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Monday, October 1, 2018

Musical Genius is always through Divine Grace

Vid. Mandolin U. Shrinivas 1984 'Parvathi' Ramanavami Concert

Review by R. Sachi

We are pleased to share yet another wonderful concert of an unprecedented genius in the Carnatic world, Mandolin Shrinivas. Shrinivas was almost a member of the Parvathi family.

Nowadays we are presented a number of youngsters hardly ten to twelve years old, as prodigies. They are also compared to Mandolin U Shrinivas. But we think at Parvathi that there can be no other musician like him. He did not have a family tradition in Carnatic music, nor rigorous training from infancy, nor influential patronage. He emerged from the rustic hinterland on to the concert stage through sheer effort and more importantly, divine grace. His success, his enchantment, and his leaving us destitute through his early passing away, are all part of a unique “divine leela”.

There is this famous shloka of how Goddess Saraswati confers literary and musical gifts like a mother breastfeeds her child:

saṅgītamatha sāhityaṁ sarasvatyāḥ stanadvayam |
ekamāpātamadhuram anyadālocanāmṛtam ||

So a Shrinivas is nurtured musically by Divinity in ways we cannot fathom.

In this 1984 concert, where he is ably assisted by senior musicians like Sri. Govindaswamy, Sri. Upendran, and Sri.Venkatram, we see the early signs of his genius, through his rendering a wide variety of famous compositions with panache.

His choice of the song, “Marivere” appears to be his constant prayer to the Goddess for grace.

Come, let us enjoy the concert without further ado!


U.Shrinivas....... Mandolin
M.S. Govindaswamy... Violin
Tanjore Upendran... Mridangam
Bangalore Venkataram.... Ghatam
On April 10, 1984 at 'Parvathi' during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List 01. Vanajaksha Atatala Varnam - Kalyani –Pallavi Gopala Iyer *** 02. Srimahaganapathi – Gaula – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 03. Raghunayaka – Hamsadhwani –Thyagaraja *** 04. Endaromahanubhavulu – Sriraga- Thyagaraja *** 05. Saraswathi raga *** 06. Anuragamule – Saraswathi – Thyagaraja *** 07. Marivere – Ananda Bhairavi – Shyama Shastri *** 08. Niravadhisukhada – Ravichandrika – Thyagaraja *** 09. Todi alapana *** 10. Tana+Kaddanuvariki – Todi-Thyagaraja *** 11. Enta muddo – Bindumalini – Thyagaraja *** 12. Raghuvamshasudha – Kadanakutuhalam – Patnam Subramanya Iyer *** 13. Jagadoddharana – Kapi- Purandaradasa *** 14. Baro Krishnayya – Ragamalika – Kanakadasa *** 15. Thillana – Desh – Lalgudi Jayaraman *** 16. ? -Sindhu bhairavi -? *** 17. Thriuppugah – Hamsanandi – Arunagirinathar *** 18. Mangalam ***

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Celebrating a true understanding of our music

Vid. Trichur V. Ramachandran – 1997 Concert Excerpts from 'Parvathi'

An R. Sachi Review

We are very happy to share this time some excerpts from a Ramanavami Concert held in Mysore by the home of 'Parvathi' in 1997. Sangeetha Kalanidhi Trichur V. Ramachandran sings beautifully in this concert held 21 years ago. The accompaniment is very good too. The result is a rich concert experience.

The vidwans who play in this concert come from a tradition of excellence. They have pursued a true understanding of our music. Nowadays it is fashionable to say that our music is not this, not that, and so on. Some are even arguing that we should give up this "nonsense called Bhakthi". On the other hand, some critics jokingly say that practitioners of Carnatic music have progressively deleted time-honoured elements in our music, like Sruthi, Soukhyam, Bhaava, and so on.

What did the great composer Saint Thygaraja have to say on this in his composition Vidulaku Mrokkeda, sung so well in this concert?

Like all rasikas all over the world, we feel blessed whenever we listen to good music. Come, let us enjoy this concert, although we are able to retrieve only some excerpts.

Concert Details:

V.Ramachandran --------------- Vocal
S.V.Narayan ---------------------- Violin
Arjun Kumar ----------------------- Mridangam
M.A.Krishnamurthy ------------ Ghatam
on 25-4-97 during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival at 'Parvathi'.

Song List:

01 Maha Ganapatim- Nata – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 02. Vidulaku mrokkeda –Mayamalavagowla- Thyagaraja *** 03 -Mundu venuka-Durbar – Thyagaraja ***04 Seetamma mayamma-Vasantha- Thyagaraja *** 05 Illi nodalu Rama-Mohanakalyani – Purandara Dasa ***

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Unfaltering Tradition

Hyderabad Brothers – 'Parvathi' Festival 1994

Review by R. Sachi

Welcome to this recording of excerpts of a wonderful concert in the Parvathi festival held 23 years ago in Mysore.

We feature the vibrant duo Hyderabad Brothers in the company of Vid. M. Manjunath, Vid. Nagai Narayan, and Vid. Chandramouli. We decided to feature this concert for its sheer musical appeal, despite the missing second half of the concert recording.

We quote from last.fm. (This was written some years ago):

" With a great understanding between each other and with knowledge and voices to match, the Hyderabad Brothers have mastered the art of delivering captivating Carnatic music concerts. From the time they gave their initial performance in Madras, they have taken the world of Carnatic music by storm by virtue of their immense scholarship and strict adherence to tradition. In a short period of time they have become extremely popular artistes.

The Hyderabad Brothers complement each other stunningly. Seshachari's deep, resonant voice and the softer, mellow voice of Raghavachari, blend well to melodious effect. On and off the stage, Seshachari, the younger brother is more extroverted; Raghavachari is more content to play the quieter role. Seshachari, who is a staff artiste with All India Radio, Hyderabad, is an accomplished mrdangam player as well! Raghavachari works for the national Mineral Development Corporation. "

Concert Details

Hydrabad Brothers (Raghavachari and Seshachari) ...... Vocal
Mysore Manjunath ........................... Violin
Nagai S Narayan ............................. Mridangam
B N Chandramouli ........................... Khanjira
on 28-4-1994 during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List

01 Swaminatha Paripalaya – Nata – Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 02 Mayamalavagowla Raga*** 03 Deva deva kalayamite – Mayamalavagowla – Swathi Thirunal *** 04 Saranga Raga*** 05 Arunachala Natham – Saranga- Muthuswami Dikshitar *** 06 Amrutavarshini Raga*** 07 Anandamrutakarshini – Amruthavarshini – Muthuswami Dikshitar ***

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Mother worship in Carnatic music

Vids. M. Chandrasekharan and Bharathi
K.Puttu Rao Memorial Violin Concert 2014

Review by R. Sachi

Welcoming the spring season of 2018, called Vasanta Ritu in India, we offer you a lovely violin concert by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sri. M. Chandrasekharan, accompanied by his daughter and disciple Vid. Bharathi. The accompaniment by Vid. Cheluvaraju on the mridangam and Vid. Ramanujam on the ghatam complete a great team offering rich music in the Carnatic idiom.

Vid. Chandrasekharan is noted for his patent dark glasses as well as his singing violin with a unique personality. He has provided superb violin accompaniment for many decades to the best Carnatic musicians. His sensitive and imaginative approach to solo music is also recognised by rasikas. “Chandru” is a dear friend at the home of Parvathi and he has performed dozens of times in the Parvathi festivals. He casts a timeless charm even today on the audiences.

We have given much information about the Vidwan and his association with Parvathi in the previous concert postings. However, the subject of his mother’s influence on his music, and its importance in the context of Carnatic music, cannot be overemphasized.

Chandru’s violin guru was his mother, Smt. Charubala Mohan. We quote him from an interview to the Times of India in 2016:

Elaborating on her teaching style, Chandrasekaran says, "Her unimposing attitude gave me ample freedom to develop my own style and also appreciate various kinds of traditional music." Recalling one of his practice sessions with a smile, he says, "Just once she gave a gentle tap on my thigh because the bow for the violin kept slipping even after she taught me the technique. After that, I started doing it correctly."

Understanding the importance of exposure, Charubala ensured her son did not miss out on the performances of Carnatic stalwarts. From techniques to compositions, young 'Chandra' - as she fondly called him developed an ear for a variety of styles. "My mother would accompany me for almost every concert. If she couldn't make it, she made sure she sent someone with me. I rarely missed a performance," he reminisces.

The idea of the Mother Goddess is unique to Hinduism. Further, in Carnatic music, we have a huge body of compositions worshipping the Mother. In his famous Darini Telusukonti, Saint Thyagaraja says:

The saint was a devotee of Sri Rama, but found it fit to make this prayer to the Mother Goddess. This kind of prayer to the Mother pervades the krithis of many other composers, too, particularly Sri.Shyama Shastri, and Sri. Muthuswami Dikshitar.

Come, let us enjoy a lovely concert from a veteran master and his talented daughter!

Concert Details

M.Chandrashekharan --------- Violin
Bharathi --------------------------- Violin
Cheluvaraju ----------------------- Mridangam
Ramanujam --------------------- Ghatam

on 4-9-2014 during K.Puttu Rao Music Festival at Mysore.

01 Siddhi Vinayakam Anisham-Muthuswami Dikshitar-Chamaram (Shanmukha Priya) *** 02 Sri Jaalandhara-Jayachamaraja Wadiyar-Gambhira Nata *** 03 Enta Muddo-Thyagaraja-BinduMalini *** 04 Dattatreya Trimurtirupa-Ganapathi Sacchidananda Swamiji-Ranjani *** 05 Nagumomu-Thyagaraja –Abheri - ragamalika swaras medley: Begada, Basant, Desh followed by Tani *** 06 Tune only-Bagesri *** 07 BaroKrishnayya-Kanakadasa-Ragamalike *** 08 BhagyadaLakshmi-Purandaradasa-Madhyamavati ***