Saturday, 20 January 2018

Shri Vijay Siva - Sukha sangeetham at Rasika Fine Arts

As the last line of the Mangalam was sung, a brief drizzle tippity-tapped on the tin-roof, as though the Gods were clapping for the "sukha" sangeetam of Shri Vijay Siva. It was louder than the claps from the happy spectators.

Enjoyed the superb concert accompanied by Smt. Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi, Shri N C Bharadwaj and Shri Krishna, at J G Hindu Vidyalaya school. This concert was for Rasika Fine Arts on the evening of 29th December, 2017 - a nice Friday evening treat.

Shri Vijay Siva, Smt Vijayalakshmi, Shri Bharadwaj and Shri Krishna
Shri Vijay Siva opened with a short shlokam in Kalyani, followed by a mellow Sujana Jeevana in Kamas ragam. The sweet piece set the tone for the evening. He took up an elaborate alapani of Rishabhapriya next. The ragam's unique rasa was brought out well, as expected from a stalwart like him. Smt Vijayalakshmi played a compact follow-up. Thyagaraja's Mahima tagginchuko kovayya (kindly excuse mistakes in transliteration, if any) was the kriti that was presented, with brief neraval and detail kalpana swarams included.

Next he sang a slow and relaxing O Jagadamba in Anandabhairavi, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar. A short Shankarabharanam alapanai preceded Annai janaki vandale set to Misra chapu talam, Arunachala Kavi composition. With a quick tempo rendition of Paramukham enayya in Kharaharapriya (Papanasam Sivan composition), he set stage for the main song.

Saveri was taken up for the elaborate exploration, which was played well by Smt. Vijayalakshmi as well. Sri Rajagopala Bala, a Muthuswami Dikshitar krithi, was taken up. Full justice for the ragam was done with beautiful neraval and kalpana swarams, followed by a spirited tani avartanam between Shri Bharadwaj and Shri Krishna. Though the sound settings for the Mridangam was a constant trouble through entire concert for Shri N C Bharadwaj, the tani avartanam was in full flow. A separate post on "sound systems", "audio personnel", etc., will be posted later.

Standard pose during viruttams / Q&A
A viruttam in sevaral ragams followed next, ending with Behag as the last ragam, followed by Oruthi maganaai pirandhu in Behag. A bhajan on Vittala, with the cymbals (1 mandatory bhajan per concert seems to be his style) in Pahaadi (I am guessing, as it sounded like Shri Lalgudi Jayaraman's tillana in that ragam - and exchange of glances, with Smt. Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi makes me think it is right) was the penultimate piece.

The thiruppugazh, Marukkulaviya malaranai kodiyade valartta, set to Purvi kalyani rounded off the concert (tisra nadai rupaka talam). As mentioned above, the mangalam was about to be completed, when the claps started from the audience. However, a sudden louder clapping came from the drizzle on temporary tin-roof of the open-air pandhal. It seemed like the Gods themselves were applauding the concert. We were mighty pleased, for sure.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

C.Rajagopalachari’s introduction to Kavignar Kannadhasan's "Aezhu Swarangalukkul" - imagination

கற்பனை - திரு இராஜகோபாலாச்சாரி கவிஞர் கண்ணதாசனின் "ஏழு ஸ்வரங்களுக்குள்" பாடலுக்கு ஒரு அறிமுகம்
Shri Kavignar Kannadasan wrote a number of film songs sharing the learnings from his travails of life. He composed a number of songs to explain the lessons of life to reach the hearts of the common human. One of these songs is the famous "Aezhu Swarangalukkul".

If the knoweldge gained in one's life does not get transformed into Bhakti, such knowledge is useless tinsel. If Shri Kannadasan who went through turmoils as a very staunch atheist sang in his later years songs to develop devotion, it is enough to show that experience, knowledge and devotion are all the same.

Shri Kannadasan has packed into the "Aezhu Swarangalukkul" song: the substance of wordly life, and with help of Shri M S Viswanathan set it to melodious music.

ஏழு ஸ்வரங்களுக்குள் (aezhu swarangalukkul)

படம் - அபூர்வராகங்கள். FILM : ABOORVA RAAGANGAL.
இசை - எம்.எஸ்.விஸ்வநாதன். MUSIC : M. S. VISWANAATHAN.
பாடியவர் - வாணி ஜெயராம். SINGER : VAANI JEYARAM.

பல்லவி: ஏழு ஸ்வரங்களுக்குள் எத்தனை பாடல்
இதயச் சுரங்கத்துள் எத்தனை கேள்வி
காணும் மனிதருக்குள் எத்தனை சலனம் - வெறும்
கற்பனை சந்தோஷத்தில் அவரது கவனம்

Pallavi:aezhu svarangalukkul eththanai paadal
idhayach churangaththul eththanai kaelvi
kaanum manidharukkul eththanai salanam - verum
karpanai sandhoashaththil avanadhu gavanam

Meaning: How many songs in seven notes
How many questions in the tunnel that’s one’s heart?
How many disturbances in the people you see?
In empty imaginary pleasures lies his attention

சரணங்கள்:(1) காலை எழுந்தவுடன் நாளைய கேள்வி
அது கையில் கிடைத்த பின்னும் துடிக்குது ஆவி
ஏனென்ற கேள்வி ஒன்றே என்றைக்கும் தங்கும் - மனித
இன்பதுன்பம் எதிலும் கேள்விதான் மிஞ்சும்

மனித இன்பதுன்பம் எதிலும் கேள்விதான் மிஞ்சும்

Charanams:(1) kaalai ezhundhavudan naalaiya kaelvi
adhu kaiyil kidaiththa pinnum thudikkudhu aavi
aenenra kaelvi onrae enraikkum thangum - manidha
inbathunbam edhilum kaelvidhaan minjum

manidha inbathunbam edhilum kaelvidhaan minjum

Meaning: We wake up in the morning, with tomorrow's question
And even after we get it in our hands, the spirit beats
"Why?" is the question that stays on forever - in the human
joys and sorrows, any of them, only the question remains

(2) எனக்காக நீ அழுதால் இயற்கையில் நடக்கும்
நீ எனக்காக உணவு உண்ண எப்படி நடக்கும்
நமக்கென்று பூமியிலே கடமைகள் உண்டு - அதை
நமக்காக நம் கையால் செய்வது நன்று

அதை நமக்காக நம் கையால் செய்வது நன்று
(2) enakkaaga nee azhudhaal iyarkaiyil nadakkum
nee enakkaaga unavu unna eppadi nadakkum
namakkenru bhoomiyilae kadamaigal undu - adhai
namakkaaga nam kaiyaal seyvadhu nanru

adhai namakkaaga nam kaiyaal seyvadhu nanru

Meaning: You can cry on my behalf, it’s possible (in nature)
How can you eat for me?
We all have our duties to perform
It is best if we do them ourselves

(3) ஆரம்பத்தில் பிறப்பும் உன் கையில் இல்லை
இதில் அடுத்தடுத்த நடப்பும் உன் கையில் இல்லை
பாதை வகுத்த பின்பு பயந்தென்ன லாபம்
பாதை வகுத்த பின்பு பயந்தென்ன லாபம் - அதில்
பயணம் நடத்திவிடு மறைந்திடும் பாவம்

அதில் பயணம் நடத்திவிடு மறைந்திடும் பாவம்

(3) aarambaththil pirappum un kaiyil illai
idhil aduththaduththa nadappum un kaiyil illai
paadhai vaguththa pinbu bayandhenna laabam
paadhai vaguththa pinbu bayandhenna laabam - adhil
payanam nadaththividu maraindhidum paavam

adhil payanam nadaththividu maraindhidum paavam

Meaning: In the beginning, birth isn’t in your hands
Then one thing happens after another, that’s not in your hands either
Once you’ve decided on a path, what’s the point in getting scared
Walk that path and the sins will disappear
(Alternatelly, once the path has been paved, what is the point in getting scared
Walk the path and the karma will disappear)

(4) நாளைப் பொழுது என்றும் நமக்கென வாழ்க
அதை நடத்த ஒருவனுண்டு கோயிலில் காண்க
வேளை பிறக்கும் என்று நம்பிக்கை கொள்க
வேளை பிறக்கும் என்று நம்பிக்கை கொள்க
எந்த வேதனையும் மாறும் மேகத்தைப் போல

எந்த வேதனையும் மாறும் மேகத்தைப் போல

(4) naalaip pozhudhu enrum namakkena vaazhga
adhai nadaththa oruvanundu koayilil kaanga
vaelai pirakkum enru nambikkai kolga
vaelai pirakkum enru nambikkai kolga
endha vaedhanaiyum maarum maegaththaip poala

endha vaedhanaiyum maarum maegaththaip poala

Meaning: There’s tomorrow, live in the belief that it’s for us,
There’s someone to guide it, find Him in the temple
Believe that your time will come
Because every sorrow is like the shifting clouds

By yet another parrot who wishes to share the same history
of life's learnings again and again for the benefit of coming generations.
Nothing original above, except a bit of that introduction part.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Effortless and Serene - Shri Seshagopalan's Gokulashtami Concert

We had the good fortune of attending a very serene Carnatic music concert of Madurai Shri T N Seshagopalan at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on 22nd September, 2013, as part of the 58th Gokulashtami Sangeetha Utsavam. This concert, which went on for more than 3 hours, was quite traditional and presented in a very calm manner. There was no strain seen during the entire performance. The accompanists, Shri M Chandrasekaran on the violin, Shri Srimushman V Raja Rao on the Mridangam and Shri Vaikom Gopalakrishnan on the Ghatam, enjoyed the music of Shri Seshagopalan and formed a perfect team along with his son T N S Krishna giving supporting vocals.

Shri TNS Krishna giving vocal support to Shri T N Seshagopalan

Shri Seshagopalan took some time to warm up with the first two songs. Reetigowla alapanai followed by the Varnam "Vanajaksha" was the first item, followed by Shri Muthuswami Dikshitar's "Shankachakra gadha pani" in ragam Purnachandrika. The next ragam for elaboration was Pantuvarali. Though Shri Seshagopalan brought out lot of manodharma into this, it was quite effortless. When we compare the youngsters, we could see and feel the knowledge and experience flow naturally from this stalwart. "Sarasaksha paripalaya" was the piece in this ragam, which was followed by a slow and sedate rendition of "Ranganayakim" in the ragam Nayaki.

A good picture of ragam Varamu (also called Shuddha Hindolam) was the next chosen musical scale, followed by a brisk rendition of "Thunaipurindharul." The main piece for the day was a majestic Bhairavi. Classicism was seen all through the concert and improvisations in Bhairavi within this framework was very much appreciated by the audience and accompanists. A detail rendition of "Balagopala" followed, with nice neraval and extensive kalpana swarams reserved for this main piece. The thani avarthanam was a little shorter than expected from the two experts Shri Raja Rao and Shri Gopalakrishnan.

The concert ended with two tail-end pieces. Beginning with a ragamalikai vrittam in Saveri, Begada, Shubhapantuvarali and Rageshree, Shri Seshagopalan sang Soordas' "Krishna nama rasana" (set to Rageshree ragam). The final piece was the thillana beginning with "Nathrudeem thanana thom" in Sindhu Bhairavi.

Vrittam exposition in progress

Shri Chandrasekaran provided excellent elaborations of Pantuvarali, Bhairavi and the ragamalika follow-up for the vrittam. Shri T N S Krishna also sang a brief part of Shubhapantuvarali which was well appreciated. Shri Chandrasekaran was enjoying the improvisations more and played a 2nd string role only, compared to the abilities he has displayed in many concerts in the past. He was appreciating the manodharma of Shri Seshagopalan and wanted him to continue his concert at times without the separate alapanais for the violinist. Shri Seshagopalan gracefully declined and waited until Shri Chandrasekaran played out his role as well.

Nayaki, Varamu - have head these from Shri Seshagopalan more than couple of times - probably his favorites and so not surprising... What was surprising was the missing composition(s) of Harikesanallur Shri Muthiah Bhagavatar's, whose guru-sishya parampara Shri Seshagopalan belongs to.

It was a very fulfilling evening of classical and traditional concert music, performed very effortlessly. We guess that the 3-hour concert is not dead yet, provided the artists are given the time. December season concerts are restricted to 2 and half hours and we hope that more 3-hour concerts in all the other 11 months are available for our enjoyment in future too.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Ethereal Abhishek Raghuram

Sri Krishna Gana Sabha reverberated with Manodharmic music on 11th December, 2011. Master Abhishek Raghuram gave a Carnatic music vocal concert dripping with innovations in presentation. The interpretations of various ragams through aalapanais, neraval and swara prastharams were quite different and made the spectators enjoy, clap and even gasp at times.

Abhishek Raghuram's vocal concert at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha on 11 December, 2011

Abhishek was accompanied by Ms. Akkarai Subbulakshmi on the violin, Mr. R Krishnan on the Mridangam and Mr. G Guruprasanna on the Kanjira. The team really enjoyed performing and worked as a good team to enthrall the spectators.

Beginning with a short Kalyani Aalapani, Abhishek sang the varnam Vanajakshiro. This was a good warm up to the pieces that were going to follow. This was followed by a good elaboration of Chakravaham ragam, Subbulakshmi followed with a good aalapanai on the violin. The piece chosen for rendition was Gajananayutham in Adi talam composed by Mutthuswami Dikshitar. Abhishek then surprised everyone by taking the brisk Biraana Brova idhi for exploration, composed by Tarangampadi Panchanada Iyer. Following the Kalyani varnam with another song in Kalyani within half an hour was a surprise, but there must be some logic to this selection, which we did not understand. In this song he explored Kalyani well, especially with Neraval and swaram.

Scintillating presentation of Dwijavanthi
Dwijavanthi ragam was next, where Manodharma was brought to the fore in full force. The detail presentation of the ragam explored nuances that many in the audience had not heard. There was very good appreciation from them for the rendition of rare korvais, which showed Abhisheks extraordinary grasp of this moving ragam. This was followed by Muthuswami Dikshitar's Chetta Sri Balakrishnam Bajeham, set to Roopaka talam, presented in an elaborate fashion as well. Nuances of Dwijavanthi were explored very well again.

Deva Devam Baje by Sri Annamacharya was taken as the faster piece to follow Chettha Sri. The style of this composition was different from what we have heard from Srimathi M S Subbulakshmi's classical rendition in Hindolam. It was beautifully composed and it added to the reasons that one should make it a point to attend his concerts and get into a different world of music altogether.

The main piece chosen for the concert was in Bilahari. The ragam exploration by Abhishek was exquisite and elaborate. He did justice to this ragam by covering the aalapanai in good detail. His neraval and swara prastharams for this main piece, Sri Chamundeswari Palayamam composed by Mysore Vasudevacharya, were superb too.  Having his laya training from his famous grandfather Palghat R Raghu, he gave variety of korvais in this song. The thani avarthanam that followed was relatively short compared to other concerts' main pieces, but well presented by Krishnan and Guruprasanna.

Concert progressing at good pace

As it was quite close to time for the next dance presentation at the hall, Abhishek sang a quick Thiruppugazh in Sindhu Bhairavi, before closing with the Mangalam.

Due to the manodharmic presentation, the accompanists were left to gape in awe & appreciation, and play a basic cycle at times. It does not mean that they were any less talented, but that Abhishek Raghuram has gone up to the next sphere. He can be considered to be in the same level as top artists in the current generation and hence had even been given a prime 4:30 PM spot in Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.

We look forward to many more scintillating performances from Abhishek in the tens of years to come.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Musical Musings on Carnatic music kings

This blog is intended for musical musings on various concerts. I plan to blog about the realm of Carnatic musicians' performances in whichever sabhas I get to seem them at.

These are purely my personal opinions and not based on any objective view of performances nor do I claim any deep knowledge of all aspects of Carnatic music.

The intention would be to spread the news about great performances and give due credit to performers of this South Indian Classical music.