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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Style that makes Singing look so Simple – Vidushi M. S. Sheela

[ Courtesy: Ganesh-Goddesses-New-Year-2013-HD-Wallpapers ]

We bring you our warm Greetings of the Season and Sincere Wishes for a Very Happy 2013!

We thought we will feature this time a lovely concert held in "Parvathi" in 2005 of Vidushi M.S. Sheela.

The following review of the Music comes to us from Sri R. Sachi ....

" Vid. Sheela is very well known in Carnatic music circles for many years now. She features in prime time slots in big music festivals in the company of well-known accompanists. She has performed in Parvathi festivals four times so far, including in this year’s Puttu Rao Memorial festival.

Hailing from a musically endowed family, Vid. Sheela sang her first notes under the guidance of her mother late Smt M N Rathna, a popular musician of yesteryears. Strict and rigorous training under Sangeetha Kalanidhi Dr R K Srikantan added lustre to her musical prowess. She has a postgraduate degree in Music from Bangalore University, and is a Gold medallist.

We quote a critic who heard her many years ago:

"This disciple of Sangeetha Kalanidhi R K Srikantan has learnt kritis with purity of padanthara and attention to bhava that her rendering of Dikshitar classic "Madhurambikayam" (Hemavathi) touched one's heart. Later, her detailed sketch of Sankarabharanam had a diaphanous harmony that brought out the leonine character of this raga - both in the middle register and the top one - her melody enveloping herself and the audience in a warm embrace. "Enduku Peddalavale", the Tyagaraja masterpiece was striking, in the panoply of moving sahitya, raga enchantment and intellectual application."
- K S Mahadevan, The Indian Express, Chennai, December 18, 1997.

Here, Vid. Sheela has given a most delectable concert effortlessly. To this writer, her singing style is unique in appearing to make classical singing so simple. No doubt that is the result of God’s gift of a voice with depth and range, a keen musical intellect, and excellent training. Her repertoire spans many great composers including Veene Sheshanna, Mysore Sadashiva Rao, Mysore Vasudevachar, Mysore Maharaja, and Dasasahitya, apart from the weighty compositions of the trinity.

The highlights of this concert, with enthusiastic accompaniment by Mysore H.N. Bhaskar on the violin and Vid. Krishna on the mridangam (also Vid. Manjunath on the ghatam) are Lathangi and Bhairavi.

Lathangi is according to “A Raga’s Journey”, a sweet and sour raga. Lathangi could invoke in one’s mind images of a tribal tableau during the Republic Day Parade, showcasing grass-skirted, feather-crowned dancers from the North East, sporting bows and arrows. It is enchanting as well as intriguing. Its instant charm is not without reason. It poses challenges to musicians as this melakarta is quite gingerly positioned with just one-note variations from the scales of popular mainstream ragas like Pantuvarali, Simhendramadhyama and Kalyani. In the words of Prof. S. R. Janakiraman, “when you sing the Chatushruthi Rishabha in Lathangi, you should immediately bring in Anthara Gandhara and Shuddha Dhaivata, to ward off Kamavardhini (Pantuvarali), Kalyani and Simhendramadhyama, as the three fellows will be waiting to seek entrance...” Maybe for these reasons, Lathangi is sparingly attempted by less-than perfect singers. There are also only 11 krithis listed in Lathangi in a popular compilation as compared to 144 krithis in Kalyani!

Here, in this concert, Vid. Sheela seems to thrive as she unfolds the raga and sings Marivere by Patnam Subramanya Iyer, with √©lan. Then comes Bhairavi. Upacharamu, a classic composition of Thyagaraja, receives royal treatment. She elaborates the raga and also does great niraval and swara prasthara at “Kapatanatakasutradhari”. Bhaskar’s responses, as well as the following tani by Krishna and Manjunath, show how she has built up the tempo in the concert and inspired them.

The closing items in Janasammodini and Pilu establish a clear position in our minds of a great artiste with mastery over the Carnatic idiom in both classic and devotional segments.

So let us welcome 2013 in a fitting way, listening to Vid. M.S. Sheela and her ensemble! "

Concert Details

M.S. Sheela -Vocal
H.N. Bhaskar - Violin
V. Krishna -Mridangam
Manjunath -Ghatam
Held in Parvathi Ramanavami festival, April 20, 2005.

Song List

01. Kambhoji Ata tala Varnam – Swathi Thirunal *** 02. Gananathaya – Gowla- Ambi Dikshitar *** 03. Soagasuga – Sriranjani – Thyagaraja *** 04. Marivere – Lathangi – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 05. Sogasujuda – Kannadagaula – Thyagaraja*** 06. Intakante – Kannada – Patnam Subramanya Iyer*** 07. Paripahimam – Shubhapantuvarali – Mysore Vasudevacharya *** 08. Upacharamu – Bhairavi – Thyagaraja ***09. Tani*** 10. Shloka – Hamsanandi, Janasammodini *** 11. Ramamantrava Japiso – Janasammodini – Purandara dasa *** 12. Karuna Jaladhe – Pilu – Traditional *** 13. Sitakalyana – Kurinji – Thyagaraja *** 14. Mangalam ***

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Music's Bylanes - II: 2012 - K.K. Murthy Music Festival and T. Chowdiah Awards

July 21, 2005
Late K.K. Murthy and N. Dharam Singh (Ex-CM) celebrate
the birthday of then KPCCI President Mallikarjuna Kharge
[Courtesy: THE HINDU - Photo: K. Gopinathan]

Readers can recall, that as our blog continued to progress, we often continued to reflect on the inspiring activities of the Chowdiah Memorial, that unique building consecrated to the memory of the great Violinist T. Chowdiah by the late K.K. Murthy ( younger brother to K. Srikantiah and youngest son of Sri. K. Puttu Rao).

Nov 24, 2012
India's Union Labor Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge and Academy of Music Members are seen with award winners: Pt. Vasanth Kanakapur, Mysore Nagaraj, Mysore Manjunath and T.K. Murthy at the K.K. Murthy Memorial Music Festival in Bangalore.
[ Courtesy : The Hindu ]

As an exercise in “lateral thinking”, we also drew parallels with our many experiences of an Alice Tully Hall (in Manhattan), of a Washington Smithsonian and of the BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), so perfect within their individual identities.

We often reflected, also, on the many touches that a distinguished memorial like the Chowdiah memorial could do more with, as acts of ‘right’ embellishment.

These were things, that were easily within the reach of a “pro-active” citizenry of music patrons, and not necessarily dependent on any government agency’s help.

We often felt that a few deft touches would render a more complete identity to the man, Chowdiah, who once bestrode the landscape as a colossus armed but solely with a Violin, a man of towering musical knowledge and the command of a giant personality.

Nov 24, 2012
Mridangam’s great Vidwan T.K. Murthy is seen once again, honored with the K.K. Murthy Award by Union Minister Mallikarjuna Kharge and Academy office bearers.
[Courtesy: The Hindu]

(1) As starters, we had felt earlier that the building, recognized as a performing arts museum dedicated to Chowdiah’s illustrious name, needed indeed to house his famous violin for all to view permanently.

We remember having spoken about this and emailed even some people who would hear us out, from time to time. We are not sure , if any “wind” carried our message to any of the powers to be, but a recent report from The Hindu does gladden our hearts.

The Chowdiah Memorial now finds itself in the possession of the famous man’s violin ( click ).

R. Subbaraj Urs, Secretary, Academy of Music: “…Chowdiah’s violin would be under the safe custody of the academy. After all, the hall was designed after his violin..."

Readers will note that T. Chowdiah’s instrument was unveiled earlier, in “Parvathi”, Mysore on April 15, 1970 in the distinguished presence of Karnataka Governor Dharma Vira and Minister Rajasekhara Murthy.

Violin Virtuosos! Vidwan Manjunath and Vidwan Nagaraj celebrate being honored with the KK Murthy awards.
[ Courtesy: The Hindu ]

(2) As we have come to believe with some research, Chowdiah had in his lifetime of seven decades, provided for a staggering number of concerts. He had criss-crossed many a geographical boundary, and squeezed time and space sufficiently, to render many a performance even in a single day.

Granted that not all of his performances were recorded (he passed away in 1967 when the country had barely come to grips with tape recorders), it would still be a safe bet that many a recording by him probably lies scattered somewhere, largely uncared for , in worn out tapes junked in some ancestral holding.

It draws a parallel somewhat , with the findings of the notes of the mathematical genius Ramanujan; the accidental finding of scattered notes in a relative’s abandoned trunk; which discovery became instrumental in sparking a worldwide interest in Ramanujan!

The grass root patrons of music need to provide an 'all around call' for people to release any recordings that they may have of T. Chowdiah into a central custody at the memorial, so that an audio-visual display of a musical era can be dedicated to the legend and his peers in the open foyer of the memorial.

The permanent exhibit should be on anything related with T. Chowdiah: photographs, tapes, writings, compositions, notebooks with each item preserved, tagged and the names of donor persons acknowledged. The recordings should be cleaned and amplified and a playing booth created so that people may hear them at their leisure.

Then only, can a future generation, be made to understand the footprints of a cherished past and the value in a heritage associated in someone’s name.

We hope that another “gust” of the wind will carry our plea to the like minded preservers of the heritage.

Vidwan Vasant Kanakapur conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Music's Bylanes - I

While we wait for our very learned friend in music, R.Sachi ( click ) to process another delectable concert for us, we thought we’d walk the Rasikas through some music's by-lanes .

The following pictures were the results of ‘prying’ into more “Parvathi” albums. This time though, it was courtesy of Shri K.L. Rao’s family. No, not the founding father of India’s Irrigation industry! but the third elder son of Sri. K. Puttu Rao, about whom we spoke earlier as having once lived in Chennai, next to the hallowed Music Academy in Mylapore, and who provided dedication as an engineer to the Chennai Harbor, during the 60’s.

Here are some pictures of Carnatic music’s greats, in a more relaxed venue and in more informal postures.

Could we say that this was their way of “jamming”?

Supreme maestros all! (L to R): U.K. Sivaraman, M.L. Veerabhadriah (Palghat Mani Iyer’s disciple), K.S. Manjunath , T. Chowdiah

T.Chowdiah with Sri K.L. Rao.
It looks to be a respite after lunch,
as we detect the faint outlines of a ‘pan’
being chewed by Chowdiah!

The 'Krishna' of Music! [ click ]
Maestro M. Bala-Murali-Krishna and party!

[ If one views keenly one can also notice Vid. M.A. Narasimhachar in the audience]

Veena Maestro Chitti Babu
pondering away ‘dreamily’
amidst musical notes in a warm up !

Veena’s other great exponent Doreswamy Iyengar
seen with stalwarts Vellore Ramabhadran, K.S. Manjunath, T. Chowdiah