Kumaresh & Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – Times SwarSangam – March 12, 2017

A packed hall of the beautiful Chowdaiah Memorial Hall witnessed a great concert with new compositions, lovely experiments and innovative climaxes! Sri Kumaresh (K) and Smt Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh (JK) presented a fabulous “Strings Attached” concert with Sri Patri Satish Kumar on Mridangam and Sri Trichy Krishnaswamy on Ghatam.

  1. Kalyani
  2. Kaanada
  3. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Shanmukhapriya & Nattakurinji

As I parked my car at the auditorium, a soulful Kalyani aalapana by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman had just started on my audio system. In a hope of the ragam getting continued inside the auditorium, I turned it off and got off the car. Guess what! The first ragam of this concert was a delightful Kalyani. What a sheer coincidence it indeed was!! Both K and JK presented a very soothing aalapana! Lovely composition took off and I was wondering what it was as I never seemed to have heard it before. Thankfully for the benefit of people like me, K announced it was a “Strings Attached” special composition! The composition sounded as beautiful as Goddess Saraswathi! Kalpana swaras in a variety of combinations enthused the audience a lot.

Kaanada. Well, if God grants me a wish now, I would probably ask him what is the connection between me and this amazing raga! It just soothes me so much that I can never put in proper words. Yet another “Strings Attached” special composition in this ragam made by day! I am in love with this composition in Khanda Chaapu, the start of which sounded a bit closer to Sukhi Evaro in the same ragam. The composition ended with delightful kalpana swaras with some amazing follow-up by Satish Kumar and Krishna, to elevate the performance!

As we started to hear a soul stirring Shanmukhapriya, many including me thought it was RTP in that ragam. After the ragam was explored by both for very good amount of time, there came a twist. Nattakurinji took off from the hands of JK. I have heard it from her many times and I can easily claim, she owns the ragam. So this turned out to be a dwi-raga RTP and I may call it “Mysterious Duality” from here on (with permission)! Free flowing and fabulous Tanam by K and JK in both ragas had everyone on the edge of their seats. A beautiful pallavi was presented in both ragams mysteriously transitioning from one to the other and when the audience were expecting kalpana swaras, the stage was left for the percussion maestros. As they finished the typical initial avarthanam that had many wow moments, it was the time for kalpana swaras alternating between Nattakurinji by K and Shanmukhapriya by JK. I think the idea was to follow the same pattern an otherwise Tani Avarthanam would have concluded with. This experiment was interesting and the mukthayi was left for Satish Kumar and Krishna again to conclude their Tani and the RTP.

Standing ovation at the end of this RTP said it all! A wonderful concert with some refreshing ideas and new compositions was indeed a memorable treat on a Sunday morning!!

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – Music Academy – December 26, 2016

This was perhaps the most awaited concert of the December season 2016 for me! Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh’s performance in the Music Academy is one of the most remarkable concerts and it deservedly received a standing ovation by everyone at the end of it!

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh performed with Sri R Sankaranarayanan on Mridangam and Sri Trichy Krishnaswamy on Ghatam.

  1. Karunimpa – Sahana (Varnam)
  2. Ekambresa Naayike – Suddha Saveri
  3. Sree Narada – Kaanada
  4. Ninnu vinaga mari dikkevarunnaru – PoorviKalyani
  5. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Charukesi
  6. Akhilandeswari – Dwijavanthi
  7. Radha Sametha Krishna – Yamuna Kalyani
  8. Thillana – Kapi

It all started with a brief aalapana in Sahana followed by my favorite Varnam Karunimpa Ide, by Thiruvotriyur Thiyagaiyer, in a brisk pace. Muttuswami Deekshitar’s composition Ekambresa Naayike in (Karnataka) Suddha Saveri, that ended with a wonderful round of kalpana swaras, set the tone for what turned out to be a memorable evening.

Kaanada will be beautiful always. It’s beauty gets doubled when Dr. Jayanthi plays it! In the past, I have had some phrases of Kaanada haunting me (say, KaanadaMukhi [word borrowed from a very special person of my life] similar to ChandraMukhi) for many days and this particular aalapana was even special! Saint Thyagaraja’s immortal composition, Sree Narada was the composition to follow, that ended with Jayanthi-isque Kalpana swaras, if I may call it!

PoorviKalyani is an amazing ragam that is known to induce pleasant feeling. This aalapana from Dr. Jayanthi would have taken everyone in the auditorium to an eternal tranquility! Such a meditative feeling, and one would feel it should go on and on. Syama Sastri’s composition Ninnu vinaga mari dikkevarunnaru was presented with so much poise that there were goosebumps with aahs, oohs heard all over in the auditorium! Kalpana swaras showed why she is the master of both ragam and laya! Very well played by Sankaranarayanan and Krishna complementing her elegance and enhancing the beauty of the presentation.

Charukesi. Well, what should I write about it? Should I have counted the number of moist eyes in the hall? Or, should I talk about how people were stuck to their seats till the end, perhaps untypical of Chennai rasikas in an instrumental concert?

Charukesi was played to exhibit a deep sense of poignance, and every phrase of it around Dhaivatham and Nishadham would have touched all hearts there. I had actually wept!! Bringing the flavour of a ragam is not an easy job and can only be done with such ease by extremely gifted musicians like her. Blessed are a few of us who could witness it live in Ragam and Tanam! If Goddess Saraswathi had played Charukesi Tanam, she would have perhaps played it that way. Or, she may have herself played in the form of Dr. Jayanthi on that evening! Ragamalika Tanam in another more sorrowful ragam SubhaPantuvarali, pleasing Aarabhi and graceful Shuddh Sarang added a great dimension to the RTP. Pallavi, which was played seamlessly in all 4 ragams, was in Adi Talam. She exhibited the same in multiple rhythmic patterns. Fabulous Tani Avarthanam made this RTP, one to be cherished for the lifetime!!

Muttuswami Deekshitar’s Akhilandeswari in Dwijavanthi and Radha Sametha Krishna in Yamuna Kalyani (Misra Yaman) by G N Balasubramanian followed before the all-time favourite Kapi took off! A short aalapana followed by Kumaresh’s composition, a Thillana in it, marked the end of a very grand concert.

Such a wonderful concert, with extreme planning – right from the choice of ragams to the choice of compositions. If you noticed, she took up at least one composition by each of the Carnatic Music trinity and focused more on qualitative presentation than on the quantity in terms of number of compositions!

One feels concerts like these should go on and on. Alas, they say, great things are available only in rarity and I am blessed to have witnessed one such thing, LIVE!

I have always mentioned that Dr. Jayanthi is divinity personified and one can only second it after listening to her performance at the Music Academy, Chennai!

Om Saraswathyay Namaha!! _/\_

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – SPIC MACAY – 3 December, 2016

It is indeed a refreshing experience to listen to Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh, more so, because I haven’t heard her since August 2016! A lecture concert, organized by SPIC MACAY Bengaluru, at Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra (GKVK) campus, made the audience (students and others alike) spellbound.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented this concert with Sri K U Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam and Sri Pramath Kiran on Morsing/Tabla.

  1. Nenarunchara Naapaini – Simhavahini
  2. Ragam Tanam Krithi – Saraswathi Namostuthe – Saraswathi
  3. Tani Avarthanam
  4. Revathi -> Saramathi -> Hindolam -> Behag – Thillana (?) – Behag

The lecture concert started with a brief soulful aalapana in Simhavahini. I have heard the composition Nenarunchara a couple of times before, and only from her, and every time I hear, it makes me feel wonderful. A short round of kalpana swaras made it a grand start to the programme.

You must attend Dr. Jayanthi’s lecture demonstrations to hear her talk about the Veena, it’s evolution in terms of shape, structure, size, it’s similarity to the human body and many other interesting things. She did a brief introduction to the National Instrument of India followed by a tribute to the instrument, the Saraswathi Veena, in ragam Saraswathi. She started with a beautiful raga aalapana and transitioned into her trademark Tanam. At one place, she did not even use her right hand for about 20 seconds or so, and everyone was spellbound to see that magic how the vibrations could last that long! She then rendered the very famous composition in SaraswathiSaraswathi Namostuthe which ended with some exquisite round of Kalpana swaras.

Dr. Jayanthi then asked Jayachandra Rao and Pramath Kiran to have a dialogue on percussion to demonstrate different ways the instruments can communicate with each other. It was indeed interesting.

As is the case with any SPIC MACAY concert, a question and answer session followed, in which there were requests for Saramati, Revathi and Hindolam ragas. She did a brief aalapana, starting with Revathi and seamlessly transitioning into Saramati and Hindolam, before finally reaching Behag. The programme ended with a delightful composition in Behag, which she plays very regularly in concerts.

A great concert indeed, albeit short – I felt the Q&A section was a bit too long, else, we would have probably heard one more composition from her.

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!

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan – June 26, 2016

Veena is one of the most beautiful instruments, associated with several divine personalities in Hindu mythology. It is also one of the oldest and perhaps the grandest of all instruments. Sri R. Visweswaran, senior Veena Maestro conducted this special “Workshop on Veena” at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan for 2 days, concluding with Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh’s short Veena recital, for a little over 75 minutes.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh was accompanied by H S Sudhindra on Mridangam and Phanindra on Ghatam.

  1. Parvathi Kumara – Nattakurinji
  2. Palinthuvo – Kanthamani
  3. Prakkala Nilabadi – Kharaharapriya
  4. Vagaladi – Behag (Javali)
  5. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

Dr. Jayanthi started with a brief aalapana of Nattakurinji followed by very delightful rendition of Parvathi Kumara with some magical swaras to end it. A very soulful Kanthamani aalapana followed, which will be remembered forever. Such was the beautiful demonstration of the rare ragam by her. I heard it for the first time and I am mind blown! Saint Thyagaraja’s Palinthuvo followed as it ended with some amazing swara patterns. Suddha Nishadham prayogam by her in multiple patterns, is still ringing in my ears, after 2 days!!

If I have to write about Kharaharapriya and Dr. Jayanthi’s rendition of it, perhaps I have to write a separate blog altogether, dedicated just to it. A very detailed aalapana of the ragam had a few magical moments in it. At one instance, she actually went on playing without even using her right hand (plucking Meetu). It requires sheer brilliance to be able to sustain the notes for so long time on Veena, unlike Violin. Tanam is yet another fabulous thing that flows from her hands as easily as water falls. What a delicacy! How pristine!! She played different patterns of Tanam, seamlessly moving to Varali, Bahudari and Shuddh Sarang (thanks to her, for she told me the names) and coming back to Kharaharapriya. Prakkala Nilabadi happended to be the main piece and the sangathis of it are still standing beside me (prakkala nilabadi) and coming along with me. Short, yet brilliant Tani Avarthanam by Sudhindra and Phanindra made the main piece, a very complete one.

Brief Behag aalapana followed by a rare Javali was a treat to the ears. Syama Sastri’s “Kamakshi”, in the traditional Madhyamavathi ended the concert and the Workshop on Veena.

It was very befitting that Dr. Jayanthi was requested to present the ending concert of the 2-day conference.

Strings Attached – Sri Vani Vidya Kendra – April 12, 2016

Been very long since I penned down my report of any concert as I haven’t been attending many concerts but I can’t afford to miss Sree Rama Navami concerts in Bengaluru!

Strings Attached concert by Sri Kumaresh (Violin) and Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh (Veena) at Sri Vani Vidya Kendra, Basaveshwaranagar, as part of Sree Rama Navami celebrations was an amazing one. I enjoyed this thoroughly even though I didn’t know 75% of the compositions that were presented! They were accompanied by Vid. Shankaranarayanan on Mridangam and Vid Giridhar Udupa on Ghatam.

  1. Kalyani Adi Tala varnam (Vanajakshi)
  2. Gowla
  3. Kanada
  4. Hindolam (?)
  5. Nattakurinji RTP
  6. Sindhu Bhairavi
  7. Harivarasanam (Bhajan)
  8. Madhyamavathi

The concert started with the grand Kalyani varnam, which was played in only one speed as they started at a very higher speed. A brief introduction of Gowla ragam followed by a composition that I don’t know set the tone for the rest of the concert. Scintillating swara prasthara. Enough said!

Kanada aalapana was very elaborate on both Violin and Veena and their sheer brilliance on swaras was quite evident in the end. Hindolam composition was a filler between the sub-main and main pieces of concert. Nattakurinji Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi was very grand with long aalapana and great Tanam (especially from Dr. Jayanthi, equally responded well by Vid. Kumaresh) with a very attractive pallavi in Adi Talam. Swara prasthara was mesmerizing and the Tani Avarthanam was good, albeit a bit louder.

Some chief guest presided over the gathering for the evening, which was quite looonnng. He actually said Veena is the queen of instruments and Violin, the King. That is fine, but many didn’t appreciate when he said something on the lines that instrumental music is next to vocal music. Everyone was waiting for him to finish as they finished concert with last few short pieces. Sindhu Bhairavi is the trademark of Dr. Jayanthi, the Bhajan that followed was very soothing to the ears and the mandatory Mangalam came in the form of Madhyamavathi.

Overall, an amazing concert indeed! One of those very few concerts that I happened to enjoy a lot, despite not knowing what compositions are being played. I was very happy though, that I could identify all ragas and I hope I was correct! 😉

PS: Who said instrumental music is next to Vocal? In my view, it’s the most divine form of music and I am sure many will agree with me.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh & Dr. Mysore Manjunath – Nadasurabhi – November 5, 2015

Glad I attended a perfect Jugalbandi (Veena-Violin) duet, after 5 days of running around in Bengaluru and Gurgaon/Delhi – as it was very refreshing. The last time I attended the Jugalbandi performance by Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh and Dr. Mysore Manjunath was in Feb 2015, somehow I was not so satisfied then – but, I felt this was much better than that. It’s always so nice to see both of them respecting each other on stage and one asking the other to start a new piece.

Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh (Veena) and Dr. Mysore Manjunath (Violin) were accompanied by K U Jayachandra Rao on Mridangam and Guruprasanna on Khanjira.

  1. Nattakurinji varnam – Chalamela
  2. Vaatapi Ganapatim – Hamsadhwani
  3. Appa Rama Bhakti – Pantuvarali
  4. Paahimam Sree Raja Rajeswari – Janaranjani
  5. Bhairavi Swarajathi – Kamakshi
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Bahudari
    Pallavi – Raama Raghukula Soma Tanayuni Brova Bharama Dasaratha tanaya
  7. Sri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana – Bhajan
  8. Venkatachala Nilayam – Sindhu Bhairavi
  9. Mangalam – Madhyamavathi

The concert started with a traditional varnam (Chalamela) in Nattakurinji followed by the evergreen favorite composition of Muttuswamy Dikshithar, Vaatapi Ganapatim Bhaje in Hamsadhwani that started with a short aalapana by both. The composition was clean with the exquisite sangathis from Dr. Jayanthi which were played twice by both. Kalpana swaras followed in multiple speeds and it was great to listen to them. This brought both of them into a nice rhythm for a great 2.5 hours ahead!

Pantuvarali aalapana was very detailed on both melodic instruments and I am just tempted to say it felt like the main composition for the evening. Variety of improvisations in the ragam, especially by Dr. Jayanthi were fabulous and soul stirring. The krithi was Thyagaraja’s “Appa Rama Bhakti” for everyone’s delight that ended with long kalpana swaras as well. Very well and serenely presented by both, although Dr. Manjunath tried to get into “galata” mode once or twice and thankfully came back. This was followed by Paahimam Sree Raja Rajeswari in Janaranjani ragam. I guess, I heard it for the first time and I liked it so much. In fact, I read somewhere that it was this composition as I am neither aware of this composition nor the ragam. Crisp rendition of the krithi without any aalapana and kalpana swaras.

Bhairavi aalapana was lovely that was followed by the famous Swarajathi of Syama Sastri – Kamakshi. This was second consecutive time I heard that composition from Dr. Jayanthi’s Veena (of course this time on Violin too) but what a composition it is!! Equally well presented indeed.

Ragam Tanam Pallavi – the item that I wait for in Dr. Jayanthi’s concerts, started a tad relatively late (just about 1 hour before scheduled end of concert). The aalapana in Bahudari was so soulful that my vocabulary will not be good enough to comment on. A very detailed aalapana indeed, by both melodic instruments, with wonderful exchanges to end it. Someone said something like this a while back – “Tanam has to be heard on Veena and more so on Dr. Jayanthi’s veena”. True indeed!! What a divine Tanam it was, especially on Veena!!! Don’t think I am being biased to her here, but I think I can just spend one complete life just listening to Dr. Jayanthi’s Tanam. It ended with a couple of nice exchanges by both. The Dr. Manjunath announced the ragam name and also the fact that “Jayanthi will sing pallavi”. A pleasant surprise to the listeners, as we generally don’t get to see the other shade of her, a gifted singer. The pallavi was set to Aadi talam and each of them played a few improvisations to it, followed by very few swaras (running out of time already) before moving to swara raga maalika section. I was a little disappointed that it was indeed relatively short in terms of number – just one each by both. I couldn’t figure out the ragam chosen by Dr. Manjunath but it was “Lalgudi stamped” Sahana from Dr. Jayanthi. Tani Avarthanam by K U Jayachandra Rao and Guruprasanna was scintillating. I have been watching them for many years now and they are an amazing combination. Special mention of appreciation was done by Dr. Manjunath at the end of the piece.

The concert ended with a delightful Bhajan Sri Ramachandra Krupalu Bhajamana, followed by the Purandara Dasa’s composition in one of my favorite ragas, Sindhu Bhairavi. An excellent concert ended with a Mangalam in Madhyamavathi.

Overall, a marvelous concert with great respect and coordination among all of them and it was completely worth skipping a few hours of work to attend it!!