The universe within

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Today was the last concert in what was a hectic schedule with four concerts back to back - in different places.
After the Jayanagar concert which I wrote about in the previous entry, I performed at Ranipet in Tamilnadu.
The ever effervescent Arcot Raghu maama who is the man behind the Amritavarshini Sangeetha Sabha was at his cordial best and the concert went off smoothly - with a large dose of Tamizh kritis; the main piece being Tiruvadi Charanam in Kambhoji.
Interestingly, there was a lady who came up and requested for Sri Ramam Ravikulabdhi Somam after the tani avartanam which I had to oblige with. Turned out she was a big Dikshitar fan.
Vidwans MS Ananthakrishnan and Trivandrum Vaidyanathan played the violin and mridangam respectively.

The next day was at Mysore in a 120 year old temple called the Moole Rama Mandiram. The place is tiny and that is not an exaggeration but it has an old world charm to it.
Today it stands (literally) at the crossroads with traffic noise blaring outside but inside, the century old deity and the old world paintings have an electrifying effect when you sit down to perform.
Vidwans Mathur Srinidhi was on the violin, C Cheluvaraju on the mridangam while Shashishankar played the ghatam.
I sang Shanmugapriya (Marivere) and Mohanam (Evaruraa) in detail.

Today (30th) was a memorable concert at Sri Vani School, Basaveswara Nagar. The audience turned out large numbers and were very appreciative and encouraging.
I sang Sahana (Rama Ika Nannu) and Mukhari (Ksheenamai) in detail; and this is where it begins to get interesting.
Just as I finished the final korvai in the main piece (Mukhari), it started pouring cats and dogs!!!
The audience had to be relocated while the concert went on as usual....I had originally planned for an RTP too but the excessive rain made me change plans and I instead sang several tukkudas.
Vidushi Nalina Mohan was the violin while Vidwans Sudheendra and Swamy played the mridangam and khanjira respectively.
The mridangam support by Sri Sudheendra especially was excellent and definitely took the concert to a different level.

Singing concerts back to back has both its pros and cons.
On the cons side, you need to rest well both physically and mentally so as to be able to give you 100% on stage.
On the pros side, you begin to set into a rhythm and new ideas start pouring in on stage - and you keep trying to push yourself to the limit every time. A tremendous experience - both exhilarating and daunting at the same time.

As for me, I had a ball in all the concerts so far and that is what matters !!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Jayanagar Concert - 27th Mar 2010

Just back from a concert at Jayarama Seva Mandali, Jayanagar as part of their Rama Navami celebrations.
The audience turn out was great and the concert went off smoothly despite very poor on-stage acoustics.
Very few people tend to appreciate the value of having good and qualified sound engineers to manage the on-stage amplification.
Most assume that if the volume levels and balance sound ok to the audience, they must be good for the artists - which is unfortunately not true.
Musicians rely extensively on feedback - one must be able to hear oneself without which it becomes very tough for the artists on stage to share their thoughts and ideas.

Anyway, the list that I sang today consisted of:
  • Sarasuda - Saveri Varnam - Adi
  • Dinamani Vamsha - Harikambhoji (S)
  • Aparadhamula - Lathangi (R,N,S)
  • Sree Ramam - Narayana Gowla
  • Enduku Dayaradura - Todi (R,N,S)
  • RTP Reetigowla - Khanda Triputa (Eduppu being 11 / 72)
  • Misc. Items

My good friend Amrita Murali played the Violin while the veteran Mannarkoil J Balaji accompanied me on the mridangam and B Rajashekhar was on the mohrsing.

Off to Arcot, Tamilnadu tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dikshitar Concert Video

This is the video of the Dikshitar Kritis concert that I performed on 28th February, 2010 at Bharatiya Sangeeta Vaibhavam Trust, Chennai.
Hope you all enjoy it.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Three Concerts and an Invite

There have been three concerts since my last post.
The first was at Perinthalmanna in Kerala which was eventful for more reasons than one. The biggest reason being that I overslept in the train and woke up only after my designated stop - Palakkad - had passed!!!
Eventually alighted at Trisur which is the next stop and took a taxi straight to the venue and started the concert after a quick shower backstage!!!

The second concert was at Malleswaram in Bengaluru for the Pu Thi Na trust.
This one was clearly the most memorable for me personally because it was the first time I was singing a concert without a single Thyagaraja, Dikshitar or Shyama Shastry kriti!!!
Instead, this concert was dedicated solely to the compositions of the poet Pu Thi Narasimhachar.
The first task was getting together a list of poems which appealed to me - this was done thanks to my cousin Surya who is a hardcore literary connoisseur.
The next was setting those to tune - now clearly that was a first time for me because I had always shied away from 'composiing' tunes.
But once I got down to it, it was rather enjoyable - so I set them to various ragas such as Athana, Mohana, Varali (my personal favorite), Kaanada and Todi.
Pu Thi Na himself is said to have prescribed tunes for some of his works, in collaboration with eminent vainika Doraiswamy Iyengar.
I included one such composition too.

The third concert and the last one to happen was at Coimbatore yesterday.
The occasion was 'Purandara Dasa' day and it was jointly held by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Coimbatore.
Sang Purandara Dasa compositions in the first half and some popular tukkudas in the second half.
The audience turnout was brilliant - considering there were three other programs in the vicinity.
The icing on the cake was a standing ovation at the end of the performance - thoroughly inspiring to work harder and harder.

Please find attached the concert invitation for my Ranipet concert the next Sunday (28th).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Concert Schedule

March Concert Schedule

Mar 13th - Perinthalmanna (Kerala)
Mar 17th - Pu Thi Na Trust (Sevasadana, Malleswaram, Bangalore)
Mar 21st - Coimbatore (Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan)
Mar 27th - Jayarama Seva Mandali, Jayanagar, Bangalore
Mar 28th - Ranipet
Mar 29th - Mysore
Mar 30th - Vani School, Basaveswaranagar, Bangalore

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thank you...

My heartfelt thanks to the rasikas who have emailed me since the Dikshitar Akhandam expressing your joy and appreciation.
I am glad that connoisseurs liked the concert and I am particularly thrilled that the Kambhoji magnum opus of Dikshitar's was liked by so many people out there.
Thank you..


Monday, March 01, 2010

Dikshitar Akhandam - Chennai (28th February, 2010)

Back from a great outing at Chennai as part of Bharatiya Sangeeta Vaibhavam's Dikshitar Akhandam.
I had especially learnt Dikshitar's magnum opus in Kambhoji - 'Kashi Vishweshwara Ehi...' for this occassion.
A grand edifice in the intricate khanda jathi ata talam - wonderful lyrics, sweeping glides and ofcourse set in one of my all time favorite ragas kambhoji.
The crowds were overflowing and the Pettachi Auditorium was full - connoisseurs, cutting across age groups.
Quite a few of them sought me out after the program to express their sincere appreciation about my concert.
I elaborated two ragas - Dhaamavathi (in the Venkatamakhin tradition) and Kambhoji (with the kriti setup exactly as it is in the Pradarshini).
It helped that Dr Hemalatha played the violin - her Ph.D thesis is on the Pradarshini and since I sang a few ragas and kritis straight out of the Pradarshini, she was very supportive.
My good friend and senior vidwan Sri Mannarkoil J Balaji played the Mridangam.

Charsur has recorded the concert and it would soon be available for download at their website
Here goes the list:
1. Sri Ganeshatparam - Ardra Desi - Misra Jhampa (R outline)
2. Bharathi Maddishana - Devamanohari - Rupaka (S) - raga lakshana based on the Venkatamakhin System which includes a 'p n n s' prayoga
3. Parandhaamavathi - Dhaamavathi - Rupaka (R)
4. Kashi Vishweshwara - Kambhoji - Khanda Jathi Ata Talam (R,S) at 'dakshina kashi...'
5. Mangala Devathe - Marga Deshi - Adi

Later the same evening, my guru Sri TM Krishna rendered a concert in which the focus was on the Mayamalava Gowla Kriti 'Sri Naathaadi Guruguho' - the very first kriti of Dikshitar.

The trust behind this Akhandam - Bharatiya Sangeetha Vaibhavam (Sureshkumar Bopparaju, et al) - needs to be complimented for their wonderful arrangements and efficient handling of the logistics.