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!!

T M Krishna, H K Venkatram & Ashwin Anand – Bhoomija – 12 November, 2016

This is a special collaboration by Sri T M Krishna (Vocal), Guru Sri H K Venkatram (Violin) and Sri Ashwin Anand (Veena). TMK announced that Veena – Venu – Violin concerts are very popular since being conceptualised by Lalgudi Jayaraman – N Ramani – R Venkataraman many decades back and even today. However, he said, instrumental concerts and vocal concerts have always been in different paths and have seldom converged as a collaboration (not considering the regular concerts with ‘so-called’ accompanying instrument or pakka vadyam) and this Veena – Vocal – Violin concert is one of those attempts to see how it works!

TMK – HKV Sir – AA performed with Sri Arun Prakash (Mridangam) and Sri N Guruprasad (Ghatam). One of the special things I noticed in this concert is, TMK announced almost every composition that was being presented, and with a bit of background, as applicable.

  1. Mallari – GambhiraNaata
  2. Sri Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa – Todi (preceded by Ragamalika in free style)
  3. Ragam Tanam Varnam – Navaragamalika
  4. Thillana – MohanaKalyani
  5. Nottuswaram (Ramachandram)

The concert started with a brief Tanam in GambhiraNaata and the Mallari that followed in Misra Jathi Jhampa Talam, was very nice and refreshing to listen. It started in ultra-slow motion and gradually transitioned into different nadais. After a brief round of swaras, the Tani Avarthanam followed, which marked a great start to the concert!

The next composition preceded with a Ragamalika aalapana in free style, transitioning from one ragam to the other, seamlessly, alternating their turns, in the order – AA, TMK, HKV Sir. Shanmukhapriya, Varali, Asaveri, Mukhari, Salaga Bhairavi, Manirangu, Surati, Desh, Kapi, Dwijavanthi and finally a brief Todi aalapana and slokam in it, by TMK. The krithi Sree Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa was presented together by AA and HKV Sir, with TMK joining in the end, for a delightful Niraval at Shanka Chakra Gadha. Arun Prakash was outstanding with his Mridangam – felt as if a fourth melody track was running!!

Yet another Ragamalika – now in reverse order. Kedaram, Sankarabharanam and Kalyani (ragam) by HKV Sir, Begada (ragam), Kambhoji (Tanam) by TMK and YadukulaKambhoji, Bilahari, Mohanam and Sree (Tanam) by AA. By now, the composition was already guessed! One of my favorite varnams, just in one speed followed. A special round of swaras in the end – in the reverse order, from Sree to Kedaram was taken up by each, alternating among themselves. Very interesting!! A mini, soft Tani Avarthanam made it even special!! Both Arun Prakash and Guruprasad were amazing!

Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir’s MohanaKalyani Thillana followed. This was a tad slower than what I heard a thousand (or more) times from Lalgudis. Nonetheless, as special, as always!

TMK announced how Sri Muttuswami Deekshitaar was inspired (or, [perhaps] tickled) by the Scottish and Irish light music bands in the British India to compose about 38 Nottuswarams. AA and HKV Sir presented the composition and TMK joined again to repeat it along with sahityam.

Overall, it was a very nice concert indeed, with a couple of ragamalika sections. I would have been happier if there was another composition in place of the long ragamalika as a prelude to the second composition.

Thanks to Bhoomija trust for bringing these kind of concerts to reality. Looking forward to many more of these concerts!!

DisclaimerPlease excuse me if I wrote anything incorrectly. I am a mere mortal and my knowledge in music is very limited to understand and explain things in greater detail!

Saketharaman – Unnati – August 10, 2016

Finally I could make it to an Unnati concert! The previous day I missed Lalgudi siblings’ concert because of some priority tasks at office but I made sure I attended most part of Saketharaman concert, and it was almost 1 hour into the concert by the time I could arrive there.

Saketharaman was accompanied by H N Bhaskar on Violin, Mannargudi Easwaran on Mridangam and Sunaad Anoor on Khanjira.

  1. Venugana Ramana – Todi
  2. Enna rakshiso – Subha Pantuvarali
  3. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Varamu & Saveri
  4. Thalattu padum – Neelambari
  5. Daya Maado Ranga – Madhukauns
  6. Thillana – Yamuna Kalyani
  7. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourashtram

As I was entering the hall, I heard a bit of Mohana Kalyani aalapana and as soon as I settled, Saketh settled back too, to Todi, after doing a brief Graha Bhedam. I was very glad that I didn’t miss the main composition of the evening, although, I think, I missed about 4-5 songs before. Fabulous rendition of Todi indeed. Very well returned by Bhaskar too. Composition was awesome, with Niraval at “Karunya komala Shyamala…” and some patterns were very interesting in it. Kalpana swaras were in his trademark style, although I felt, the returns on Violin could have been better. Amazing Tani by Mannargudi, very energetic. Felt Sunaad was perhaps a tad bit nervous playing with such a great artiste on Mridangam, but did a good job too. I was amazed at how Saketh ended Muktayi with some fabulous swaras, picking up from percussionists’ Tani patterns. Shows his command on Laya!!

I don’t think I have ever heard Subha Pantuvarali on a concert stage till date and Saketh broke it in style! A very short aalapana followed by soulful rendition of the composition.

Ragam Tanam Pallavi – started with Varamu and then transitioned to Saveri. He switched back and forth in a very lovely manner, in both Ragam and Tanam, and each transition was a treat to the ears! Pallavi mentioned the names of the ragas for those who couldn’t identify earlier.. “Varamulosagi brovavayya Saveri raga priya Kaveri rangayya”. Again, he changed the ragas back and forth in each cycle, in kalpana swaras too. Ragamalika section had Ananda Bhairavi and Madhuvanthi swaras. It was a very nice dwi-raga RTP.

All my favorite ragas came one after the other till now and it continued with brief aalapanas of Sahana, Hamir Kalyani before settling into the composition in Neelambari (which I never heard before). Very soft indeed. Very very soft voice, and so were all the other musicians too!

The concert ended with yet another first timer for me in the form of Lalgudi Jayaraman’s thillana in Yaman Kalyani followed by 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!

Lalgudi Krishnan & Vijayalakshmi – Vishesha Fine Arts – July 2, 2016

Lalgudi has and will always have a special place in Carnatic Music, even after several generations. To me, with his unique style, Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir brought the life to Violin so it can sing, express and touch hearts. That style, popularly called the Lalgudi Bani, does the same through any instrument, may it be human body (Gaathra Veena), Saraswathi Veena or Violin.

Vishesha Fine Arts arranged a Violin duo concert by the Lalgudi siblings, Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi. In a jam-packed venue, they were accompanied by Bangalore V Praveen on Mridangam and Guruprasanna on Khanjira.

  1. ? – Sama
  2. ? – DeviManohari
  3. ? – Kannada
  4. Narayanaa – Suddha Dhanyasi
  5. Apparama Bhakti – Pantuvarali
  6. Ae naati nomu phalamu – Bhairavi
  7. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – BinduMalini
  8. Jagadodharana – Kapi
  9. Karpakame – Madhyamavathi
  10. Chinnanchiru Kiliye – Ragamalika
  11. Thillana – Mohanakalyani
  12. Pavamana Suthudu – Sourasthram

I had unfortunately reached about 30 minutes past scheduled time and by the time I was entering the packed hall, amazing swaras in Kannada are flowing from both Violins. So, missed first three compositions but noted the ragas from others in the hall. Narayanaa in Suddha Dhanyasi, a Purandaradasa’s composition was the first I heard this evening.

Soulful Pantuvarali has flown from Vijayalakshmi’s Violin. She did exhibit some wonderful patterns in raga aalapana before starting the all-time favorite Apparama Bhakti, a composition of Saint Thyagaraja. Kalpana Swaras, as is in case of Lalgudi style, included different patterns. Gentle playing even at moderately high speeds.

A heart-warming Bhairavi followed from Krishnan this time, he played it so gently that I was actually wondering how is the sound coming off the Violin. The bowing had silken touch. Perhaps Lalgudi Jayaraman Sir would have taught everyone in his school of music, to handle the Violin as carefully as you would handle an infant! A rare composition of Saint Thyagaraja followed, which also had a brief Niraval and ended with some pristine and mind-blowing swara patterns. Short and sweet Tani Avarthanam by Praveen and Guruprasanna added more flavor to the main piece.

As I heard BinduMalini, I thought they were playing the famous composition, Entha Muddo but it turned out to be a surprise choice for the Ragam Tanam Pallavi. A very pleasant, detailed aalapana and short Tanam by both was a treat to listen! The Pallavi was in Khanda jathi Jhampa Talam in Khanda gathi (oh well, it took me a while to understand the pattern). Different combinations of Pallavi followed and they did a Ragamalika in the end, alternating between both, in ragas Nalinakanthi, ReetiGowla, RasikaPriya and Hamsadhwani, with Krishnan summing all up in the end to finish a fabulous RTP.

Other small compositions followed and they ended the concert with the trademark Lalgudi Thillana in Mohanakalyani, followed by traditional Mangalam in Sourasthram.

I have been waiting to attend their concert for long time and it eventually materialized today!

Great people aided with Lalgudi Bani, that is rich in melody, pure in Bhava, innovative in laya, made a wonderful evening!

Amith Nadig – Vijaya College of Music – May 28, 2016

May marks the end of the famous Rama Navami concert series in Bengaluru, so I generally used to attend at least one concert this month. However, in this season I couldn’t attend any concert till yesterday and this concert by extremely talented Amith Nadig made sure I had attended a mandatory concert for the month of May.

Vijaya College of Music (VCM) organized an excellent concert by Amith Nadig, accompanied by Arjun Kumar on Mridangam, Guruprasanna on Khanjira and Arun Kumar on Morsing. This is a special concert because it’s organized for the benefit of the students of VCM.

  1. Varnam – Kedaragowla
  2. Sri Ganapathi – Athana
  3. Intha Ninne – Mukhari
  4. Ninnujeppa Karanamemi – Mandari
  5. Janani Ninnuvina – ReetiGowla
  6. Evari Maata Vinnavo – Kambhoji
  7. Thillana – SindhuBhairavi
  8. Pavamanasuthudu – Sourashtram

Concert started with a very nice Kedaragowla varnam in Adi Talam followed by a short, yet delightful rendition of Athana ragam and the composition was presented very well with Kalpana Swaras.

Mukhari aalapana was very soulful (perhaps the best I’ve heard on Flute). These days, there is an increasing tendency to get carried away with fancy things while playing but his aalapana was very pristine, full of energy, that was carried all through the concert. He showed extreme brilliance in Kalpana swaras with three percussionists. Oh, when we all felt a light piece follows, it was a gentle Mandari ragam followed by the famous composition Ninnujeppa Karanamemi, again with some nice kalpana swaras.

Janani Ninnuvina was (supposedly) a filler between two sub-main pieces and a main piece. Despite being short, he did complete justice for the composition in ReetiGowla, one of the most fascinating ragas.

By then it was already raining heavily for more than an hour and water slowly started reaching the hall, perhaps to listen to some nice music. It doesn’t seem to have disturbed him as he enjoyed playing a fabulous Kambhoji. While I was expecting an RTP, it happened to be the famous composition “Evari Maata Vinnavo” by Saint Thyagaraja. Again, clean presentation followed by mind blowing kalpana swaras. He exhibited his mastery over laya by demonstrating swaras in various patterns and the Tani Avarthanam added more color to the concert. Amazing Arjun Kumar, groovy Guruprasanna and awesome Arun Kumar proved to be a great combination.

Guru Sri H K Venkatram, the head of the institute, in his thanksgiving, praised the extremely talented Amith for his unbelievable control over laya and also said he wouldn’t have been surprised if he played Tani with his flute. As he rightly mentioned, it’s the humility of all these artistes that we all students should takeaway from the concert.

The concert ended with a marvelous Thillana in SindhuBhairavi, composed by Sri Lalgudi G Jayaraman, followed a traditional Mangalam.

Important thing to note here is, he played without Violin for 2 hours, carrying the energy and enthusiasm all the way!

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!!