Bombay Jayashri – Sree Rama Seva Mandali – April 5, 2017

The inaugural concert of the 79th edition of the “Rama Navami” concerts at the Fort High School grounds, organized by Sree Rama Seva Mandali was a beautiful Carnatic Vocal concert by Bombay Jayashri Ramnath for a packed audience!

Smt. Bombay Jayashri performed with Sri Embar Kannan on Violin, Sri Manoj Siva on Mridangam, Sri K V Gopalakrishnan on Khanjira, Smt. Chaitra and Kum. Sahana on Tambura.

  1. Jaya Jaya Swamin – Naata
  2. Manavi Aalakinchara – Nalinakanthi
  3. Akhilandeswari – Dwijavanthi
  4. Rara Rajeevalochana – Mohanam
  5. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Bhairavi
  6. Ayi Khaga vahini – SubhaPantuvarali
  7. Jagadodharana – Kapi
  8. Thillana – Desh
  9. Gopala Govinda (Bhajan)
  10. Mangalam – Sourashtram

Vakratunda Mahakaya… slokam in Naata that started on a devotional note, led to Jaya Jaya Swamin, a wonderful composition by Narayana Teertha and ended with brisk round of kalpana swaras!

A short aalapana in Nalinakanthi followed by the famous krithi Manavi Aalakinchara, a composition of Saint Thyagaraja, was a surprise! We rarely get to hear this song in vocal concerts, which is treated as one of the all-time favorite krithis in instrumental concerts, especially Violin. This has surely excited everyone present.

Soothing Akhilandeswari, one of the remarkable compositions of Muttuswami Deekshitar followed, to leave the stage for the main ragas of the evening!

Mellifluous Mohanam was a treat for the ears. Ugadi marks the start of Vasanth Rithu, the first fortnight of which is generally known for pleasantries the nature offers. The birds making some sweet music in the early mornings, behind the mango trees with some mangoes hanging out of them, is a very picturesque sight. Mohanam was as melodious as what the nature offers us at this time of the year! Kannan did a fabulous job in his return with some exquisite swara patterns and gamakas! Mysore Vasudevachar’s RaRa Rajeevalochana was a great choice to present ode to Lord Rama on the occasion of Rama Navami. Niraval initially started at Pavanajaapta Sri Vasudeva and she actually sang the entire sahityam from Pallavi till the charanam in each cycle. It was very interesting and Kannan again did a brilliant job in making his Violin sing along with Jayashri, following her style beautifully. Manoj and KVG did very well in enhancing the beauty of this song and the whole concert all the way. Tani Avarthanam by them was brilliant, soft, yet enthused the audience a lot.

It is all about serious music. No fillers between main piece and the RTP! Bhairavi is again a beautiful ragam that never fails to captivate audience! Pallavi Ramam Indeevara Shyaman Dasarathatmajam.. Vande is beautiful. Tanam, Pallavi and Kalpana Swaras were also sung in Simhendramadhyamam and Kapi too. A very good RTP but somehow the heart felt like wanting a bit more which was covered up with a soul stirring SubhaPantuvarali. Santana Lakshmi stotram Ayi Khaga vahini in it, was perhaps the pinnacle of soulfulness one could ever achieve!! The rain God also arrived towards the end of RTP and has shown his happiness with a loud quick burst who was otherwise calm till then. Mind you, the timing of the louder burst was exactly when audience starting applauding at the end of the song in SubhaPantuvarali! Coincidence? Maybe!

The concert ended with a few small compositions sung in a very unhurried manner, for the satisfaction of everyone present there!

The sound quality was very average and I could understand the artistes always had issues with the sound (or lack of it) on monitor. I hope it gets improved as we still have a month long concerts scheduled at the same venue!

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Bombay Jayashri & Shubha Mudgal – Times SwarSangam – March 12, 2017

A delightful Jugalbandi to end a wonderful double-header on a Sunday forenoon, by Smt. Bombay Jayashri (Carnatic Vocal) and Smt. Shubha Mudgal (Hindustani Vocal) served as a lunch feast for the packed audience of Chowdaiah Memorial Hall. Bombay Jayashri (BJ) and Shubha Mudgal (SM) performed with Sri Embar Kannan on Violin, Sri Manoj Siva on Mridangam, Sri Aneesh Pradhan on Tabla and Sri Sudhir Nayak on Harmonium.

  1. SubhaPantuvarali / Todi
  2. Sankarabharanam / Devgiri Bilawal
  3. Sree / Desi
  4. Madhuvanthi (?)

The concert started with soul stirring aalaps from both BJ & SM and they chose to present different compositions from each classical system, by trying to show similarities and dissimilarities in both systems with regard to the raga chosen (as quoted by SM). While I am an illiterate in Hindustani Music, I am just writing whatever I heard or perceived today at the concert from SM. This statement in no way intends to mean that I know anything in Carnatic Music! SM chose to sing a piece by her Guru Pt. Ramashreya Jha in Todi while BJ performed a rare krithi Nee samanamevaru lerani in SubhaPantuvarali by one of the greatest Carnatic Musicians, G N Balasubramanian. Both systems were weaved into a very beautiful structure, alternating between the wonderful musicians.

The second ragam was Devgiri Bilawal. The grand Sankarabharanam of Carnatic tradition closely moves with this raga (as quoted by BJ). Interesting to see the melodic instruments’ jugalbandi in this set, by Embar Kannan on Violin and Sudhir Nayak on Harmonium. Embar’s rendition of Sankarabharanam was pristine and well, my tryst with the ragam continues! While I don’t know the composition SM took up, BJ sang the beautiful krithi of Saint Thyagaraja, Swara Raga Sudha. Let me not try to explain about the renditions as I can never do justice to it. Soulful! Enough said!!

Time for Sree ragam and it’s closer sister Raag Desi. Muttuswamy Deekshitaar’s composition Sree Varalakshmi was presented by BJ while SM presented a composition of her Guru Pt. Ramashreya Jha. It sounded as if both systems of music are trying to showcase the richness of ragas owned, in a very lucid way. While it highlighted similarities, it also highlighted how they are dissimilar to each other too!

Tani Avarthanam as a start of the song was an innovative experiment, allowing the percussion artistes to demonstrate their ideas without being affected by the composition or the swara patterns that usually follow. Manoj Siva and Aneesh Pradhan did a fabulous job of presenting the jugalbandi of Mridangam and Tabla. The krithi that followed brought back fond memories of a recent jugalbandi by BJ and Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh that I attended. BJ took up Sadasiva Brahmendra’s Tunga Tarange Gange while SM presented a composition by Aneesh Pradhan. Earlier I heard the Hamsadhwani version of it, composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman and it is the Madhuvanthi version of it (composed by BJ herself) that was presented in this concert. This composition marked a perfect end to a Jugalbandi, like Ganga flowing all the way till South and perhaps meeting Godavari, to make all the lands fertile in the process!

TOI did a great job of bringing great combinations in this jugalbandi festival and my first “vocal” jugalbandi can’t get any better than featuring two stars of both traditions!

Bombay Jayashri – Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira – February 5, 2017

An eventful weekend came to an end by attending a soulful concert by Smt. Bombay Jayashri, with Sri H N Bhaskar on Violin, Sri V V Ramanamurthy on Mridangam, Sri B S Purushottam on Khanjira and Master Amrit Ramnath on Tambura.

  1. Sri Varalakshmi Namastubhyam – Sree
  2. Makelara Vicharamu – RaviChandrika
  3. Narayana Ninna Namada – Suddha Dhanyasi
  4. Mokshamu Galada – Saramati
  5. Bhuvaneshwariya – MohanaKalyani
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Bhairavi
  7. Ondu baari smarane saalade – Sindhu Bhairavi (?)
  8. Thillana – Madhuvanthi
  9. Mangalam – Sourashtram

The concert started with a prayer to Goddess Saraswathi, Saraswathi Namastubhyam… before moving on to Sri Varalakshmi Namastubhyam in Sree! So soulful was the rendition, that would have made Muttuswamy Deekshitaar proud! A brisk Makelara Vicharamu in RaviChandrika followed, which ended with wonderful exchange of Kalpana Swaras between Jayashri and Bhaskar.

Suddha Dhanyasi was taken up for elaboration to everyone’s delight. Amazing aalapana by Jayashri, complemented equally well by Bhaskar, was a treat for the ears! Narayana Nimma Namada is a composition that I heard for first time. Purandara Daasa’s composition was rendered with so much of devotion. The Niraval segment would have taken many audience into a different world of pure tranquility. Soulfulness in rendition is the hallmark of the entire concert, which is a rarity these days. The composition ended with a brilliant round of kalpana swaras.

Starting from the Anupallavi Sakshatkara ni… the immortal composition of Saint Thyagaraja, Mokshamu Galada was rendered at a leisurely pace, allowing the audience to settle in the divine environment already created through the wonderful music by then. Ramanamurthy and Purushottam were soft, fabulous and did a great deal of job in elevating the concert to greater heights!

MohanaKalyani is a very beautiful ragam and a detailed aalapana by Jayashri showed multiple new phrases of it. Bhaskar’s return was lovely both in aalapana and swaras, while following her eloquently in Muttaiah Bhagavathar’s composition Bhuvaneshwariya...

Bhairavi was the main ragam for the evening. It’s been very long since I heard chaste elaboration of it and I was completely drenched in its beauty with the ragam and tanam from Jayashri and Bhaskar. His returns in Tanam especially drew a great appreciation from the audience. Tanam was also probably rendered in a couple of other ragams (?) too, which I could not notice, but Kaanada was definitely one of them. Beautiful Pallavi on Goddess Durga, Parameswari Jagadeeswari Bhairavi Sree Tripura Sundari was set to Khanda Jathi Triputa Talam. Kalpana swaras included Charukesi, Rakeshri (?), Behag and I may have possibly missed one or two more ragas. Tani Avarthanam was fabulous by Ramanamurthy and Purushottam and it turned the RTP into a complete package with great team work!

A great concert ended with a Thillana by Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir in Madhuvanthi and traditional Mangalam.

Bombay Jayashri & Jayanthi Kumaresh – Bhoomija – August 6, 2016

A very special concert, by two very very special musicians, in a packed MLR Auditorium was a feast for the music lovers in Bengaluru!

Bhoomija always comes up with special concerts and this, featuring, Bombay Jayashri and Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, will be another feather in it’s hat!! They were accompanied by Anantha G Krishnan (Mridangam) and Ojas Adhiya (Tabla).

  1. Keshavaya Namaha – Poorvi Kalyani
  2. Tunga Tarange Gange – Hamsadhwani
  3. Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha
  4. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kapi
  5. Thillana – Mand

This was perhaps the most awaited concert of this season and my knowledge is not good enough to write about it. But, I really wanted to document this somehow and hence trying my luck.

It all started with a brief Tani followed by eloquent Poorvi Kalyani aalapana by Dr. Jayanthi. I heard Govinda namas as a song, for the first time, set to tune, so wonderfully, and in whose voice!! So soulful by the one and only, divinity personified, Bombay Jayashri. Veena is an instrument that can produce anything, even including Vedic chants and each and every phrase of the song, on it, was very pristine. What a start to the concert!

Bombay Jayashri started singing the word “Ganga” in many unimaginable ways and in many hues one felt the flow of the holy river cascading down and making the land it touches pure.  Dr. Jayanthi echoed and it was felt that there is sublime river flowing with two banks – Vocal and Veena each bank . That was the effect of the Jugalbandi, perhaps possible only to them being divinity and humility personified musicians!! I never heard the song by Sadasiva Brahmendra, and it will remain in my memory for long time!!

Ramachandram Bhavayami is the next piece in Vasantha. The prelude to it was outstanding… a brief aalapana followed by many different names of Rama, played by Dr. Jayanthi and followed by Jayashri, now exchanging roles from previous piece! It was just magical! The composition by Muthuswami Dikshitar followed and ended with sublime swara patterns.

Kapi is one of my favorite ragas and I never get bored of listening to it. I would have easily heard the Ragam and Tanam played by Dr. Jayanthi in Darbar festival, a few hundred times. Coming back, Raga aalapana was mesmerizing. Tanam was fabulous. I particularly liked the sahityam which was on Goddess Saraswathi, referring to her as “Veena vaadini”. Different patterns of swaras followed and in Ragamalika section Jayashri sung two Hindustani ragas which I don’t know and was returned by Dr. Jayanthi with Nattakurinji and Behag. A scintillating Tani Avarthanam followed, keeping the audience awe-struck!

A delightful concert ended with a Thillana in raga Mand, by Lalgudi Jayaraman.

After the concert got over, I felt, why do these kind of concerts happen very rarely and why only for 90 minutes!!!

DisclaimerPlease excuse me if I wrote anything incorrectly. I am a mere mortal and neither can my vocabulary talk about my feelings, nor can my knowledge in music understand and explain things in greater detail!