stars in solo performances and generally regarded by the consensus as the all time greats of their music.
Of course in Lalgudi's case, he was a seasoned world traveller and had won accolades from whichever corner of the world his accomplishments took him.

As this initial story about Lalgudi narrates

"It was not long before even his senior contemporaries in the violin field recognised his genius and talent and were unstinting in their praise and appreciation of his skills as a violinist par excellence. Sample some of these showers of praises from his contemporary senior violinists of those days: Chowdiah remarked: "All of us must stop playing now that this boy has appeared."

Attending Lalgudi's marriage, Chowdiah again said: "He was born Raman; he took up the bow and became Kothandaraman; with his marriage he has become Kalyanaraman; since he triumphs everywhere we can call him Jayaraman."


K. Srikantiah honoring Lalgudi in "Parvathi" Mysore in 1980

Karnataka Chief Minister Gundu Rao and K.K. Murthy hold the plaque honoring the maestro in Bengaluru with The First Chowdaiah Memorial National-Level award in 1982.

Padma Bhushan Lalgudi Jayaraman was a long time performer in 'Parvathi' leaving behind his remembrances in 1958, 1966, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1990. In the latter years he would combine for duets with his equally famous children Lalgudi Vijaylakshmi and/or Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and sometimes the children would either go solo or combine with themselves.

We produce for your listening pleasure an audio stream of a full Lalgudi Violin concert held in "Parvathi", Mysore in 1973 with Palghat Raghu (mridangam) and Vinayakram (ghatam). The musical pieces rendered are:

01-Sadinchane-Arabhi; 02-Janakiramana-Shudhaseemanthini; 03-Brovabaramma-Bahudari; 04-Ramanee-Kharaharapriya; 05-Marugelara-Jayanthasree; 06-SukhiEvaro-Kanada; 07-Rararajeevalochana-Mohanam; 08-Hachariga-Yedukulakambodi; 09-RTP-Shanmukhapriya; 10-Thillana-Dhanshree; 11-Krishnanee-YamanKalyani; 12-Shivaranjani; 13-Ragamalika; 14-Mangalam.
(Note: We are unable to correct the track names in archive.org for lack of password. Apologies!)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Nightingale of "Parvathi"

Growing up in an environment like "Parvathi", one would expect all of its members to have imbibed music in one form or another. While some aspired to learn a musical instrument (Puttu Rao's daughter Subbalakshmi aspired to take her Veena lessons from none other the great master Veena Doreswamy Iyengar) and while others practised their vocals with another great Karnataka teacher M.A. Narasimhachar , it was only Mysore K. Prabha, none other than the daughter of a strict but doting father K. Srikantiah who managed to succeed into the professional ranks.

".....while her father was very keen that she should blossom into a Carnatic singer; it was stalwarts like Jesudas, Lalgudi and MLV who indicated that Prabha would suit 'Sugam Sangeet' admirably. Art expression to suit one's personality is of more importance than the form, they argued....."
"...I feel that my classical background has helped me to excel in the light music field...." (quote from Mysore Prabha)
" ...her film number, 'Hoovadare Chenna' composed by M.S. Vishwanathan was a resounding hit...."

[Courtesy Sunday Mid-day Magazine Dec 5 1982 by Shanti Mohanarangam]

We provide you with some select pictures of her as she progressed with her performances and career along with a few audio numbers of her virtuoso in both classical and light music.

Famed film actor, director and producer Kamal Hassan offers a bouquet!

while another thespian of the Karnataka celluloid world, Rajkumar, offers to croon wth her!

Mysore Prabha offers "Haridasavani" 1.Harininnolumeyu --(Abheri); 2.Hari narayana ---(Ragamalika); 3.Nanyaake badavanu --(Chakravaaka); 4.Kolananooduva ---(Suddha saveri); 5.Yenendu Kondaadi(Natabhairavi) 6.Venunaadapriya ---(Hindola gamini); 7.Karunisu narahari --(Charukeshi); 8.Naa ninagenu --(Dharmavati); 9.Kande naa kanasinali --(Mohana)

.. seen here warming up with the legendary Yesudas!

.....on stage with a full accompaniment

Mysore Prabha "Classical" Concert 1.Evarani --- (devamrutavarshini); 2.Yeti Yochanalu ---Kiranavali;3.Vaddane vaaru leru ---(Shanmugapriya); 4.Paridaana micchite --(Bilahari); 5.Mokshsmu galada --(Saramati); 6.Naan oru vilayatt ---(navarasa kannada); 7.Maa jaanaki --(Kamboji) 8.Srivalli ----(Natabhairavi);9.Maamavasada --(Kaanada); 10.Tunga teera --(Ragamalika); 11.Kaava daivavu --(Ragamalika); 12.Vilayada ---(Shanmugapriya); 13.Tillana ---(danasari); 14.Mangalam.

.... finally, with an encouragement from the Queen herself!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

And did you know the King has a voice? : Karnataka Actor Rajkumar

We present here two interesting snapshots of the Kannada Cine Thespian Rajkumar taken inside "Parvati" as he records a song for its matriarch, Smt. Parvathamma. The latter was completely bowled over on hearing, for the first time, that Rajkumar carried such a well honed voice and was very musically adept. When she complimented him, Rajkumar in turn was so touched by her words that he immediately penned some lyrics to her name and asked for a recorder from K. Srikantiah to leave behind the legacy of this, his first visit. Other visits would come, soon and very often. Sometimes (as Rajkumar's wife would surprisingly reveal), during shooting asssignments at Mysore, he would cloak himself in the headgear of a peasant (to hide from his loyal fans who were known to cause major stampedes), park his car discreetly and sit as quietly as a 'church mouse' to enjoy the beautiful concerts of many a Vidwan performing within "Parvati" during the momentous Rama Navami times.

Actor Rajkumar seen in a close recording session with a Micro Recorder perched precariously on an arm rest!

Recording with Rajkumar over! Now, to a hearty home cooked meal and homespun stories!
[ L to R: Choreographer Uday Shankar, Host K. Srikantiah, Hostess Smt. Vatsala, Mr. & Mrs.Rajkumar and young Mysore Prabha ]

Post Script: In thinking of the late RajKumar, we are often reminded of the theme of the late Raj Kapoor's magnificient Bollywood opus 'Mera Naam Joker'; of the one who jokes away with the world outside while ever remaining a grief stricken soul on the inside. We ask you to view one of Rajkumar's last interviews, where he bares his soul to one of India's very fine journalists Sugata Srinivasaraju, Associate Editor (South), Outlook magazine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Readers Page

Aug 11, 2009

We apologise to readers who may be looking for the GNB audios that were posted here last week. When we posted them we thought that the music was actually a taping of the 1957 concert at "Parvathi" featuring GNB-Chowdiah-Raghu. Turns out that it was actually a GNB-Chowdiah concert from Mumbai from around the same time and the mixup was caused with the labels. It was realized that one of Chowdiah's disciples had brought the tape, many years ago, and had left it in the house amidst the collections.

We have retracted the audio since, in keeping with the need to be authentic.

Reader Vinay wrote on July 11:

I saw your blog and was impressed with the history of "Parvathi" . My family originally from Mysore and now settled in Bangalore have always been music lovers. I am making a trip to Mysore with my inner circle family in August. I wish to take a tour of the house you mention. Could you please give me the address and whom to contact when there?


Dear Vinay, thanks for your mail and our apologies for the delay in answering the same. Alas, the graces of old world Mysore, Bangalore and of 'Parvati' have all but disappeared like the graces of Tara in Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'. Through a seperate posting (look under Labels) we show you a blueprint of 'Parvathi' which is all that is left along with photographs and musical memories.

Incidentally you may want to visit

http://churumuri.wordpress.com/2006/06/02/pinda-uruliso-is-not-a-cry-from-paschima-vahini/ where the journalist Babu Satyanarayana mentions the house.

N.B. After viewing the url please remember to click your browser back button to return to this page.

Friday, August 7, 2009


We mentioned somewhere in our introductory theme that "Parvathi", besides its music, was also well known for its congregational worship and prayer. Somewhere in his speech, Chowdiah too mentions the fact that the matriarch Smt. Parvatamma would be found to be in supplication of the Lord almost twenty four hours of the time.

We show you a photo below of a 'Maha Bhagavata Homam' being performed at Parvathi in 1966. Performing the Homam are Harikatha Vidwan (Gamaki) Ramakrishna Shastriar (left) and the high priest of functions in "Parvati", Krishnaswamy Shastriar (right). Taking a momentary backseat to the rising flames before their performance, are Vidwans Umayalpuram Shivaraman, Lalgudi Jayaraman, Mysore M.A. Narasimhachar and Alangudi Ramachandran.

With Chowdiah's passing away, the entire Rama Navami music festivities came to be held in the former's honour and was shifted to the outside of the house to make room for the thronging crowds. The 'mantapam' and the portrait (shown below) were positioned below a 'Parijata' tree and the worship to both diety and tree (signifying ecological respect) was conducted publicly for decades to come.

The great Diva M.S. Subbalakshmi had performed earlier in Mysore when K. Puttu Rao was still alive. Here she is shown in 1967, many years after he passed away, settling down comfortably with "Parvathi" family members for the invocation 'Homam' prior to her performance.

Being that "Parvathi" was a vast and joint family (though not all of its members essentially lived there), the daughter-in-laws were always regarded with a certain filial pride by the man of the house ( Chowdiah also mentions this in the audio!). One remembers the house as having always retained the fresh smell of Jasmine emanating from perpetual garlands for gods, visitors and for women's constant hair adornings. The flowers would be brought in abundance each day from the copious flower houses of Devaraja Market or collected from its own gardens. Shown in the photograph (below) is Puttu Rao's second daughter-in-law Smt. Indiramma performing the necessary honors on so famous a visitor.

Finally, we show you a photo of the first couple offering their repects in front of the traditional fire(sometime before 1959! )

and a photo many decades later of Head Priest Krishnaswamy Shastriar and "Parvati"'s trustee couple offfering prayers to a single stone sculpture of Lord Sri Rama.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

GNB on "Sound Iyya"

The two great maestros GNB and Chowdiah used to have a great regard for each other in terms of their music and also shared a deep friendship with one another. Invariably, they would be joined by K. Puttu Rao (and a younger K.Srikantiah) who would host GNB whenever the latter came into town (Mysore).

In this respect we quote some words from the original article by B.V.Shastry, published in Gayana Samaja Volume 7, 1996 and which currently reposits in http://www.gnbalasubramaniam.com/ArticleBani.htm.

"My friendship with late G. N. Balasubramaniam started in peculiar circumstances - with a friction. During early
1950s I started writing a column entitled 'Musings on Music' in the Deccan Herald. One week it carried a review of an AIR broadcast of GNB's recital wherein I had criticized his off key singing. I knew that there would be protests by some GNB fans and I did not mind because I was living at a safe distance, at Mysore city, from where I was filing the reviews. A couple of months later Balasubramaniam visited Mysore and gave a concert at the Sri Prasanna Sitarama Mandiram (Bidaram Krishnappa Rama Mandiram). I attended the concert but left early because it was a long drawn one due to the Radio relay starting only at 9.30 p.m. I had to trudge a long distance to my home.

Next morning the President of the Rama Mandiram, K. Puttu Rao, a respected advocate of Mysore, came to my place. I was surprised and when he said “I say what have you done to GNB? Yesterday night after the concert I took him home for Dinner and he scarcely touched the food saying repeatedly that gentleman has done me an injustice,” referring to you. What is the matter?” I was taken aback. I did not realise that the review which I had almost forgotten had hurt Balasubramaniam as to spoil his appetite even several months after its publication. Then I decided that during my next visit to Madras to meet GNB in person and have a straight discussion about this subject, as to what points did really hurt him etc., because after my talk with Puttu Rao I had dug up that review and found nothing wrong.

During the December Musical festival I went to Madras. But I could not meet him. Next year I visited Madras again during the music season. This time I met Balasubramaniam through my friend M. A. Narasimhachar. GNB was very cordial and invited us to the AIR station where he had assumed charge as the Deputy Producer of Karnatic Music recently. During the following three or four days I met GNB several times, at his home, at AIR, Music Academy. We discussed various topics related to music and musicians. But GNB did not refer to my review of his broadcast even once. Finally I raised the subject myself and asked him “Balasubramaniam, I was told that you were hurt by my review of your Radio broadcast sometime back. May I know what part of it did hurt you?” GNB said "Let us forget about it Sir. It is not an important matter." But I was not convinced and persisted. Finally he said "No doubt I was hurt like any musician when unfavourable remarks are made about him or his music. Besides I was also a bit concerned abut the effect the review would have on the organisers of my concerts. After all I am a professional musician. I was unwell on the day of the broadcast and could not cancel the broadcast at the last minute. That is the reason for my off key singing, which of course you could not know". I retorted "Balasubramaniam, you are an established musician and a highly popular figure. Even if unflattering reviews appear in the press every day for a whole year they will not affect your concert opportunities in any way. But you must remember that you are almost a cult figure especially for the young musicians, who try to emulate you. And if they hear your off key concerts, they will certainly follow giving 'apasruthi' concerts and point at you in case anyone criticised them.

Anyway after this heart to heart talk we became close friends. "

GNB was always regarded so highly in "Parvathi" that it is not a mere coincidence that both Musicologist Cheluvarayaswamy and Chowdiah mention him in their speeches (in Kannada, audio posted).

Reproduced (below) is an article, from yesteryears, of what GNB had to say on Chowdiah. We found the article from an old magazine belonging to the famous Carnatic Organization of Kolkata, Rasika Ranjani Sabha.

(click on the pages below if you need to obtain magnified images)