Category Archives: Carnatic Music

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Kutcheri

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Kutcheri at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha

On 25-12-2017

Duration: 2 hrs 30 minutes

Violin: S Varadarajan
Mridangam: Neyveli Venkatesh
Morsing: Bangalore Rajasekar

1. Madhirakshi (varnam) – Bhairavi – Ata
2. Varalakshmim Bhajare – Sowrashtram – Adi – Swarams
3. Ananda Sagara – Garudadhwani – Adi – Alapana, Swarams at Ananda
4. Ananda Kootthadinaar – Kalyani – Rupakam – Neraval at Ananda Kootthadinaar Ponnambalam thanile
5. Dharini Telusu – Suddha Saveri – Adi – Alapana, Swarams at Dharini
Tani Avartanam
6. ULLam Urugi – Kanakangi – Rupakam
7. RTP – Harikambhoji
Pallavi – Orumaiyudan Ninandu
Swarams in
8. Paaril Uyarndha Nilam (viruttam) – Patdeep, Ananda Bhairavi, Mohanam, Pantuvarali, Patdeep
En Taai Vaazh Enum – Patdeep – Adi
9. Mangalam

Sanjay continued this Season’s special of singing new (at least to me) varnams with Madhirakshi in Bhairavi in this kutcheri too. Varalakshmim Bhajare was next given a leisurely rendition with some slow swarams too.

An elaborate alapana of Garudadhwani had the audience guessing what the raaga was, all the while enjoying it. I don’t remember having listened to Garudadhwani and was happy to hear a new raagam. Of course, in a Sanjay’s concert, it doesn’t matter if a raaga is familiar to you or not. All raga alapanas are always engrossing when he sings it. He even incorporated the raga aarohana and avarohana in this Alapana. Varadarajan also played a brilliant alapana.

Tyagaraja’s Ananda Sagara was the composition that followed. The swarams in Garudadhwani completed the learning experience with a full picture of the raagam presented.

Like any composition on The Dancing Lord of Chidambaram, Ananda Kootthadinaar was also sung with so much feel by Sanjay with the neraval adding in more feel.

The elaborate Suddha Saveri (Dharini Telusu) had all the happiness exuded by this raaga. A part of the audience launched off on an applause at the end of the anupallavi which is usually reserved for the end of a song. Did they forget that the Charanam is still left?

The Tani Avartanam started with the usual Neyveli Venkatesh style playing. Morsing is always enjoyable and I was happy to hear the Morsing Tani. The entire Tani Avartanam was packed with delightful rhythms.

A composition with its lyrics and the raagam it is set in both so moving is Suddhananda Bharati’s uLLam Urugi in Kanakangi. Sanjay gave the feel and the apt pace that this song deserved to be sung in.

The RTP was in Harikambhoji with the pallavi line being ‘Orumaiyudan’, the classic Ramalinga AdigaL song. I wished that post the RTP Sanjay would sing the song itself in the Kapi raagam he usually sings it in.

Yet another composition of Suddhananda Bharati made its way into today’s concert with Sanjay singing ‘En Taai Vaazh Enum’ next. A very moving patriotic song, it drew a huge applause from the audience, especially at Vaazhiya Bharatame.

The concert concluded on this patriotic note with Mangalam following next.

Yet another superb concert from Sanjay and team!

Sanjay Subrahmanyan at Narada Gana Sabha

On 24-12-2017

Duration: 2 hrs 45 minutes

Varadarajan – Violin
Neyveli Venkatesh – Mridangam
K V Gopalakrishnan – Khanjira

1. Ninne Kori (varnam) – Asaveri – Ata
2. Munnavane yaanai mugatthavane (viruttam) – Hamsadhwani
VaaraNa mukhavaa – Hamsadhwani – Swarams at munnavane
3. Etula Brotuvo – Chakravaham – Alapana, Swarams at Etula
4. Kaakka Unakkirakkam – Kharaharapriya – Started at thookkatthile unadhu kaalinai maravaamal
5. Sri Subrahmanyaya – Kambhoji – Alapana, neraval and swarams at Vasavadi
Tani Avartanam
6. RTP – Danyasi – Taanam in Janaranjani, Kannada, Subhapantuvarali
Pallavi – Varada Venkata Gopala – Misra Chapu
7. ? – Khamas – 4-beat taalam (Eka taalam put in different style or something else??)
8. Japat Japat Hari Naam – Ragamalika with Maand, Sivaranjani, Behag, Sindhubhairavi – Brief Alapana of Maand – Adi
9. Theruvinil (Tiruppugazh) – Sururtti
10. Mangalam

The classic Sanjay – Varadarajan – Neyveli Venkatesh combination was back in this Narada Gana Sabha concert with K. V. Gopalakrishnan on the Khanjira. So it was a given that we were in for some classic treat today.

At two and a half hours duration, Narada Gana Sabha kutcheris are always shorter in duration compared to a majority of Sanjay’s kutcheris during the December Season. So at the end of the first 45 minutes itself, Sanjay had already completed four pieces and had started the Kambhoji alapana. But if you thought any of these pieces might have sounded rushed, it definitely didn’t. Raagams can be presented concisely too and that’s what happened.

I don’t remember having listened to the nice Asaveri varnam with which the concert started. The entire varnam was sung in a single kaalam.

A nice viruttam with all the feel early in the concert and a brief yet mind-blowing fast Hamsadhwani kalpana swarams which made one wish it would go on for some more minutes adorned VaaraNa mukha.

An elaborate Chakravaham Alapana bringing out all its nuances and the kriti Etula Brotuvo presented very well replete with kalpana swarams were very satisfying reminding me of Sanjay’s Chakravaham RTP from an old Charsur cassette.

Kaakka Unakkirakkam Illaya is one of my favourites sung by Sanjay and, as always, his rendition of it was quite moving. I only wished an alapana or a neraval had accompanied it.

At the end of 45 minutes, started alapana of the main piece of the day – Kambhoji. It is not only one of my favourite classic raagams but also one of my favourites sung by Sanjay with his renditions of songs like Tiruvadi Charanam topping the list.

A very elaborate Alapana which went on for fifteen minutes was filled with oodles of ‘aahaa’ moments! While the audience at Brahma Gana Sabha seemed to have taken Sanjay holding on to a higher octave note for a good stretch during the main Alapana, for granted, the audience here gave an applause, though not as loud as erstwhile.

The kriti, Shri Subrahmanyaya, was itself was sung so well with the moving neraval further adding on to the beauty of the composition. There was the janaranjakam aspect again when traces of the ‘Saraswati Sabatham’ song, ‘Kalviya Selvama Veerama’ made its way into the neraval.

The opening R G S phrases of the swarams, the more melodious swarams that followed and the fast swarams becoming more and more enjoyable as the climatic finish of the swarams approached were all absolutely brilliant.

When the Tani Avartanam started, Sanjay had already sung the Kambhoji for about 50 minutes with never even a second of it boring.

Neyveli Venkatesh’s tani avartanam started off with a lot of different stuff than his usual patterns and was very enjoyable with Gopalakrishnan on the Khanjira too giving an equally enjoyable experience.

Early in the Tani Avartanam, Gopalakrishnan was seen using his khanjira like a fan making one wonder if all the bright, colourful lights adorning the stage were radiating too much heat.

The filler between the main and the RTP was the classic Telisi Rama in pUrnacandrikA sung in a very fast tempo. While the composition, the chittaiswarams and, of course, the raagam in itself are so very blissful, if that bliss is to be served at its peak, it has to be during the concluding ‘rAmA’! Just for those few seconds of absolute bliss replete with all the highs and beauty of pUrnacandrikA, I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this concert.

A gripping RTP in Danyasi followed with delightful taanams in Janaranjani and Kannada and a soulful taanam in Subhapantuvarali.

The pallavi comprised of the names of the day’s accompanists – Varada Venkata Gopala. A quick round of swarams concluded the RTP.

A nice song in Khamas later came a soulful composition of Swati Tirunal, Japat Japat, a ragamalika. The song had a fitting finale with the line Japat Hari Naam Manuja in all the raagams in the ragamalika.

Then came a joyous Tiruppugazh in Surutti, the words of which seeming to indicate an important day in our state being commemorated.

As the concert concluded with Mangalam, this turned out to be yet another most fulfilling concert of this Season! I am excitedly waiting for the next concert at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Kutcheri at Vani Mahal

Nagai Sriram – Violin
Tanjavur Murugabhoopathy – Mridangam
Perukkavu P L Sudheer – Ghatam

1. Chala (varnam) – Kedaram – Ata
2. Nee Bhakti Bhagyasudha – Sriranjani – Swarams at Nee Bhakti
3. KonDal vaNNanai – Yadukula Kambhoji – Alapana
4. Chintayamaam – Bhairavi – neraval at anga soundarya vijitha vadanam, swarams at Utthunga Kamaneeya Vrusha Turangam
5. Gangeyavasanadhara – Hamir Kalyani – Alapana – swarams at Gangeya – Tani Avartanam
6. Chittam Irangadhadhennaiyya – Sahana
7. Saramati RTP – Kandanai vandanai sei maname thandhaiyaai thaayaai vandharuLum – kaNDa jati tripuTa – Swarams in Neelambari, Reetigowlai, Chalanattai, Sindhubhairavi

The concert started with the not-so-often heard varnam in Kedaram. While the song nee Bhakti Bhagyasudha itself was very beautiful, the kalpana swarams in Sriranjani which started off with a very leisurely pace short swarams and slowly moved on with increasing tempo and ran through multiple cycles complemented the song very well.

A very beautiful, unhurried Yadukula Kambhoji alapana was followed by konDal vaNNanai.

A wholesome rendition of the Panchabhuta kriti, Chintayamaam in Bhairavi with a neraval at anga soundarya brought out the bhava and the beauty that Dikshitar’s kritis have. The icing on the cake was the fast swarams at Utthunga Kamaneeya Vrusha Turangam. What a brilliant rendition this entire piece turned out to be!

With a contrasting feel and all beauty personified was the raaga that followed Bhairavi – Hamir Kalyani. Sanjay was in no hurry and sang a leisurely alapana exploring the raaga in all its beauty. The soothing feel of Hamir Kalyani was fully brought out. The violin too matched the Alapana. Gangeyavasanadhara is a classic song by Sanjay and the kalpana swarams further added on to the beauty of the composition. The swarams ended with several rounds of classic Sanjay-style brigha-filled swarams.

This season Sanjay has been having different percussionists for each concert and each one has been having nice Tani Avartanams in different styles.

The evergreen composition in Sahana, Chittam Irangadhadhennaiyya, was an absolute joy to listen to as always.

Then came the much-awaited part of the Kutcheri – RTP. The mesmerizing Saramati was the chosen raagam. As Sanjay explored the raagam in-depth traversing its notes with an ease and effortlessness that comes with expertise, experience and knowledge, I lost myself in the moving crescendos that this raagam is filled with.

Ask anyone for their list of favourite, happy raagams and you are sure to find Neelambari, Reetigowlai in their list. Completely contrasting to Saramati when it comes to the blissful bhava these raagams evoke, the RTP moved on to blissful mode in swarams in those. Some brilliant swarams changed the blissful mode to a meditative mode in Chalanattai and SindhubSanjay Subrahmanyan at Vani Mahal on 22-12-2017

Nagai Sriram – Violin
Tanjavur Murugabhoopathy – Mridangam
Perukkavu P L Sudheer – Ghatam

1. Chala (varnam) – Kedaram – Ata
2. Nee Bhakti Bhagyasudha – Sriranjani – Swarams at Nee Bhakti
3. KonDal vaNNanai – Yadukula Kambhoji – Alapana
4. Chintayamaam – Bhairavi – neraval at anga soundarya vijitha vadanam, swarams at Utthunga Kamaneeya Vrusha Turangam
5. Gangeyavasanadhara – Hamir Kalyani – Alapana – swarams at Gangeya – Tani Avartanam
6. Chittam Irangadhadhennaiyya – Sahana
7. Saramati RTP – Kandanai vandanai sei maname thandhaiyaai thaayaai vandharuLum – kaNDa jati tripuTa – Swarams in Neelambari, Reetigowlai, Chalanattai, Sindhubhairavi

The concert started with the not-so-often heard varnam in Kedaram. While the song nee Bhakti Bhagyasudha itself was very beautiful, the kalpana swarams in Sriranjani which started off with a very leisurely pace short swarams and slowly moved on with increasing tempo and ran through multiple cycles complemented the song very well.

A very beautiful, unhurried Yadukula Kambhoji alapana was followed by konDal vaNNanai.

A wholesome rendition of the Panchabhuta kriti, Chintayamaam in Bhairavi with a neraval at anga soundarya brought out the bhava and the beauty that Dikshitar’s kritis have. The icing on the cake was the fast swarams at Utthunga Kamaneeya Vrusha Turangam. What a brilliant rendition this entire piece turned out to be!

With a contrasting feel and all beauty personified was the raaga that followed Bhairavi – Hamir Kalyani. Sanjay was in no hurry and sang a leisurely alapana exploring the raaga in all its beauty. The soothing feel of Hamir Kalyani was fully brought out. The violin too matched the Alapana. Gangeyavasanadhara is a classic song by Sanjay and the kalpana swarams further added on to the beauty of the composition. The swarams ended with several rounds of classic Sanjay-style brigha-filled swarams.

This season Sanjay has been having different percussionists for each concert and each one has been having nice Tani Avartanams in different styles.

The evergreen composition in Sahana, Chittam Irangadhadhennaiyya, was an absolute joy to listen to as always.

Then came the much-awaited part of the Kutcheri – RTP. The mesmerizing Saramati was the chosen raagam. As Sanjay explored the raagam in-depth traversing its notes with an ease and effortlessness that comes with expertise, experience and knowledge, I lost myself in the moving crescendos that this raagam is filled with.

Ask anyone for their list of favourite, happy raagams and you are sure to find Neelambari, Reetigowlai in their list. Completely contrasting to Saramati when it comes to the blissful bhava these raagams evoke, the RTP moved on to blissful mode in swarams in those. Some brilliant swarams in Chalanattai and Sindhubhairavi changed the blissful mode to meditative and brought the RTP to a close.

I left the concert during Sindhubhairavi swarams with the Saramati still echoing in my mind.

As always, sitting back and listening to Sanjay effortlessly create masterpieces out of everything he sings turned out to be such an enriching and fulfilling experience!

Sanjay’s Meditative Shivashakti!

Sanjay Subrahmanyan at Bharat Kalachar

Violin: M. Rajeev
Mridangam: Palladam Ravi
Khanjira: Alathur Rajaganesh

Duration: 3 hours

List of Songs:

1. Sariyo (varnam) – Begada – Raga Outline
2. Tulasi daLa – Mayamalava Gowlai – Brief Alapana – Neraval and swarams at sarasiruha punnaga
3. Bhahudhari – Alapana – Unnadiye gati enradaindhen – swarams at unnadiye
4. Kumaraswaminam – Asaveri – Alapana
5. Kallu sakkare – Kalyani – Alapana – swarams at kallu – tani
6. Jaya Jaya Padmanabha – Manirangu
7. Shivashakti RTP – Shri Chakra Raja Nilaye Sivasakti Roopini – Triputa 2 Kalai – Swarams in Ananda Bhairavi, Manorama (a ragam created by Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna), Durga, Sivaranjani, Behag, Sururtti
8. Sollavallayo Kiliye – Ragamalika – Surutti, ?, Atana, Shanmukhapriya
9. Karpooram Narumo – Khamas – Raga Outline
10. Mangalam

The best part was, of course, the ragam taanam pallavi in Shivashakti! The entire piece had a meditative touch to it with the violinist too playing really well. The ragamalika swarams, as always, left a lasting impact of the ragams even though only a few minutes of it were performed. The Manorama swarams were absolutely moving!

Other highlights of this concert were the Mayamalava Gowlai neraval and swarams and Asaveri alapana. Bhahudhari alapana, though very nice, wasn’t as engrossing as the earlier Bhahudhari elaborations Sanjay has sung.

Going Gaga over Sanjay’s Brahma Gana Sabha Kutcheri!

If you were to ask me for one venue where you shouldn’t miss Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s concert during the December Season, my instant reply would be ‘Brahma Gana Sabha kutcheri happening at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium’. Sanjay’s Brahma Gana Sabha kutcheris have always been one of his best kutcheris of the Season with it being filled with several elaborate raaga expositions aided by the lengthy duration of the concert. It has always been for at least 3 hours 15 minutes duration. Yesterday’s went on for 3 hours 30 minutes! And what a memorable musical experience did it turn out to be!

About a decade or so back, I remember how Sanjay’s voice used to have slight problems during the first couple of songs of the concert and then went on to improve as the concert proceeded, finally delivering such a great performance that you would soon have forgotten about those voice issues. Cut back to 2009 or so when Sanjay’s voice didn’t have those voice problems anymore. The results of his hard work and training has since then only reflected in his performances becoming better and better with each day.
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ARR Songs Mash-Up by Guitar Prasanna

And then there are those stunning pieces of music which leave you awestruck, mesmerized, happy and pulls you in completely into it. Now, how would you feel when several of your most favourite songs from your favourite composer are brought together and blissful parts from one song after another comes successively in your favourite instrument, guitar by your favourite guitar player? Watch Guitar Prasanna effortlessly create magic with his guitar bringing together lots of beautiful songs of Rahman:

https://www.facebook.com/guitarprasanna/videos/10155715823783956/

Mindblowing! What a wide variety of songs has he chosen! This is going to be my music for the day.  

Dwijavanti

We went to Sri Srinivasa Perumal today evening at around 5:20 pm. With only a handful of people in the temple at that time, it seemed like the perfect time to pray, relax and meditate. What better company than music in the form of the divine nadaswaram and the tavil to accompany you during those peaceful moments in the temple! As the nadaswaram player started the Dwijavanti alapana, I found myself completely relaxing and lost myself in the prayers and the music. There was only inner peace prevailing. If a raagam like Dwijavanti which oozes out only beauty and happiness not relax you, then what else will!

As the song Akhilandeswari started and proceeded to the ‘dwijAvanti rAganutE, jalli maddaLa jhar jhara vAdya’ part, the inner longing in me to get back to singing returned full-fledged. Didn’t I have a voice which could easily reach those upper octaves when it was at its best and in regular practice? Even if it is not Dwijavanti, I wish I could at least sing the nursery rhymes with my children and relax!

Rasaali

Along comes a song like a whiff of fresh air – literally, since the music and lyrics make you feel as though you are the one who is on that fast, carefree, breezy drive having the time of your life!

வாழ்வில் ஒரு பயணம் இது
முடிந்திட…விடுவேனோ!

Seriously! One just doesn’t want either the music or the lovely voices and words to stop! Ever! Wish the song would just go on and on! I just love the way the word ‘viduveno’ is sung.

The lazy, leisurely pace at which the song starts doesn’t give you a clue on what’s in store as the song progresses. The song opens with the chirping of bird, distant and near, which again appears prominently when Shashaa sings

பறவை போலாகினேன் போலாகினேன் இன்று…

Apt, isn’t it?

Who would have thought that the charanam of the beautiful Valachi varnam replete with all the classical Carnatic musical accompaniments and my personal favourite Shri raagam chittaiswarams in it could so easily blend with a song like this! And did we foresee Arunagirinathar’s ‘Mutthaitharu’ on a foot-tapping instrumental making an appearance either? Wow! And not to forget the ‘Ninnu Kori’ replete with all the brighas that just pulls you even deeper into the song. Just love the blending of so many musical forms together!

முன்னும் இது போலே புது
அனுபவம்
கண்டேன் என சொல்லும்படி
நினைவிலை
இன்னும் எதிர் காலத்திலும்
வழியிலை…மறவேனே!

Lilting words that speak of the wonderful aspects of life, the most memorable and cherishable phases of life. Shashaa’s voice oozes with the perfect emotion needed for these words.

On the personal front, this song is a perfect cocktail of my own musical taste and preferences. It has been having me humming Valachi varnam non-stop the last few days, especially the Shri raaga swarams which is probably my most favourite part of all the varnams. This song made me realize that it has been ages since I last sang it – one of my most favourite varnams to sing. This song has made me get in touch with the old-me. I just had to come out of hibernation to write about the experience of ‘Rasaali’ here. I have been listening to this song non-stop for more than a couple of hours now and I still can’t have enough of it! Only you, Rahman, can connect with your fans this way!

– A crazy Rahmaniac lost completely in the music of A R Rahman!

Ethanai Koti Inbam Vaitthai Engal Iraivaa

A lazy Sunday afternoon. Recording of Sanjay singing Bharathiar’s ‘Ethanai Koti Inbam Vaitthai Engal Iraivaa’ playing  on loop. The mind dwelling on how these very words, Bharathiar’s words, the Desh raagam on which it is tuned on, Sanjay’s singing and above all, music itself are themselves just a few of the crores of the joyful and beautiful creations of God. Indeed what’s life without music!