Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – Music Academy – Dec 30, 2019

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented a splendid concert at the Annual Music Festival of the Music Academy, Chennai, with K U Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam and Trichy Krishnaswamy on Ghatam.

  1. Varnam (Vanajakshi) – Kalyani
  2. Aparadhamunanorva – Rasali
  3. Kadaikkan Vaithennai – Begada
  4. Emanine – Mukhari
  5. Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Keeravani
  7. Pibare Ramarasam – Ahir Bhairav
  8. Thillana – Khamas
  9. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

The concert started on a divine note with the famous Adi Tala Varnam, Vanajakshi, in Kalyani ragam, in a very unhurried way. A rare Rasali aalapana followed. Thyagaraja’s krithi AparadhamulaNorva was presented with poise and the scintillating kalpana swaras set the tone for the rest of concert.

It was time for the beautiful Begada to be engulfed at the Music Academy. Jayanthi presented the ragam and some of the sangathis around Madhyamam were for the Gods, by the Goddess! Blessed were all of us mortals, who happened to be there in the Music Academy that evening! A Tamil composition of Ramaswamy Sivan, Kadaikkan Vaithennai was amazing. Jayanthi played brilliant swaras to sum up what was a delightful Begada!!

A brief soul stirring Mukhari aalapana was followed by Subbaraya Sastry’s composition Emanine ni mahima telpudunamma. Indeed, it is very difficult to delineate the power (mahima) of Goddess Kamakshi and the greatness of Jayanthi’s playing. The composition ended on a sedate note to keep the audience guessed which ragam was going to be picked next.

Vasantha is one of the all-time favorites for most of the rasikas and artistes. The moment Jayanthi started a phrase or two of it, I could hear whispers of “Vasantha” and happy faces around in the Music Academy. Jayanthi presented the ragam with a sublime flow of magical phrases. Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s masterpiece Ramachandram Bhavayami followed and the Kalpana Swaras weaved the beauty of the ragam and her virtuosity in right blend to make it memorable. Jayachandra Rao and Krishna played extremely well to enhance the beauty of her presentation.

The pièce de résistance of the evening was the Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Keeravani. The ragam was so soulful that I had tears in my eyes at the end of it. The depth of the ragam is brought out in the elaborate ~13 minute aalapana marked with chastity and her control over the grand instrument, the Saraswathi Veena. Towards the end of ragam, Jayanthi played some magical phrases for almost a minute without using her right hand, that will be remembered for long long time. Mellifluous Tanam was the pinnacle of the evening. It is usually considered very difficult to expand Tanam for more than a few minutes but Jayanthi is an exception! She played Keeravani Tanam with outstanding ability for close to 14 minutes!! Pallavi was in Adi Talam (2 kalai) which Jayanthi played in three different ragas as well, MalayamaruthamAarabhi and Behag. Jayachandra and Krishna complemented her presentation very well. After playing the Pallavi in 4 speeds, she played some brilliant swaras in all 4 ragas to sum up the grand RTP with an alluring Korvai. Tani Avarthanam was very good and received great applause from the audience. Atypical of Chennai rasikas, the audience were stuck to the seats even while and after Tani Avarthanam – such is the effect Jayanthi’s music was on the them!

A brief sketch of Ahir Bhairav followed by enchanting Pibare RamaRasam and Thillana in ragam Khamas brought the magical end to the concert. The curtains were down with a richly deserved, long standing ovation after Jayanthi played her trademark Mangalam, Shyama Sastri’s Kamakshi Lokasakshini, in Madhyamavathi!!

Some concerts get etched into the heart forever and this concert by Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh stands to be one among them.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year 2020 and an eventful decade!!

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – Chennai Fine Arts – Dec 28, 2019

Lalgudi Siblings, GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi, presented a delightful concert at Srinivasa Sastry Hall for Chennai Fine Arts, with J Vaidyanathan on Mridangam and T Radhakrishnan on Ghatam.

  1. Varnam – Bahudari
  2. Kanchadalaayatakshi – KamalaManohari
  3. Nadadina Maata – Janaranjani
  4. Enthani vinavintu ra – Urmika
  5. Atukaradani – Manoranjani
  6. Srinivasa Tava Charanam – Kharaharapriya
  7. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Charukesi
  8. Chinnanchirukiliye
  9. Thillana – Behag
  10. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourashtram

The concert started with a beautiful Lalgudi Jayaraman’s Thilllana in Bahudari. A quick outline of KamalaManohari by GJR was followed by Dikshitar’s KanchaDalaayatakshi. Some sangathis were simply amazing, and the swaras that followed were top class.

Viji played a delightful Janaranjani aalapana. It is so amazing how the Lalgudi bani gets the best of the ragam in such a short time! Thyagaraja’s composition Nadadina Maata was brilliant. GJR played a soulful Urmika which is very rare. Pallavi Seshaiyyar’s composition Enthani vinavinthu ra was a classic!

A brisk Atu karadani in Manoranjani served as a filler before the main ragam of the evening. Viji presented an elaborate & chaste Kharaharapriya and the feeling can’t be described in words. The aalapana showed the greatness of Lalgudi Bani to bring out raga essence, the beauty of the grand ragam and the her virtuosity, everything bundled into a sublime package! Papanasam Sivan’s Srinivasa Tava Charanam was enchanting and kalpana swaras were a treat to the audience. Interesting korvai brought this masterpiece a perfect end! Vaidyanathan and Radhakrishnan added great beauty to the presentation. Their Tani Avarthanam was quote engaging!

Charukesi is one of my favorite ragas and the Lalgudi school is actually responsible for that! GJR’s presentation of the ragam was soul stirring. Some of the phrases will haunt me for some time. It is difficult to hide the emotions when someone plays Charukesi with such intensity intertwined with great virtuosity in bowing and fingering – the artistes on stage were no exception! The pin drop silence in the small Srinivasa Sastry Hall enhanced the mood created by the magical hands of GJR Krishnan. A quick Tanam where both GJR and Viji complemented each other, was outstanding! As always, Viji sung the Pallavi before the duo played some delightful Niraval on it. The Kalpana swaras were played in ragamalika – DharmavathiKhamas, Hamirr Kalyani?Huseni before ending the grand RTP back in Charukesi. A memorablee RTP indeed and what more to ask for, when it is one of your favorite ragas!!

A beautiful Chinnanchirukiliye which was presented with great bhavam was one to cherish for long time! The concert ended with a composition of their Guru, Thillana in Behag, followed by Mangalam in Sourashtram!

The Hall was quite small in comparison to other Chennai sabhas that helped the audience to sit closer to the audience and the sound system was just perfect that really helped us enjoy and savour the concert!

Saketharaman – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 26, 2018

Saketharaman presented a wonderful concert in the company of Akkarai Subhalakshmi on Violin, Anantha R Krishnan on Mridangam and Anirudh Athreya on Khanjira, at the Madras Music Academy.

  1. Palayasumam – Arabhi
  2. Sundaratara deham – Pantuvarali
  3. Amba Neelambari – Neelambari
  4. VaraNarada – VijayaSri
  5. Marakathavalli – Kambhoji
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Varamu & Saveri (dwi-raga)
  7. Aadu Chidambaramo – Behag
  8. Tirupugazh – Hamir Kalyani

Saketh started the concert with a slokam in Arabhi followed by Syama Sastri’s composition Palayasumam. Thyagaraja’s composition Sundaratara deham in Pantuvarali was very good, with a short yet intense niraval at ragadi samharam raghavam udaram followed by some scintillating swaras and nice poruthams. Both Akkarai and Anantha complemented Saketh well.

A very beautiful aalapana in Neelambari was a treat to the audience. These kind of ragas in slow pace actually add a great variety to the concerts! Having started with a slokam yet again, Manikyaveena.., he brought out his typical soulful rendition of Ponnaiah Pillai’s composition Amba Neelambari in a lovely fashion! A brisk VaraNarada served as a nice filler and lifted the energy in the auditorium. Flashy swaras in a variety of interesting patterns were to be savoured.

A languid Kambhoji aalapana by Saketh was simply outstanding. Akkarai also returned well but it was a bit too long. Dikshitar’s masterpiece Marakathavalli was presented very well. Niraval could have added more beauty. Some very nice swara patterns and poruthams were an absolute treat, with a brilliant korvai structured around Ga and Ma to sum it up. Akkarai returned swaras well with Anantha and Anirudh beautifying them too. Tani Avarthanam was played well but was eternally too long (close to 30 min). I think the co-artistes should keep a check on the time to allow the concert to happen as per the main artistes’ plan and not get carried away with the moments on stage. We were hardly left with 45 minutes to witness the much awaited RTP and other songs.

Saketh started with an amazing Varamu aalapana and transitioned well to Saveri. Violin return could have been shorter again. After elaborating each ragam separately, he sang small phrases alternating between two ragas in a very interesting manner. Certainly it is not the easiest of the jobs! He did similarly in Tanam as well. A dwi-raga pallavi with Poorvangam in Varamu and Uttarangam in Saveri with raga names in it, was composed very well. Varamulosagi Brovavayya Saveri Ragapriya Kaveri Rangayya was set to 35 beat cycle and the Talam chosen was innovative, 5 beats per cycle with kalapramanam decreasing in geometric progression! So first cycle will have 5 * 4 = 20 aksharas, second 5 * 2 = 10 and the last 5 * 1 = 5, with a total of 35. After an amazing Trikalam by Saketh, the swaras included both the ragas in each avarthanam followed by ragamalika swaras in Reetigowla and Kapi before concluding with an impressive korvai in two ragas! Outstanding stuff indeed to come up with such innovative ideas.

viruttam in Behag was followed by Gopalakrishna Bharatiyar’s composition Aadu Chidambaramo. The concert ended with a Tirupugazh in Hamir Kalyani and a traditional Mangalam.

Bhargavi Venkatram – Brahma Gana Sabha – Dec 25, 2018

Bhargavi Venkatram, a senior student of T M Krishna and daughter of senior Violinist H K Venkatram from Bengaluru, presented a fine concert with Shraddha Ravindran on Violin and Kapil Ramnarayan on Mridangam, at the Sivagami Petachi Auditorium under the auspices of Brahma Gana Sabha, in Chennai.

  1. Jaya jaya jaya janaki kantha – Naata
  2. Gnanamosaga raada – PoorviKalyani
  3. Neelayadakshi – Pharas
  4. Nadopasana – Begada
  5. Govardhana Giridhara – Darbari Kaanada

The kutcheri started with a brief outline of Naata followed by Purandara Dasa’s composition. The swaras at Dasarathatmaja.. were short and beautiful.

Bhargavi did a soulful aalapana of PoorviKalyani – although some shades of her Guru were seen, she demonstrated her individual style. Thyagaraja’s masterpiece Gnanamosaga raada was sung beautifully. Some exquisite round of swaras drew applause from the audience! Kapil was following her very closely. A very lilting Neelayadakshi, a composition of Syama Sastri was sung in a languid way. Bhavam has been the hallmark of her singing all the way.

BBB now! 🙂 Bhargavi did a brilliant Begada, which was a top class stuff. She highlighted the Madhyamam characteristic of Begada very well. Shraddha started slowly but played a very nice return! Yet another Thyagaraja’s masterpiece was sung extremely well. The kalpana swaras at Tantri Laya swara.. started in a very languid way and before moving on to the second speed. The muktayi was very well structured around Madhyamam and Kaisiki Nishadham subtly using the Ma-Ma Ni-Ni janta swaras nicely! Kapil played short and sweet Tani Avarthanam.

Bhargavi sang a slokam Vasudevasutam… in ragamalika, seamlessly transitioning from one to the other, in SuratiReetigowlaHamir Kalyani and finally ending in Darbari Kaanada. Narayana Teertha’s composition Govardhana Giridhara in Darbari Kaanada was soulful and it was indeed a great way to end the concert!

Bhargavi planned very well for a 90 minutes concert covering all the elements of a nice concert! Her Guru TMK was also in the audience and it must indeed have been a very happy moment for both Guru and Shishya!

Bombay Jayashri – Mylapore Fine Arts Club – Dec 24, 2018

Bombay Jayashri presented a sublime concert at Mylapore Fine Arts Club, in the company of H N Bhaskar on Violin, Patri Satish Kumar on Mridangam and Shree Sundarkumar on Khanjira.

  1. Jalajaksha nee paadame (Varnam) – Asaveri
  2. Manavi Alakincharadate – Nalinakanthi
  3. Maati maatiki telpavalena – Mohanam
  4. Chakkani Rajamargamu – Kharaharapriya
  5. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Ranjani
  6. Murari Kunja Bihari (Bhajan) – ?
  7. Thillana – Tilang

The concert started with a serene Varnam of Lalgudi Jayaraman, in Asaveri. All-time favorite Manavi Alakincharadate followed that ended with brisk Kalpana swaras. Some of the improvisations in Anupallavi and Charanam were awe inspiring.

Mohanam was presented in a soulful way by Jayashri. It is second time in this series of Margazhi2018 for me, yet it sounded so interesting so fresh! Bhaskar returned extremely well and he showed why he is one of the most sought after Violinists this season, although he was a tad louder (which I assume is the fault of sound person). Yet another Thyagaraja’s composition, rarely heard Maati maatiki was very lovely and the korvai around Dhaivatham was very interesting!

Kharaharapriya was too good. A very soothing and lilting aalapana by Jayashri and Bhaskar was a treat for the audience! Chakkani Rajamargamu, yet another Thyagaraja’s composition was the main piece of the evening. Niraval at Kantiki sundarakara… was top class and swaras poured like rain. Must mention Bhaskar was outstanding in his returns to Niraval and swaras! A nice korvai gave way for Patri Satish Kumar and Sundarkumar to present some thrilling Tani Avarthanam. T V Gopalakrishnan who was sitting in the front row seemed to be very impressed. Overall, yet another ~1 hour affair of this majestic ragam in 4 days was a treat!

A short Ragam and Tanam in Ranjani was wonderful. Some of the Tanam patterns of Jayashri are brilliant. A Tamil pallavi was set to Khanda jaathi Triputa Talam – it is a great coincidence that I hear a lot of Pallavis in Khanda jaati Talams this season!

Jayashri ended her concert with a Bhajan and a lilting Thillana in Thilang, composed by Lalgudi Jayaraman. After listening to it twice in two days, this has become one of my favorite Thillanas and some of the sangathis are beyond imagination! What a great Maestro he is and we are indeed blessed to be in an era that can listen to and popularize his Thillanas! We owe a lot to his prime disciples Lalgudi Siblings, Bombay Jayashri, Saketharaman, and the like, for this!!

Finally I am extremely delighted to have attended a concert of Bombay Jayashri for the first time in Chennai!

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 23, 2018

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi presented a great concert at the Madras Music Academy, in the company of Prof. Trichy Sankaran on Mridangam and V Suresh on Ghatam.

  1. Varnam – Huseni
  2. Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha
  3. Rave Himagiri Kumari (Swarajathi) – Todi
  4. Innu dayabarade – KalyanaVasantham
  5. Manasu Vishaya – Nattakurinji
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – SimhendraMadhyamam
  7. Ayye methakadinam – Ragamalika
  8. Thillana – Tilang
  9. Mangalam – Sourashtram

The concert started with a lovely Thillana of Lalgudi G Jayaraman in ragam Huseni. Somehow every composition of the great Meastro sounds so charming and a composition in ragam like Huseni as a starting piece is unbelievable. Only LGJ can do that! Ramachandram Bhavayami is played very well, with Prof. Sankaran’s deft strokes adding beauty to their presentation of composition and swaras that followed it!

Viji played a soulful Todi. I hear a lot of people complaining that this was N’th time this season but it was first for me! Thoroughly enjoyed some of the gamakas in her exploration of the ragam. Syama Sastri’s masterpiece was presented very well. Purandaradasa’s composition in KalyanaVasantham followed before the beautiful Nattakurinji was unleashed by Krishnan. I heard the composition Manasu Vishaya by LGJ many times and could easily connect to the trademark presentation in the Lalgudi Bani. Wonderful swaras embellished greatly by both the percussionists was a treat to listen. A very complex korvai to end the swaras seemed to be very complex indeed!! Tani Avarthanam by Sankaran and Suresh was excellent and I was definitely yearning for more of it!

SimhendraMadhyamam was presented by both, taking turns, each in their own styles and it was outstanding! A brief Graha Bhedam to Bowli by Krishnan in the aalapana was interesting. There is a very unique way in which he plays the Tanam and it is mesmerizing every single time!! Pallavi Ananda Natana Prakasa Sarvesa Natesa Jagadeesa was as usual so complex, in Khanda Jaati Ata Talam (28). It was a tight rope walk for all of them in presenting the same. Viji did an amazing Trikalam and for the swaras they made all lives easier by choosing to continue in Misra Chapu (7). Ragamalika swaras in Kedaram, HamirKalyani, AthanaKuntalavaraliAbhogi were top class before getting back to SimhendraMadhyamam and ending the RTP with a nice korvai!

A quick Bharatiyar’s composition Ayye methakadinam was very good. The concert ended with a Thillana in ragam Tilang, yet another beautiful creation of LGJ.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 21, 2018

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented a memorable concert in the company of Arjun Kumar on Mridangam and Trichy Krishnaswamy on Ghatam, at the Madras Music Academy Annual Concert, that truly gave an exhilarating experience for the audience.

  1. Varnam – Mandari
  2. Tatvamariya Tarama – Reetigowla
  3. Narasimha Aagacha – Mohanam
  4. Mayamma – Ahiri
  5. Palintuvo – Kantamani
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kharaharapriya
  7. Kandanaal Mudalai – Madhuvanthi
  8. Thillana – Khamas
  9. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

A brief sketch of Mandari followed by the Varnam provided a great start to the concert. Reetigowla aalapana was lilting. Papanasam Sivan’s composition Tatvamariya Tarama was lovely. Kalpana Swaras were just a sample to show Jayanthi’s rhythmic excellence! Arjun Kumar and Krishna played a pivotal role in embellishing the presentation.

Mellifluous Mohanam aalapana was one of the highlights of the evening. Truly exhibiting Jayanthi’s hallmark of soulfulness in presentation, the aalapana remains etched in the memory for long time. It can be a textbook of sorts for presenting Mohanam so aesthetically. Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s masterpiece Narasimha Aagacha was played so well that the lord Narasimha himself would have come down. As explained by Jayanthi in one of her videos, this composition is a wonderful demonstration of the command Dikshitar has on Sanskrit – the second half of Charanam was completely without any deergha aksharams (elongated syllables). The swaras poured soaked in melody and both percussionists played very well complementing her amazing rhythmic patterns!

A brief outline of Ahiri was soul stirring and the Syama Sastri’s masterpiece Mayamma was presented with divinity. For the lack of words in my limited vocabulary, I will skip mentioning about the rendition anymore!! Now I understood why they say you don’t get food when you perform Ahiri. Actually, you don’t need any food as it fills you up completely. Some of the phrases are still lingering in my ears even after a few hours!!

Kantamani is a very special vivadi ragam which has Suddha Dhaivatham and Suddha Nishadham and the combination evokes a very haunting kind of a feeling. One could easily hear the oohs-aahs in the Music Academy, as Jayanthi was presenting the ragam in an outstanding way! A brisk Palintuvo, Saint Thyagaraja’s composition was presented that ended in scintillating swaras.

Kharaharapriya is one of the ragas which is very difficult to get the rasa out of it. Although it is very famous ragam, I have heard only a few handle it carefully bringing out the raga devatha with ease! Jayanthi was in her own element this evening and this ragam was explored delightfully in the Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi that lasted for more than 45 minutes (excluding Tani Avarthanam). An outstanding Tanam which also comprised seamless ragamalika with SaveriHamsanandi and Bahudari will be cherished for long time. Pallavi was in Khanda Triputa Talam and so magically presented that the audience gave a long round of applause at the end of it. Arjun and Krishna did great job in enhancing the overall rendition. Swaras were played in all four ragas, the approach to korvai and the ending was just mind boggling! Jayanthi played swaras in Hamsanandi till perhaps the highest note possible on the Veena, extending beyond the frets that left everyone mesmerised. Tani Avarthanam was extremely good, just apt in enhancing the grandeur of the RTP.

Beautiful composition in Madhuvanthi and the charming Thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman in Khamas were presented in an unhurried manner. Jayanthi ended the concert with her trademark Kamakshi Lokasakshi, yet another Syama Sastri’s composition of the evening.

A long standing ovation from the audience year after year at the Music Academy just signifies how much Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh’s music is adored and it stands a testimony of her purity in music, chastity and divinity in presentation!!

One must note the importance the Carnatic Music trinity get in her concerts, all the last 4 of her annual concerts at Music Academy featured at least one composition of each of them. Also, the way Jayanthi plays her concerts in a leisurely manner with no overdose of the number of songs is certainly a guideline that every musician can pickup in this era of singing a lot of songs especially towards the end of concerts!

I am glad I could attend this masterly concert despite having to travel all the way from Delhi, arriving just right in time!

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – Indira Sivasailam Endowment Concert – Oct 12, 2018

Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal got a feather in it’s cap by awarding herself to Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, or the Veenai, as she put it in her acceptance speech! The programme at The Music Academy, Chennai, was a high profile grand affair, with a lots of musicians, dignitaries and media persons attending it. Everyone who attended the event followed by her concert, witnessed a wonderful speaker that Dr. Jayanthi is, that very few people know, apart from her trademark Veena recital! Jayanthi read out a heartening letter that the Saraswathi Veena wrote to her, to be read on her behalf, to a discerning audience for having awarded the prestigious honour on her (the Veena)!!

Jayanthi presented her Indira Sivasailam Endowment Concert with Anantha R Krishnan on Mridangam and Pramath Kiran on Tabla/Morsing.

  1. Maate Malayadhwaja – Khamas (Daru Varnam)
  2. Ekamresa Naayike – Karnataka Suddha Saveri
  3. Sri Dum Durge – SriRanjani
  4. Kamakshi Kamakoti – SimhendraMadhyamam
  5. Thillana – Mand
  6. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

It being a Navarathri season, one expected a lot of compositions on Goddess Durga – Jayanthi too announced her intention right away. The stage was just perfect with the most beautiful decoration one can ever witness and it was awaiting Goddess Durga herself to take a seat to give it a complete look! Jayanthi started with a very brief outline of Khamas, and to me it sounded very fresh and pleasantly different! Muttaiah Bhagavathar’s masterpiece Daru Varnam Maate Malayadhwaja started the proceedings in a very grand fashion.

Ekamresa Naayike, one of my favorite Dikshitar Krithis, was beautiful. The aalapana preceding it was meditative and the swaras were top class, with Anantha Krishnan providing great embellishment. A soulful SriRanjani followed. The rare krithi of Dikshitar Sri Dum Durge would have made him proud from heavens. The Veena was literally singing his masterful choice of words in the praise of Goddess Durga. The swaras were brilliant – a fabulous muktayi just left everyone in awe.

Main ragam of the evening was SimhendraMadhyamam, something which I haven’t heard in a concert in a long time. Jayanthi always has a beautiful knack of making it look easier for novices like me with her charming smile and she enjoying her presentation only doubled the apparent ease. Sublime elaboration of the ragam, caressing the notes in all three octaves with great ease, was certainly a treat to witness! Tanam was flowing freely like a river and in the process, showing the different majestic strides of it through Ragamalika in SahanaRanjani and Aarabhi before concluding back in it’s main stream SimhendraMadhyamam. Scintillating swaras section, where Anantha and Pramath played extremely well to match her style was outstanding. A short and entertaining Tani Avarthanam brought to close, what I would call an epic!

Lalgudi Jayaraman’s composition, a Thillana, yet again on Goddess Kamakshi, in Mand was as grand as ever and Jayanthi ended her concert with her trademark song Kamakshi Lokasakshi in Madhyamavathi, a composition of Syama Sastri.

Goddess Kamakshi came all the way to the Music Academy on the third day of Navarathri, sat in a heaven like stage with awe inspiring background, played on the Veena, conquered everyone with soulful music and stamped with authority that Jayanthi Kumaresh is the Voice of Veena!

Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 23, 2017

Lalgudi Siblings, GJR Krishnan and Viji presented a melodious concert at the Madras Music Academy, with Sangitha Kalanidhi Prof. Trichy Sankaran on Mridangam and B S Purushottam (BSP) on Khanjira.

  1. Varnam – Hamsavinodini
  2. Dasarathe – Kokilapriya
  3. Sri Venkata Girisham – Surati
  4. Marugelara O Raghava – JayanthaSri
  5. Sivakaama Sundari – Jaganmohini
  6. Mahitha Pravruddha – Kambhoji
  7. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Shanmukhapriya
  8. Chandrasekhara – SindhuBhairavi
  9. Thillana – Tilang

The concert started with the Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman’s composition, a Varnam in HamsavinodiniDasarathe in Kokilapriya was lovely, so were the kalpana swaras.

A beautiful Surati aalapana by Viji was followed by Muthuswamy Deekshitaar’s Sri Venkata Girisham. Niraval in the Charanam was embellished beautifully by Trichy Sankaran. Kalpana Swaras were brilliant!

Two quick compositions Marugelara and Sivakaama Sundari followed, before the main raga for the evening, Kambhoji was taken up by GJR. He played some phrases with really complex gamakas, showing his virtuosity, while maintaining the melody that the Lalgudi Bani is known for! One of the Lalgudi Pancharathnams, Mahitha Pravruddha was the song. I saw a lot of guesses having gone wrong, with people around me trying to predict the song. We have to admire the duo’s quest to present rare krithis. Kalpana swaras and of course, the muktayi were quite interesting!

Shanmukhapriya was outstanding. So soulful and mellifluous that there was not even a second where we felt bored off the long aalapana. They did Graha Bhedam to KaanadaNaata and Dhenuka (thanks to Viji for clearing my doubt about how Kaanada was achieved from Shanmukhpriya through Graha Bhedam – by avoiding Madhyamam). GJR announced the Pallavi was sung by Alathur Brothers in Academy in 1964 and Trichy Sankaran Sir improvised on it. Pallavi, in Jhampa Talam in Khanda gathi was in Tamil, so I couldn’t comprehend the sahityam it inspite of Viji singing. As usual, it was a complex laya pattern, a trademark of the Lalgudis, which keeps students like me interested in following it very closely. Ragamalika swaras were in HuseniNalinakanthiHamir KalyaniKarnaRanjaniRasikapriya and Viji was simply outstanding in this segment!! Trichy Sankaran Sir was brilliant all throughout, and it was indeed a treat watching him.

The concert ended with Chandrasekhara in SindhuBhairavi and Lalgudi’s Thillana in Tilang.

2.5 hours of pure melody, both Violins singing in unison, Trichy Sankaran Sir showing his class and BSP handling Khanjira as carefully as handling a flower – it indeed was a musical ecstasy!!

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 22, 2017

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented a wonderful concert at the Madras Music Academy, with Arjun Kumar on Mridangam and Udupi Sridhar on Ghatam.

  1. Chalamela – Nattakurinji (Varnam)
  2. Gowri Manohara – GowriManohari
  3. Appa! Rama Bhakti – Pantuvarali
  4. Kamakshi – Bhairavi
  5. Shankaram Abhirami Manoharam – KamalaManohari
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kapi
  7. Muralidhara Gopala – Maand
  8. Kavadi Chindu – Behag
  9. Kamakshi – Madhyamavathi

The concert started with Chalamela in Nattakurinji in one speed. Brief outline of GowriManohari and Papanasam Sivan’s composition Gowri Manohara followed. The swaras were scintillating and it was just a small intro to what was in store for the next 135 minutes!

Pantuvarali aalapana was soul stirring. Appa! Rama Bhakti entho goppara.., the composition of Saint Thyagaraja was presented with great poise to aptly bring out the meaning of the sahityam. Arjun and Sridhar played nice exchanges in the swaras for a variety of patterns that Jayanthi played.

One of the all-time favorite ragas of Carnatic musicians and rasikas, is Bhairavi. The aalapana was so meditative and it was as if Goddess Saraswathi was doing a Tapas with her instrument. Syama Sastri’s masterpiece Kamakshi was so soulful that the Goddess would have certainly come to the Music Academy to enjoy the rest of the proceedings. Arjun Kumar did a great job in enhancing the beauty of the song! So when Kamakshi is in the hall, she had to be served a nice treat before safely sending her off, right! Shankaram Abhirami Manoharam, a composition of Muthuswamy Deekshitar, served as the starter for her.

Kapi is one of the ragas that sound so pleasing to the listeners. A sense of great devotion was expressed all the way in Jayanthi’s expansion of the amazing ragam, while showing her virtuosity and versatility on the complex instrument the Saraswathi Veena is! Tanam should be heard only on the Saraswathi Veena, and more so, by Jayanthi. Some of her glides were mesmerizing and appeared so effortless that only she can make it look so easy! She also presented Tanam in Madhukauns, a chaste Carnatic ragam Begada and haunting Kanthamani! Pallavi was in Adi Talam, that was played in different patterns before moving on to the Ragamalika swaras featuring the three ragas in the same order before ending it with a grand muktayi in Kapi. Arjun and Sridhar played brilliant Tani Avarthanam that made the RTP, a complete package!

Muralidhara Gopala was beautiful. A lovely aalapana of Behag brought the typical folk flavour that everyone seemed to have enjoyed. It was the Ganesh-Kumaresh composition that she played and popularized on many platforms.

Goddess Kamakshi was sent off safely with yet another Syama Sastri’s composition Kamakshi Lokasakshi in Madhyamavathi and the concert ended 4 minutes ahead of time!

I have been attending a few concerts this season, the RTP segment was just being Naam ke vaste by quickly finishing it in 20 minutes or so. However, Jayanthi always gives the RTP.. the time it deserves and it enthralled audience for almost an hour including Tani Avarthanam! There was at least one song from each of the Carnatic Music Trinity and there was not even an iota of hurriedness in the entire 2.5 hours of presenting the Saraswathi Veena! The audience gave her a long round of applause with standing ovation at the end of the concert, something that remains etched in memory for a long long time!!

Blessed are the audience who could witness it live! Jayanthi surely keeps inspiring the students of music – the number of students who sat on either sides of the stage for an instrumental music concert in Chennai, showed the amazing inspiration she has been for all the students (including me too!) over the years!!

Sarve janaah sukhino bhavanthu..