A December-Season-like weekend!

Last weekend was a great one and so very reminiscent of December Season, thanks to Svanubhava & Sikkil Gurucharan’s concert and Dr. Chithra Madhavan’s lecture, with which concluded my memorable weekend.

Saturday began with me dropping my sister at Music Academy for the penultimate day of Svanubhava. Since I had guitar class, I had to miss the first half of Svanubhava and could go there only at around 12:50 pm. Charumathi Ramachandran’s lec-dem on ‘Innovations in RTP’ was just getting over then. The lec-dem was preceded by a one and a half hour long concert of Ganesh & Kumaresh and a Bhajanai performance by Hindu Senior Secondary School Students, both of which, it seems, were very good.

Ganesh & Kumaresh’s concert
Shertalai R. Ananthakrishnan & S.V.Ramani

Songs list:
1. Ninnu kori – Mohanam varnam
2. ? – Dhanyasi – Swarams
3. Manasa Etulo – Malayamarutam – Alapana, Swarams
4. Naama Kusumamula – Sri – Alapana, Swarams
Tani Avartanam
5. Janaranjani piece (their own instrumental composition)

After the interesting lec-dem, it was lunch time. Lunch was provided by Sri Krishna Sweets. Some pulao & curd rice was the menu.

Post-lunch was what was referred to as Kalki’s ‘tukkada time’ in which a comic series which appeared in ‘Kalki’ magazine titled ‘Sa Ri Ga Ma Papa’ was enacted as a very short skit. While the story itself seemed to be hilarious enough, I felt its enacting didn’t bring in the hilarity as much as it should have.

The theme music for this year’s Svanubhava composed by Arun Prakash in raagas Sahana, Saraswati and Hamir Kalyani were played in between all the programmes and those were nice! ‘Tukkada time’ was followed by a 20-min concert by the students of Music Academy. It was a group performance in which pankajAkshi (pUrvi kalyANi), koumAri gowri, EmAnAtichEdavo (sahAnA) and a tillAna (bhAgESri) were performed. After that came the best programme of the day – an excellent talk by Sriram V on ‘Life and Times of the Trinity’!

It was followed by the last event of the day, a debate on Vocal vs. Instrumental music. Students from Kalkshetra, Music College, etc. were participants and Vijay Siva was the judge. While the topic given by Vijay Siva was ‘Which do you think can take Indian music to the world better – vocal or instrumental?’ the participants spoke on ‘Vocal vs. Instrumental’ generally. More than giving his verdict based on the arguments, I felt that Vijay Siva gave his own view that vocal is better.

A new trivia I got to know during the debate was why the raagam Saranga is named so. Vijay Siva told this. As you might know, Saranga means elephant. In Saranga raagam, you cannot go below the nishadam in lower octave since it will start sounding like other raagas and in higher octave, you cannot go beyond the gandharam. These are similar to the elephant’s characteristics of not being able to jump or climb up a tree and of getting trapped and not being able to come out if it falls into a pit. That is why the raga is named so!

After Svanubhava, I rushed to Sri Krishna Gana Sabha for Sikkil Gurucharan’s concert. Gurucharan was to be accompanied by Umayalpuram K.Sivaraman on the mridangam & M.A.Sundareswaran on the violin and that was why I wanted to go for this concert. B.S.Purushothaman was on the khanjira. Needless to say, I was rewarded with an excellent concert that made my day! 3 hours of delightful music! Gurucharan sang really well too. Parts of Gurucharan’s Kanada swarams, M.A.Sundareswaran’s Khamas alapana, pantuvarALi taanam, Umayalpuram Sivaraman’ playing for taanam & that superb tani with Purushothaman are some of the parts I enjoyed the most. Here is the list of songs:

1. Ninnu Kori (varnam) – Mohanam – Raaga Outline
2. Maha Ganapate – Kanada – Raaga Outline; Swarams at Uma
3. Vasudevayani – Kalyani – Neraval at rAgatALagatulanu
4. Santanagopala – Khamas – Alapana; Swarams at nardana muraLidharam
5. taruNamIdamma – Gowlipantu
6. Koluvaiyunnade – Bhairavi – Alapana; Neraval & Swarams at manasu ranjilla
Tani Avartanam
7. unaDiye gati eNRu – Bhahudari
8. RTP – Pantuvarali
Pallavi: gAnalOla karuNA AlavAla – Kanda Triputa
Pallavi in Todi, Brindavana Saranga, Saveri, ?
Swarams in Pantuvarali
A very short Tani Avartanam
9. Muddugare Yashoda – Kurunji
10. TungateeravirAjam – Pilu
11. Dikku Teriyadha Kaattil – Ragamalika
12. Tillana – Sankarabharanam
13. Mangalam Kosalendraya & Ni Nama Rupamulaku – Sowrashtram
The words Mangalam Shubha Mangalam in Madhyamavati

Svanubhava on Sunday began with a tALa vAdya kutcheri by Guru Karaikkudi R. Mani, Ghatam V.Suresh and Bangalore Amrit. Karaikkudi Mani first explained what a nadai is and played samples for each of the 5 nadaistisram, chatushram, khandam, misram and sankeernam. This was followed by a tani Avartanam concert.

Vilasini Natyam (dance which the devadasis used to perform in temples in Andhra Pradesh) by Swapnasundari was the next programme. Since we are not interested in dance, we left and came back more than an hour and a half later only to see that the dance was still going on. And it went on for almost an hour after that! Sitting and watching the dance and losing patience with every minute made me reaffirm that dance is definitely not my cup of tea.

Dance was followed by lunch and after that it was Kalki’s ‘tukkada time’ in which they showed a PPT that traced YACM’s growth using articles that appeared in Kalki over the years. A performance by Kalaimamani Dr. Sunder’s students & flautist Sruthi Sagar was what followed next. It was a bhajanai like performance which didn’t appeal to me even one bit. My sister felt the bhajanai performance on the previous day was better than this.

Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna was the guest of honour and after a very short speech in which he commended Bombay Jayashri and T.M.Krishna for organizing Svanubhava, he gave away mementoes for all the volunteers of Svanubhava.

The last programme for the day, and for Svanubhava 2009 itself, was a treasure hunt, for which we didn’t stay.

But my eventful weekend continued with Dr. Chithra Madhavan’s lecture at Musiri Chamber. This was part of her monthly lecture series that happens at Musiri Chamber on the second Sunday of every month at 4:45 pm. This lecture series has been going on for more than two years now! But I came to know about this only in January this year and have been going for it since February. In this series, Dr. Chithra takes up important dynasties of the Indian history one by one chronologically and talks about their architectural contributions. Yesterday’s lecture was on Nayaks. Don’t miss it if you are someone who loves the sculptures and architectural beauty of temples!

Before I conclude this post, I have to write a few lines on Svanubhava on the whole (Am I sounding as though I am concluding some speech? 😛 ). My sister and I couldn’t go for Svanubhava last year. We are glad that we were able to go for it atleast this year, if only for just two days. Each day packed with so many programmes that enriched the knowledge of the participants with all the programmes being interactive ones too and including folk, namasankeertanam, bhajanai, etc. too along with just music and dance, this was one event which I wish I could have attended fully. Above all, it was a different experience being among just youngsters and in a college-like-atmosphere in a Carnatic music event. 😉 Kudos to Bombay Jayashri, T.M.Krishna and the team of YACM for organizing a wonderful event like Svanubhava!

In his speech, Dr. Balamuralikrishna, while speaking about how aptly this event has been aptly named ‘Svanubhava’, talked about enjoying things to an extent where you cannot describe how much you enjoyed it. Indescribable enjoyment – that will best summarize how the last two days were for me, especially since it has been a long time since I spent a couple of days doing nothing other than attending so many programmes I enjoyed! 🙂

8 thoughts on “A December-Season-like weekend!

  1. sreekrishnanv

    I had one question to ask… do they come up with new songs for concerts. Do people write new songs and compose?

    Also, do you know or find any improvements from what a “Concert” was probably 10 15 yrs back to what it is now?

    I know i have talked abt a “Carnatic Band” of sorts elsewhere .. but curious to know !

  2. Prasanna

    Btw,rams abode has the time of the concert as 6:45pm.I think it was put up as 8pm in the temple premises.Am not sure about it.Gotta check out with the papers tomorrow.

  3. R.Saravanan

    Dear Aparna,

    The title is apt, looks like Dec 2009 has arrived before time. Anyways chennai is full of some activities and options for any time of the year. The concert list of Gurucharan looks very goog./



  4. Aparna

    Couldn’t reply to your comment earlier since I didn’t have time. And not replying even now since I don’t have time & am already feeling very sleepy. Will reply soon!

    🙂 But there has been a dearth of concerts during the last few months. Anyway, it’s back to lotsa-concerts-days now 🙂

    🙂 Sure I will write about the talk sometime. There are lots of posts to write! But I am not having much free time at all nowadays 🙁


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