Category Archives: Carnatic Music

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?

Concerts – Part 2

Sangeetha Sivakumar on 24/12/2006 at Rani Seethai Hall (Kalarasana)
Though my initial plan was to go only to Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s concert at Rani Seethai Hall at 6.15 pm after attending Sowmya’s concert for an hour at Music Academy, my plan changed thanks to Sowmya deciding to postpone her concert that day due to a bad throat. I reached the place when Sangeetha was finishing a kriti in Kalyani. After singing Vinaraadana in Devagandhari, she started the Keeravani alapana, the raaga chosen for the main piece of the evening. She sang Tyagaraja’s composition, Kaligiyunte with neraval and swarams at the line, Baguga Sri Raghunathuni Padamula. After one more song, she wound up the concert with Khamas Tillana. I liked this concert of hers more than the one at Academy.

Nithyasree Mahadevan on 25/12/2006 at Music Academy
I missed the first one-hour of the concert. Nithyasree was singing Kaya Roshanesham in Abheri when I entered the auditorium. Here’s the partial list of songs:
1. Anandutanu – Jingala
2. Maamava Satatam – Jaganmohini (Main piece of the concert)
3. Maalon Maruganai (Viruttam) & Koovi Azhaikka Koodaathaa – Sindhu Bhairavi
4. Begada – Raagam Taanam Pallavi
She sang the pallavi in raagas Vasantha, Atana, Hameer Kalyani, Varnaroopini
5. Tum Bi Kaun Khabar – ?
This happens to be the third concert of Nithyasree’s that I went to in this Season. I don’t know why but I didn’t enjoy any of her concerts as much as I used to earlier. Initially I thought since it has been more than a year since I last went to her concert, I should go to one more Nithyasree’s concert and see. But I got a bit bored too during her concerts! But the fact that the auditorium was jam-packed shows that not everyone felt the same way as I did.

P.S.: I am not writing about any of Sanjay’s or TMK’s concerts now since I have reserved the best concerts for the last!

Concerts – Part 1

As I didn’t write about the concerts I went to for quite sometime now, here you go. I am planning to write in parts about all the concerts I went to till now. Those who are not interested in Classical music, please skip these posts!

Concerts at Music Academy:

Lalgudi G.J.R.Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – Violin Duet on 22/12/2006
This happens to be the first concert of theirs that I am going to. Each and every song/alapana they played were so good. The raaga chosen for elaboration was Todi and RTP was in Vachaspati. I now want to go to more concerts of theirs.
Continue reading

M.S.Gopalakrishnan & M.Narmadha – Violin Duet

It was a pleasure to hear the great violin maestro M.S.Gopalakrishnan play the violin. The concert was at Dakshinamurthy Auditorium yesterday. Here’s the list of songs and raagas (I didn’t know most of the songs so I am writing only the raagas for the same):
1. Kambhoji Ata Taala Varnam
2. Siddhi Vinayakam – Shanmugapriya
3. Atana
4. Poorvikalyani
5. Seethamma Mayamma – Vasantha
6. Pakkala – Karaharapriya
7. Behag
8. Khamas
9. Sindhubhairavi
10. Hamsanandi
11. Mangalam – Sowrashtram

MSG and Narmada were accompanied by Karthick on the Ghatam and J.Vaidyanathan on the Mridangam. The concert was excellent as expected. The Karaharapriya alapana played by MSG was superb. I loved the brief alapana of Behag that Narmada played.
I thought the auditorium would be full since this is the only concert of MSG in the whole season. But not many turned up for the concert. I consider myself very lucky to have got an opportunity to listen to him live!

Sangeetha Sivakumar’s Concert at Music Academy

List of songs:
1. Mathe (Daru Varnam) – Khamas
2. Jaya Jaya – Nattai
3. Yagyatulu – Sri Ranjani
4. Maamava Meenakshi – Varali
5. Ma Ramanan – Hindolam
6. O Rangasayee – Kambhoji
7. Kamalacharane – ?
8. RTP – Reetigowlai
(Pallavi – TamarasadaLa Nethri Tyagarajuni mitri)
9. Pullaagi (viruttam) – Sahana, Hamsadhwani, Suruti
Maatrariyaada – Suruti
10. Bare Panduranga – Misra Maand

Vioiln – B.U.Ganesh Prasad
Ghatam – N.Guruprasad
Mridangam – N.Manoj Siva

Sangeetha started the concert with a very beautiful song in Khamas, Maathe. Then she went to sing all the songs in quick succession before starting with Kambhoji alapana, the raaga chosen for singing elaborately. Reetigowlai RTP and the last two songs were the ones that I liked in the concert very much. She sang the pallavi in RTP in raagas Kalyani and Kanada also.
Sangeetha’s concert was at 7.30 PM yesterday. It was very sad to see the auditorium almost empty. At the beginning of the concert, only around 100 of us were there in the balcony. By 8.30, almost half the audience had left. An hour later, around 25 of us were only there in the balcony which can actually accomodate a little more than 750 people!
One very big surprising thing in yesterday’s concert was not even a single person’s mobile phone started ringing loudly in the middle of the concert! (Till now there was not even a single concert to which I went where the mobile didin’t start ringing loudly right in the middle of the concert thereby disturbing the performing artistes as well as the others in the audience).

Ganesh & Kumaresh’s Concert

Ganesh & Kumaresh’s Violin concert was the next one after Prasanna’s concert day before yesterday at the Margazhi Mahotsavam. They were accompanied by Sivaraman on the Mridangam and Sundar Kumar on the Khanjira. The theme of their concert was ‘Shadjam – Adhara Swaram’.
Ganesh first explained what is Graha Bedham and said that they were going to take up Kalyani Raagam for doing the graha bedham in the concert. He then explained how each raaga was arrived at by doing a graha bedham on Kalyani. By shifting the Shadjam to the position of ‘Rishabam’ in Kalyani, you get Harikambhoji raaga. By shifting it to the position of Kalyani’s ‘Gandharam’, you get Natabhairavi raaga; Hindolam by shifting it to ‘Madhyamam”s position; Sankarabharanam by shifting it to ‘Panchamam”s position; Karaharapriya by shifting it to Daivatam’s position and Todi by shifting it to Nishaadam’s position. (Hope whatever I have written is correct as this what I understood after listening to his explanation. If there are any mistakes, please do let me know).
He then gave a list of the raagams that they were going to play in the concert. The raagas were all the janyas of the raagas derived by doing graha bedham on Kalyani.
Here is the list of raagams and the song in each that they played:
1. Varnam – Kalyani – Adi
2. Sri Vathapi Ganapatiye – Sahana (Janya of Harikambhoji)
3. Mokshamugalada – Saramati (Janya of Natabhairavi)
4. Manasuloni – Hindolam
5. Narasimha Mamava Bhagavan Nityam – Aarabhi (Janya of Sankarabharanam)
6. Aadaadu Asangaadu – Madhyamavati (Janya of Karaharapriya)
7. ? – Desiya Todi (Janya of Todi)
Sivaraman used 7 different mridangams, one for each song as the shruti was changed in the Tambura for each raaga for doing a graha bedham.
After playing all the raagas, there was the Tani Avartanam. What followed next was Shruti Bedham where they played some Divya Naama Kritis (Ganesh explained what Divya Naama kritis are. They are those that have many charanams and all the charanams are in the same tune) of Tyagaraja.
It was a wonderful concert and an informative one too!

Guitar Prasanna’s Concert

I went to Guitar Prasanna’s first concert of the season at Chettinad Vidyashram that was held as part of the Margazhi Mahotsavam. He was accompanied by Prapancham Ravindran on the Mridangam and Umashankar on the Ghatam.
He started the concert with the popular Dikshitar kriti, Maha Ganapatim in Nattai raagam, after playing a brief alapana of Nattai. He then played an alapana of Denuka raagam and did a Graha Bedham and played the raagas Chitrambari and Shanmugapriya. He then followed it up with the Tyagaraja kriti, Teliyaleru Rama in Denuka. The next one was Raghunatha in Swararanjani raagam, a composition of Ramnad Srinivasa Iyengar. He then played an alapana of Mohanam and did a Graha Bedham and played the raagas Madhyamavati and Suddha Dhanyasi. Kadambari Priyayai, a Dikshitar krithi, was the one he played in Mohanam and this was followed by the Tani Avartanam. The final piece of the concert was from Prasanna’s latest album, Electric Ganesha Land, called ‘Bowling for Peace’. On the whole, the concert was a fabulous one.

Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s Concert

I went to Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s concert at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium yestereday. I had called the previous concert as one of Sanjay’s best. Now I am at a loss for words to describe yesterday’s concert! Should I call it one of his ‘bestest’?!! It was sheer pleasure to attend such a wonderful 3-hour concert after a long time!
Here’s the complete list of songs sung by Sanjay:

1. Nadathanumanisam – Chintamani
2. Raghunayaka – Hamsadhwani
3. Geeti Chakra – Kannada
4. Arulvaai Angayarkanniye – Darmavati
5. Aadum Deivam – Kambhoji (Main piece)
6. RTP – Hamsanandi
Pallavi: Karuninchara – Ragamalika (Sahana, Saveri, Suddha Danyasi, Nalinakanti, Bhahudari)
7. Pagaivanukku Arulvai – Ragamalika
8. Kulam Tarum(Viruttam) – Ragamalika (Shanmugapriya, Behag, Sindhubhairavi, Sama)
Narayana Nalinaayaka – Sama
9. Ganta Mani – Kanada
10. English Notes – Sankarabharanam
11. Mangalam – Sowrashtram

Varadarajan – Violin
P. Satish Kumar – Mridangam
Bangalore Rajasekar – Morsing

The Kannada raaga alapana that he sang before singing the Dikshitar krithi ‘Geeti Chakra’ was superb. Incidentally, that happens to be one of my favourite songs sung by Sanjay! The joy of hearing your favourite singer sing your favourite song in a kutcheri is something that cannot be described in words!
The Kambhoji alapana was so beautiful that it left you wishing that he would sing it for some more time (It was less than 10 minutes in duration). The Pallavi ‘Karuninchara’ which he sang in different raagas and that too in the tune of popular krithis like Énta Nerchina, Manavyala and Brova Baarama, made it even more enjoyable.
Varadarajan, on the violin, was excellent as usual. (Since Varadarajan plays for both Sanjay and TMK regularly, I think I would have attended more number of Varadarajan’s concerts than Sanjay’s and TMK’s). Bangalore Rajasekar on the morsing and Satish Kumar on the mridangam, made the Tani Avartanam a thoroughly enjoyable one.

T. M. Krishna’s Concert

I went to TMK’s concert on Sunday at Vani Mahal. Here’s the complete list of songs he sang:

1. Varnam – Navaragamalika
2. Gnanamo Sagaraada – Poorvikalyani
3. Sri Kumaara Nagaraalaye – Atana
4. Seethapathe – Kamas
5. Ehi Annapoorne – Punnagavarali
6. Kripajoochutaku – Chaya Tarangini
7. Kathikeya Gangeya – Todi (Main piece of the concert)
8. Smarasundaraajuni – Paras
9. Sarvam Brahmamayam – Madhuvanti
10. Vasudevasutam Devam – Ragamalika (Sahana, Bhairavi, Kambhoji, Kalyani, Mukhari)
Balakrishnam – Mukhari
11. Anri Ulagam Alandaai – Sindhu Bhairavi
12. Mangalam – Sowrashtram

R. K. Shriramkumar – Violin
V. Kamalakar Rao – Mridangam
Anirudh Athreya – Khanjira

It was yet another wonderful concert by TMK. A special mention has to be made about Anirudh Athreya who was very good on the Khanjira.

T.M.Krishna’s Concert

I went to T.M.Krishna’s first concert of the season at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan yesterday. Here is the list of songs that he sang:

1. Varnam – Kedaragowlai
2. Seshachalanayakam – Varali
3. Dorakuna – Bilahari
4. Vinaraadana – Devagandhari
5. Nadachi Nadachi – Karaharapriya
6. Sevikka Vendum Ayya – Andolika
7. Pacchai Maamalaipol (viruttam)
Janaki Ramana – Kapi
8. Talalenura – Kamas
9. Manasa Sancharare – Sama
10. Mangalam – Sowrashtram

Guru Karaikudi R.Mani – Mridangam
Ramanujacharyulu – Violin
V.Suresh – Ghatam

The more I listen to him sing, the more I seem to like his singing! He sang the Bilahari alapana followed by the kriti Dorakuna and then the swarams for the same so excellently that I thought this would be the best piece of the concert. But, the Nadachi kriti in Karaharapriya that soon followed proved me wrong. ‘Sevikka vendum ayya’, which he sang after someone in the audience asked him to was also superb.
The audience gave the longest applause for the tani avartanam that I have ever seen! In the end, TMK requested the audience to be seated while he sang Mangalam. They left only after he finished singing it. It reminded me of TMK’s request to the audience in a concert at Music Academy during the last season when he asked the audience not to leave in the midst of a song or during the tani avartnam. They gave respect to his words and as soon as every song got over, one could see a large group of people getting up and leaving!