H K Venkatram, Ravikiran & Ashwin Anand – Samarasa 2017 – November 12, 2017

Samarasa 2017 conducted by the PES University in Banashankari has some interesting concerts lined up and one of them I could catch is the Violin-Venu-Veena trio of H K Venkatram, Ravikiran and Ashwin Anand, with the legendary Guru Karaikudi Mani Sir on Mridangam and Giridhar Udupa on Ghatam.

  1. Sami Ninne – Sree Ragam (Varnam)
  2. Maha Ganapathim – Naata
  3. Janani Ninnuvina – Reetigowla
  4. Niravadhi Sukhada – Ravichandrika
  5. Gnanamosagarada – PoorviKalyani
  6. RTP – Brindavana Saranga
  7. Jagadodharana – Kapi

Brisk Sree Raga varnam Sami Ninne served as a starter for a beautiful concert that was quickly followed up with Muthuswamy Deekshitaar’s composition MahaGanapathim in Naata.

Ravikiran presented a nice Reetigowla before moving on to Subbaraaya Shastry’s masterpiece Janani Ninnuvina. Saint Thyagaraja’s masterpiece Niravadhi Sukhada was amazing, the kalpana swaras lit up the entire auditorium.

Ashwin played a soothing PoorviKalyani – we could guess the song that was coming next! Gnanamosagarada, yet another masterpiece of Saint Thyagaraja was presented with great poise, lifting the spirit of composition!!

Soulful BrindavanaSaranga ragam presented by HKV that left everyone in awe was the highlight of the concert, despite so many issues with the sound system (all through the concert). Tanam was presented by all three of them in turns. Ragam and Tanam together were so wonderful that it felt like being in Vrindavan! Pallavi AravindaPatra Nayana Brindavana lola Govinda is set to Adi Talam. Kalpana swaras included Ragamalika in KaanadaNalinaKanthiBehagVaraliKapi and ended with the grand AmruthaVarshini which HKV played till AtiTara Sthayi to leave the stage for the most awaited Tani Avarthanam in a grand way. It was a fabulous Tani Avarthanam by Guru Karaikudi Mani Sir and Giridhar Udupa. While the Maestro showed what differentiates him from the rest, Giridhar did a brilliant job of shadowing him with utmost respect, not just in Tani Avarthanam, but in the entire concert!

The concert ended with Jagadodharana in Kapi.

A great team of HKV, Ravikiran and Ashwin, accompanied by the stalwarts in their own fields, presented a memorable concert. Although the entire concert could have been elevated to higher levels if there had been a better sound system and engineer, the audience were definitely treated to the best in the paucity of time and resources!

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Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh – K K Murthy Memorial Music Festival – November 2, 2017

One of the most versatile exponents of the Saraswathi Veena, Dr. Jayanthi Kumaresh presented a delightful concert for the Academy of Music and K K Murthy Memorial Music Festival, organized in the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, with Anantha R Krishnan on Mridangam, Trichy Krishna on Ghatam and Pramath Kiran on Tabla/Morsing.

  1. Parvathi Kumaram – Nattakurinji
  2. AparadhamulaNorva – Rasali
  3. Anandamruthakarshini – AmruthaVarshini
  4. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Kharaharapriya
  5. Thillana – Mand
  6. Kamakshi Lokasakshi – Madhyamavathi

The concert started with a short and lovely sketch of Nattakurinji followed by the krithi Parvathi Kumaram, which I heard for the first time. I always keep saying and I echo it again, there is something special in the way Dr. Jayanthi presents Nattakurinji! The swaras embellished by the three percussion instruments was just the kind of start we all expect in a concert.

Rasali is a rare ragam and it was a short, yet wonderful presentation of this beautiful ragam followed by Saint Thyagaraja’s composition AparadhamulaNorva. Some of the sangathis were so enticing, which would have definitely made the composer proud! Brisk round of swaras set the stage up for the two grand pieces to follow.

Soulful AmruthaVarshini ragam is something to be cherished for long time! All-time favorite krithi AnadamruthaKarshini by Sri Muttuswamy Deekshitaar was followed by blistering round of kalpana swaras that ended in tara sthayi in her trademark style.

Kharaharapriya Ragam and Tanam were simply outstanding. It is so amazing the way Jayanthi presents the Ragam or should I say, the way she makes the Veena sing the ragam in her own style! Tanam as always, is her forte and some of the glides were mesmerizing. In many of her recent solo concerts she presented ragamalika Tanam but she chose to stick to only the main ragam this time. Pallavi in Rupaka Talam was short and attractive. Again, there was no ragamalika in swaras, which was just perfect for the evening.

It was very nice to see Anantha, Krishna and Pramath with a lot of effervescence and respect for each other in taking their turns in the entire concert. Tani Avarthanam was brilliant and entertaining.

It was 1 hour 45 minutes of bliss already and as all good things end at some point, the concert had to end with a Thillana in Mand by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman and Kamakshi Lokasakshi in Madhyamavathi, by Sri Shyama Sastri.

It is worth mentioning that the 2 hours concert had just 6 items including Mangalam – it was all about serious music focusing more on the quality than the number of songs. The planning is also quite well, having covered at least one composition of each of the Carnatic Music trinity!!

A standing ovation by the audience, gentle smile on Smt. Lalgudi Rajalakshmi Amma’s face and more so, happy tears in the eyes of Jayanthi’s Guru and PeriAmma, Smt. Padmavathy Ananthagopalan at the end of the concert.. said it all! Bengaluru witnessed Dr. Jayanthi’s solo concert after a long break and it is to be remembered for a long long time!

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!!