Category Archives: Carnatic Music

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! 


Music amidst rain!

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Concert on 2nd January, 2011 at Jaigopal Garodia School, West Mambalam (Rasika Fine Arts)

Nagai Muralidharan – Violin
Thanjavur Ramdas – Mridangam
Alathur Rajaganesh – Khanjira

Concert Duration: 1 hr 50 min

List of Songs:
1. valaci (varNam) – navarAgamAlikA – Adi
2. kAppaduvE – Anandabhairavi – rUpakam – rAgA outline
3. kanna tanri – nArAyaNi – Adi – AlApana; swarams at kanna tanri
4. nandagOpAla – yamun kalyANi –Adi – AlApana
5. srI valli dEvasEnApatE – naTabhairavi – Adi – AlApana; neraval and swarams at mAmava sadA
6. cittam irangAda – sahAnA – misra cApu
7. swara rAga sudhA – SankarAbharaNam – AlApana; swarams at swara rAga
Tani Avartanam
8. nI nAma rUpamulaku – sowrASTram
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Am super-excited!

It’s a Friday today and weekend is just a few hours away! 🙂
There is a T.M.Krishna’s concert today! 🙂
It is Sanjay’s first concert of the Season tomorrow! 🙂

Today morning, I had so many things to be happy about and I was, indeed, so very excited that I thought it wouldn’t be possible for me to be more excited than I already was, when I saw in ‘The Hindu”s ‘Friday Review’ that Mani Ratnam is going to be one of the guests of honour at the release of the DVD of T.M.Krishna and Bombay Jayashri’s ‘Margazhi Raagam’!!!

The day in 2005 when I saw in ‘Metro Plus’ that DVDs of Mani Ratnam’s movies are going to be launched by Mani Ratnam himself still remains evergreen in my memory, while seeing Mani Ratnam and even getting his autograph still seems like an unbelievable dream!! Despite all the excitement, there is this big disappointment that my sister is not there in India now. 🙁 She wasn’t able to come for the DVD launch of Mani Ratnam’s movies itself! 🙁 Anyway, irrespective of whether I see Mani Ratnam this Sunday or not, I am super-excited!!! 🙂

The ‘Margazhi Raagam’ DVD launch is going to happen at Cafe Ashvita in Radhakrishnan Salai on December 6th (4 pm – 5 pm). I don’t think any invite is needed for this. So, all you Mani Ratnam fans out there, mark your calendar! 🙂

Prasanna’s Bliss Factor

I listened to ‘Bliss Factor’ from Guitar Prasanna’s album ‘Be the Change’ for the first time only day before yesterday. I liked it in the first listening itself. But, yesterday when I listened to it again, I became totally crazy about it and listened to it continuously for about 15 times! I love Shalini’s singing in this one especially when she sings the swarams ‘R R G M P M…’. I just can’t stop myself from listening to it! Even before starting from home today morning, I listened to it for some 4 times. Those who have not listened to it, please do.

Concerts – Part 6 (The last part)

T.M.Krishna’s concerts
I went to 9 concerts of T.M.Krishna in the past one and a half months. I initially thought if I should even write about some of them since it’s already very late and many of you must have read about these concerts. But I am finding time to write it only now (Am not that busy and all but blame it on my laziness). Anyway, this is going to be a long post. Read it if you have the patience.
In TMK’s website, in his profile it is written, “His renditions of vilamba kalam (slow tempo) compositions are soaked with bhakthi (devotion) and bhava (emotion) are a treat to every listener.” In almost all the concerts he proved it. I just love it whenever he sings a slow song with bhava.
On 16th December, at Asthika Samajam, TMK started the concert 15 minutes late since it took him a long time to tune the Tamburas. Many got impatient. In fact a person sitting behind me said loudly, ‘Paadu pa’ (Not sure if TMK heard it). But, when he started singing, the audience was in for a treat. Starting off with Tanavaari Tanamuleda in Begada, he then sang Nagumomu in Abheri and Mokshamu Galada in Saramathi for nearly 40 minutes each with Maakelara in Ravichandrika raaga in between the two songs. I am sure not even a single person would be there who wasn’t moved by TMK’s singing on that day. Well, I got so moved by the concert that I couldn’t stop myself from going to his concert the very next day even though I wanted to go to Sanjay’s concert. The next concert was at Bharat Kalachar. There he sang Janakipate in Karaharapriya as the main piece. In this concert, the ones that I loved were the Mukhari and Karaharapriya alapana, Swarams in Manavyala in Nalinakanti raaga and Tillana in Poornachandrika.
The next concert that I went to was at Music Academy. After reading the review of this concert at Hindu, I actually feel happy that I don’t have in depth knowledge of Carnatic Music. It was written that he didn’t sing Todi alapana in the usual way it is sung and also he sang Anandeshwara in Ananda Bhairavi a bit too slow and there was an exodus of audience after he started singing both these. But, I thoroughly enjoyed both. But more than these two, I liked the RTP in Saraswathi, Brocheva in Khamas and Adineepai in Yamun Kalyani even more.
At Dakshinamoorthy Auditorium on the 29th December, TMK sang O Rangasayee in Kambhoji as the main piece. It was superb. But the highlight of this concert was Enna Thavam in Kapi that he sang in a very slow pace soaked with Bhava. This one is the best rendition of Enna Thavam that I have heard.
The next one happens to be the last concert that I went to in 2006 on the 31st at Jaigopal Garodia School (Rasika Fine Arts). It was just a 2-hour concert. There was a very good selection of songs in this concert: Ekkalatthilum in Nattakurunji, Padavini in Karaharapriya, Nannupalimpa in Mohanam (the main piece), Vishweshwar Darshan in Sindhu Bhairavi, Karapooram Naarumo in Khamas and Sri Ramachandra in Yamun Kalyani.
The first concert of TMK that I went to in 2007 was on 5th January at Vidya Bharati (Sri Bhairavi Gana Sabha). In this concert too another superb Mukhari alapana followed by the Tyagaraja krithi Ksheenamai with neraval and swarams at the line Etijesina Jagannathudu Shriramuna. The raaga chosen for elaboration in this concert was my favourite Sahana! The song was the Tyagaraja kriti, Giripai. M.A.Sundaresan played the violin for this concert. Sometimes, it was difficult to say whether it was Sundaresan’s violin or TMK’s singing that was better! The surprise in this concert was the Kambhoji Raagam Taanam Pallavi. The Kambhoji raagam and taanam were awesome.
The last concert that I went to was on 6th January at Raaga Sudha Hall that was conducted by T.N.Krishnan Foundation. TMK started the concert with Deva Deva in Mayamalavagowlai and then sang Kripajoochutaku (Chayatarangini raga) and Sumasaayaka (Karnataka Kapi). He was about to start singing RaamachandreNa in Maanji when T.N.Krishnan asked him to sing the raga alapana. So after an alapana of Maanji, he sang the song. Here’s what I liked the most in this concert: Maanji and Surutti alapana, his rendition of the songs Kripajoochutaku, Ramachandrena and Sapashya in Jonpuri. The main song of the concert was Endukku Pedale in Sankarabharanam.
Today, I am going to the launch of the book, ‘Voices Within Carnatic Music’ written by T.M.Krishna and Bombay Jayashri with Mythili Chandrasekar. There is going to be a ‘unique music presentation’ by the two of them according to the ads. Let me see how it is.

Concerts – Part 5

Sanjay Subrahmanyan this Season
I went to 7 concerts of Sanjay this season. Needless to say all his concerts were simply superb! His concert at Kalarasana on the 24th of December is the one that I enjoyed the most. To begin with, this one was a 3-hour 24-minute concert. Sanjay was accompanied by S.Varadarajan on the violin, C.S.Venkataraman on the mridangam and Neyveli B.Venkatesh on the khanjira. The Sri Ranjani, Jyothiswaroopini and Karaharapriya (Chakkani Raja was the main song) alapana were all amazing! I loved the neraval and swarams at the line ‘Chintateerchuda Kentamodira’ in the Tyagaraja krithi ‘Entavedukondu Raghava’ in Saraswathi Manohari raaga. RTP was in Lalita raagam (Pallavi – Seethamma Mayamma). He sang the pallavi in Ananda Bhairavi, Neeleambari and Huseni. That was awesome. Varadarajan on the violin was excellent as usual. The claps didnt stop for a long time after each alapana/song. The audience gave a standing ovation at the end of the concert!
Coming to Sanjay’s concert at Music Academy, the Mohanam alapana and the RTP in Brindavana Saranga were the ones that I loved. Incidentally, T.M.Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar had also come to this concert.
At Rasika Fine Arts’ concert, he sang Appan Avadaritta in Karaharapriya and Karikalaba in Saveri for nearly 40 minutes each with elaborate alapana of both the raagas. In between these two he sang a very beautiful song in Neelambari, KaaNa KaNNaayiram veNdum, that lasted for nearly 10 minutes.
The last concert of Sanjay that I attended was at Asthika Samajam on 11th January. The Nattakuruji alapana that he sang that day will remain etched in my memory for a long time to come. I don’t have words to describe the way he sang Gopalakrishna Bharati’s song Vazhi Maraitthirukkudhu in a slow tempo with a very beautiful neraval at the line Utru Paarkave. This is the first time I am hearing Sanjay singing each and every word of the song clearly. In contrast to Vazhi Maraitthirukudhu, he sang a very fast-paced Aadum Chidambaramo in Behag. For this concert too, Sanjay was accompanied by Varadarajan on the violin.

Now that the Season has come to an end, I don’t know when his next concert at Madras is on. Am eagerly waiting for the next one.

Concerts – Part 4

Rithvik Raja on 30/12/2006 at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium (Brahma Gana Sabha)
Rithvik Raja is T.M.Krishna’s student and you can spot him on the stage with TMK in all his concerts. After going to too many concerts of TMK, I went to Rithvik’s concert just to see how he sings. I must say I was not disappointed. He sang quite well. Starting with Sahana varnam, he then sang Rama Neepai in Kedaram. After a neat alapana of Varali, he sang Seshachala Nayakam. Neraval was done at the line Aravindapatra Nayanam. The main piece was PuNNiyam Oru Kodi in Keeravani raagam. Rithvik concluded the concert with Tirupati Venkataramana in Sindhubhairavi.

Saketharaman on 30/12/2006 at R.A.Puram Bhakta Jana Sabha
I had gone to Saketharaman’s concert at Music Academy last year and it was pretty good. This concert was also equally good. Starting with Saveri varnam, after a couple of songs, he sang a Tyagaraja kriti in Subhapantuvarali after a raaga alapana. Saraguna Palimpa in Kedaragowlai was the one chosen for elaboration. But for the slip at one point when putting the swarams at the line Varaguna Seshadri, he sang it quite well. After Om Namo Narayana in Karnaranjani, the concert concluded with a beautiful Tillana in Madhuvanti. Akkarai Subbalakshmi on the violin was very good.

Carnatica Brothers on 31/12/2006 at Raga Sudha Hall (Naada Inbam)
This is the first time I am listening to the Carnatica Brothers sing. I liked Ganesh’s voice more than Sashikiran’s. I had to again listen to Saveri varnam in this concert too. Ne Jesina Neramu in Poornachandrika, Sooryamoorthy in Sowrashtram, Ini Enna Pechirukkudu in Sahana and a song in Begada were the ones I liked very much in this concert. Devi Brova in Chintamani raaga was the main piece of the concert. Though the concert was good, their singing didn’t impress me enough to make me go to another concert of theirs in the near future.

Concerts – Part 3

Guitar Prasanna on 28/12/2006 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Prasanna started the concert with Nattakurunji varnam. He was accompanied by J.Vaidyanathan on the Mridangam and E.M.Subramanian on the Ghatam. After playing compositions in Abhogi, Devaranji, Kapi, Jayantasena, Kedaragowlai and Sindhubhairavi, he played an alapana of Harikambhoji raagam and did a raaga bedham at madhyamam and played Mohanam. After this he played Raghuvamsasudha after someone in the audience asked him to play it. While playing Kalyani alapana he did a graha bedham and played raagas Harikambhoji, Karaharapriya and Sankarabharanam. Talli Ninnu Nera, a composition of Syama Sastry was the one he played in Kalyani. After playing Vanchatonuna in Karnaranjani, again an audience request, he concluded the concert with ‘Bowling for Peace’, that he termed as neither a varnam nor a kriti but just a piece of music that he had composed for his album, Electric Ganesha Land’.

Guitar Prasanna on 30/12/2006 at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium (Brahma Gana Sabha)
In this concert, Prasanna was accompanied by Mannargudi Easwaran on the Mridangam and Purushotthaman on the Khanjira. The highlight of this concert was the Raagam Taanam Pallavi in 4 raagams that he said he had composed only on the previous evening. The pallavi was Anandam Sachchidaanandam Paripoorna Brahmosmi where Anandam was in raaga Revathy, Sachchidaanandam in Hamsadhwani, Paripoorna in Hindolam and Brahmosmi in Mohanam! The composition was superb! The tani avartanam was one of the best that I have heard in the season. After the Tani, Prasanna said in all his concerts people left only after the Tani Avartanam! Some of the other songs that he played are Nannuvidachi in Reetigowlai, Endaro Mahanubhavulu, Alaipayuthey. He ended this concert also with ‘Bowling for Peace’.

I enjoyed both the concerts very much. Does the fact that not many people turned up for both his concerts inspite of Prasanna playing so beautifully show that still not many like to hear Carnatic music played on guitar?