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!! _/\_

G Ravikiran – Music Academy – December 26, 2016

G Ravikiran is from Bengaluru, but I heard him for the first time. At the Music Academy, he gave a nice concert with H M Smitha on Violin, N C Bharadwaj on Mridangam and Thirunakkara Rethish on Morsing.

  1. Karuna Samudra Rama – Devagandhari
  2. Tulasi Jaga janani – Saveri
  3. Yemani veginthune – Huseni
  4. Sri Mangalambike – Kalyani
  5. Chalamelara Saketharama – MargaHindolam
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Surati
  7. Jagadeesa Panchakshara – Naadanaamakriya

Very nice Saveri aalapana and nice composition in Tulasi Jagajjanani that was very pleasing. Devagandhari and Huseni are interesting choices I felt!

Very long Kalyani aalapana preceding the main composition Sri Mangalambike was delightful, slow and detailed, and it sounded similar to TMK’s style. Smitha did a wonderful job and knowing her potential, I felt she could have scaled even higher. Bharadwaj was excellent on Mridangam but Rethish on Morsing could have been much better.

Surati RTP is lovely with Ragamalika swaras in Kedaram and Poorvikalyani. Top class stuff!! The concert ended with a krithi in Naadanaamakriya, a ragam that always pleases listeners!

Rudrapatnam Brothers – Music Academy – December 24, 2016

This was my first concert of Margazhi 2016, by the veterans, Rudrapatnam Brothers, at the prestigious Madras Music Academy.

The stage was full of wonderful musicians, Rudrapatnam Brothers, Sri R N Thyagarajan and Sri R N Tharanathan, with Sri Nagai Muralidharan on Violin, Sri Mannargudi Easwaran on Mridangam and Sri Guruprasanna on Khanjira.

  • Sree Kumara – Athana – Swati Tirunal
  • Mamava Pattabhirama – Manirangu – Muttuswamy Deekshitaar
  • Nandagopala Sri Nanda Ganalola – Abheri
  • Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kalyani
  • Shiva Shiva Shiva Bho Mahadeva Shambho – Naadanamakriya – Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar
  • Thillana – Janjhooti – Veena Seshanna

I missed a few compositions as I arrived about 15 minutes late. Athana aalapana from the elder brother was reverberating in the wonderful auditorium as I was entering. Response from Nagai Muralidharan was equally good. Maharaja Swati Tirunal’s composition Sree Kumara followed, which ended with lovely kalpana swaras.

Manirangu is a very rare ragam and is not often heard in concerts, that too as the “main” piece. It was so pleasing to hear an elaborate exploration of ragam by the younger brother, and equally well responded by Nagai Muralidharan on Violin. Deekshitaar’s Mamava Pattabhirama followed, with amazing Niraval on Sampoorna kama Raghurama Kalyanarama and the kalpana swaras to finish it off were exquisite! Mannargudi Easwaran (mama) showed his class in Tani Avarthanam (Misra Chaapu) and with Guruprasanna playing Khanjira, it formed a formidable partnership! One of the most fascinating Tani Avarthanams that I ever heard!

Nandagopala Sri Nanda Ganalola in Abheri is a filler before what followed, an amazing Ragam Tanam Pallavi, in one of the all-time favorite ragams, Kalyani! Both the Voices along with the Violin portrayed multiple dimensions of the grand Kalyani both in Ragam and Tanam. Pallavi in Triputa Talam was Saarade Karunaa Nidhe, Sakala Navaamba Sadaa Janani. It was sung in different nadais before moving onto the brief Ragamalika section to end the RTP.

The concert ended with two interesting pieces which I never heard, followed by a brief aalapana in Madhyamavathi.

A great concert by the veteran brothers, with excellent team – it indeed was a nice start to my attendance in Margazhi season!