Sikkil Gurucharan – The Music Academy, Chennai – Dec 21, 2017

Sikkil Gurucharan (SGC)  presented an excellent concert, with H K Venkatram (HKV) on Violin, H S Sudhindra (HSS) on Mridangam and V Suresh (VS) on Ghatam, at the Madras Music Academy.

  1. Tharuni – Kambhoji Varnam
  2. Sri Ganeshwara – Shanmukhapriya
  3. Mayuranatham Anisham – Dhanyasi
  4. Tatvameruga Tarama – Garudadhwani
  5. Intha Paraakelara – Kharaharapriya
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi (& krithi) – Kumudakriya
  7. Kanna Va – Ragamalika
  8. Thillana – Poorvi

The concert started with the Varnam Tharuni in Kambhoji in two speeds. Brief sketch of Shanmukhapriya followed by Oothukkadu Venkata Kavi’s composition Sri Ganeshwara was brilliant. SGC announced that the Sangitha Kalanidhi designate Chitravina Ravikiran polished and popularized this composition. Swara exchanges between SGC and HKV were top class!

Dhanyasi aalapana by both SGC and HKV was very soulful. Mayuranatham Anisham, a Muthuswamy Deekshitar’s composition was lovely. Brisk Tatvameruga Tarama was the energetic filler between two long items. Swaras in Garudadhwani at blistering speed and in special patterns, were a treat for the audience and students alike!

Kharaharapriya aalapana by SGC was beautiful, trying to present some rare phrases amidst typical raga flavour. I am floored by his control in some gamakas and in the way he sustained some notes quite long. HKV did an amazing return of Kharaharapriya in his typical style. Intha paraakelara, a composition of Pallavi Sesha Iyer was presented very well. Niraval at the Pallavi line and the kalpana swaras that followed, were so nice! HSS and VS did a fantastic job in Tani Avarthanam, both competed in bettering the other’s returns. The entire concert was indeed embellished by their performance!!!

My pick of the evening is Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Kumudakriya. The aalapana was soul stirring, especially the Violin return drew many aah-s and bhale-s from audience. Pallavi ArdhaNaareswaram Aaradhanayaami Satatam Abhayakaram Bhayakaram Shivakaram was nice except for the word break “ArdhaNaa Reeswaram” that was annoying. There was definitely space for him to make it “ArdhaNaari Iswaram” which would have made Lord Shiva more happier. I am sure he would have been happier anyways, the way the Pallavi Niraval and swaras following it were presented. A very quick Ragamalika (with no Violin return) happened in no time and I understand he had to rush it through as he had plans of singing the famous krithi Ardhanareeswaram quickly. Nice support by HSS and VS all the way!

The concert ended with a Viruttam in Kapi followed by Kanna Va in Ragamalika, again quickly followed by Thillana which he started at half minute past 18:29 to finish off just 1.5 minutes late to the scheduled time 18:30.

Overall, a beautiful concert – Kumudakriya certainly had a nice effect that it was ringing in my ears for quite some time after the concert. It was good to see nice camaraderie among the musicians, as I saw Ramakrishnan Murthy, Sandeep Narayan and few others attend the concert!

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Sikkil Gurucharan – Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha – December 25, 2016

I have been waiting for long time to listen to Sikkil Gurucharan and I could finally catch him at the Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha in Chennai! Sri Sikkil Gurucharan, with Sri V Sanjeev on Violin, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Prof. Trichy Sankaran on Mridangam and Sri Giridhar Udupa on Ghatam, delivered a wonderful concert.

  1. Tharuni – Kambhoji varnam
  2. Pavanamaatmaja – Naata
  3. Parama pavana paapa mochana – Ranjani
  4. Vagarani – Kapi (?)
  5. Eduta Nilichite – Sankarabharanam
  6. Ragam Tanam Pallavi – Saveri
  7. ? – Dwijavanthi
  8. Bhajan? – Vasantha (?)
  9. Sreerama Jayamangalam – Surati

Kambhoji varnam was an excellent start to what turned out to be a great concert. Ranjani elaboration was too good and my pick of the evening, the Niraval on Paapa Mochana Sri Raghu… was simply outstanding!

Sankarabharanam was the main ragam of the concert, with both Charan and Sanjeev presenting it leisurely while exhibiting multiple dimensions of the ragam. Charan sang with so much ease in three octaves with the lovely Violinist Sanjeev following him very well. There were a very few boring moments in the long Violin return but it was a nice presentation. Eduta Nilichite is a fabulous composition in this grand ragam and it was presented in even grander way, with some exquisite round of kalpana swaras. Tani Avarthanam by Sangeetha Kalanidhi Trichy Sankaran and Giridhar Udupa was fabulous! As a whole, the main composition took about 70-75 minutes roughly and in the hindsight, I felt it was a tad long, as I probably felt he had to rush through the RTP that was to follow.

Saveri was presented with so much elegance to bring out the flavour of it in Ragam and Tanam by both Charan and Sanjeev. The pallavi was excellent and sung in different rhythmic patterns, with excellent support on Mridangam and Ghatam. Though he spent about 25 minutes on RTP, I personally felt, the Pallavi deserved a bit more time. However, I understand the time constraints and he did a commendable job, nonetheless!

The concert ended with some mandatory light pieces and it was heartening to see a lot of people glued to their seats till the end. Overall, a great concert with some of the songs I have heard for the first time. Happy to have attended Charan’s concert finally, after a long time!