/* START Google Analytics Code*/ /* END of Google Analytics Code */ A home called "Parvathi": 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In Memoriam: Vocalist and AIR Director S. Krishnamurthy

S. Krishnamurthy - In the lineage of Mysore Vasudevacharya

It is with profound sadness that we acknowledge the passing away of another luminary from Mysore and from the world of Carnatic Music. Vocalist Sri S. Krishnamurthy, grandson of one of the famous composers in Carnatic Music, Vasudevacharya, died on Saturday December 5, 2015. He was very instrumental in having written down for posterity all of the books, compositions and memorials of his grandfather as well as the compositions of the Mysore Maharaja, Jayachamarajendra Wodeyer.

For the majority of his lifetime Mr. S.Krishnamurthy served All India Radio in Mysore and elsewhere including being Station Director of Akashvani-Dharwad. In later years he was also associated with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan as its Programme Director. Besides his familiarity and deep knowledge in Carnatic Music, he was also well versed in it's vocalisation. He was also very adept in Western Classical Music having trained at the London Trinity School. He was known to have played the Piano and Jaltarang very skillfully and had produced many musical programs, as well as penning books, the most famous of which was the one on his grandfather Vasudevacharya.

We direct you to a beautiful vignette on him, earlier, in The Hindu ( click ).

As we recall Sri Krishnamurthy’s life, and as our thoughts and prayers go towards his family, we also recall the days of his grandfather Vasudevacharya about whom we shall speak separately in connection with a Home called “Parvathi”.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Committed to Classicism

Vid. Pattabhirama Pandit, Putturao Memorial 2013

An Appreciation by R. Sachi

The many excellent young vocalists shining in Carnatic music today bring credit to a continuing tradition. One of the best examples is Vid. Pattabhirama Pandit. We quote from a 2014 review in the Hindu:

“Pattabhirama Pandit, trained under the extraordinary maestro K.V. Narayana Swamy, is undoubtedly a Carnatic vocalist who needs to be taken seriously. Having had his early lessons from Vallabham Kalyana Sundaram and S. Ramanathan, Pattabhirama Pandit’s music is backed by sound training, honed by talent and competence which makes him a musician of immense merit.”

Pandit is a well-placed technology professional as well as a busy musician. Such parallel careers can flourish only with a deep commitment to tradition and classicism. His guru, the great KVN, was also several times featured in Parvathi concerts over 3 decades. Sri K. Srikantiah, in his vote of thanks, handsomely compliments Pandit’s music with the KVN stamp and his take-off in Kharaharapriya, which incidentally is a favourite raga of Parvathi audiences!

The violin accompaniment in this concert is ably provided by the young Karthik, son of Vid. M. Nagaraj. The mridangam and ghatam accompaniment in this concert by Vid. Shivashankara Swamy and Vid. Manjunath are also commendable.

Concert Details:

Pattabhirama Pandit ------------------- Vocal
N.Karthik ---------------------------------- Violin
Shivashankara Swamy --------------- Mridangam
Manjunath ------------------------------- Ghatam
on 31-8- 2013 during K.Puttu Rao Music Festival.

Song List:

01.ChalamelaJesavayya-Natakuranji-Rangaswami *** 02. Sadinchane-Aarabhi-Thyagaraja *** 03. DinamaniVamsha-Harikamboji- Thyagaraja *** 04. Tyagaraja Yoga Vaibhavam-AnandaBhairavi- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 05. Deva Deva Jagadeeswara-Poorvi Kalyani- Swathi Thirunal *** 06. Rama Neeyeda-Kharaharapriya- Thyagaraja *** 07. Gopalaka PahiMam-Revagupti- Swathi Thirunal *** 08. Shloka & Hari Hara Ninnanu-Sindhubhairavi- Purandara Dasa ***

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ramanavami Music from Mysore - In the good old days

Vid.TV Sankaranarayanan, Ramanavami 1974 at 'Parvathi'

Reflections by R. Sachi

Nothing enhances the value of music like nostalgia. And surely, it’s better to be nostalgic about the good music one enjoyed long ago rather than recall bygone memories with perhaps sadness. Music heard long ago can still remain in our hearts and give us much joy. This is one of life’s blessings indeed.

The good old days of Ramanavami music from Mysore are very much in our thoughts as we hear this vintage recording from Vid. TV Sankaranarayanan. A protégé of the great Madurai Mani Iyer, he came into his own strongly in the 1970’s. His concert at Parvathi in 1974 was a classic, with some wonderful accompaniment from the doyens.

The concert recording is not available in full, but we HAD to share these gems with rasikas worldwide. In these days of quantity, it is better to go back to those days of quality indeed!

Happy Listening!

Concert Details

T.V.Sankaranarayanan -------------- Vocal
V.Sethuramiah ------------------------Violin
K.S.Manjunath ---------------------Ghatam
on 3-4-1974 at "Parvathi" during Ramanavami.

Song List

01 Vatapi- Hamsadhwani- Muthuswami Dikshitar
02 Ora joopu- Kannadagowla-Thyagaraja
03 Niravadi sukhada- Ravichandrika- Thyagaraja
04 Nitya Rupa-Darbar-Thyagaraja
05 Raghuvara-Kamavardhini-Thyagaraja
06 Brochevarevarura-Khamach-Vasudevachar

Saturday, October 24, 2015

In Memoriam: Flute Vidwan N. Ramani

Reminiscences by K.Srikantiah

" In the passing away of N.Ramani recently, not only have we lost a veteran Flutist, but I have also lost a dear friend. He has left behind a void in the carnatic music world which is indeed very difficult to fill. Yet another illustrious musician from my generation has passed into eternity.

My association with Ramani lasted for nearly five decades. He used to be a regular performer at the Ganesh and Ramanavami Music Festivals in our house.

As a person, Ramani was generally a man of few words, soft-natured and dignified. But there was always that sense of humour lurking behind that quiet nature. His music was comprehensive with melody (which is the first requisite for a flutist), vidwat, manodharma and balanced class-mass appeal. No wonder he was always a crowd-puller.

I vividly remember Ramani sitting on the stone bench in the lawns of our house after a three-hour concert, all by himself, rewinding and playing his own music in his head, enjoying the finer parts.The musician enjoying his own music seemed to me the mark of a true artist !

The melody of N.Ramani's flute will always echo in my mind and ears.

May Lord Rama bless his soul with eternal peace. "

We urge Rasikas to take in a fill of the Maestro's great Concerts that were performed in "Parvathi", chronologically, over the '70s:

DATE - Accompanists - Link

April 19, 1970 - K. Alagiriswamy - violin, U.K. Sivaraman – Mridangam, M. Manjunathan - Ghatam

March 25, 1972 - Chalakudy Narayanaswamy - Violin, Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam, H.P.Ramachar - Khanjira

Sept 12, 1972 - M. Chandrasekharan - Violin, Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam, K.S. Manjunath - Ghatam

April 17, 1973 - M. Chandrasekharan - Violin, Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam, K.S Manjunath - Ghatam

April 4, 1974 - M.S.Gopalakrishnan - Violin, Tanjore Upendran - Mridangam, K.S.Manjunath - Ghatam

April 22, 1975 - Chalakudy Narayanaswamy – Violin, Vellore Ramabhadran – Mridangam, H. P. Ramachar – Khanjira

April 19, 1981 - M.Chandrasekharan - Violin, Srimushnam Raja Rao - Mridangam, M.A Krishnamurthy - Ghatam

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Instrumental Tribute to the Great Masters

Vid. Emani Sankara Sastry 1973 Ramanavami

Reflections by R. Sachi

We present this festive season a wonderful instrumental ensemble- the redoubtable maestros Vid. Emani Sankara Sastry and Vid. M. S. Gopalakrishnan, accompanied by Vid. Guruvayur Dorai and Vid. Manjunath. They performed to a full house in the Ramanavami festival of 1973 at Parvathi, Mysore.

The concert has a wonderful flow of melody and a beautiful dialogue between the two masters, Emani and MSG. Emani fills the concert with musical masterpieces from Saint Thyagaraja and presents his trademark virtuoso melody, combined with great musical understanding between the accompanists. MSG produces his trademark violin responses, filled with an incomparable sweetness and matching the main artiste’s manodharma, throughout.

The main ragas are Vachaspati, Shankarabharana and Shanmukhapriya. Of course there are Jagadanandakaraka, Ganamurthe, and Nadaloludai, songs made famous by Emani’s renditions on many occasions. But the raga elaborations and song presentations in Vachaspati and Shankarabharana are vintage classics. The RTP in Shanmukhapriya is warrants that we will listen to it a few times to soak up its beauty. The Tanam is unforgettable.

The Thyagaraja composition in Vachaspati celebrates Lakshmana’s devotion as a true karma yogi. His construction skills when he erects the hermitage in Panchavati are so impressive that Rama feels ecstatic. He embraces Lakshmana and says Lakshmana’s deep empathy, righteousness as well as craftsmanship are such that Rama feels the presence of their dear father in Lakshmana! The hermitage construction is wonderfully described by Valmiki, the Adikavi:

Come, let us relive this vintage concert!

Concert Details

Emani Sankara Sastry --------------- Veena
Parur M.S.Gopalakrishnan ------------- Violin
Guruvayur Dorai -------------------------- Mridangam
K.S Manjunath -------------------------- Ghatam
on 19-4-73 at Parvathi

Song List

01 Jagadanandakaraka-Nata- Thyagaraja *** 02 Shobillu Saptaswara-Jaganmohini- Thyagaraja *** 03 Vachaspati –Kanta Judumi-Thyagaraja *** 04 Nadaloludai -Kalyana Vasantha –Thyagaraja *** 05 Nee Bhajana-Nayaki- Thyagaraja *** 06 Swararagasudha- Shankarabharana – Thyagaraja *** 07 Shanmugapriya RTP *** 08 Surdas Bhajan(Emani sings with Veena) *** 09 Folk song(Emani sings with Veena) *** 10 Krishna nee begane- Yamuna Kalyani- Vyasaraya *** 11 Japa (Veda) *** 12 Mangalam ***

Friday, August 28, 2015

Celebrating Thyagaraja’s Immortal Songs

Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan
"Parvathi" Ramanavami Concert 1998

An Appreciation by R. Sachi

Ardent rasikas enjoying the Parvathi concerts have already been treated to a great concert of Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan that we featured earlier from the 2012 Putturao Memorial Concert series ( click here )

This time we go back 17 years and give you a classic concert filled with Saint Thyagaraja’s immortal songs like Nadatanumanisham, Appa Ramabhakti, Brova Bharama, and Nanu Palimpa. The vidwan is in an expansive mood and gives each raga and song a very melodious treatment. Vid. Manjunath on the violin is an equal partner and gives us many wonderful moments.

Sri Neyveli has given critically acclaimed concerts in Vidwath sabhas in the presence of other erudite musicians and has been recognized with several accolades and titles. He is also an excellent speaker known for his wit, timing and sense of humour which make him a very wholesome entertainer and performer. He also presents engrossing lec-dems. His excellent theoretical depth with extensive research of the best approaches makes him a distinctive musicologist. This multi-faceted musician is also proficient at playing the Veena and percussion instruments with distinct strengths in ‘laya’ exposition.

Sri Neyveli has forayed big time into e-training of students in Carnatic music. Sri Neyveli has now a global student enrolment. His latest presentation at the Cleveland Aradhana, called the Epic Carnatic Choir, was an interesting effort with his training students remotely for a different type of group singing. The quality of music and innovation can be witnessed in this You Tube clip, where under his guidance, a large ensemble of dozens of young vocalists and instrumentalists, presented a medley of Thygaraja’s ever-popular Deshadi tala compositions. The quality of singing and the ingenuity of the composition prepared by Sri Neyveli are indeed commendable.

( Sri Neyveli conducting the Epic Carnatic Choir at Cleveland, 2015 )
( photo from his website )

Come, let us enjoy this delightful concert.

Concert Details

Neyveli Santhanagopalan ------- Vocal
Mysore Manjunath ----------------- Violin
T.A.S. Mani --------------------------- Mridangam
G.S.Ramanujam -------------------- Ghatam
0n 12-4-98 during Parvathi Ramanavami festival, Mysore.

Song List

01 Nadatanumanisham –Chittaranjani-Thyagaraja ***
02 Appa Rama-Pantuvarali- Thyagaraja ***
03 Bahudari Raga ***
04 Brova bharama-Thyagaraja ***
05 Mohana Raga ***
06 Nannu Palimpa –Thyagaraja +Tani(cut) ***
07 Manasa sancharare –Sama- Sadashiva Brahmendra ***
08 Chandrachooda- Darbari Kanada- Purandara Dasa ***
09 Thiruppugazh-Hamsanandi ***
10 Mangalam ***

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Aug 31, 2015 - Sri K. Puttu Rao Music Memorial

Inviting all Rasikas

Friday, August 7, 2015

Enriching Carnatic Music through Emulation

Flute Ramani – Parvathi Ramanavami Concert 1981

An Appreciation from R. Sachi

It is not for the first time that we are sharing a wonderful concert of Vid. N. Ramani with our rasikas. A much-loved flautist in the Carnatic idiom for several decades, he stands for pristine music with an enchanting appeal and a wide repertoire. His several collaborations over the years with other great musicians have also resulted in unforgettable concerts. His innumerable recordings are cherished by collectors world over

[ Cover illustration from an HMV album ]

In this 1981 concert, the music is simply ethereal. The emanating melody in some of the items makes us close our eyes and wonder if this is how probably Sri Krishna's divine music would be.

This concert took place when Vid. Ramani was at the peak in his career. Of course,Vid. Chandrasekharan on the violin here is at his usual best, elevating the concert with his accompaniment. Vidwans Srimushnam Raja Rao and MA Krishnamurthy have lent good percussion support.

In the rich repertoire shared here, there is the Begada classic, ‘Shankari Neeve”. Its composer Sri Subbaraya Shastri (1803-1862) was the second son of Sri Shyama Shastri, one of the glorious Carnatic trinity. Subbaraya Shastri is reputed to have studied music not only under his father, but also under Saint Thyagaraja and Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar. He was an expert in many languages and had learnt even Hindustani music from famous Maratha vidwans residing at that time in Tanjavur. He could play with felicity the violin and a rare Indian bowed instrument, sarinda.

Sri Subbaraya Shastri’s compositions are greatly cherished by connoisseurs of Carnatic music. They are known for their musical enrichments- of raga, swara sahitya and laya. Dr. V. S. Sampathkumaracharya (Karnataka Sangita Vishaya Vishwakosha) makes many interesting observations. Sri Subbaraya Shastri’s krithi, “Vanajasana vinuta” in Shriraga eschews the note dha, emulating the approach of Saint Thyagaraja in “Endaro mahanubhavulu”. His composition, “Venkatashaila vihara” in Hamir Kalyani is modelled on the structure of Dikshitar’s compositions. His compositions, “Janani ninnuvina” (Reetigowla) and “Ninnu Sevinchina” (Yadukula kambhoji) show the influence of his own illustrious composer father, Sri Shyama Shastri. Sri Subbaraya Shastri has shown also great expertise in swara-akshara sahitya in many of his compositions.

Thus, we can see that apart from their own innumerable musical gems, the Carnatic trinity have extended their abiding influence on Carnatic music through the enriched compositions of vaggeyakaras like Sri Subbaraya Shastri who have emulated their compositional ideas.

Apart from Begada, this concert has many very enjoyable delineations – Kapi and Bhairavi to name just two. Come, let us enjoy the musical feast from Vid. N. Ramani and team.

Concert Details

N.Ramani ---------------- Flute
M.Chandrasekharan --- Violin
Srimushnam Raja Rao --- Mridangam
M.A Krishnamurthy ------ Ghatam
on 19-4-81 at "Parvathi" Ramanavami festival

Song List

01. Pranamamyaham-Gowla-Vasudevachar *** 02. Dinamani vamsa-Harikamboji- Thyagaraja *** 03. Entamuddu-Bindumalini-Thyagaraja *** 04. Begade Raga *** 05. Shankari Neeve- Subbaraya Shastri *** 06. Kapi Raga *** 07. Inta soukhya-Thyagaraja & Tani *** 08.. Evaritho –Manavathi- Thyagaraja *** 09. Bhairavi Raga *** 10. Tana-Pallavi- swaras (Bhairavi and Mohana) *** 11. Na naati bratuku-Revathi- Annamacharya *** 12. Ashtapadi-Mohana, Rageshri,Yaman, Sindhu bhairavi- Jayadeva*** 13. Venkatachala nilayam-Sindhu bhairavi- Purandaradasa*** 14. Magudi *** 15. Tillana-Dhanasari- Swathi Thirunal *** 16. Thiruppugazh–Kuntalavarali *** 17. Mangalam***

Friday, July 3, 2015

Bhakti: The Lasting Emotion in Carnatic Music

Vid. Maharajapuram Santhanam, 1983 concert

Dissertation from R. Sachi

Rasikas who have journeyed with us in Parvathi would attest to this fact: most musicians raised their concert standard memorably and gave of their best in the Parvathi setting. It was an ambiance filled with devotion and celebration. Vid. Santhanam, a shining star in Carnatic music in 1970’s and 1980’s, came often and performed many concerts in Parvathi. His music that we have shared here stands out for a vibrant delivery style, a wide repertoire, and a lyrical impact that left rasikas asking for more. We share below a photograph from one of Sri Santhanam’s innumerable concerts.

[ Maharajapuram Santhanam from an earlier indoor "Parvathi" concert with Ramabhadran, Manjunath and Chandrasekharan ]

This 1983 Ramanavami concert that we share this time is no exception. Filled with a wide range of krithis composed by the masters like Thyagaraja and Vasudevachar, the concert leaves a lasting emotion of Bhakti in our minds for a long time.

The feeling of Bhakti comes in several flavours. There is the filial devotion as in Seethamma Mayamma. There are praises of the glory of God, in one’s favourite form like Ganesha, Shanmukha, Krishna and Rama. There is the plea for protection, and benediction. There is the intense longing of separation from one’s ishta devatha. Then there is the glorious joy of beholding or experiencing the Divine as in Kannare Na Kande.

All prayer is a preparation for the union with the Ultimate. That is the essence of Bhakti Yoga. We are deeply moved by this narrative describing the last day on earth of Vid. Mysore Vasudevachar in 1961, when he was 96 years old.

We reproduce below the relevant portion from the famous book, With Masters of Melody (S. Krishnamurthy, pub: Ananya)

This narrative shows how a man who lived and breathed devotional music all his life attained a fitting end in the lap of the lord. That is the crux of what is yoga in the Bhagavadgita (8.10) And the resounding assurance of the lord in Bhagavadgita, to always take care of his devotee, never goes in vain (9.22).

Come, let us enjoy the concert!

Concert Details

Maharajapuram Santhanam --------- Vocal
T.G.Tyagarajan ------------------------Violin
Tanjore Upendran ---------------------Mridangam
Ramanavami Concert held on 24-4-1983 at "Parvathi

Song List

01.Vandenishamaham-Hamsadhvani-MV*** 02.Seetamma.mayamma-Vasantha-T*** 03.Narayana-Shuddha.Dhanyasi-PD*** 04.Ranganathude-Sourashtra-Ponniah.Pillai*** 05.Purvikalyani.Raga(Vocal&Violin)*** 06.Marachitivemo-Purvikalyani-MV*** 07.Aparadhi.naanalla-Revathi-PD*** 08.Nannu.vidachi-Reetigowla-T*** 09.Akhilandeshwari-Dwijavanti-MD- ***10.Kannarekande-Behag-PD*** 11.Sharangan.Marugane.-Ragamalika*** 12.Govinda.ninna-Janasammodini-PD*** 13.Vilayada.idhu.nerama-Shanmugapriya-TN.Balu*** 14.Namasmarana.sukam-Yamankalyani-Tulasivanam.(part.only)***

Friday, May 29, 2015

From String to Song to Symphony – A Cadence of Excellence

Chitraveena N. Ravikiran – Parvathi Ramanavami 1988

Reflections by R. Sachi

We bring to rasikas worldwide a wonderful concert of Chitravina (earlier name gotuvadyam) by prodigy N. Ravikiran, held at Parvathi in 1988.

Born in Mysore in 1967, the phenomenon called N. Ravikiran made an impact on the Carnatic scene as early as in 1969. He astonished the greatest musicians with his ability to recognise a vast array of ragas and talas when other children would be lisping baby words. M.S. Subbulakshmi, T.R. Mahalingam, Mysore Doreswamy Iyengar, Pandit Ravi Shankar, and others, expressed astonishment and delight at this phenomenon called N. Ravikiran. After training intensely under his father, Chitravina Narasimhan, Ravikiran debuted as a vocalist in 1972, at a record-setting age of five in Coimbatore and presented concerts in prominent venues. He won a scholarship from the Madras Music Academy at that young age.

At the age of 10, he switched over to the 21-stringed chitravina (earlier called gotuvadyam) and gave his maiden chitravina concert at age 11. He established himself as a frontline Indian string instrumentalist within the next 3 years with recitals in major venues and festivals. He won an exemption to perform professional concerts for Indian Radio and Television (Doordarshan) at age 12 and was invited to represent his country in Festivals of India all over the world. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer presented the gotuvadyam that had been played by his guru Vid. Sakharama Rao, to Ravikiran.

From 1986–96, Ravikiran underwent training under the celebrated vocalist T.Brinda, an acknowledged musicians' musician, renowned for her microscopic nuances, authentic repertoire and uncompromising values. His own approach to ragas, songs, and especially javalis and padams, reflects this.

The incredible saga of Ravikiran’s musical journey is well narrated over the Internet and well documented at ravikiranmusic.com. Today, N. Ravikiran is one of the most highly accomplished and respected musicians around the world, performing, teaching, composing and conducting music concerts of several formats and genres round the year around the globe. He plays the chitravina as well as gives full-fledged vocal concerts.

Ravikiran is making fundamental contributions towards popularising Oothukadu Venkata Kavi’s compositions. He is helping musicians to hone their skills in advancing both lakshana and lakshya of their Carnatic competencies through conducting many lec-dems, and Internet teaching sessions. Many of his students have been well recognised.

Ravikiran's significant contribution to world music is 'Melharmony', a new approach to compositions and aesthetics that he initiated in the year 2000 at the Millennium Festival in UK. The impact of this has been reflected in Melharmonic concerts, collaborations, academic papers and recognitions. Melharmony harnesses melodic concepts of the East and harmonic concepts of the West. His 72-raga melakarta melharmony presentation and his composing and performing music for a dance ballet performed by Pandit Birju Maharaj are among many recent achievements.

The present concert is a good example of how balanced, sparkling and fulfilling Ravikiran’s music has always been. The range of ragas and compositions leaves the listener highly satisfied. As Ravikiran enters the “golden age” in a Carnatic musician’s career, we wish the maestro all success and happiness in his multifaceted endeavours.


N. Ravikiran ------------------- Chitravina (Gotuvadyam)
T.G.Tyagarajan ----------------Violin
T.A.S Mani ----------------------Mridangam
Bangalore Venkataram ------- Ghatam (Ramanavami Concert held on 2-4-1988 at “Parvathi")

Song List

01 Raghunayaka-Hamsadhvani- Thyagaraja *** 02 Simhendramadhyama Raga *** 03 Natajana paripalaka-K.V. Srinivasa Iyengar *** 04 Manavinala-Nalinakanti- Thyagaraja *** 05 Todi Raga *** 06 Emi Jesite – Todi- Thyagaraja *** 07 Sudhamayee – Amrutavarshini- H Muthiah Bhagavatar *** 08 Kamboji Raga *** 09 Tana in Ghana Ragamalika *** 10 Pallavi –Parimala Rangapathe *** 11 Yare Rangana –Hindola- Purandara Dasa *** 12. Vagaladi Bodhanalaku-Behag Javali – Tirupathi Narayanaswamy *** 13 Mangalam ***

Thursday, May 14, 2015

In Memoriam: Jim Gaines

[ Courtesy: NJ.com ]
[ NJ Advance Media-AP/Santos Chaparro ]

Towards the start of our blog in an acknowledgement section, our readers may have noticed a name mentioned but only in brief.

It had to be in brief, because the large and beautiful personality of Jim Gaines would not accept it any other way. He was, tellingly, the most modest person in whatever he did.

On Tuesday May 12, 2015, an Amtrak train bound for New York from Washington derailed close to Philadelphia in arguably one of the most horrific accidents of our times. An ever responsible and ebullient Jim, had even then text-ed home to his wife Jacqueline that he would be there "in just about half an hour". But, fate, just snatched him away in a few minutes in perhaps one of the cruelest of fashions.

To this writer and the many who knew him in the communities of the Princeton suburbs, and to his many colleagues at work, it was hard not be held captive by Jim's many-a-sided 'goodness'. His ever eager spirit was always involved in helping some deserving institution or in charity or in the cause of somebody. He was just the "go to" guy, the one that would accommodate you in any situation at any hour when you called on him.

It was in such a situation, in a call for help to Jim that this 'Parvathi' blog started in earnest.

This writer had always felt a pang on the story of a unique home in India that had a large part of music entwined with scores of performers, and in the large lay of a country, it's classic traditions and culture. Ever creative himself, such stories had a unique appeal for Jim.

Ever the faithful father, in bundling his two dear children in a car wherever he went, and always the technical one in brandishing his lap top, he would show up for sittings, faithfully, sacrificing his own weekends to be in a coffee shop, to be the teacher, the creative persona, the designer.

The memory of those beautiful mornings haunt this writer even as he recalls the teacher in Jim "You know, just with a wee bit of help, Jacqueline has mastered her web page in providing her own creative expressions. This is no rocket science and you too can do it. I'll teach you how, but you alone must roll up your sleeves and do it!".

As we roll up each posting in the future, we will have cause to recall Jim's words each time and with a lump. He has left his indelible presence in our hearts and minds.

We only wish he had not left us this way, with only a philosophy to comfort us.

Jim Gaines, less than fifty years old, was professionally a Manager in Video technology with the Associated Press. Gifted techically, he was part of a team that won the AP Chairman's Prize in 2006 for developing the agency's Online Video Network.

He leaves behind wife Jacqueline and two lovely children 16-year-old son Oliver and 11-year-old daughter Anushka.

We can only but pray that they may all be comforted in some manner.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Scriptures and Devotion

Bombay Sisters – Parvathi Ramanavami Concert, 1975

Appreciations from R. Sachi

We bring the rasikas worldwide this time excerpts from a 40 year-old recording of the concert by Bombay Sisters. Vidushis C. Saroja and C. Lalitha were born in Kerala and grew up in Bombay. After their initial musical training they won scholarships to study under the doyens at the Central College of Carnatic Music, Adyar, Chennai. They have been hailed as pure classicists bringing credit to their gurus Musiri Subramanya Iyer and T.K. Govinda Rao. The Bombay Sisters have had a steady run of popularity for nearly 50 years and were conferred the coveted Sangitha Kalanidhi title by the Madras Music Academy in 2010.

In this concert, we find some fine renditions of famous krithis like Evari Mata and Innu Daya Barade. These songs unburden the longing of the devotee for divine grace. The bhakti movement in India has given rise to an extraordinary breadth and depth of devotional outpouring, fully harnessed in the lyrics of Carnatic music. To name a few of the originators of these lyrics: Andal, Annamacharya, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Chaitanya, Meera, Kabir, Tulsidas, Surdas, Purandara Dasa and others of that tradition, Thyagaraja, Shyama Shastri, Swati Tirunal, Papanasam Sivan, Vasudevachar…

“Come to me, please reveal yourself, save me, help me cross the ocean of this wretched existence”: these sentiments and their variations come again and again in impassioned entreaties to the Lord. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Uddhava, a great intellectual, spiritual aspirant, and associate of Krishna, is sent to Gokula to meet Krishna’s family and the gopis. There he encounters the real bhakti of the gopis for Krishna. He is simply swept away. He says to them (quote from Srimad Bhagavatam, The Wisdom of God by Swami Prabhavananda): “How Blessed are you to have surrendered yourselves completely and whole-heartedly to Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the God of Love. Love and devotion grow after one has practiced many austerities, undergone many spiritual disciplines, and meditation. But fortunate indeed are you who were born with all-consuming love and devotion, and have renounced everything for the love of your dear Krishna. O happy ones, who enjoy the bliss of divine love, I am blessed and purified by coming into your presence.”

The song Evari Mata by Thyagaraja is famous and pours out the rasa of Kambhoji incomparably. No wonder it is often taken up in concerts for elaborate treatment. To show the emotive content of the lyrics, we reproduce below the text and translation of the song from The Spiritual Heritage of Thyagaraja:

Come let us enjoy this fine concert by Bombay Sisters!:

Concert Details

Bombay Sisters (Saroja and Lalitha) --------- Vocal
Master Nagaraj (Now Mysore Nagaraj) ---- Violin
P.G.Lakshminarayan ------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy --------- Ghatam
on 27-4-1975 at 'Parvathi'.

Excerpts List

01. Ganamurthe- Ganamurthi- Thyagaraja *** 02.Rama Rama –Simhendramadhyama- Swathi Thirunal *** 03. Ramachandram Bhavayami –Vasantha- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 04. Kambhoji Raga- Evarimata-Thyagaraja *** 05. Innu daya baarade-Kalyana Vasantha- Purandara Dasa *** 06. Shloka - Ab mein naachun-Yaman Kalyani- Surdas *** 07. Tillana-Jinjhuti- Veena Sheshanna

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bidarama Krishnappa Prasanna Raama Mandira: Mysore's sacred space for music

This article authored by Shri R. Sachi has been reproduced with kind permission from Sree Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira's fine newsletter available at http://www.srlkmandira.org/newsletters/LalithaKalaTarangini_April2015.pdf

[ Please use the magnifier below the article to magnify its engrossing contents ]

Bidaram Krishnappa Rama Mandira

AN ADDENDUM by Shri K. Srikantiah: " Before B.K Padmanabha Rao and others took over as secretaries of the Mandiram, Sriyuts S.K.Ramachar and D.K.Kapanipathi Rao rendered worthy services as secretaries to the Mandiram"

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: The following pictures of the Mandira and Violinist T. Chowdiah's house were taken by K.R. Dinanath who probably has the last word on anything that is connected to Mysore. We urge readers to make his acquaintance at a superb blog called 'MYSOREAN MUSINGS':

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Mysore Veena spoke in His Hands

Sangeetha Kalanidhi V. Doreswamy Iyengar (1997)

Reminiscences from R. Sachi

We are happy to share on the eve of Ugadi a beautiful veena concert from 1997 of Vidwan Doreswamy Iyengar. His concert in the first year of the Ramanavami festival, 1970, has already been shared here.

The featured concert of 1997 would be his last in Parvathi since he left his mortal coil in the same year.

In this concert, even at the age of 77, Sri Doreswamy Iyengar has shown his famous touch of class. Ragas like Narayanagowla, Harikambhoji, Purvikalyani and Todi come out in splendid finery. His veena speaks and sings with such melody. The tempo is really easy on the ears. The concert shows what Sri Doreswamy Iyengar was most loved for... the true sweetness of the Mysore Veena bani.

Sri Iyengar shared a close friendship with Mr. K. Srikantiah and used to spend long hours with him and RK Narayan, the famous writer in the beautiful city of Mysore. The three formed a kind of three musketeers. Sri Doreswamy Iyengar was honoured by the home of Parvathi during the silver jubilee of the Parvathi concerts in 1994 (photo here).

Here is a translation of the page on Sri Doreswamy Iyengar in the Kannada musical encyclopedia, “Karnataka Sangita Vishaya Vishwa Kosha” (author Dr. V.S. Sampathkumaracharya, pub. DVK, Mysore, 2012):


Veene Doreswamy Iyengar (1920-1997)

A famous contemporary vainika, V. Doreswamy Iyengar was born in 1920 in the family of Veena and Flute maestro Venkatesha Iyengar. He began his musical training under his father on the veena and later received advanced training under Asthana Vidwan Vainika Venkatagiriyappa. He performed when he was 14 in the presence of Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar and received the king’s appreciation. He passed BA in Mysore Maharaja’s College.

His first public performance was in 1943 Ramotsava in Bangalore. Since then he has performed at every venue known for Carnatic music, and also Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi and other cities. Apart from solo appearances nationwide, he has performed with Ali Akbar Khan and Halim Jaffer Khan. He has performed duets with T. Chowdiah for over 10 years. He has performed with Dr. Balamurali Krishna in a veena-viola duet. He represented India at the international music conference in Shiraz, Iran in 1969. He travelled and performed in many concerts in Europe and America. He served for several years until retirement as the music producer in AIR, Bangalore. He was awarded the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1970. He was the eighth president of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja conference and received the title Sangeetha Kala Ratna. The Mysore University awarded him an honorary doctorate.

Iyengar’s veena style touches the heart. His plucking is majestic in gait, pleasant always and melodious. His raga essays are filled with rich manodharma and his kalpana swaras show great expertise. His style of play is predominantly gayaki. Natakurinji, Hamir Kalyani, Todi, Kalyani, Shankarabharana, Kharaharapriya, Kambhoji, Shanmukhapriya, Jinjhuti, Darbari Kanada – in these ragas, his renditions showcase his unique style. He received the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India. He served as the head of Karanataka Sangeetha Nataka Academy. He presided over the 1984 conference of the Madras Music Academy and was conferred the Sangeetha Kalanidhi title.

Among his numerous disciples are his son D. Balakrishna and Mysore C. Krishnamurthy.


Concert Details

V.Doreswamy Iyengar ----------- Veena
D.Balakrishna ---------- Veena accompaniment
Cheluvaraj ---------------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ----- Ghatam
on 24-4-97 during Ramanavami.

Song List

1. Sarasuda- Saveri varnam - Kothavasal Venkatarama Iyer *** 2. Vallabha Nayakasya-Begada-Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 3. Teliyaleru Rama - Dhenuka- Thyagaraja *** 4. Shobhillu- Jaganmohini-Thyagaraja *** 5. Chani Todi-Harkambhoji-Thyagaraja *** 6. Ninnuvinaga mari- Purvi Kalyani- Shyama Shastri *** 7. Narayanagowla Tana+Sri Ramam- Thyagaraja *** 8. Tani 9. Koluvamaragada-Todi-Thyagaraja *** 10. Marulukonnadira - Khamach Javali- Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar *** 11. Sapashyat- Jaunpuri - Panchapakesha Shastri *** 12. ??Jinjhuti 13. Mangalam

Monday, February 9, 2015

Traditional Song and Western Influences

Vid. Rajkumar Bharathi – Vocal Concert 1998: "Parvathi" Ramanavami Music Festival

By R. Sachi

We are pleased to share with rasikas worldwide the concert from the Ramanavami series 1998 of Vid. Rajkumar Bharathi. This very enjoyable concert has traditional Carnatic fare as well as a lovely “English” note of Thyagaraja-swami and also a patriotic song of the famous Tamil literateur Subrahmanya Bharathi, the renaissance poet of the early 20th century, who stridently voiced the spirit of the Indian freedom struggle and gave a whole region much inspirational poetry.

Rajkumar Bharathi is the great grandson of Sri Subrahmanya Bharathi.  For Rajkumar Bharathi it was but natural to be associated with music owing to his family’s keen interest in art and literature. By the instructions of his music guru, Sangeetha Kalanidhi T. V. Gopalakrishnan, Rajkumar decided to quit his engineering job in an R&D division and devote his time for classical music.
Rajkumar Bharathi has given Classical Carnatic music concerts throughout India and abroad. His career spans classical music, bhavageethe, film playback singing, composing for classical dance, international fusion and choir music and teaching. He has many audio cassettes and CDs to his credit. His voice is very popular across Karnataka for his clear diction and melodious singing of Kannada compositions.
The concert has excellent accompaniment from Sri Manjunath and Sri Cheluvaraju.

The concert features an interesting composition, not often heard, of Saint Thyagaraja, which sounds very much like an English note. The words are meaningful and clever. We reproduce the lyric and meaning, taken from sahityam.net:

The Subrahmanya Bharathi song in Behag reflects the aspirations of a resurgent India, a century ago, when the population was just 30 crores! The spirit of the nation and also the “modern” spirit of national pride was the product ironically of the efforts of the English rule to create a single nation patched up from several smaller princely states. The result was a “critical” mass of national spirit.

Come, let us enjoy the concert!

Concert Details
Rajkumar Bharathi -----------------  Vocal
Mysore Manjunath ----------------- Violin
Cheluvaraj ------------------------- Mridangam
Srinath ----------------------------- Ghatam
          on 13-4-98 During Ramanavami.

Song List

01. Chalamela -Atatala Varna Shankarabharanam- Swathi Thirunal *** 02. Vandisuvudadiyali- Nata- Purandaradasa *** 03. Sri Rama -Purnachandrika - Thyagaraja *** 04. Sunadavinodini alapana 05. Devadideva - Sunadavinodini- Mysore Vasudevachar *** 06. Chintane Sada - Kunthalavarali - Thygaraja *** 07. Madhyamavathi alapana *** 08. Ramakathasaudha - Madhyamavathi - Thyagaraja *** 09. Ramanamava Nudi Nudi- Ragamalika (Desh,Vasanthi,Brindavani)- Purandaradasa  *** 10. Hanumana matave - Jog- Purandaradasa *** 11. Varaleelaganalola -Shankarabharana-Thyagaraja *** 12.  Bharathasamudhayam-Behag-Bharatiyar *** 13. Mangalam 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

' I wish I had met you earlier ' - K.J. Yesudas

Vid. K.J. Yesudas in 2000 : "Parvathi" Ramanavami Music Festival

Reminiscences by K.Srikantiah

" We are pleased to present this time, in our blog, a full length concert of Sri. K.J.Yesudas during our Sri Ramanavami Music Festival on April 19, 2000 at Mysore.

I also take this opportunity to wish my dear friend, Yesudas, a very Happy New Year ! January is also the month when he performs Pooja and Homam at Mookambika Temple on the occasion of his birthday. May Goddess Mookambika Bless him with perfect health, longevity of life, and may he continue to enthrall his countless fans inside and outside of India. "

" When I go down my memory lane, I vividly recollect the day I first met him on April 18, 1976. Our friendship began on a rather discordant note. Yesudas was to sing at my Ramanavami Festival on April 14, 1976. Music of films like 'Chit Chor' , 'Apoorva Ragangal' etc, were a super hit by then, and Yesudas was a heart-throb of thousands of music-lovers. He was a versatile singer in both carnatic classical music and film music, which was very rare. A massive crowd had gathered to listen to him,but he didn't turn up, even at 7 in the evening.Nor was there any word or message from him. I was fuming by then.Somehow I pleaded with Neyathangara Vasudeven, and he agreed to sing in Yesudas' place.

Next morning at 5 AM, Yesudas called me and calmly explained what had happened. The car in which he was travelling from Bangalore to Mysore broke down midway. The driver left him alone in the car and went to get help. It was almost 8pm in the night by the time the car problem was finally resolved and by which time it was too late to reach Mysore and perform. After explaining all this, Yesudas agreed to sing on April 18, 1976. That was how we first met. His genuineness, sincerity and warmth completely melted away my previous anger. From that instant, I became an ardent admirer of Yesudas the person, besides Yesudas the singer. "

" His words to me on that day still ring in my ears - 'I wish I had met you earlier' was what he said. Thus began our friendship of four decades, a friendship which has been steady without ups and downs. This was the exact sentiment which Yesudas also expressed during his recent concert at our K.Puttu Rao (my father) festival in september 2014. Innumerable are the days and hours that we have spent discussing music, men and matter, and pulling each others legs. "

" I am deeply indebted to Yesudas for accepting without a second thought my invitation to sing at my festival about 15-20 times during these four decades.I can only repay the debt by praying to Lord Rama to always bless my beloved friend and his family with HIS protective shield.

God bless you, my dear friend ! "

Concert Details

K.J.Yesudas --------- Vocal
Mysore Nagaraj ------ Violin
T.A.S.Mani ------------ Mridangam
Shivaramakrishnan ---- Ghatam

during Ramanavami Festival, "Parvathi", Mysore April 19, 2000.

Song list:

01 Sarasijanabha-Varnam-Nata-Swathi Thirunal *** 02 Sri Gananatham-Kanakangii-Thyagaraja *** 03 Pavanaguru-Hamsanandi-Lalithadasar *** 04 Tirupati Venkataramana-Keeravani -Purandaradasa *** 05 Ksheerasagara-Devagandhari-Thyagaraja *** 06 Pantuvarali Raga *** 07 Ramanama payasake-Pauntuvarali-Puranddaradasa *** 08 Ramanamam bhajare - Madhyamavathi- Thyagaraja *** 09 Sripate-Nagaswaravali- Thyagaraja *** 10 Kharaharapriya Raga*** 11 Tana-Pallavi-Swara*** 12 Tani*** 13 Krishna nee begane-Yamuna kalyani- Vyasaraya *** 14 Swami sangeeta- Abheri- Aleppey Ranganath *** 15 Mangala darshana - Anandabhairavi- Dakshinamurthy *** 16 Rama Rama Rama Sita- Huseni- Thyagaraja *** 17 Samayamithapoorva- ragamalika- Ouseppachan*** 18 Harivarasanam - Madhyamavati -Kambangudi Kulathur Srinivasa Iyer+G. Devarajan***