/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": January 2010

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Madurai Somu – music that stormed Mysore from "Parvathi"

Inside "Parvathi" and feeling very happy, indeed! - Palghat Raghu, Madurai Somu, M.S. Gopalakrishnan
Vidwan Madurai S. Somasundaram (1919-1989), popularly known as Madurai Somu, is one of the most remembered vocalists who adorned the "Parvathi" concert platform for many years and shone brightly in the firmament of artistes who left their mark on the Ganapati and Ramanavami festivals and in the memory of T. Chowdiah, there. Hailing from the Chittoor Subrahmanya Pillai school, Madurai Somu brought incredible energy and passion into every concert. His concerts invariably lasted 3-4 hours and he was always featured with top-notch accompaniment of stalwarts like Lalgudi Jayaraman, M. S. Gopalakrishnan, M. Chandrasekharan, Palghat Raghu, Guruvayoor Dorai, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Vellore Ramabhadran and so on.When Madurai Somu first came to "Parvathi", Mr. Srikantiah could not reconcile his diminutive figure and mild conversational voice with his reputation as a resonant vocalist. But once he went on stage, he lit the stage aglow with a vibrant, sruti-aligned voice that scaled a wide range from 'mandara' to 'tara sthayi' and held the audience captive right from the four-speed varnam to the final devotional pieces. True to the Chittoor bani, laya was his forte and the accompanists exulted in his racy delivery. Somu etched himself into every one’s heart with his colossal manodharma and profound rendering of ragas of substance that are the quintessential treasures of Carnatic music. His concerts in "Parvathi" always drew mammoth crowds who filled the pandal as well as the surrounding areas outside the compound wall. In fact, Mr. Srikantiah would announce that the concert would end by 10 PM out of consideration to students in the adjoining Maharaja’s College Hostel . But the students themselves would loudly remonstrate that the concert should go on, as they wanted to enjoy Somu's music. Call it coincidence or otherwise, Somu’s concerts most often brought a welcome downpour in the city. The "Parvathi" pandal was built sturdily with 32 tarpaulins for waterproofing and a gabled roof that rose more than 20 feet. But the public power supply often played truant when it rained. And yet the music would soon resume after a brief interruption with generator back-up for the mikes. Once the downpour ended, the people listening outside would gladly reassemble from the surrounding residential areas where they had sought shelter during the downpour. Somu once rendered a memorable Sriranjani and sang the kriti Sogasuga Mridanga Talamu. When he came to the words, “navarasayuta-kriti che bhajiyinchu”, he seemed overwhelmed with emotion and stopped singing, with tears in his eyes. It took several minutes for him to regain his composure and continue. Later he confided in Srikantiah that just the previous day, during his concert in Salem, there had been an ugly incident caused by miscreants during the Lord Sri Rama procession. He recalled that sad incident at that point on the stage and felt immense grief. Such was his passionate devotion and involvement in the singing.

1971 - another view under the "Parvathi" canopies - Palghat Raghu, Ramachar, Madurai Somu, Lalgudi Jayaraman

Somu sang the 'manodharma sangeetha' that was his hallmark for a good 2-3 hours and then regaled the audience with more, in the lighter segment. He sang a trademark kriti that extolled all the famous deities in South Indian temples like Meenakshi, Kamakshi and so on in a delightful ragamalika. He was always requested by the audience to sing in the end his famous film song, 'Marudamalai Mamaniye Murugayya' from the Devar Films’ production Daivam. Madurai Somu sang over a dozen times in Parvathi, starting in 1971. The crowds always asked when his concert was billed. Somu's unique music continues to endure in the rasika’s memory for its classicism, emotive appeal, verve and weightiness. Likewise, Somu also dearly loved to perform in "Parvathi", and said with feeling that his music always rose to a new level being next to Sri Rama who was enthroned under the Parijatha tree.

[Excerpted from R. Sachidananda's "Recorded Conversations with Advocate Kunigal Srikantiah" (a private collection) ]


1975 "Parvathi" - Madurai Somu, M.Chandrasekharan (Violin), Guravayur Dorai (Mridangam), H.P. Ramachar (Kanjira), M.A.Krishnamurthy (Ghatam), Nagaratnam (Morsing)

[01 Ninnu nammi naanu – Shuddha Dhanyasi varnam ; 02 Shakti Ganesham – Shuddha; 03 Seetapate naamanasuna- Khamach; 04 Parameshwaram Jagadeeshwaram – Kumarapriya ; 05 Abhayamu chakkave – Ahiri; 06 Banturiti – Hamsanadam; 07 Pakkala Neelabadi – Kharaharapriya; 08 Sogasuga Mridanga – Sriranjani; 09 Koluva maragatha – Todi; 10 O Rama nee nama – Poorvikalyani; 11 Rama namamu – Athana; 12 Ninnai Kada neramillai – Bageshri; 13 Enna kavi paadinalum – Shivaranjani ; 14- Maduraiyil Meenakshi – Ragamalika; 15 Elumalai vasanakku – Abheri; 16 Viruttam – Ragamalika; 17 Marudamalai maamaniye – Darbari Kanada ; 18 Bhajo re bhayya – Desh?; 19 Nada bindu kala swaroopa – Jhinjuti; 20 Vande mataram – sloka – Madhyamavati ; 21 Pavamana –mangalam - Sourashtra]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

T. Chowdiah and T.R. Mahalingam (Flute Mali)

"Chowdiah had a paternal affection for T.R. Mahalingam (1926 ~ 1986), popularly known as Mali. Mali was a child prodigy, a flute wizard and a maverick too. Recognizing the boy's genius the elderly Chowdiah willingly accompanied him on the stage and introduced him to the connoisseurs of music. And, in turn Mali had the greatest regard bordering on a little fear too for Chowdiah. Like all geniuses, Mali was also highly impulsive "

Mali being honored in "Parvathi" March 14, 1964 along with Madurai D. Krishna Iyengar-V. Sethuramiah-M.S. Seshappa (Kanjira), Rajanna (Ghatam)

"... I had arranged a flute recital by Mali in our home Parvathi. Chowdiah's senior disciple V.Sethuramiah was on the violin, Madurai D. Krishna Iyengar on mridanga and M.S. Seshappa on Khanjira. Since Chowdiah was in the city on that day I had requested him to attend it. About half way through the recital Mali resorted to his favorite pastime Kanaku - mathematical jugglery in svara patterns. As this dry drill went on for too long Chowdiah suggested to him to stop those meaningless gimmicks and come out with lofty ragas like Kambhoji, Bhairavi, Kharaharapriya etc. of which he was a master. Chowdiah added that the accompanying artists were in perfect alignment with Mali's Kanaku."

"Mali wouldn't relent"

"The arguments went out of control when Mali snatched the violin from Sethuramiah's hands. Here again, the program ended in a disaster"

"Next morning, Chowdiah walked into my home in an apologetic mood. He felt perhaps his intemperate interference was the cause of the chaos, and as such he would issue a press statement accordingly. I convinced him how he was on the right track and thus had upheld the dignity of the platform."

"On the same evening, a pensive and repentent Mali, known to be a thorough gentleman in normal conditions, visited me. He apologized profusely for his despicable conduct and desired to issue a press note to clear the cloud of misunderstanding. However, I dissuaded him also from doing it.

"True, to err is human, but to forgive is noble and not to repeat is divine"
[ All text excerpted from "Sangeetharatna Mysore T. Chowdaiah" by K. Srikantiah, Attorney,
Prasaranga, University of Mysore, 2007. ]

[ 1. Evarani-Devamrutavarshini-Thyagaraja; 2. Rama katha sudha-Madhyamavati-Thyagaraja 3. Sanatana Paramapavana-Phalamanjari-Thyagaraja; 4. Srirama padama-Amritavahini-Thyagaraja; 5. Bantureethi-Hamsanadam-Thyagaraja; 6. Nagumommu-Abheri-Thyagaraja ]

Redflag: Song name descrepancies - editing is blocked, sorry!
[ Post Script: One is not sure of what demons lurk inside each of our mortal frames. This brilliant concert had to be terminated that day because of Mali's volatileness. Something started to simmer inside of him in the course of the evening as he saw Chowdiah, even as he started to warm up towards some brilliant renderings ( of course his temperament has always been legendary ). While he would continue to visit "Parvathi" many times after this incident ( which did gain a certain notoriety in musical circles ), he never performed again and remained forever petulant. The void left in him in "Parvathi" was filled in later years by Dr. N. Ramani and B.N. Suresh, who were left to shine in their own brilliance ]

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Duet of two Violins - two Mridangams in "Parvathi", Mysore 1972

Starting in the late 1950's, Vidwan Lalgudi Jayaraman and his sister Srimathi Brahmanandam started performing the violin duet concerts accompanied by none other than the Mridangam maestro Sri Palghat Mani Iyer.

Note: If the audio doesn't play, please click here: 

This became hugely popular all over the country.

The trend set by the duo gave rise to a creative collaboration between two great violinists, Vidwan T. N. Krishnan and Vidwan M. Chandrasekharan. To add to the rich concert experience, they also brought in the double mridangam accompaniment of Vidwan Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman and Vidwan Tanjavur Upendran. Thus came about the occasion ( 'Rama Navami' festival and T.Chowdiah 'smaranam') for the Mysore cognoscenti to be treated to this rich feast of music from these stalwarts in "Parvathi" , Mysore, in 1972.

[ Raagas you will hear in one continuous stream (in sequential order); Ninnukori(Mohana);Pranamamyaham (Gowla); Ramabhakti (Suddha Bangala);Paridaana Micchite (bilahari); Manavyala (Nalinakanti); Paramapaavana Rama (Poorvi kalyani);Maarubalka (Sriranjini)Brochevaarevarura (Kamach);Sarasijanabha sodari (Nagagandhari);Akhilaandeshwari (Dwijaavanti); Raghuvamsha sudha (Kadana kutuhala);Teeraada vilayatt pillai(Ragamaalika);Bhaavayaami (Ragamaalika);English Note;Tillana (Danaasari);Krishnaa nee begane (Yaman kalyani);Jagadodhaarana ( Hindusthani kaapi) ]

[Hint: You will feel a certain joy within all these artists in this concert]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Two letters from T. Sadasivam & a grand concert from M.S.Subbulakshmi - 1967

It was only 1967....

....but, the citizens of Mysore, knew better. They knew they were about to hear one of their country's greatest singers, the one who had transcended all barriers and the one who was their 'Bharat Ratna'. So they came, they thronged in multitudes, they packed themselves to the 'hilt' all the way from 5 Lights-Ramaswamy Circle to "Parvathi" to welcome her; to this one and only lady to whom Gandhi himself had turned in a direct appeal to hear "Hari Tuma Haro Jana Ke bhi".

If the events of that particular day are to be believed, then, it was one of Mysore's finest moments and we leave it to
Prof. S. Dandapani who captured the following significances in Star of Mysore 15th December 2004:

" Soon after her return from the USA after a memorable concert at the United Nations, MS visited the Chamarajapuram (Mysore) residence -'Parvati'- of the music lover K. Srikantiah on Sept 12, 1967 to render a chamber concert. Those who listened to her soulful rendering of 'Odi Barayya' (Bhairavi), 'Sri Chamundeshwari (Bilahari) 'Saroja dalaney (Shankarbharanam), 'Sogasada Mridanga' (Sriranjani) and Jagadodarana (Kapi) still mull over her mellifluous voice that transported everyone to the celestial heights!....."

As a reminiscence of great times from our past heritage, we reproduce below a photograph which came along with the article - of a young and resplendent GNB and an equally young and alluring MSS from 'Shakuntalai' (1940)

and now, a start to the 1967 concert as written by Sri T. Sadasivam, himself:

with the concert from M.S.Subbulakshmi-V.V. Subrahmanyam-T.K. Murthy

[ with apologies for some shortcomings with the audio ]

[ 01 - Eranapai – Todi – Varnam – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer; 02 - Siddhi Vinayakam – Shanmukhapriya - Muthuswami Dikshitar; 03 - Chala Kalla – Arabhi -Thyagaraja; 04 - Naradamuni Vedalina – Pantuvarali - Thyagaraja; 05 - Sogusaga Mridanga Talamu – Sriranjani - Thyagaraja; 06 - Ksheerasagarasayana vakshasthala nivasini - Mayamalava Gowla - Jayachamaraja Wodeyar; 07 – Brochevarevarura – Khamach – Vasudevachar; 08 - Odi barayya – Bhairavi – Purandaradasa; 09 - Manasulo nee - Suddha Hindola – Thyagaraja; 10 - Sri kamakoti peetha sthite – Saveri - Mysore Sadashiva Rao; 11 – Sarojadalanetri – Sankarabharanam - Shyama Sastri; 12 – Ranganayakam – Nayaki - Muthuswami Dikshitar; 13 - Kaliyugadali Hari Nama – Chenjuruti – Purandaradasa; 14 – Thoongula – Ragamalika – Sopanam; 15 – Jagadoddharana – Kapi – Purandaradasa; 16 - Maitrim Bhajata – Yamunakalyani - Kanchi Sankaracharya; 17 – Pavamana – Saurashtra – Thyagaraja; ]

and an acknowledgment and closure from Sri T. Sadasivam

An Epilogue (on the Mysore 'Sandigai' )

" Sadasivam, three things about this 'Sandigai' which you have given me: (1) This has to be from Karnataka only (2) It is made by a lady and (3) The lady is about seventy years old..."

- Honorable Sri 'Rajaji' ( C. Rajagopalachari - Governor General of India )

[Excerpted from R. Sachidananda's "Recorded Conversations with Advocate Kunigal Srikantiah" (a private collection) ]

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna: “Mandiramu... manamandiramu”

A proceeding of Nov 29, 2009 in Bangalore Chowdiah Memorial Hall

The two Vidwans felicitated together - Kadri Gopalnath and 'Guru' Dr. M. Balamurlikrishna [ Photo: Courtesy Samath Kumar G.P. http://www.thehindu.com/2009/11/30/stories/2009113053660400.htm ]

"I accept this as prasadam from Mysore T Chowdaiah and KK Murthy."

- Dr. Balamurli Krishna on Nov 29, 2009,
on receiving the K.K. Murthy Memorial T. Chowdiah Awards

"Terming the T. Chowdiah award as more a blessing than an award, Dr. Balamuralikrishna sang “Mandiramu... manamandiramu”, a Telugu song composed by himself, in honour of the renowned violinist the late Chowdiah and lover of music and architect of the T. Chowdiah Memorial Hall in the city, the late K. K. Murthy....] [Courtesy: http://www.thehindu.com/2009/11/30/stories/2009113053660400.htm]

The evening began with a Vedagosha by Pt Balu Shastry and party, followed by an invocation by Suchethan Rangaswamy. Governor HR Bharadwaj, who was the chief guest, presented a cash prize of Rs1 lakh and a miniature violin each to the two pundits.
On receiving the award, Balamuralikrishna said, "I accept this as prasadam from Mysore T Chowdaiah and KK Murthy." He even rendered Mandiramu Manamandiramu composed by him when the hall was inaugurated.
[Courtesy: http://www.dnaindia.com/bangalore/report_music-fest-climaxes_1318230]

A Proceeding of May 31, 2005 at the Chowdiah memorial Hall "in the name of the father"

Karnataka Governor T N Chaturvedi (L) giving the "K Puttu Rao Memorial Palghat Mani Iyer" award to legendary singer Dr M Balamuralikrishna (R) in Bangalore.

[Courtesy: http://www.thehindu.com/gallery/0320/032001.htm ]

The story begins, much... much earlier, in "Parvathi" (music included)

Vintage 1965 in "Parvathi" : M.Balamurlikrishna with M.S. Gopalakrishnan and T.V. Gopalakrishnan

[01-Saraguna-Todi Varnam-Balamuralikrishna; 02-Vandenishamaham-Hamsadhwani-Vasudevachar; 03-Thamralochani-Lathangi-Balamuralikrishna; 04-Emi Neramu-Shankarabharanam-Thyagaraja; 05-Nagumomu-Abheri-Thyagaraja; 06-Mere mana anat kahan sukh pave -Jaijaivanti- Hindi-Surdas; 07-Pibareramarasam- Ahir Bhairav-Sadashiva Brahmendra ; 08-Jamuna kinare-Misra Piloo-Swati Tirunal; 09-Naina bhaye-Shivaranjani-Surdas; 10-Shrithakamala-Ashtapadi-Jinjhuti-Jayadeva; 11-Thillana-Brindavana Saranga-Balamuralikrishna; 12-Pavamana-Mangalam-Thyagaraja;]