/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": March 2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Remembering God without a List of Demands confers True Joy – Dr. N. Ramani

We are privileged to feature another splendid flute recital from the Parvathi Ramanavami series, this time of Dr. N. Ramani from 1975. He is accompanied by stalwarts and the concert sparkles with great music.

After the preliminaries of Nata (Mahaganapathim) and Chakravaka (Neranammithi), Vidwan Ramani presents a delightful Bilahari.

In the ‘60s, Prof. P. Sambamurthy, the musicologist, visited Mysore and gave extremely interesting lectures about Carnatic music. He demonstrated how a flute could be constructed so it would be easier to play. Of course we are not suggesting that anyone can produce good Carnatic music by merely being able to blow into a flute! Prof. Sambamurthy then also spoke of the impact beyond cultural borders of melodies we develop via our ragas. He stated that the raga Bilahari instantly evokes joy wherever it is heard, even by someone totally new to Carnatic music. We remember his words as we listen to the Bilahari presented here. It is a timeless favourite at Parvathi.

The song that follows is a lovely composition of Maharaja Swathi Thirunal. He describes the charms and glories of Krishna, and the devotee is urged to remember God, not in the context of his own miseries, but for the devotee to delight in the glories of the Almighty: “Smara sadā mānasa bālagōpālam”. This chronicler once asked Vidwan KVN what he liked about Swathi compositions. The maestro stated that the Maharaja always spoke the language of the aesthete, a devotee who did not think of God from a perspective of misery. This song is a good illustration of that.

And that brings us to the violinist from Kerala, Vidwan Chalakudy N. S. Narayanaswamy (1925-2003). He has accompanied many stalwarts at Parvathi. A disciple of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Sri Narayanaswamy was a Professor of Music at Shri Swathi Thirunal College of Music , and Staff Artiste of the AIR at Tiruvanantapuram from 1946 to 1956. Later, he was the Principal of the Sri Swathi Thirunal College of Music at Tiruvanantapuram for a number of years.

After Bilahari, we are treated to a wonderful alapana of Amrithavarshini. Vidwan Ramani evokes a wide spectrum of moods with his manodharma and virtuosity on the flute. Later we have a grand Kambhoji prelude to ‘’O Rangashaayi.’’

Once again, the Parvathi favourite Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran adorns this recital with his wonderful mridangam.

And there is a bonus: a scintillating Thani!


The upa-pakkavadyam prominent in so many Parvathi concerts is the khanjira wielded by Vidwan H. P. Ramachar. Over many decades, he endeared himself to artistes and audiences with his enthusiastic presence. We quote below excerpts from the Kutcheribuzz obituary in 2006:

Having chosen music as life at the early age of seven, he had the fortune of accompanying the doyens of music as well as the young stars. He was a staff artiste of AIR, Bangalore. Performances in India and abroad brought him fame with his innovative approach, imagination and undying enthusiasm that remained unaffected by age. He had also participated in percussion ensembles alongside the likes of Zakir Hussain and Vellore Ramabhadran. Ramachar also directed a unique percussion ensemble of women percussionists called – ‘Mahila Laya Madhuri’.

He was a recipient of a number of awards and honours, some of which are: Rajyotsava award of Government of Karnataka, ‘Laya Kala Nipuna’ and ‘K Puttu Rao Memorial Palghat Mani Award’ of Percussive Arts Centre, ‘Sangeetha Kalaratna’ of Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

Homage by Prof. T. N. Krishnan:

" I am extremely sad to know about the sudden demise of my good friend and colleague H P Ramachar the well known, versatile Kanjeera Maestro. It is still fresh in my memory. the many concerts we had played together with the Stalwarts like Ariyakudi, Chembai, Maharajapuram, Semmangudi, GNB, Madurai Mani Iyer. Alathur Bros, Mali and others. Mr Ramachar was a very nice person and sincere friend. His contribution to the growth of music in general and percussive arts in particular is quite phenomenal.

My association with him on and off the concert platform dates back to more than six decades. His passing away is a great loss not only to the music world, but personally also. I am sure his tradition will be looked after and kept alive by his talented daughter Smt Latha. My sincere condolences to all the family members."

Concert details

Ramanavami concert held at Parvathi on 22 April 1975.
N. Ramani – Flute
Chalakudy Narayanaswamy – Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran – Mridangam
H. P. Ramachar – Khanjira

Song List
01. Mahaganapathim – Nata – Muthuswami Dikshithar*** 02. Neranammithi – Chakravaka- Mysore Vasudevachar*** 03. Smara Sada Manasa – Bilahari – Swathi Thirunal *** 04. Anandamrithakarshini – Amrithavarshini – Muthuswami Dikshithar *** 05. Nenarunchinanu – Malavi – Thyagaraja *** 06. O Rangashayi – Kambhoji – Thyagaraja *** Thani*** 07. TBA – Revathi – TBA*** 08. Sharavana bhava – Shanmukhapriya – Papanasam Sivan *** 09. Hey Govinda – Desh – Meera*** + Sadho - Ahir Bhairav - Surdas *** 10. Kavadi Chindu *** 11. Mangalam ***

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Memoriam – "A Simply Great Musician": Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran

[ August 4, 1929 - Feb 27, 2012 ]

A Tribute by Sri K. Srikantiah ( as narrated to Sachi R )

“He came and performed in our house more than 100 times! For over sixty years, starting in early fifties when we were both around 24 years of age."

“He felt so much at home in Parvathi; he would come from Madras and call out for the help just as he alighted at the gate “Maadaa…” "

“He would say, “Vatsala amma, please,... I am so hungry, I will have your "thatte idli right away,"... " I will bathe later…”

“Ramabhadran started performing in Ganesha festival, and in house concerts, well before we started the Chowdiah Memorial Ramanavami concerts on a large scale in the outdoor pandal in 1970. Ramabhadran was not a reserved and reticent man like some other senior Mridanga Vidwans. He was a friendly and jovial conversationalist. He would add a quiet sparkle to the concert, and the musicians loved him as the concert would be smooth-sailing. He and Lalgudi Jayaraman were thick friends and used to perform a couple of concerts in every festival. We have several recordings of glorious concerts with Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam...”

Mr. Srikantiah is deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of this fine musician. He calls his style of playing “simply great”.

Sri Ramabhadran was present in Parvathi on two important occasions in 1986: at the function to release the 'Haridaasa Vaani' cassette of Mr. Srikantiah’s daughter Mysore Prabha by Vidwan Lalgudi Jayaraman. Soon afterwards, also at the wedding of Mysore Prabha, both these Vidwans graced the occasion. We feature two snapshots of Vidwan Ramabhadran from the video recordings of those occasions.

Soon afterwards, in 1986, there was a grand function (mentioned earlier in blog) to honour Vidwan Lalgudi Jayaraman at Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras, where Mr. Srikantiah was requested to felicitate Lalgudi. On that occasion, Sri Ramabhadran and family received, at their residence in Mylapore, Mr Srikantiah’s family including the newly wedded couple with 'aarathi' and their warm hospitality.

While paying our respects to this great vidwan and offering our prayers for the departed soul, we are happy we can share here excerpts from some great concerts featuring Vidwan Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam with leading musicians at Parvathi.


01. Pranamamyaham – Gowla – Mysore Vasudevachar
(V. Ramachandran-M. Chandrasekharan)***

02. Naa Jeevaadhaara – Bilahari – Thyagaraja
(Maharajapuram Santhanam- Lalgudi Jayaraman)***

03. Janani Ninnuvina- Reetigowla – Subbaraya Shastri
(M.D. Ramanathan, M. Chandrasekharan)***

04. Kamakshi Swarajathi – Bhairavi – Shyama Shastri
(Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, Lalgudi Jayaraman)***

05. Krishna Nee Begane – Yamuna Kalyani – Vysaraya
(N. Ramani, M. Chandrasekharan)***

06. Govindam iha – Bageshri – Narayana Tirtha

[The full concerts and details thereof are accessible through the index in the blog.]