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Friday, December 23, 2022

The Excellence of Flute in Carnatic Music - Vid. N. Ramani

Vid. N. Ramani - Sri Ramanavami 1980

The world of Carnatic music is best described in two words - Sangeeta and Sahitya. The compositions of the great vaggeyakaras are like mantras that invoke the Nada Brahmam in us as we listen to a chaste rendition of their songs.

But as सङ्गीतरत्नाकर declares, गीतं वाद्यं तथा नृत्यं  त्रयं सङ्गीतमुच्यते - the trinity of Song, Instrument and Dance is Sangeeta.

The Srimad Bhagavatam declares that as soon as Sage Narada received spiritual instruction from his father, Lord Brahma, he began travelling the three worlds, singing the glory of Sri Hari, accompanying himself on the Veena!

But what about pure instrumental music? The instrumental soloists have etched a permanent place for themselves in Carnatic music. Notable among them, and the favourites of the home of Parvathi, were Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman, Vid. Chitti Babu, Vid. Mandolin Shrinivas, and, last but not the least, Vid. N. Ramani.

The Wikipedia informs us that Vid. Ramani was born into a musician family in Tiruvarur. He learnt the art of the flute from his maternal uncle and legend Vid. Mali, and carved a significant place for himself with the best of the gayaki style of Carnatic music combining his instrumental virtuosity with adherence to the Pathantara of songs rendered by the best vocalists of the time.

In this concert, Vid. Ramani is accompanied by the maestro Vid. M. Chandrasekharan on the violin, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran on the mridangam and Vid. M.A. Krishnaswamy on the ghatam. The repeated exclamations of "Bhale", 'Bhesh", and "Kya Baat Hai" can be heard peppering the wonderful flow of music. Notable renditions are Hindolam, with wonderful essays by the flute and violin, and also Kharaharapriya, an eternal favourite of Sri. K. Srikantiah.

Concert Details

Ramanavami 1980
N. Ramani - Flute
M. Chandrasekharan - Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran - Mridangam
M.A. Krishnamurthy - Ghatam
Date 26 March 1980

Song List
1. Chani Todi Teve - Harikambhoji - Thyagaraja
2. Sri Narada Nada - Kanada - Thyagaraja
3. Enta Muddo - Bindumalini- Thyagaraja
4. Manasulo Ni Marmamu - Hindolam - Thyagaraja
5. Palintuvo - Kantamani - Thyagaraja
6. Rama Nee Samanamevaru - Kharaharapriya - Thyagaraja
7. Ni Dayache Rama? - Yadukula Kambhoji - Thyagaraja
8.  Bhajan- Shivaranjani
9. Bhajan - Sindu Bhairavi
10. Arumugam Arumugam - Kuntalavarali- Arunagirinathar (Thiruppugazh)

(The recording is 42 years old and any shortcomings may be kindly excused.)

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Sudha Raghunathan – A Worthy Inheritor and a Shining Star

Padma Bhushan Vid. Sudha Raghunathan - Sri Ramanavami 2005

The mantle of the MLV bani sits lightly on the most successful lady musician on the Carnatic scene of the past 30 years. Vid. Sudha Ragunathan has performed at the Madras Music Season every year since 1990, the very year in which her Guru Dr. ML Vasanthakumari breathed her last. 

In 2013 she was awarded the Sangita Kalanidhi of the Madras Music Academy. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian honour, in January 2015. 

Her charities are very well known, carried out by her trust. Her musical collaborations, from performing with Dr. Balamuralikrishna to joining groups that created world music, are prolific and fascinating.

Vid. Sudha’s energy, charm and creativity were on full display during the Covid lockdown. She conducted a number of exciting sessions with musicians and other personalities of all ages in a warm tête-à-tête style. She even had live cooking sessions on her YouTube channel, where she sang and cooked at the same time!

We have featured several concerts of Vid. Sudha Raghunathan in the Parvathi blog already. She has been a regular in our festivals and a much acclaimed star for the Parvathi audiences.

In this 2005 concert, Vid. Sudha presents a rich bouquet of songs from many composers. Her easy style of reaching top octave notes is on display early in the concert. . All the accompanists are established names from Karnataka. Her essay of Todi and the song Chesinadella are captivating. Behind her ease in negotiating the high notes and an easy fluidity characteristic of her music lies hidden her lifelong Sadhana in a successful journey prophesied by none other than Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba.

Concert Details

 Sudha Raghunathan - Vocal
 Mysore V. Srikanth - Violin 
 C. Cheluvaraj - Mridangam 
 M.A. Krishnamurthy - Ghatam 
 Date 21 April 2005 
 Sri Ramanavami Festival conducted at the home of "Parvathi"

Song List

  1. Viriboni – Bhairavi Atatala Varnam – Pachimiriyam Adiyappayya
  2. Gajavadana Beduve – Hamsadhvani – Purandara Dasa 
  3. Ramanatham Bhajeyam – Pantuvarali – Muthuswami Dikshitar 
  4. Mokshamu Galada – Saramathi – Thyagaraja 
  5. Bhavayami Raghuramam – Ragamalika – Swathi Thirunal 
  6. Dayarani – Mohana – Thyagaraja 
  7. Akhilandeshwari – Dwijavanthi – Muthuswami Dikshitar 
  8. Vidajaladura – Janaranjani – Thyagaraja
  9. Jesinadella Marachitivo – Todi – Thyagaraja 
  10. Kurai Onrum Illai – Ragamalika – C. Rajagopalachari 
  11. Maneyinda Santhosha – Ugabhoga – Yamuna Kalyani – Sripadaraja 
  12. Hari Smarane Mado –Yamuna Kalyani – Purandara Dasa 
  13. Brahmam Okate – Bowli - Annamacharya 
  14. Mangalam
ಉಗಾಭೋಗದ ಸಾಹಿತ್ಯ: 
ಮನೆಯಿಂದ ಸಂತೋಷ ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ಲೋಕದಲಿ 
ಧನದಿಂದ ಸಂತೋಷ ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ಲೋಕದಲಿ 
ವನಿತೆಯಿಂದ ಸಂತೋಷ ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ಲೋಕದಲಿ 
ತನಯನಿಂದ ಸಂತೋಷ ಕೆಲವರಿಗೆ ಲೋಕದಲಿ 
ಇನಿತು ಸಂತೋಷ ಅವರವರಿಗಾಗಲಿ ನಿನ್ನ ನೆನೆವೋ ಸಂತೋಷ ಎನಗಾಗಲಿ ನಮ್ಮ ರಂಗವಿಠ್ಠಲ ॥

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Singer for all Seasons – Vid. K. J. Yesudas

The Singer for all Seasons – Gaana Gandharvan K. J. Yesudas 
 1977 Sri Ramanavami Concert at Parvathi

By R.Sachi

If we know of a man for all seasons, and a man of many parts, then we can also begin to appreciate India's singer for all seasons, Padma Vibhushan K.J. Yesudas. To give a perspective of his achievements, let us see Wikipedia:

Kattassery Joseph Yesudas (born 10 January 1940) is an Indian playback singer and musician who sings Indian classical, devotional and film songs. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest singers in the history of Indian Music and also as a cultural icon. Yesudas is estimated to have recorded more than 50,000 songs in various Indian languages, including Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Hindi, Odia, Bengali, Marathi as well as Arabic, English, Latin, and Russian, in a career spanning six decades. He is often referred to as Gaana Gandharvan (transl. The Celestial Singer).

Yesudas won the National Award for the Best Male Playback Singer a record eight times, the Filmfare Awards South five times, and the State Award for the Best Playback Singer forty-three times, including awards given by the state governments of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and West Bengal. He received the Padma Vibhushan (the second-highest civilian award) in 2017 from the Government of India for his contributions to the arts.

Yesudas started his academic music training at R. L. V. Music Academy, Thrippunithura, and completed the Ganabooshanam course. Later he studied at Swathi Thirunal College of Music, Thiruvananthapuram under the tutelage of the Carnatic music maestro K. R. Kumaraswamy Iyer and the doyen Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer but could not complete his studies due to financial constraints. For a brief period, he also studied music under Vechoor Harihara Subramania Iyer, after which he took advanced training from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar.

This author witnessed an event when the doyen Chembai was honoured with a statue of Goddess Saraswathi during his concert for some organisation at the Madras Music Academy hall. He, in turn, promptly conferred it on his disciple Yesudas who was accompanying him on the stage, saying that Gaana Saraswathi would like it to be given to him!

We have featured several concerts performed at the home of Parvathi over 5 decades by Vid. Yesudas. He shares a unique chemistry with Sri. K. Srikantiah, and has come more readily to perform in Parvathi than even at the Mysore Palace Dasara.

In this concert, Sri. Yesudas is accompanied by two Sangeetha Kalanidhis who have made and continue to make our lives richer through their music – Vid. M. Chandrasekharan on the violin and Vid. T. V. Gopalakrishnan on the mridangam. There is also ghatam accompaniment by Vid. T.V. Vasan and khanjira accompaniment by Vid. H.P. Ramachar. Sri. Yesudas sings in three octaves with ease, and negotiates a plethora of rich ragas and famous compositions of the great Vaggeyakaras, and gives nearly an hour of his popular film songs that draws huge applause.

Hindolam is very well presented. Then, there is a consummate presentation of Kharaharapriya and the famous Thyagaraja song Pakkala Nilabadi. 

As the Vidwan begins the alapana of Shankarabharanam, an idea strikes me. The most common scale in the world of music is this raga, also called C Major or the Ionian mode. In fact, this raga is the most natural scale offering a harmonic relationship between any two notes. 

True to its name- which means Lord Shiva’s ornament, Shankarabharanam accommodates many different interpretations, just as Lord Shiva has three ornaments - the crescent moon in his crest, the cascading Ganga down his matted locks, and snakes all over. Shankarabharanam has Carnatic gems of Krithis like Akshayalingavibho and Swara Raga Sudha, as also the currently hugely popular, child-friendly, Nottuswarams. These are like the splendid moon on Shiva’s crest. Then the raga allows for expansive, fluid, and evocative alapanas and Tanams (listen to Vid. Yesudas here!). They are like the Ganga cascading down Shiva’s matted locks! Finally, Western/ Jazz/ Rock/Heavy metal interpretations are also hugely popular. They are a bit like the fascinating snakes that coil and slither all over the Lord's body! What a gift of music is Shankarabharanam from Lord Shiva to us all, irrespective of our tastes!

The reason for featuring this concert in the Parvathi finale is simple – the December Music Season may come and go, but Gaana Gandharvan Vid. Yesudas will thrill any listener in any season, and this concert is precious proof of that!

Concert Details

K. J. Yesudas - Vocal
M. Chandrasekharan  - Violin
T.V. Gopalakrishnan - Mridangam
T.V. Vasan - Ghatam
H.P. Ramachar - Khanjira
Date 4 April 1977

during Ramanavami Festival, "Parvathi", Mysore, April 1977.

Song list:

1. Evari Bodha – Abhogi varnam – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer

2. Siddhi Vinayakam – Chamaram (Shanmukhapriya) – Muthuswami Dikshitar

3. Pavanaguru-Pavanapuraadheesham Aashraye – Hamsanandi – Swathi Thirunal

4.       Govardhana Girisham – Hindolam – Muthuswami Dikshitar

5.       Pakkala Nilabadi – Kharaharapriya –Thyagaraja

6.       Manavyalakimcha radate- Nalinakanthi- Thyagaraja

7.       Adhiye Paranjyothiye – Narayanagowla? – Vedanayagam Pillai

8.       Shankarabharanam alapana

9.       Tanam with mridangam accompaniment

10.   Enduku Peddala Vale – Shankarabharanam – Thyagaraja

11.   Thirupar Kadalil Pallikondaye – Bhairavi - Vayalar

12.   Harivarasanam – Madhyamavati – Dakshinamurthy

13.   Chand Akela Jaye Sakhi Ri

14.   Apoorva Ragam

15.   Jab Deep Jale Aana

16.   Murugane Kaana Aaayiram Kann Vendum

17.   Ni Sa Ga Ma Pa Ni

18.   Shloka – Bhimplas, Anandabhairavi

19.   Mangala Darshana Dayike – Ananda Bhairavi

20. Yogeendraanaam – Ragamalika (Kapi, Sindhubhairavi) – Narayaneeyam

21.   Mangalam

Friday, November 4, 2022

The Lalgudi Express - Celebrating the Maestro's Bani

Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman - Sri Ramanavami 1987 Concert

By R. Sachi

The idyllic city of Mysore boasts of a heritage railway station through which many of who’s who have passed to experience the wonderful city over long years.

Among the many musicians who arrived by train in Mysore to perform at the home of Parvathi, the legend Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman was a special one, who came countless times.

The Railway Museum, Mysore

In this 1987 Sri Ramanavami concert with accompaniment by his son Vid. GJR Krishnan, Vid. Vellore Ramabhadran, and Vid. Bangalore Venkatram, Sri. Lalgudi gives us a ride on the Lalgudi Express train. There is a brisk tempo throughout, with never a dull moment. Vid. Ramabhadran’s sarvalaghu style of playing the mridangam is like the steady beat of the train wheels on a well-laid broad gauge track! This concert augurs for the Vande Bharat Express being launched to garner many accolades.

Sri K. Srikantiah is quite fond of recollecting his long association with Vid. Lalgudi since circa 1948. Both were very young then and a thick friendship grew. The family of Parvathi celebrated every achievement and award bestowed on the great vidwan including the first Chowdiah National Award in 1982 and an International Award for the best of world music. Readers can discover the family connection with the Chowdah Hall too in this blog. We have also shared many brilliant concerts of Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman – both solo and playing as an accompanist, already.

It is now a happy occasion in our Finale to share this concert recording from 1987, especially since Vid. GJR Krishnan has been named as the awardee of the Sangeeta Kalanidhi title for 2022 by the Madras Music Academy which will be conferred on him along with his sister Vid. Vijayalakshmi.

The Lalgudi musical lineage traces back to Saint Thyagaraja himself, as has been well narrated in the biography of the Vidwan titled “An Incurable Romantic.” Being a truly multidimensional musician and composer, Vid. Lalgudi Jayaraman won worldwide acclaim for his many accomplishments as a soloist, accompanist, composer, teacher, and the creator of the Lalgudi Bani.

This concert begins with his own composition, a Varnam in Sama. The next song in Dhanyasi is short and sweet with these words:

The Spiritual Heritage of Tyagaraja, RK Math, Chennai 

Thyagaraja is summarising the entire personality of Sri Rama: Rama the beautiful one, the powerful one, the giver of delight, the punisher of the evil, and the indweller in the heart of the devotee. The same sentiment is expressed also in the Huseni song so evocatively played by the maestro after a dynamic Shanmukhapriya.

The rendition of Sakalagrahabala Neene in Athana is excellent.

Concert Details

Lalgudi Jayaraman   --------- Violin
GJR Krishnan                 ---- Violin
Vellore Ramabhadran ------- Mridangam
Bangalore Venkatram ------ Ghatam
on 11-4-1987at 'Parvathi' Sri Ramanavami Festival.

Song List

  • 1.       Tarunam en Thaye – Sama Varnam – Lalgudi Jayaraman
  • 2.       Shyama Sundaranga – Dhanyasi – Thyagaraja
  • 3.       Paramatmudu – Vagadheeshwari – Thyagaraja
  • 4.       Sakalagrahabala Neene – Athana – Purandaradasa
  • 5.       Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha – Muthuswami Dikshitar
  • 6.       Marivere Dikkevaraiyya Rama – Shanmukhapriya – Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer
  • 7.       Raghuveera Ranadheera – Huseni – Thyagaraja
  • 8.       Bhavanuta – Mohana – Thyagaraja
  • 9.       Kharaharapriya alapana

This is only Part A of the concert recording. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate in the heap of tapes the second part of the recording. So, as the maestro builds up the alapana of Kharaharapriya, the recording ends. It is as if Mahaveera Hanuman has brought an invitation to the ensemble to move and to continue the concert in front of  Lord Sri Rama himself in his Ayodhya Durbar.


We extend our felicitations to Vid. GJR Krishnan and Vid. Vijayalakshmi on the Sangeetha Kalanidhi award. We earnestly wish continued glory to the Lalgudi Bani in the future.

Friday, October 21, 2022

When music is in the air... A Tribute to Vid. T. V. Sankaranarayanan

Vid. T.V. Sankaranarayanan 1998 Sri Ramanavami

Reflections by R. Sachi

The goal of human life, according to Sanatana Dharma, is to see divinity in everything. But where to make a start? The best place is where there is great music. When good music is in the air, divinity descends instantly.

यच्च किञ्चित् जगत्सर्वं दृश्यते श्रूयतेऽपि वा।
अन्तर्बहिश्च तत्सर्वं व्याप्य नारायणः स्थितः॥

The Upanishad declares that Lord Sriman Narayana is present in all that we see and hear around, inside and outside. To experience this, music is a great way.

This experience is palpable for everyone who ever attended a Parvathi concert in person or virtually through this blog. This is the opinion of rasikas that we hear all the time. 

We start the Parvathi grand finale with a tribute to the late legend, Sangita Kalanidhi T. V. Sankaranarayanan (1945-2022). In his six-decade-long active career, he has come and performed many times in Parvathi, with stellar accompaniments too. His most recent appearance was in 2011. Here, we feature an excellent, full-length concert from the 1998 Sri Ramanavami festival at Parvathi. The accompanists viz. Vidwans Mysore Nagaraj, Arjun Kumar and Ramanujam have enlivened his mercurial delivery. 

When one listens Sri. TVS, one visualises the sacred horse Ucchaishravas rising from the milky ocean, and flying into the skies. An unmatched beauty with adornments and bells, the horse sets our hearts racing. It is the same effect in Sri. TVS's music.

Sri. TVS filled every moment of his music with vibrancy, energy, melody and pace. He batted like a T20 titan. His song choice was easy on the listener, not taxing the brain but satisfying the soul. His trademark sarvalaghu swaras were never boring. Inheriting that ability from the one and only Sri. Madurai Mani Iyer, his uncle, Sri. TVS added verve, resonance and raciness to his music.

In this concert, we get a wholesome treatment of Purvi Kalyani, Charukeshi and Darbari Kanada, and realise that this vidwan is no less than any Hindustani doyen in extracting the Bhava in these ragas. Mysore Nagaraj matches him in melody and verve. The tani is sparkling.

The song in Purvikalyani is composed by Smt.Ambujam Krishna of the TVS family who received the sahityam in divine visitations. It has been tuned by Vid. Musiri Subrahmanya Iyer. We feel that the song is so evocative that we want to share the words here:
iniyAghilum ninai maname
raagam: pUrvikalyANi
taaLam: rUpaka
Composer: Ambujam Krishna
Language: Tamil


iniyAghilum ninai manamE inakula tilakanai rAghavanai


punita tyAga brahmam magizhak-kanindu kATSi tanda kaNyanai


minnal vAzhvu muDiyumunnam kanma vinaigaL kaNattil aghala
tannigarillA dAsharathiyai kannal nAma kAkuttanai

         Sahitya courtesy:Karnatik.com



O Mind! At least hereafter, think of Raghava, the greatest of the Sun dynasty


          The dignified one who appeared before the pure Thyagaraja and pleased him 

        (O Mind)


Before this transitory lightning life ends, 
For the Karma of previous and present birth to vanish in an instant
The nonpareil son of Dasaratha
He of the Kakuthstha dynasty with the nectarine name (think of him)

         Translation- Kind courtesy Smt.Sujatha Vijayaraghavan


We offer our heartfelt tribute to the legend Vidwan Sri. T. V. Sankaranarayanan. May his Atma be blessed by Bhagavan for all his service to Carnatic music. May rasikas continue to preserve his legacy through listening to his great music. 

We also congratulate the gods who will get to listen to him live, in person, and not through an online stream or archive!

Note: We have chosen to upload the entire concert in one single stream on Youtube for your uninterrupted listening pleasure.

Concert Details

T.V. Sankaranarayanan -------- Vocal
Mysore M. Nagaraj ----- Violin
Bangalore Arjun Kumar ------------ Mridangam
G.S.Ramanujam ----------- Ghatam
on 12-4- 1998 at "Parvathi" during Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

Song List

01 Pranatosmi Devam Vinayakam - Nata - Tulasivanam ***
02 Barayya Venkataramana - Saveri - Purandaradasa ***
03 Ramabhakti Samrajya - Shuddha Bangala - Thyagaraja ***
04 Iniyaghilum Ninai Maname - Purvikalyani - Ambujam Krishna ***
05 Adamodi Galade Ramayya - Charukeshi - Thyagaraja ***
06 Tani ***
07 Sarasamukhi Sakalabhagya de - Gaudamalhar - Muthiah Bhagavatar ***
08 Viruttam - Darbari Kanada ***
09 Govardhana Giridhara - Darbari Kanada - Narayanatirtha ***
10 Mangalam ***


Monday, October 17, 2022

Dear Rasikas, Welcome back to the blog, with new concerts!

Welcome Back!

A message from Mysore Prabha

Wishing all the visitors to Parvathi Blog a very joyful, healthy and prosperous Deepavali!

There has been a long silence of almost three years now with our blog going without a posting. 

To be honest, it was as unforeseen to us as it was to you all. 

The world has gone through very difficult times these three years. So did two of our blog members, having had to face traumatic times after untimely loss of loved ones. Not to mention the pandemic wreaking havoc in all families world over. 

 Looking forward, we will start the music postings once again. 

But, like they say, all things have to come to an end sometime. 

The man behind all the concerts in the blog, Sri.K.Srikantiah (my dear Father), is now 95 years old. Due to
circumstances and age, he is unable to organize concerts anymore. 

It was with a very happy and proud heart that we shared classic music from his personal collection with the rasikas through this blog till now. 

Sadly, the collection is almost coming to an end.
If only all the concerts at "Parvathi" were recorded and preserved! 

Grateful that we were able to retrieve, restore and share so many concerts from one single venue. Well then, onto the "GRAND FINALE" run of the music postings from K.Srikantiah's treasure, starting this Deepavali. You can look forward to more than two dozen superb concerts by maestros, all recorded live in festival concerts organised by us.

It is indeed a joy sharing it with you all. The music postings may come to an end, but the celestial music of legends, the creative music of upcoming artists, and the versatile, appealing music of artists who have devoted their lives to music will eternally reverberate in rasikas' ears. 

The blog will continue to be accessible as before with all the archived concerts intact. Please write to us with your feedback and comments.

Yours ever,