Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 19, 2014 - Carnatica's Global Fest

violin - v sanjeev
mrudangam - b ganapathiraman
ghatam - n guruprasad

venue: hare krishna movement, thiruvanmiyur

varnam - kaanada - ata - poochi srinivasa iyengar
mudhumomu - suryakantham - adi - thyagaraja (s)
sri kamalambike - sri - khanda ekam - muthuswami dikshitar (r)
antharangabhakthi - shadvidhamarghini - adi - koteeshwara iyer
endhuku dhayaradhura - todi - misra chapu - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)

thillana - hamsanandhi - adi - srimushnam v rajarao

December 17, 2014 - Naadha Brahmam

violin - parur ms ananthakrishnan
mrudangam - b sivaraman

tag centre, t nagar

varnam - kalyani - adi - poochi srinivasa iyengar (s)
evarikai - devamanohari - misra chapu - thyagaraja
kaapadhuve - anandabhairavi - rupakam - thanjavur quartette (r,s)
vaa vela vaa - thanaroopi - khanda chapu - koteeshwara iyer
entharanithana - harikambodhi - adi - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)
krishna nee begane - yamankalyani - misra chapu - kanakadasa

thillana - basanth - adi - tn seshagopalan

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 16, 2014 - Charsur Arts Foundation

violin - hn bhaskar
mrudangam - srimushnam v rajarao
ghatam - sv ramani

narada gana sabha mini hall

varnam - kathanakuthuhalam - adi - ks krishnamurthy
angarakam - surutti - rupakam - muthuswami dikshitar (s)
gana mudha panam - jyothiswarupini - misra chapu - koteeshwara iyer (r,s)
dharma shravana - durga - adi - purandaradasa
chakkani raja - karaharapriya - adi - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)
thillana - hamir kalyani - adi - muthiah bhagavathar

This year I sang the inaugural concert for Charsur Arts Foundation (CAF) in Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall. In this concert series, up and coming artists perform with established senior artists. I could not have asked for a better team to sing with. I shared the stage with Sri HN Bhaskar after many years, and I was so happy with the way he supported me. I have known him since I was very young, so our off stage friendship made for a very comfortable rapport on stage as well.

On mrudangam was Kalaimamani Srimushnam Sri V Rajarao. I am not qualified to comment on someone as senior and experienced as Rajarao Mama. Mama has known me practically since I was born, and I consider him to be one of my gurus in my musical pursuits. Sri SV Ramani, as Rajarao Mama put it, played in all the right places to complement perfectly.

I felt really good after this concert, for so many reasons. Before the concert started, Rajarao Mama told me to sing slowly and comfortably and to modulate my voice. This last minute advice actually eased my nerves a little bit, as I felt like I was singing with my teacher accompanying me, and not just such a great vidwan. Sri Bhaskar and Sri Ramani helped lift the concert to such a higher energy level, and got the audience involved from varnam to thillana.

Although it is a small hall, I enjoy singing here with rasikas sitting around me on stage. Reminds me of when my guru Sri Sanjay Subrahamanyan sings to packed audiences in much larger auditoriums such as Music Academy and Narada Gana Sabha Main Hall. 

Hope to get to that stage one day!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13, 2014 - Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha

violin - b ananthakrishnan
mrudangam - sj arjun ganesh
kanjira - sunil kumar


varnam - malavi - adi - ks krishnamurthy
innum paramukham - begada - rupakam - doraiswamy kavi (s)
padmanabha pahi - hindolam - adi - swathi thirunal (r,n,s)
sarasa sama dana - kapinarayani - adi - thyagaraja
kapali - mohanam - adi - papanasam sivan (r,s,t)
nannu vidachi - reethigowla - misra chapu - thyagaraja
virutham - jonpuri (uppum karpooramum...)
eppovaruvaaro - jonpuri - adi - gopalakrishna bharathi

I'd originally planned on singing a different song for the main (I won't say what song, perhaps I'll sing it before the season is over), but called a last minute audible and sang the more well known 'Kapali' by Papanasam Sivan. I have sung this many times in Chennai and wanted to avoid it this season. For various reasons I decided to just go ahead and sing it instead, but there seemed to be a good response from the audience for this familiar krithi. A special thanks to Ananthakrishnan for his support during the Mohanam alapanai. I took a break in between as my voice was getting a bit hoarse. As I recovered with some warm water, he filled in with beautiful phrases of Mohanam and maintained the flow of the ragam.

A new 'tukkada' added to my repertoire is the popular "eppovaruvaaro," made famous by Madurai Mani Iyer. I have always loved this song and although I vaguely recall singing it upon request in a wedding concert a few years ago, I have never sung it in a sabha concert. I enjoyed finishing the concert on the energetic note that this krithi provides. Arjun Ganesh & Sunil Kumar helped tremendously in maintaining that energy and added to the composition and concert. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

December 11, 2014 - Rasika Ranjani Sabha

violin - m rajeev
mrudangam - r sankaranarayanan

venue: pshs, tag - dakshinamurthy auditorium

varnam - begada - adi - veenai kuppaiyer
vaa vaa sikhivaahana - naattai - rupakam - koteeshwara iyer (s)
akhilandeswari - dvijavanthi - adi - muthuswami dikshitar (r,s)
padhavini - salagabhairavi - adi - thyagaraja
deva deva jagadheeswara - purvikalyani - adi - swathi thirunal (r,n,s,t)
ramanai bhajithal - mand - adi - papanasam sivan

Today I saw the PSHS Dakshinamurthy Auditorium for the first time since it was renovated by the TAG Corporation. I was to sing the inaugural concert for this auditorium but there was a clash in the dates and I was unable to do so. They have done a fantastic job of making it AC and brightening the place with freshly painted white walls and ceiling. This has also improved the sound quality as it is no longer open along the sides.

It's also nice to see that Rasika Ranjani Sabha (commonly referred to as RR Sabha), which has been rebuilding itself in the last few years, has a renovated hall in which to conduct it's festival this season. Their own auditorium, at the previous location near Mylapore Tank, is being completely redone, and should hopefully be up and running by next season. I remember attending concerts at the old RR Sabha auditorium as a kid. It was a fairly big place, but quite old even then. In any case, every senior vidwan would perform there and I enjoyed attending those concerts.

Another highlight for me today was singing a new song in naattai (Vaa Vaa Sikhivaahana), which I learned for a recent recording. It is one of several songs by Koteeshwara Iyer that I had learned, but one of the few that is not in a melakartha ragam. Something about the song's structure and a few different sangathis stood out to me, and it has become one of my favorite songs in practice. Tonight was the first time I sang it in a concert though! I think it went over well, thanks to the support of Rajeev & Sankar.

Photo Courtesy of Karthik Nagarajan

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 7, 2014 - Marghazhi Maha Utsavam

Maximum Media & present Marghazhi Maha Utsavam
Venue: Hare Krishna Movement, Thiruvanmiyur


violin - parur ms ananthakrishnan
mrudangam - r sankaranarayanan

varnam - hamsadhwani - adi - maanambuchaavadi venkatasubbaiyer
ini oru kanam - sriranjani - rupakam - papanasam sivan (s)
kaalai thooki - yadhukulakambodhi - adi - marimuthu pillai (r)
mamava karunaya - shanmukhapriya - misra chapu - swathi thirunal (r,n,s,t)
parama purusha - behag - adi - narayana theertha

The 'December season' started for me last night singing in the 15th Annual Marghazhi Maha Utsavam presented by Maximum Media. Although the venue has shifted this year, the team behind it is doing just as great a job, if not better than before. It was my first time singing on the Hare Krishna Movement stage, and I must say it was fabulous to stare at the ocean in the distance throughout the concert. (The venue is situated right on the shore of the beach in Valmiki Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, and one large gate at the back opens up directly to an ocean view).

I felt comfortable starting off the season with two of my closest friends in the music community, Sri Ananthakrishnan and Sri Sankaranarayanan. I hope the remainder of the season is just as fun as last night was. Can't wait for the weeks ahead!