Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Viji – Sree Ramaseva Mandali – April 9, 2018

My first concert of the season at the prestigious Sree Ramaseva Mandali, at Fort High School Grounds happened to be a stupendous concert by the Lalgudi Siblings, GJR Krishnan and Viji, with Trichy Harikumar on Mridangam and Giridhar Udupa on Ghatam.

  1. Varnam – MohanaKalyani
  2. Rama Bhakti Samrajya – SuddhaBangala
  3. Ramachandram Bhavayami – Vasantha
  4. Rave Himagiri Kumari (Swarajathi) – Todi
  5. Hechcharikaga Raa Raa – Yadukula Kambhoji
  6. Sri Venkatesa – PhalaManjari
  7. Eduta Nilichithi – Sankarabharanam
  8. Sobhillu Saptaswara – Jaganmohini
  9. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Dharmavathi
  10. Baaro Krishnayya – RagaMalika
  11. Thillana – Sindhu Bhairavi
  12. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourashtram

The concert started with MohanaKalyani varnam by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. It sounded as pleasing as the famous Thillana the Maestro composed in the same ragam! It went on with some incredible music marred by the sound system that frustrated the artistes and audience alike! Swaras in SuddhaBangala were lovely. Ramachandram Bhavayami was beautiful with some exquisite swaras.

Viji played an amazing and elaborate Todi ragam and the song that followed, was a pleasant surprise for the audience. The Syama Sastri’s masterpiece Swarajathi was soul stirring. Trichy Harikumar played appropriately with gentle touch that enhanced the beauty of the presentation. A quick Hechcharikaga raa raa followed before a brief PhalaManjari outline by GJR. Again a rarely heard song, Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s composition, Sri Venkatesa was presented which ended with mellifluous kalpana swaras.

GJR’s Sankarabharanam made my day! Various special phrases that he played, with the swift bowing was a treat to the audience. But for the disturbance caused by the spoiler man of the match, the sound engineer, this would have remained one of the memorable explorations of the majestic ragam on the Violin! Trichy Harikumar played extremely well complementing the grand composition Eduta Nilichiti. We couldn’t hear a complete Tani from Udupa as he was visibly frustrated by the sound system already. However, Harikumar continued his brilliance all through the concert.

A brisk Sobhillu Saptaswara was a filler between the main composition and the much awaited Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi. Dharmavathi was presented extremely well by the siblings and GJR played a superb Tanam with some remarkable bowing. Lalgudis are known for their Pallavis in complex patterns and this was no different. Pallavi Sada Ramachandram Bhajeham, Janaka Sudha Ramana was in Khanda Triputa Talam with the first part (Poorvangam) in Trisram and latter half (Uttarangam) in Chaturasram and was presented in different patterns. Phewww… how difficult do they make the lives of students like me in understanding the Pallavi! Ragamalika swaras in SaveriReetigowlaBinduMaliniHuseni and Behag blossomed into a garland of flowers that beautified the Dharmavathi (Devi)!

My favorite Thillana, Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman’s composition in Sindhu Bhairavi ended what was a sublime concert.

Sree Ramaseva Mandali has been organizing the festival for 8 decades now – a commendable thing in it’s own right but after seeing many concerts (especially instrumental) disturbed in the past, I appeal to the organizers to get a better sound system. The life of an instrumental concert is in the sound and a little more effort makes their efforts transform into the experience in a much better way.

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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!!

Lalgudi Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – M A Narasimhachar Music Foundation – 18 November, 2016

Lalgudi siblings, Sri Krishnan and Smt. Vijayalakshmi, presented a delightful Violin duet concert, with Sri K U Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam and Sri Phanindra Bhaskara on Ghatam.

  1. <Missed a few compositions, as I arrived late>
  2. Seethapathe – Khamas
  3. Mayamma yanine – Ahiri
  4. Manasu karugademi – Hamsadhwani
  5. Kaligiyunte – Keeravani
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kosalam
  7. <Couldn’t identify composition> – Kapi?
  8. Thillana – Pahaadi
  9. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourashtram

I had unfortunately missed initial 30 minutes or more of this beautiful concert and while I was driving to this concert, I was hoping to listen to Khamas. Bang on! The first composition that I heard in the evening was in Khamas! A short and beautiful aalapana followed by Saint Thyagaraja’s Seethapathe. A very delightful Niraval towards the end, from both, was a treat for the ears!

Syama Sastry’s Mayamma in Ahiri was full of bhavam and I wouldn’t have been surprised if any one in the audience had actually wept listening to it! Oh, that bowing!! It probably requires a tapas of an entire life to be able to do that kind of controlled bowing!

Brief Hamsadhwani followed by Patnam Subramanya Iyer’s Manasu Karugademi pumped the energy levels of everyone, with a wonderful rounds of fast paced Kalpana swaras.

Keeravani. What should I write about this?! Very detailed, soulful aalapana by both the siblings. It was like being in a different world altogether, and wished it could go on forever!! I would have heard the composition Kaligiyunte by the great Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir, which is in my collection, many times. I felt he was playing it in their form, on the stage this evening! Kalpana Swaras are a special feature of Lalgudi Bani and what a remarkable way to end the main composition it was! Soft, elegant and melodious! I have often confessed that KUJ is my favorite current generation Mridangam artiste and he was fabulous in this concert. Very gentle, as soft as the sound from Lalgudis’ Violin! Lovely Tani Avarthanam by him and Phanindra made the main piece, grand!

Krishnan announced the concert is going to end exactly at 9 and hence directly jumping into Ragam Tanam Pallavi. Kosalam (71st Melakarta ragam) this time. I have never heard the ragam on stage and this was fabulous. Pallavi Kamalavadani Karunakari KamaladalaNayani, was in Khanda Triputa Talam. I liked the pallavi very much, more so, because I understood it! Ragamalika swaras in Sahana, Ananda Bhairavi (well, I wanted to request Ananda Bhairavi if I had reached early – but it was checked too in some way!), Varali, Janaranjani, ? (couldn’t notice) and Hamir Kalyani ended, what was a lovely RTP!

The concert ended with Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir’s Thillana in ragam Pahaadi, followed by traditional Mangalam.

Overall, a great concert with sound quality way better than many places, and my fond memories with this Our School Auditorium continue!!