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  • 01/03/16--06:34: Glory of Gamaka
  • "Gamaka" is one of the popular and distinguished art forms of Karnataka, which has popularised several classic works of Kannada, from centuries. A Gamaki must have good knowledge of music, sweet voice and an in-depth knowledge of Kannada literature. "Kumara Vyasa Bharatha" is one of the most commonly heard classic work on the Gamaka stage. But when a seasoned artiste like Gangamma Keshavamurthy renders it, the poetry attains a flavour all its own. With her well preserved voice honed perfectly to shruti, the concert itself could be absorbing as one experienced in her recital for the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat, on Friday. Sunanda Gururaj, a postgraduate in Kannada and a recipient of Kempegowda Prashasthi, gave the 'Vyakhyana'.

    In the current programme they had chosen an interesting episode "Sandhiyo Samaravo" from the "Virata Parva" of Kumara Vyasa Bharatha. The opening "Naandi Padya" itself revealed that the veteran singer was in the right spirit. She sang lyrics in a number of ragas like Attana, Simhendramadhyama, Kalyani, Mohana, Shivaranjini, Jinjoti etc, to suit the different characters and situations and 'Bhava'. Her high pitch voice, open throat singing enriching its lyrical overtones even at the age of 75, was well appreciated by the connoisseurs assembled. Sunanda's commentary quoting extensively from the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Mankuthimmana Kagga and Haridasas was successful in bringing out the essence of Kumaravyasa. Especially Draupadi's anger, irony, self respect - were well narrated with good humour. Gangamma Keshavamurthy and Sunanda Gururaj combined well and it was a pleasant recital testifying to a professional standard.

    Tribute to a scholar
    There were several cultural programmes (music, dance, yakshagana, discourse) on the occasion of the 80th birthday celebrations of Bannanje Govindacharya, last week.

    There was a unique-special programme combining music, dance and painting. When Kavitha Udupa sang a song B K S Varma painted Hanuma, Bheema and Madhva on canvas, beautifully. She also presented few compositions like Govinda Stotra, 'Maadu Nannanu' and 'Mangalam Kuru'. With her rich voice, traversing in all the three octaves with ease and confidence, Kavitha Udupa captured the audience. Rangashri performed with practised ease, few devotionals and chose Dashavathara also in the mangala.

    A class apart
    Reputed vocalists Sriram Prasad and Ravikumar (Malladi Brothers) justified the reputation they have built for themselves in a distinguished career in their concert at Sri Sadguru Seva Trust for the Sri Rama Saamrajya Maha Pattabhisheka.

    The concert was packed with several infrequent compositions, which revealed their good repertoire. "Sri Raghukula Mandu" gave them a sunny start. As they meditatively started to intonate raga Huseni, a divine picture of the composition "Rama Ninne Nammi Nanu Nijamugu" emerged. After their alapana of the Kamach raga, when listeners were expecting a familiar keertana, Malladi Brothers sprang a surprise by presenting a Annamachar's composition "Avatharamu Raghupathi".

    A composition of Bhadrachala Ramadas and a keertana in Blahamasa - were rendered in quick succession. What a classic imagery of Thodi they wove for "Ninuvina Sukhamu" and nerval (Raga Rasika Raga Rahitha) and enlivening swara. Ending devotionals - "Rama Rama Rama Seetha" and "Bhajare Sri Rama Maanasa" - also delighted. H K Venkataram on violin, Tumkur B. Ravishankar on mridanga and Tumkur B Shashishankar on ghata accompanied with good understanding.

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  • 01/10/16--05:45: Music and dance reviews
  • Sangeetha Sambhrama
    Sangeetha Sambhrama works in promoting classical music among the youth through festivals and competitions. It also conducts Aradhana and felicitates senior artistes, under the direction of Vidushi P Rama. Both local and foreign artistes shared the dais in the six-day Niranthara festival of dance and music.

    40 musicians joined together to pay musical tribute to Dr M S Subbalakshmi. Veena, flute and violin along with a number of percussion instruments (mridanga, ghata, khanjari, chande, tabla, rhythm pad and konakol) apart from vocalists - performed in unison, presenting a number of compositions of different composers.

    They saluted to invocatory God through 'Mahaganapathim' and moved to 'Govardhana Gireesham'. But, the main item was "Mathe" which was elaborated emphasising good ragabhava. The "Thani" with so many percussionists was interesting though slightly overstretched and too loud at times. Few devotionals like - Narayana Ninna Naamada, Bho Shambho were presented and the event concluded with Maitreem Bhajatha and a thillana in Mohana Kalyani. The ensemble was lively and unique. Vivek Krishna is a talented flautist and his wife Aranya Narain is a upcoming dancer of Bengaluru. They together presented "Flute N Feet," a blend of instrumental music and dance. The programme began with bright promise with a Mallari, and the popular keertane "Nagumomu" followed by "Srichakraraja" of Agasthya. Musically, it certainly had its aesthetic appeal and the dance was lively. It is not easy to please without vocal in Dance, but it was a good experiment. They were supported on violin by Dayakar, on mridanga by S V Balakrishna and Harsha Samaga and on natuvanga by Karthik Dathar.

    Nritya samagama
    Bengalureans remember Dr Ranjani Ganeshan Ramesh as a senior dancer and from some time she is a resident of Mumbai. An alumnus of the Kalakshetra and director of PGTFA, she has performed in many countries. Her daughter Daksha Ramesh has learnt not only Bharathanatya but also Kuchipudi, Kathak and contemporary dances.

    Dr Ranjani Ganeshan and Daksha Swaminathan gave a Jugalbandi dance recital, of Bharathanatya and Kuchipudi last week, which was held under L S Venkoji Rao Memorial programme under the aegis of the Indian Institute of World Culture.

    Under the caption "Bhakthi Pravaha - Samagama" they opened the programme with Ganesha Pancharathna in Ragamalika. They chose Narayana Teertha's composition for Taranga. Standing on the brass plate, they formed different permutations and combinations. Srinivasa Koravanji, with a folk touch was lively and 'Dashavathara' in Kanakadasa composition (Anandabhairavi) was also pleasing. But one felt that they are capable of making it more impactful. While "Janani Janaki" was on three Devis - Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvathi, concluded with a thillana in the raga Aahirbhairavi. Vocal by Harini Sridhar, Natuvanga by Badari Divya Bhushana, mridanga by Jagadeesh Janardhan, violin by Madhusudhan and flute by Chandrashekhar - supported the dancers.

    Promising vocalist
    Anjali Sriram, upcoming vocalist, is a disciple of M S Sheela and has won prizes in many competitions, including from the Bangalore Gayana Samaja. In her current concert for the Sri Rama Saamrajya Maha Pattabhisheka, Anjali presented six compositions of different composers. But for a detailed elaboration she chose "Jesina", a majestic keertane of Saint Tyagaraja.

    The alap of Thodi was detailed and rich in good phrases. The Kannada devaranamas - Jaya Janakee Kantha and Mareyabeda Manave - were pleasing with lyrical impact.
    In between she also sang Purvi Kalyani and Kadnaka Thuhala which stood out for her sound grounding and honed voice. Achutha Rao and Anoor Vinod Shyam accompanied on violin and mrudanga, respectively.
    Mysore V Subramanya

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  • 01/17/16--07:04: Sankranthi festival
  • Sankranthi festival

    Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira held the annual Sankranthi festival with both vocal and instrumental (veena, flute and violin) music. Dr R N Srilatha, who gave a concert here last week, is known not only as a senior vocalist, but also as an able teacher, author and speaker. She has retired as the principal of the Fine Arts College, Mysuru.

    In her current concert, Srilatha maintained the old tradition of singing both varna and pallavi in the same raga - that too in the evocative raga Saveri. It is a ancient rakti raga, which belongs to the Mayamalavagaula varga and is a 'Audava Sampurna' raga. It is a pleasing raga in which many composers have composed beautiful compositions. Saveri took on a majestic gait and grandeur for the pallavi set to chatusra jhampe. Varali also received appealing airing.

    "Mahaganapathi" in Amruthavahini raga of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar and "Manasa Sri Ramani" of Tyagaraja in the raga Maararanjini were yet other instances of her repertoire and mastery over the medium. Jawadi (Bhavamaina Maatalena) and the devaranama - were also soulful. Mathur Srinidhi on violin, C Cheluvaraj on mridanga and A S N Swamy on khanjari accompanied with good understanding.

    Rehearsal needed

    Three young women from Bengaluru established their credentials individually and collectively in the open air theatre of Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira last week. Shubha Santosh on veena, Prema Vivek on violin and Vani Manjunath on flute presented a number of compositions in well established ragas. Ragas like Manirangu, Kuntalavarali, Mohana - are the choice of many connoisseurs always. They had selected popular kruthies like Swaminatha Paripalaya, Mamava Pattabhi and Vijayambike and Enduku Peddala and a pallavi set to chatusra atta thala. In the keerthana and pallavi (Mohana, Kalyani and Mohana Kalyani) they presented raga and swara by turns. They require some more rehearsals to make it impactful. B S Prashanth and Narayana Murthy supported on mridanga and ghata respectively.

    Memorial concert

    The R K Srikantan Trust conducted the annual Sankranthi music festival to commemorate the 96th birthday of Padmabhushana Dr R K Srikantan, doyen of Karnatic music. Prof T N Krishnan, T A S Mani and Gangadhara Sastry received the awards on Thursday.

    After the inaugural function, Prof T N Krishnan gave a solo violin recital accompanied by T A S Mani on mridanga and Ranganath Chakravarthy on ghata. Opening with Nadatanumanisham, he continued the concert with Echarikaga Ra Ra, Brochevarevarura, Sarasasamadana etc. A very brief raga was rendered for few of them. Krishnan, 87 years young, played with full command over the instrument as before and with vintage flavour throughout. Thus his concert was heard by a sizeable audience with more respect than excitement.

    Vocal with good feelings

    Over the years, Pattabhi Ram Pandith is gradually establishing himself as a front rank singer of the State. In his concert (Sankranti music festival) on Friday, the popular varna "Sarasuda" gave him a bright start. His selection of kruthies itself was good and received appreciation. For instance, Rara ma inti, Mundu Venuka, Manasa Etulo - all are favourites of both connoisseurs and musicians. Though "Pakkala Nilabadi" was his choice for elaboration, alapana was brief. He sang with good feeling and good involvement. His career is worth watching. Mathur Srinidhi on violin, H S Sudhindra on mridanga and Gururaj on morching - rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

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  • 01/24/16--04:37: Music and dance
  • Sankranthi festival

    The WDA conducted NRI Dance Festival last week and two dance recitals were given at Seva Sadana - Bharathanatya and Odissi dances.

    Sigma Satabdhi Pradhan who gave the inaugural dance recital is a disciple of Madhulita Mohapatra of Nrityantar Academy of Performing Arts, Bengaluru. She is now based in Chicago and is also a part of UIC Dancing Flames of the University of Illinois and has represented it at the NDA Dance Championship held in Florida. She has performed at several events both in India and USA.

    Sigma opened her Odissi programme with "Jaya Mahesha" in Ragamalika set to thalamalika. She paid obeisance to Shiva, who is adorned by a half moon, river Ganga and holds a Trishul in one hand and damaru in the other. She chose 'Bajuchi Sahi Bajare' for Abhinaya, in which Sakhi tells Radha that "the scandalous love affair of Radha and Krishna is being trumpeted in the bazaar of Braja!" It was in the raga Suddha desi and in Thala Malika. Sigma's Abhinaya was good and the pallavi was performed with practised ease and it was compact both in traditional glory and freshness of approach. Sigma has a bright future in the years to come.

    Yoga and dance

    Yoga and dance were exploited with telling effect to arrive at enjoyable compositions in the dance programme presented by Yamini Muthanna for the World Dance Alliance on Wednesday. Simple, almost single idea of the theme, based on different verses drawn from the Veda, Upanishad and Puranas, she exploited different themes like - Sristi, Stithi, Laya, Panchabhutha, mother and more. Different 'Aasanas' were presented - Vajrasana, Parshva Konasana, Urdhva Dhanurasana, Chakrasana, Shirasana - and concluding with Sama Kona Aasana. Her precise and breath taking Aasanas - were impactful and proof of Yamini's in-depth study of Yoga and Bharathanatya. Kartheek Hebbar (vocal), Prasanna Kumar (Natuvanga), Sri Hari (Mridanga), Jayaram (Flute) and Jananee (Narration) gave support from the wings.


    Chitra Aravind, a senior dancer, is known in the field not only as a performer but also as a teacher and choreographer. She is a student of Dr Lalitha Srinivasan, Dr Maya Rao and Chitra Venugopal in Kathak and studied contemporary dance in the UK. She is training young aspirants in her dane school 'Rhythm Motion' and conducts 'Chalana' dance festival every year. She has performed in places both in India and abroad.

    Chitra Aravind presented a dance drama "Rakshisu Anavaratha", based on Kanakadasa's compositions. In the first half, well known Pada "Bagilanu Theradu Seveyanu Kodu Hariye" was presented with popular sequences like Gajendra Moksha, Draupadi Vastrapaharana. They opened with Nammamma Sharade, continued with Deena Nanu, Yadavaraya Brindavanadolu and a few others. Nine of her students performed with ease and assurance and of course Chitra's histrionics was in full focus. With some more editing the dance drama can be more impactful. Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma's music was another added attraction and melodious vocal of Suchetan Rangaswamy, Shivu and Kanchana Sri Ranjani contributed to the success of the programme.

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  • 01/31/16--05:36: Music and dance reviews...
  • Delightful ensemble
    On last Sunday morning at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, connoisseurs of music had a different type of experience, as they heard a big ensemble of "Pancha Vaadya Naada Vaibhava" where in everything was 'Pancha' or five. It consisted of five Angklungs, five string instruments (veena, gotu vadya, violin, edunga (of Uganda) and Krar (Ethiopia); songs in five languages from five states. It was followed by songs of five different countries - Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Bhutan.

    The concert opened with a composition (Panchamatanga, Dikshitar) on Ganapathi, customarily. It was followed by a popular pancharatna krithi 'Endaro Mahanabhavulu'. It is not a rare composition, but was different to hear from a eastern country instrument called 'Angklung'. Then 'Bho Shambo' in the raga Revathi. Five ragas consisting five swaras each.

    Five Indian percussion instruments - mridanga, tabla, khanjari, ghata and morching - were joined by five African drums: waisted drum, barrel drum, long drum, cylindrical drums and goblet drum. The percussion ensemble led by B N Ramesh - of the rhythms of five countries - with 'Pancha nade mukthaya' was an additional attraction.

    'Pancha Vaadya Naada Vaibhava' was conceived and successfully directed by Dr H S Anasuya Kulkarni assisted by B N Ramesh. Prof Puthuraya explained the significance of 'Pancha' (five), in detail. The programme, jointly organised by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Institute of Ethno Music, began with a grand strike of Gong (from Indonesia) by Dr Narayan Kulkarni. Kudos to Dr Anasuya Kulkarni, it was a delightful instrumental ensemble.

    Pleasing vocal
    Kametch (Kamas) is one of the evocative ragas and a favourite of both musicians and connoisseurs always. It belongs to the 28th mela and there are many popular compositions in this raga. Prof T S Rama, senior vocalist, rendered Kamatch with lilting sangathies, which stood out for the graceful cadences.

    Earlier, "Vandisuvudu Aadiyali" gave her a sprightly start and a infrequent kruthi of saint Tyagaraja "Evarikai" in a attractive raga Devamanohari. Hemavathi, the 58th mela, became popular during the post Trinity period. After a brief alapana, Rama chose "Ninnu Juchi", and rendered with nerval (Parama Dayalu Ninne) and swara, neatly. It was scholarly and melodious. She was well supported by Nalina Mohan on violin and B C. Manjunath on mridanga.

    A shaky start
    Kashi Vishalakshi, a senior veena player, is a disciple of C Krishnamurthy and a 'A-Top' grade artiste of Akashavani. In her current concert for the Kala Premi Foundation, she opened her programme with a fine swarajathi in the raga Kambodhi.

    Unusually it was a shaky start, but the familiar 'Gajanana Rahitam' was in a better shape. By the time she chose "Rama Ninnu" in Anandabhairavi, she settled down.

    The alap of Dharmavati and crisp thana were full of glowing phrases, the meaningful stasis in the delineation of the composition (Ninna Nambidino of Swaramurthy V N Rao) adding to its convincing imagery.

    She concluded with a fine thillana in the raga Kaanada. B C Manjunath and S Srishyla on mridanga and ghata respectively, accompanied with good understanding.

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  • 02/07/16--06:47: Swara Bhushini
  • Swara Bhushini

    B S Chandrakala was a violinist, vocalist, teacher, author and philanthropist. In her memory, Bangalore Gayana Samaja presents two awards every year. This year's award was presented to Geetha Ramanand (Swara Bhushini) and Dr G V Jaya Rajashekhar on Sunday.

    On the occasion, Geetha Ramanand gave a veena recital, accompanied by Adamya Ramanand on mridanga and G Omkar Rao on ghata. Geetha is a disciple of C Krishnamurthy and a postgraduate in music. She retired from the All India Radio as a producer after serving for several decades and is known as a senior veena player of "Mysore Baani" and a 'A-Top grade' artiste of Akashavani.

    Geetha opened her concert with a rare varna of Prof T R S Subramanyam, in the raga Behag. Arabhi kruthi "Sri Saraswathi" of Deekshitar is also a welcome change from the routine invocatory pieces. Then she sprang a surprise by selecting another infrequent raga. Megharanjini, the 'audava' raga belongs to Mayamalavagowla varga and is also known as a 'Rakti Raga' A known kruthi in this raga 'Venkateshwara Yadava' was evocative. So also raga 'Prabhu Priya' is not known much and she chose a composition of Veena Venkatagiriyappa in that raga. While Kaapi raga was rendered with good emotion, Shankarabharana was enjoyable. Durbari Kaanada thillana was also refreshing.

    Successful Sangeethotsava

    The Bharatiya Saamagaana Sabha had chosen "Samaya Raga Sangeethotsava" as its theme for the seventh Annual Music Festival.

    Apart from young musicians' concerts, Thyagaraja and Purandaradasa Aradhana were also held and Padma Vibhushan Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia received the Saamagana Mathanga National Award. Padma Shri Aruna Sairam, who sang here last week, is one of our popular vocalists and a crowd-puller.

    "Evaribodha," the familiar varna gave her a bright start. The "Teliyaleru Rama Bhakthi Margamu," the meaningful keerthana of saint Tyagaraja was successful in bringing out the "raga bhava" creditably. Raga and swara for "Subrmanyena Rakshito Hum" was brief but impactful. The next composition was different but interesting.

    Flute Venkatarama Iyer has composed different 'Sahitya' (lyrics) for the "Raghuvamsha Sudham Budhi," raga Kadankuthushala. While she presented Shubha Pantuvarali briefly, she chose Kambodhi for a detailed elaboration, which had their lively spell, throughout, and glowed with good raga bhava.

    As expected, she also sang a Abhang "Maje Maje Pandari" and pleased the gathering. The accompanists - Vittala Ramamurthy, Neyveli Skanda Subramanyan and S V Ramani on violin mridanga and ghata respectively - rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

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  • 02/14/16--05:20: Aradhana concerts
  • Aradhana concerts

    Many organisations conducted the Purandara and Tyagaraja Aradhana in the city last week. One such institution Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Sudhindranagara, celebrated the Sri Purandara Dasa Punya Dina Mahotsava for 11 days with both Karnatic and Hindustani music and discourses.

    Popular singer Sangeetha Katti is well known both in classical and light classical music. A disciple of Pandith Basavaraja Rajaguru, she is continuing her training under none other than Kishori Amonkar and is also a recipient of few awards, including Rajyotsava Award.

    In the Purandara music festival, Sangeetha Katti sang a number of Devaranamas of different Haridasas. "Nillabekaiah Krishnaiah" in the raga Kalavathi, followed by the ugabhoga "Malagi Paramadaradi". Another Ugabhoga, "Purva Janmada" and the pada "Yarene Maduvaru" - had their lively spell. "Enna Paliso Karunakara" and "Muruthiyanu Nilliso" - both are favourites of connoisseurs. With her rich voice and lively presentation, Sangeetha Katti pleased the connoisseurs. She also presented - Ksheerabdi Kannike, Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma, Karava Mugida and Raghavendra Gururaja etc., stressing the lyrical beauty also. Udayraj Karpoor and Madhusudhan Koppa on tabla, Panchakshari Hiremath on harmonium and Rajesh Padiyar on thaala accompanied the vocalist.

    Nadajyothi festival

    Nadajyothi Sri Tyagarajaswamy Bhajana Sabha has been conducting music festival from last 50 years, to mark the composers' day (Purandara Dasa and Trinity), in association with the Malleswaram Arya Vysya Sangha. This year, apart from music concerts, 'Goshti Gayana' of 'Pancharatna Krithis' and awards presentation were also held at Sri Kannikaparameswari Temple, Malleswara.

    Sikkil Gurucharan, who gave a vocal recital in the Naada Jyothi Festival, hails from a reputed musicians' family. He was initiated to music by Vaigal Gnana Skandan and continued with B Krishna Murthy, but was moulded by Sikkil Sisters. He has been awarded by the Music Academy, Chennai, as the 'Best Concert Award' during last December music season.

    Gurucharan's vocal recital took off on a bright note. He started with a familiar varna - 'Evari Bodha' - in style. 'Intaka Nanenda' was rendered with vintage flavour. The brief alapana of Kaanada stood out for its sweet 'raga bhava'. When listeners were anticipating a familiar composition, he chose "Mamava Sada Jananee", a fine composition of Swati Tirunal. The nerval and swara were complementary to the composition 'Palayamam'. So also Kalyani kruthi of Swathi Tirunal pulsated with its innate raga bhava. H K Venkatram on violin, responded well and shared the honours with K U Jayachandra Rao on mridanga and Sukanya Ramgopal on ghata.

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  • 02/21/16--05:58: Spring music festival
  • Spring music festival

    In the annual Spring Music Festival, Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira presented the "Sangeetha Vedanta Dhureena" award (purse of Rs one lakh) to well known vocalist Sanjay Subrahmanyan, last week.

    Shanmukha and Haripriya, who are better known as Priya Sisters, opened their concert here with a well knit varna of Mysore Sadashiva Rao. Their alap and nerval for "Chintayamam" was tidy and wholesome, the kriti enriched with some sprightly swara phrases. Some of the compositions like - Sarasa Samadana, Swaminatha Paripalaya, Marugelara - brought nostalgic memories, in old timers. Raga Bindumalini belongs to Chakravaka (16th mela) varga.

    The raga became popular through the Tyagaraja kruthi "Entamuddo". Priya Sisters chose Bindumalini and presented evocatively, though elder sister Shanmukha Priya, was faltering and fell short in meeting the requirements.

    Mysore Srikanth on violin, Pathri Satish Kumar on mridanga and B S Purushottam on Khanjari - gave good support on their respective instruments.

    Vocal duet

    Ranjani and Gayathri, who gave a vocal duet in the Spring Music Festival, are most sought after musicians these days and they proved once again that they are crowd-pullers also. The weighty alap of Kambodhi was enough to reveal their sensitive touch and musical erudition. Through this raga and composition, the sisters paid homage to Papanasham Shivan, on the occasion of his 125th jayanthi.

    It was followed by a small but fine keertana of Tyagaraja "Yeti Yochanalu" in the raga Kiranavali. They crowned the concert with an attractive Dwiraga Pallavi. Kannada and Kaanada flowed gracefully with an intelligent graha-bheda also. With ragamalika swara, the Pallavi was a real treat.

    H N Bhaskar on violin proved as a worthy accompanist, while the percussionist Sai Kumar and G S Ramanujam supported with good understanding.

    Devotional compositions

    Sadguru Sri Thyagabrahma Aradhana Kainkarya Trust presented a special dance programme called "Bhadrachala Ramadas Charitramu". Bhadrachala Ramadas, the great composer of devotional songs in Telugu, lived in the 17th century. His real name is Kancherla Gopanna Garu and he was appointed as the tahsildar of Bhadrachalam taluk.

    It is believed that Saint Kabir Das appeared to him in dream and gave him the 'Upadesha' of Taraka mantra and his devotion towards Rama increased and he started composing beautiful songs in praise of Lord Rama. People started calling him Ramadasa. Rama Dasa used to celebrate Ramotsava every year, with great devotion and enthusiasm. He renovated the Sri Rama Temple in Bhadrachalam, using the revenue of the State. For the offence, he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment and kept in a cell in the Golconda fortress. It is said the Lord Rama and Lakshmana appeared before the King and paid the entire amount owed by Ramadas to the ruler and got Ramdas released. The King, it seems realised his mistake and apologised. Ramadas' compositions have a wide appeal and are sung in music concerts and bhajana parties.

    In the current programme, the students of Samudyatha Prabhat, Kalasindhu and Narthana Keerthana presented 10 songs of Bhadrachala Ramadas. Dasharatha Rama Govinda, Diname Sudimanu Ra, Rama Jogi, Charanamule etc. Some of them like "Paluke Bangara" are already popular in both dance and music.

    Though Ramdas' compositions are soul stirring, it is not easy to perform whole programme with them. Some episodes like Gajendra Moksha, Ahalya Moksha are in the songs. There is no much scope for 'Sanchari' and only 'Bhakthi rasa' flows throughout. Still young students performed with ease and confidence under the direction of Shakunthala Prabhat, Purnima Gururaj and Dr Soundarya Srivathsa.

    Prabhat Shakunthala and Soundarya Srivatsa (Natuvanga), Vasudha Balakrishna (vocal), S V Balakrishna on Mridanga and Raghunandan on flute - supported the dancers.

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  • 02/28/16--05:36: Graceful flute
  • Graceful fluteThere are many talented flautists in Karnataka, now. One among them N Rajkamal, young flautist from Bengaluru, is a disciple of S A Sashidhar and N Ramani and is receiving guidance from Neela Ramgopal also. He is a recipient of prize and awards from Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira and few other organisations.

    Rajkamal has a reputation for consistency and 'Marivere," the familiar composition in Shanmukhapriya, gave him a sound beginning, in the first half of the concert. Jhenkaradhwani is not a too familiar raga and there are not many compositions in that raga. It is the 19 mela and is known more through the Tyagaraja composition "Phanipatisayi," which Rajkamal played neatly. Mohana acquired a special delight at the improvisational flashes. In the composition "Kadambari Priyayai" Muthuswami Dikshitar says - "I offer my respects again and again to Goddess Meenakshi …. She inspires people to follow righteous path". Popular devotional "Govarldhana Gireesham" was also pleasing. But a thillana would have been a fitting finale to the instrumental concert. It was melodious and lively. Mathur Srinidhi on violin, Arjun Kumar on mridanga and Ranganath Chakravarthi on ghata - accompanied well.


    Melodious duet
    The melodic grace that is the forte of duets, is unmistakable in the singing of Ashok and Hariharan, popularly known as "Bangalore Brothers". The very opening piece "Karunajudu Ninnu" of Syama Sastry, caught the attention of the connoisseurs. 'Thulasamma' in Devagandhari was another welcome change from the routine compositions. Dharmavathi emerged gracefully with all the salient 'sangathies'. Notuswara (Anjaneyam - Shankarabharana) of Dikshitar - was another refreshing piece. Few Kannada compositions like - Echarike (Purandara Dasaru), Ramanamava Nudi Nudi (Naadanama Kriye) and Shiriye (Jinjoti) - stressing lyrical beauty pleased the gathering. Bangalore Brothers' career is worth watching. Aditya M P, Adamya R and Chidananda supported on violin, mridanga and morching respectively.


    Dancers from ChintamaniThere was a drama and a dance recital last week at the Nayana Auditorium under the joint auspices of the Samana Manaskaru and the Hosabaru Ranga Thanda. Two significant books - Padma Vibhushana D K Pattammal by Dr S C Sharma and Pathithoddharaka Basaveshwara by Prof M S Nagaraj - were released on the occasion. It was followed by a dance recital by the students of Nupura Nritya Academy of Chintamani. They opened the programme with "Gajavadana Beduve" customarily. They performed the well known sloka "Mudakarathnam" with ease and confidence. "Jagadoddarana" is a most sought after devaranama among all the dancers. In the current programme they performed it, dramatizing with good abhinaya. Standing on the brass plate they performed the "Marakathamani," with a number of permutation and combinations. No doubt there is scope to improve and with some more training and experience the performance can become better impactful. T G Narasimha Murthy, Registrar of the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy who is going to retire on Tuesday (March 1), was felicitated on the occasion.


    Krishna Kala KendraThe Krishna Kala Kendra presented two music concerts last week, at the Sri Purandara Mantapa, Vasanthapura.Shubha Santosh is a disciple of Sudha Vadiraj and being guided by H S Sudhindra also. She has completed Vidwath examination and is studying for M (Mus) final year of the Bangalore University. She has been awarded prizes by the prestigious organisations like Bangalore Gayana Samaja and Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai.In the divine atmosphere of the Purandara Mantapa, Shubha's veena recital blossomed like a sacred flower. The Bhegade varna "Sachidanand," gave Shubha a sound beginning. With the invocatory piece "Gajavadana" in Hamsadhwani, the 'Rama ninnu' of Veena Seshanna and a infrequent raga Prabhupriya - were also welcomed by the connoisseurs. Purvi Kalyani was rendered with good feeling. The concluding piece was the familiar thillana in the raga Behag. It was tuneful with lively 'meetu' and striking presentation. Adamya R and B S Raghunandan on mridanga and ghata, combined effectively to add to the enjoyment.


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  • 03/06/16--06:41: In footsteps of MS
  • The Ramakrishna Bhajana Sabha Trust is conducting (from February 27 to March 12th) the annual Kalotsava, with music and dance programmes, apart from vedic rituals. Their efforts to provide sufficient opportunities for young artistes was appreciated by all.

    S Aishwarya, is the great granddaughter of Dr M S Subbalakshmi, the legendary musician. She was initiated to music by her grand mother Radha Viswanathan and is continuing her training under Jambu Kannan. She is also learning Hindustani music and a student of final year BA.

    Aishwarya made an impressive beginning with "Viriboni", the evergreen varna. The Bhairavi varna in different speeds helped her to bring a musical atmosphere in the Odukathur Mutt Hall. After "Shambho Mahadeva Sharanam" she elaborated raga Kaapi. Today's trend of the youngsters is only Drutha kaala (speed)! But Aishwarya began the swara for "Inta Soukhya" in a good vilamba kaala, and rendered several aavarthas in that before taking the druta kaala swara. "Ninuvina Naamadendu" (Navarasa Kannada) had vintage flavour. Freshening up with the strains of a wholesome Kalyani, she chose "Bhajare Recitta" a magnificent composition. Dikshitar says in this composition - "Oh mind! Worship Goddess Balambika, the wish yielding creeper (Kalpalatika) to her devotees."

    Aishwarya justified her selection for the concert with all her fervour. Incidentally R K Sriram Kumar, who has also accompanied MS several times, supported the young vocalist and added pep to the concert through his judicious play on violin. So also H S Sudhindra supported on mridanga with aplomb and Phanindra Bhaskara accompanied on Ghata.

    Aishwarya, in the second half of the concert, presented a number of compositions popularised by M S Subbalakshmi, which brought nostalgic memories, in the connoisseurs. For instance "Yaduvamsha Kulatilaka" of DVG, "Dhano Dhana' in Bengali, devarnama "Jagadoddarana," a few Tamil songs and concluded with "Maitrim Bhajata". It was good music testifying to good grounding and sincere application. She is bound to make a mark in Karnatic music.

    Sriranjani Santhanagopalan, who gave a vocal concert in the Kalotsava on Wednesday, is the daughter and disciple of Neyveli Santhanagopalan, a senior musician. She has already performed in leading sabhas and gradually trying to establish herself.

    Sri Ranjini was well supported by Vittal Rangan on violin, K U Jayachandra Rao on mridanga and Phanindra N on ghata. During the initial stage she rendered "Deva Deva Kalayami" with Mayamalavagaula ragalapana and nerval (Jatarupanibhacela) and well knit swara. A lyric of Gopalakrishna Bharathi, a devaranama of Purandara Dasa "Sharade" and "Ma Ramanan" - were sung neatly. Then it was time for the main raga of the evening. It was ever popular Mohana, the evocative raga, which showed her in her elements. The Keerthana "Nanupalimpa" is one of the popular compositions of Saint Tyagaraja, which stood out for its range and improvisation. It was a reassuring concert and the well known devotional "Chandrachuda Shiva" was also pleasing.

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  • 03/13/16--07:14: Beautiful temple dance
  • Smt Narmada (1942-2008) was a great dance teacher, choreographer and also a great human being. In her memory, Kala Sindhu organises a dance programme called Nirantara Narmada Festival every year.

    This time, Usha Datar gave a dance recital on Friday at the JSS auditorium. Datar, a senior dancer, is a practitioner of several styles of dance and has trained a number of students in the Bangalore University.

    She has performed on many prestigious platforms and is the recipient of several awards also.

    Datar chose a special item as a tribute to Smt Narmada. She opened the programme with temple dance, which she has learnt from none other than Nataraja Ramakrishna. The very entry was interesting and attractive. Entering with 'Mahadwara' she performed 'Pooja Vidhi' and 'Kelike' and Asta Dikpalaka Pooja, customarily. A particular raga and tala for every side and presented colourfully with abandon.

    In the second half, Datar chose "Bhama Kalapam", which is distinct to Kuchipuudi.

    The chaste idiom, impactful abhinaya, a variety of footwork-movements; "Jade" and Mangala Sutra, "Patra Lekhana" - the salient features of "Bhama Kalapam" - were beautifully presented. But it was over-theatrical at times which requires greater restraint. It is amazing to see Usha Datar, just 69 years young performing with ease, perfect foot work and graceful Abhinaya.

    From the wings, a band of professional artistes gave her good support: Karteek Datar - Natuvanga, Bharati Venugopal - vocal, Janardhan - mridanga and Vivek Krishna - flute.

    Yuva Nrityotsava
    The Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy conducts a "Yuva Nrityothsava" every year in memory of Kittappa Pillai, doyen and a descendant of the legendary Tanjore Quartet. He has trained a good band of dancers including few celebrities like Dr Vyjayanthimala Bali, Hemamalini, Sudha Rani and our own Narmada, Asha and Revathi and Padmini Rao. It is just approporiate to conduct a dance festival in his memory and encourage young dancers.

    Sparsha Shenoy, who gave the inaugural dance recital, is a postgraduate in Bharathanatya and a disciple of Dr Vasundhara Doreswamy. She is a CCRT scholarship holder and has won a few prizes like "Kishora Pratibhe".

    Shenoy opened her programme with Mela Prapthi, customarily. The "Mohamana" - a varna of Ponnaiah Pillai in the raga Bhairavi was the piece de resistance of her programme. It was evident that she is firm in her laya and has grasped the basics well.

    With her graceful abhinaya and dramatising elements, the devaranama (Aadahodalle Makkalu) was also well received.

    Dr Vasundara Doreswamy on Natuvanga, Vasudha Balakrishna on vocal, Hanumantha Raju on mridanga and K S Ganesh on flute - supported the young dancer.

    Right step forward

    The other dancer who performed in 'Yuva Nrityothsava' is Supraja, a disciple of Prof M R Krishnamurthy of Kalakshithi. She has passed Vidwath examination and is a BEstudent.

    Supraja chose a alaripu in Thisra Jathi followed by a keerthana "Sri Valli Devasenapathe". Of course, the main item was the swarajathi varna of Ponnaiah Pillai in the raga Anandabhairavi. The Nayika bhava came alive and registered well with the expectant viewers.

    The concluding pharaz thillana of Pattanam Subramanya Iyer was crisp and evocative. Natuvanga by Sumana Nagesh, vocal by Bharathi Venugopal, mridanga by R Ramesh and flute by Mahesh Swamy - were supportive throughout the recital.

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  • 03/20/16--07:51: Melodious lyrics
  • Melodious lyrics

    Dr Pu ThiNa Trust organised a vocal concert to commemorate the 110th birth anniversary of the poet.

    P T Narasimhachar is known for his operas which also contain beautiful songs. In most of the cases the poet himself has composed music and more than that there is inherent music in his lyrics. While some of them are pure classicals, few of them suite group music and some others are of folk style. Thus, it is always a pleasure to sing Narasimhachar's lyrics, of course it also requires a good knowledge of music.

    Seasoned singer Vani Satish presented a number of songs, chosen from different operas of Narasimhachar. Vani opened her programme with the Nandi Padya 'Gokula Nirgama', followed by the "Aaduba Mudaveeda Ba" in the raga Natakuranji. "Baruthihane Node Vaarija Lochana" (Kaanada) "Vasanthi Madhavi" (Vasanthi), Thugiri Raghu Ramana (Kaapi) etc were sung neatly.

    Narasimhachar has coined few new ragas like Vaasanthi, Sanjeevini, Harini etc. One such raga Yaman Behag was selected by Vani for the song "Bellaga Nammee Deevige" (from "Deepa Lakshmi").

    Apart from this Pu Thi Na brought a new flavour to few ragas like Kedara Gowla, Thodi. For instance in "Daasharathi Mahaneeya" (Sri Rama Pattabhisheka) we can savour Kedaragowla raga with a refreshingly new flavour. Vani song ragalapana and swara briefly, for few (Kaanada, Mukhari) of them. Without over doing anything raga and swara were complementary to the lyrics.

    With her melodious voice Vani's presentation was impactful and earned the appreciation of the connoisseurs. Vittal Rangan on violin and Tumkur Ravishankar on bridanga suited the needs of the occasion.

    The Trust must conduct such programmes all over the state at least in the district headquarters, as a first step.

    Beautiful Bhavayami

    The Natyaniketan presented a dance drama "Bhavayami Raghu-Ramam" under the "Friday Cultural Evening programme".

    The Natya Niketan is training youngsters from last 4 decades in Bharatantya, under the direction of Revathi Narasimhan. She is a veteran artiste, teacher and choreographer, who has more than 50 Ranga praveshas to her credit. Her choreographed "Bhavayami Raghuramam" is a popular dance drama, which has seen 95 shows, so far. The composition of Swathi Thirunal in ragamalike, also has got well knit chitte swara, The story of Ramayana unfolded itself with several well known events, like Sita Kalyana, Kaike, Paduka, Shurpanaki, Mareecha, Seethapaharana and ultimately, the Rama Pattabisheka (coronation). The dancers portrayed more than one character, changing the roles in quick succession.

    Senior students performed with stylised movements and good expressions. Revathi has fielded a well- trained team, who performed gracefully without letting the tempo. Bhanupriya, Shreya Balaji, Swathi Srinivasan, Tejashri S, Devika Paramesh, Srilatha Y G and Tejaswini HY performed gracefully and the "Bhavayami" Keertana blossomed into a beautiful dance drama.

    From the wings, Balasubramanya Sharma (vocal), Revathi Narasimhan (Natuvanga), Gurumurthy (mridanga), Prasanna Kumar (rhythm pad), Jayaram (flute) and Dayakar (violin) - gave inspiring support.

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  • 03/27/16--07:33: Graceful dance
  • Graceful dance

    Shubha K and Ishwarya Tholapadi gave a Bharathanatya recital at the Yavanika, for the EFCEP.

    Shubha is a software engineer and Ishwarya is an engineering student and both are students of Dristi and have successfully completed the Rangapravesha under the direction of Anuradha Vikrant.

    Opening with a Pushpanjali customarily, they continued with a composition on Vinayaka. The Thirupougal in the raga Shanmukhapriya was just passable and they moved to the main piece of the day. "Swamiyai Alai Tedi Va" in ragamalika provided ample scope for the dancers to exhibit their talent. It had a natural grace and both of them negotiated the rhythms neatly and danced with ease and assurance. For Abhinaya, while Shubha chose a pada (Chudare), Ishwarya's choice was a Hindi bhajan (Chaliye). The thillana in Rathipathipriya was lively and concluded with the "Indina Dinave Shubhadinavu".

    Both Shubha and Ishwarya are endowed with good stage presence and can bring more depth to their performance with some more higher training and stage experience.

    Guru Anuradha Vikrant herself wielded the cymbals competently conducting the Natuvanga, while Vasudha Balakrishna gave vocal support and Srihari and Narasimha Murthy were incharge of Mridanga and Flute, respectively.

    Spectacular show

    The "Art of Living" International Centre conducted a rare music programme last week. To mark the 35 years of The Art of Living, an event called Naadotsava was held with 1,700 Veena players from 5 different states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka). Veena maestros and students, from 10 years to 80 years, performed a dozen compositions of different composers in attractive ragas.

    Familiar varna "Ninnukori" gave the ensemble a bright start. They saluted to the invocatory God through "Mahaganapathim" of Dikshitar. It was followed by "Bantu reethi" in that joyful raga Hamsanaada and 'Brochevaraevarura'. "Endaro Mahanubhavalu" is the most popular keerthana among all the Pancharatna keerthanas. In this beautiful kruthi Saint Tyagaraja says - "I salute every one of the myriads of Savants in all humility. I salute those noble men who treasure in their lotus hearts the beautiful form of Lord, rivalling the splendour of the moon and who, by constant 'Darshana' of that form enjoy supreme Bliss."

    The Himagiri Tanaya, Samaja Varagamana, Dhanasri thillana, a devaranama (Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma) and concluded with a devotional of Swamijee. Infact H H Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji also joined the team and played on Veena. A number of percussion instruments accompanied to bring a good musical effect. Indeed it was a spectacular show and a unique experience.

    Educative session

    The Karnataka Nrithyakala Parishath organised the "Bharathamuni Aradhanotsava" last week.

    The "Bharatha Bhaavana" by young dancers - Dr Deeksha Shastry and Dr Nayana Somayaji gave a colourful beginning to the programme. Pushpanjali with syllable from Natya Sastra and "Karna Prasthara" - gave the right tone and evoked the right atmosphere for the event. "Shivastaka" by Arun Srinivasan was also pleasing.

    A noteworthy feature of the programme was a colloquium on "Dance, Drama, Music and Natyasastra - an insight with relevance to the modern times." Scholars Gopalakrishna Nayari and Subbaraya Bhat (Theatre), Uma Kumar (Music) presented their views.

    Dr Karuna Vijayendra spoke on the application of Kaishiki Vruthi with useful slide shows (photo). Dr Vasanth Kiran demonstrated in Kuchipudi style Satyabhama and Hiranya Kashipu episodes, impactfully to stress his points. Prof Choodamani Nandagopal, senior Historian, also took part in the discussion as a guest and Pulikeshi Kasturi acted as the co-ordinator.

    Happy to note that it was not just "another programme", but a informative and educative session.

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  • 04/03/16--06:17: Nritya Namana
  • Nritya Namana

    Padmini Ramachandran (1944-2016) was a reputed dance performer, teacher and choreographer. Her students paid rich tributes to her through "Nritya Namana" under the aegis of Ananya, last week. They opened the programme with a Pushpanjali customarily, followed by a Ganesha Stuthi (Sri Maha Ganapathim Bhaje) in the raga Attana.

    Students from 15 to 40 years performed different items like Kruthi, Devaranama, Thillana, etc. "Navarasa" in the "Jaganmohana" - is one of the popular items, choreographed by Padmini Ramachandran. She had selected different episodes from Purana, to narrate different "Rasas," like Madurai Meenakshi for "Shringara" and Neelakanta for "Bheebathsa." While Shilpa Nanjappa chose "Bagilanu Theredu", the "Kanjadalaya Takshee" was selected by the duo Keerthana Ravi and Shruti Gopal. The programme concluded with a thillana by Keerthi Ramgopal in the raga Brindavani. It was proof of their good training they have received from Padmini Ramachandran.


    Regular audience of the MES Kalavedi had a different experience on Saturday, when they heard Trimukhi, the fusion ensemble.

    With Shadrach Saloman on keyboards, Sameer Rao on Bansuri, Adarsh Shenoy on tabala and Karthik Mani on drums and led by R A Ramamani, the team presented Carnatic, Hindustani, western, folk and even Turkish music!

    Ramamani opened the programme with "Mahaganapathim" with brief swara. Based on Kharaharapriya and its "Janya" ragas, "The Heart Sky" started with Khanda chapu tala. A brief alap by Ramamani with her high pitched voice and the improvisation on Bansuri - was another attraction of the item. Though the next composition started with "Bhogindra Shayanam" (Swathi Tirunal), was gradually changed to an attractive jazz tune.

    In the next item Karthik Mani on Konakol in Mishra Nade and Adarsh Shenoy on tabala in Khanda Nade - with audience participation, was another exhilarating experience. Rag Thodi of Carnatic music took different colour and flavour in Fidaida! In the song "Lucky Day" Ramamani sang Thana in 3 speeds and concluded with a brisk "Thani" of the percussionists. They also presented "Bombeyaatavayya" in Malayamaarutha and the familiar "Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma." It was a different experience and a welcome change from the routine concerts.

    Tributes to Haridasas

    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat presented a vocal concert, exclusively of Haridasa compositions. The vocalist T S Rama is a familiar artiste to music lovers of Bengaluru. She holds a double post graduate (in both Music and History) degrees and a "A-Top" grade artiste of Akashavani. A recipient of award from the Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy, Rama is now serving the music Department of the Jain College.

    In the current concert Rama saluted to the invocatory God through a composition of Vyasa Rayaru, followed by a devaranama (Bhaktajana Paripalaya) of Vijayadasaru. After a ugabhoga (Deena Nanu Samastha Lokake) the Pada "Yena Bedali Ninna Balige Bandu" was also pleasing.

    Brief introduction of Haridasas before every composition was informative and useful. Shubha Pantuvarali alapana and swara prasthara for "Aparadha Enisadale Kayabeko" (Jagannatha Dasaru) were complimentary to the raga. It was proof of Rama's expertise and talent and a good tribute to Haridasas of Karnataka. She also sang compositions of Prasanna Venkata Dasaru, Hellavanakatte Bheemavva and of course of Purandara Dasa. S Yashasvi, N Vasudeva and B Bhagyalakshmi gave good support on violin, mridanga and morching, respectively.

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  • 04/10/16--05:58: Music season is here again
  • Music season is here again

    Yes! "Ramotsava' the music season has come back again. Ramotsava Pandals have come up all over Bengaluru and Rama Mandalies are vying with each other to conduct the cultural festival as many days as possible. Though Harikatha, gamaka, dance and even dramas are also held, it is "Sangeetha Kacheri" that are held in big numbers. Though many organisations commence Ramotsava from Rama Navami day (it is 15th of April, this year), some of them start from Yugadi itself, which is an old custom and is called "Garbha Navami."

    Bengaluru's most reputed Ramotsava organisation "Sree Rama Seva Mandali" is holding the "Ramanavami National Music Festival" at Old Fort High School Grounds, which started on the Ugadi day will continue till 8th of May. The special Pandal is not only spacious but also beautiful and comfortable. Musicians feel proud and consider it a privilege to perform here and for connoisseurs it is a pleasure to attend programmes in the Mandali.

    It was a grand opening for the 78th year Ramanavami Music Festival through a fine vocal concert of Bombay Jayashree Ramanath, on Friday. After the invocatory shloka on Ganesha, "Sri Saraswathi" gave a bright start to the concert. Immediately, "Rama Ninnu Nammi Na" was also reposeful. Simhendramadhyama showed her prowess and competence. In between a few Kannada devaranamas like - Sakalagrahabala Neene and Smarane Onde Saalade - also pleased the gathering. Her methodical approach to the raga with an aesthetic touch brought a composite picture of Kambodhi. Rendering of the celebrated kruthi "O Ranga Shayee" was dignified. Jayashree's vocal recital always offers something to cogitate upon. Her alap and thana of Bridavani for the pallavi was a treat, meandering over the pivotal swaras alluringly.

    Embar Kannan on violin follow up - especially of raga and swara was reposeful and Palladam Ravi on mridanga and B S Purushotham on khanjari, accompanied with a good understanding.

    Krishna Parijatha

    The story of "Sri Krishna Parijatham" is quiet popular in the Kuchipudi dance. But an attempt was made last week, to present it in the Bharathanatya style by the students of Natya Niketan.

    Once Narada gave a Parijatha flower to Lord Krishna and asked him to present to his beloved person. Krishna presented it to Rukmini and Satyabhama became angry and demands to bring the Parijatha tree itself for her! But the tree though planted at Satyabhama's house, the flowers used to fall on the neighbour's (Rukmini's) house! In the Krishna-Thulabhara though Bhama offers all her jewels, it is by a single 'Tulasi dala' (leaf), Rukmini conquers, which proves the devotion of Rukmini and Satyabhama surrenders to Lord. Talented musician D S Srivatsa has brought it to Kannada successfully.

    The popular episode was performed in Bharathanatya style by Vasan Sisters - Kirtana and Karuna, in 6 episodes. Pride of Satyabhama, teasing and quarrel, surrender to 'Bhakthi' - everything was performed by the sisters gracefully. They danced with ease, confidence and pleasing Abhinaya. No doubt, they have a bright future in the years to come.

    While Guru Revathi Narasimhan conducted the natuvanga inspiringly, Srivathsa's music was an added attraction. Gurumurthy, Vivek Krishna, Dr Nataraja Murthy and Prasanna Kumar gave good support on mridanga, flute, violin and rhythm pad, respectively.

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  • 04/17/16--07:17: Music reviews
  • Ramotsava ConcertsRamotsava is being celebrated all over the city by many organisations. Among them the Vyalikaval Extension Association is celebrating 'Suvarna Mahotsava' (Golden Jubilee) with a month-long cultural festival.

    There was a special programme on Thursday, in collaboration with the Academy of Music to felicitate Dr M Venkatesh Kumar, who received the 'Padmashri' just the previous day from the President of India. Venkatesh Kumar, leading exponent of Hindustani music opened his concert with Marva, which set the tone for a steady pace, his melodious voice giving the raga a touch of class. Touching the pivotal swaras he gradually reached the Tharashadja and the raga bristled with lively phrases. Comparatively Koushiki Kaanada was brief, but, steered the concert to a sparkling course.

    Three Kannada devotionals - a Vachana of Basavanna (Vaara Vendariye), a Purandara Dasa devaranama (Sharanu Sakaloddara) and a piece on Anjaneya (Bhajare Hanumantha) - brimming with 'Bhava', also pleased the gathering. Seasoned instrumentalists Dr Udayaraj Karpur on tabla and Dr Ravindra Katoti on harmonium, gave good support.

    Sri Rama baktha sabha
    Sri Rama Bhaktha Sabha, Ramamohanapoura, founded by compounder C V Subba Rao has a rare record of celebrating Ramotsava from last 110 years. This year the Sabha had organised Harikatha, discourse, bhajan, yakshagana and puppet shows, apart from music concerts, during the 9-day Ramotsava at the Sri Eswara Seva Mandali.

    Students of Swamy Vivekananda Educational Society presented a puppet show on Wednesday. They have been trained by Ranganatha Rao, a national award winner and have presented 275 shows of "Hanumad Vilasa" so far, in not only Karnataka but also in Andhra and Goa. The original story of Hanumadvilasa is from Thippannarya and adopted to puppetry by Ranganatha Rao.

    The story of 'Sundara Kaanda' is well known and the Anjaneya's 'Mahima' attracts everyone and is a favourite story of children. The show opened with a Ganesha stuthi customarily and 'Sutradhara' was successful in connecting different roles and episodes. "Samudra Langhana," meeting with Seetha Devi and presentation of chudamani, Anjaneya's presence in Ravana's Asthana etc. - attracted the gathering. It is significant that the whole show was managed by 7 students, with ease and confidence.

    Apart from vocal, harmonium and tabla were used for background effect. But the music part needs to be improved for better impact and the episode needs some more editing; the shouting of 'Raakshasa' was too loud and not aesthetic. Still it was a good effort by young students and deserves all encouragement.

    Malleswaram Rama Mandira Another popular place of Bengaluru is Sri Rama Mandira, popularly known as Malleswaram Sri Rama Mandira, which is 94 years old. Music (vocal, veena, flute, solo violin, percussion ensemble), harikatha, bhajans will be held here till April 30 to mark Rama Navami.

    Vinay Sharva, a young vocalist from Bengaluru is not a stranger to music connoisseurs. A student of S Shankar, senior musician, Shrava has been guided by Nedanuri Krishnamurthy also. In the current concert, B Raghuram, Manjunath B C and Sathavalli Bharadwaja accompanied on violin, mridanga and morching, respectively.

    After presenting a number of fine compositions in attractive ragas, Vinay Sharva chose "Sri Janakee Pathe" for a detailed airing. With his good voice, ragalapana was pleasing with enlivening swaraprasthara, sans 'Nerval'. 'Bhogendra Shayanam' anchored well to the lilting gait to leave a lingering effect. 'Shrunga Puradheesha' with a prelude of a shloka, was followed by few tuneful devotionals like Muddugari Yashoda, Pathitahaara etc. Vinay Sharva has a bright future in the years to come.


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  • 04/24/16--06:00: Music and dance reviews
  • Traditional Navasandhi

    Anuradha Vikranth, director of Drishti School of Dance, gave an interesting dance recital on Navasandhi. Compositions on eight directions, translated by Dwaraki Krishnaswamy - suited the occasion. On each direction concerned Devatha, Vaahana, Aayudha, etc, were in the lyrics and she danced to the background of Nagaswara, Mantra, apart from vocal. No doubt it is a lengthy item ideal to perform in a temple and proved that she had done a good home work. She was supported by a band of musicians - both vocalists and instrumentalists. Earlier, Dr Pappu Venugopala Rao, veteran scholar, was felicitated with "Ganda Panderam."

    Samanvay Arts Festival
    Sri Raja Rajeshwari Kalaniketan conducted a two-day Samanvay Arts Festival called "Naada Nrithya Vaibhoga." Music and dance were part of the temple rituals from ancient times. Dr Veena Murthy, a senior choreographer and teacher, has conceptualised this temple dance rituals and brought it on the stage with music, dance, pravachana and rituals, in the devine atmosphere of the Sri Venugopalakrishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram.

    On Saturday, Dr Suma Sudhindra, popular veena player, opened her veena concert with a varna in the raga Kalyani. Though it is a familiar varna, she made it interesting by presenting it in different speeds. Then she chose Thodi raga, as the main item of the evening. It bristled in the familiar mode and the thana in different ragas (Varamu, Amrithavarshini and Revathi) lent a well reasoned imagery to the alapana. Two well-known compositions that followed - a devaranama (Krishna Nee Begane Baro) and a thillana (Dhanashri) - were also pleasing. Ganesh Kumar on violin, B C Manjunath on mridanga and Narayana Murthy on ghata - accompanied with good understanding.

    Vocal duet in Ramotsava

    Sri Rama Seva Mandali is conducting Ramotsava at the Masti Ranga Mandira, Shankarapura, from last 56 years. This year the Mandali had organised dance, harikatha, instrumental ensemble, sugama sangeetha, discourse, astaavadhana, apart from vocal music, during the ten-day festival.

    Sri Ram Prasad and Ram Kumar, who gave a vocal duet in the Mandali on Thursday, are well-known as Malladi Brothers. Their concert for lovers of music, is always a good treat. Especially their repertoire of Tyagaraja, Bhadrachala Ramadas and Annamacharya - are well known and connoisseurs eagerly look forward for rare and less known compositions in their programmes!

    So also, in the current concert, the Brothers chose a number of meaningful Keerthanas of Saint Tyagaraja. For instance we can take "Ramabhi Rama." In the composition the composer says - "Enchanting Rama! Can you not converse with me with warmth and affection for ever?" The alapana of Dhanyasi stood out for its classicism and "ragabhava." With nerval (Sangitamu Baadumamnu Saami Tyagarajunito) and Swara Prasthara, it became "wholesome and evocative." Oka Maata Oka Baanamu" in Hari Kambodhi and "Munduvenaka" were rendered in quick succession.

    Another fine composition "Ne Pogada Unte" was neatly executed, with nerval (Neerajanayana Sri Tyagarajanutha) and swara prasthara. Nalina Mohan, B C Manjunath and Guru Prasanna accompanied with aplomb on violin, mridanga and khanjari, respectively.

    Beautiful Mohiniattamm

    Gopika Varma, internationally acclaimed dancer and recipient of "Nritya Choodamani" title, gave a beautiful mohiniattam recital. She opened her programme with Ahalya, based on Rabindranath Tagore's story. The second one was on Yashoda and Krishna. With natural grace she danced through with good foot work and beautiful expression, exclusive to Mohiniattam.

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  • 05/01/16--06:55: Music and dance reviews.
  • Seshadripuram Samithi
    Rama Navami concerts continued in the second week and connoisseurs are enjoying the music all over the city.
    Sree Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi is conducting the 68th year of Sree Rama Navami Music Festival with both Karnatic and Hindustani vocal, Nagaswara, violin solo, veena, flute and harikatha recitals at the Rashtrakavi Kuvempuu Rangamandira, Seshadripuram College premises.
    In the 20-day music festival, the Samithi has provided a number of opportunities for young and upcoming artistes also, to exhibit their talent.
    Young vocalist Bharat Sundar, who gave a vocal recital here on Tuesday, has studied under a few musicians and is continuing with P S Narayanaswamy. He caught the attention of the music connoisseurs when he won the "Jaya TV Carnatic Music Idol Concert" in 2010. He is equally good in rendering light music and film songs and is good at acting too. With his robust, energetic singing, Bharat Sundar embellished "Nijadasa Varada" neatly with nerval (Bhujagadipa Shayana Bhumija Ramana). He reached the thara panchama easily and the swara prasthara was intelligently woven. Swara for "Sarasa Saamadana" was also quite interesting and rendered "Seetamma Mayamma" in the "Drutha Kaala." His career is worth watching. Delhi Sai Ram on mridanga was too loud at times, though fulfilled the needs of the occasion. L Ramakrishnan and S Krishna were in charge of violin and ghata, respectively.


    Vani Kala Kendra
    Sri Vani Kala Kendra is another important centre of Ramotsava catering to the needs of the music lovers of Bengaluru West (Basaveshwaranagara).
    In the month-long festival, another highlight is performances by a number of budding artistes - both music and dance. In the open air theatre, people enjoyed a variety of programmes like Yakshagana, drama and dance, apart from music. One of our vocalists who is becoming popular and reliable is Pattabhiram Pandith. In his current concert for Vani Kala Kendra, Pandith opened with "Sarasuda" the familiar varna, briskly. "Raga Sudharasa" is another evocative kruthi. "Entarani Thana" is a composition which was very familiar during the yester years. In this keertana, Saint Tyagaraja says - "Lord! come what may. I will never stray from your proximity. Is not Tyagaraja enjoying the bliss of singing your glory and divine attributes elaborated in the Vedas and other sacred lore?"
    A brief alapana of Harikambodhi and nerval (Seshuda Sivaniki Bhushudu Lakshmana) - was proof of his good imagination. Revagupthi was a welcome change from the routine ragas. After a brisk "Shobillu", he chose Abheri for a detailed exposition and brought out the spirit of the raga successfully.
    "Ksheera Sagara Shayana" with a majestic "Vilamba kaala" was rendered with a memorable "Bhava." Two devaranamas - Mosa Podanalla and Bhagyadha Lakshmi Baaramma - were also pleasing. Ramanujacharyulu on violin, K U Jayachandra Rao on the mridanga and Ullur Giridhara Udupa on the ghata - gave an inspiring support.


    Padams of Shahji
    Kala Sindhu, in collaboration with Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy, presented last week Sri Tyagesha Padams of King Shahji.
    The renowned Maratha ruler was not only a patron of arts but also a composer himself, who was known as "Abhinava Bhoja."
    He has composed prabhanda, daru and padams for music, dance and drama in several languages including Sanskrit, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Hindustani, with the ankitha "Shahanuta" or "Shahendra."
    His 208 Padams are found in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. Vidushi Madhavi Rajagopalan has tuned these Padams, in both well known and lesser known ragas. Senior dancer and choreographer Nandini Ramani has choreographed some of them beautifully. Under the direction of Nandini Ramani, experienced dancers Srikala Bharat, Revathi Ramachandran, Shobhana Balachandra and Sushma Ranganathan - presented a few Shahaji Padams in Bharathanatya. They had chosen very interesting Padams like Khanditha Lakshana Pada, Viraha Pada, Tribhasha Pada, etc. The Bhairavi daru was a class apart with dignified jathies.
    The dancers performed impressively and revealed a pleasant disposition gracefully. Nayika's appealing, teasing, deep feeling went well highlighting the mood of the song effectively. As an extension of music into movement, the Shahaji Padams was a pleasant experience.


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    Amazing command over saxophone

    In the concluding phase of the Ramotsava, connoisseurs enjoyed music concerts in different Ramanavami pandals of the city.

    Padmashri Dr Kadri Gopalnath gave a saxophone recital at the Sree Rama Seva Mandali (Chamarajpet) after receiving the S V Narayana Swamy Rao Memorial National Award.

    He made an impressive start with a composition on Ganesha. It was followed by few pleasant compositions like 'Raghuveera'. In instrumental concerts, the 'Raghuvamsha' is very common! Kadri presented the chitteswara in several ways. His clarity even in jet speed and command over the instrument, is amazing. The Nasikabhushani keerthana is another fine composition. "Mokshamugalada", which Gopalnath chose for a detailed elaboration, is a meaningful and popular composition of Saint Tyagaraja.

    He says in this kruthi "Is salvation attainable by anyone in this world who has not realised the self? From the 'Omkaara', the seven musical notes emerge." Raga Saramati was attended to in greater detail, his felicity was distinct, his wide-ranging interpretative powers accenting the presentation.

    The swara prasthara was skilfully negotiated, in his own style. Vittal Rammurthy on violin, Tiruchi Harikumar on mridanga, Rajendra Nakod on thabala and B Rajashekhar on morching - accompanied with aplomb.

    Rich musical appeal

    M S Sheela, who sang for the Vyalikaval Extension Association, in the Ramotsava serial, is a reputed vocalist of the state.

    The high spot of her concert was Purvikalyani. It is a very popular and appealing raga, in which reputed composers of Carnatic music have composed. Touching upon the pivotal swaras, she evoked a rich music appeal.

    Earlier, Sheela with her melodious voice sang - Nee Bhakthi Bhagyasudha (Jayamanohari), Rama Nee Pai (Kedara), Ambavani Nannu (Keervani) - all with brief swara.

    While the 'Intha Kanta' was in slightly 'Drutha kaala' the 'Ragarathna Malika' was rendered with nerval. 'Govardhana Gireesham' was full of good 'bhava'.

    C N Tyagarajan, Prof V Krishna and Narayana Murthy supported on violin, mridanga and ghata, respectively.

    Proof of good training

    At the Sree Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi, young musician Aishwarya Raghunath gave a vocal concert on Tuesday.

    She is a disciple of Seethalakshmi Venkateshan and Veghavahini Vijayaraghavan and is being guided by Sri P S Narayana Swamy. She was well supported by Nalina Mohan on violin, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga and Sunad Anoor on khanjari.

    After the varna, Aishwarya chose "Sakethanagaranatha", a well-known composition of yesteryears. Nerval (Rajitha amarapala Ramachandra Bhupala) and swara were also evocative.

    Again, swara for "Graha Balame" was brief, but well woven. 'Mamava Pattabhi Rama' with raga and 'Anupama Gunambike' with swara, also caught the attention and were nicely balanced presentation. Kaanada alapana, thana and pallavi - were proof of her good training. With some more training and stage experience, she can reach great heights.

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  • 05/15/16--05:49: Impactful Abhinaya
  • Impactful Abhinaya

    Nadam presented a special dance programme called 'Vinara' last week."Vinara" means 'listen'! This is the recurring call of the individual all through life! To share a joy or beauty, to be heard, with attention, understanding and empathy, is ever the need of the hour, whomsoever is addressed and whatever the context may be. The author further says - "Be it lover, a child, a sibling, a friend, a foe, or a God-head, the plea is uttered in myriad emotional tones."

    Veteran danseuse, teacher and choreographer Bragha Besell takes on the appeal 'Vinara' through dance, poetry and music. Another senior artiste and author Sujatha Vijayaraghavan joined with her apt script.

    Bragha Bessel opened her programme with a composition of Subramanya Bharathi, on Ganapathi. It was followed by a number of compositions in different languages. But all complimentary to the subject by different composers. Bragha Bessel dramatising the situations with beautiful and impactful abhinaya impressed the connoisseurs. Performing effortlessly her experienced and matured expression came to the fore throughout the recital.

    Sujatha Vijayaraghavan's meaningful script and fine narration along with Hariprasad's melodious vocal made the programme a very interesting one. Natuvanga by Sri Sudarshini, mridanga by Anil Kumar, flute by Muthu Kumar, violin by Easwar Ramakrishnan - all were supportive to the dancer.

    Haridasa Habba

    The Haridasa Sampada Trust conducted the annual "Haridasa Habba" with both Karnatic and Hindustani music concerts, bhajan and lectures, in collaboration with TTD Dasa Sahitya Project of Tirupathi. The "Prasanna Venkata Puraskara" was conferred on Avadhuth Jayanna, Shiravara.

    Vasudha Balakrishna, who gave a vocal concert in the Haridasa Habba, hails from a artistes family. After initial training, she learnt music under Tirumalai Srinivas and is continuing training with Neela Ramgopal.

    She has sung music for many leading dancers and has performed in USA and UK also. She also teaches music at Sri Vani Center of Performing Arts, to young aspirants and organise Vaibhavam festival, every year.

    Vasudha presented a number of devaranamas of different Haridasas, which suited the occasion very well.

    She opened her programme with "Vandisuve Aadiyali Gananathana", customarily. Few sloka and Ugabhogas she sang, before the devaranamas as prelude, added to the meaning of the main composition. For instance 'Pujyaya Raghavendra' before the 'Tunga Teera vihara' and "Hari Ninna Namava Smarisalu" before the "Naneke Badavanu" - caught the attention of the house. With her good voice she also presented few popular devotionals like -Harichittha Satya, Baro Krishnaiah, Innu Daya Baarade, Sakala Grahabala Neene, which had their lively spell. With some more higher training Vasudha will be able to reach great heights. Jyotsna Manjunath on violin, Narasimha Murthy on flute, S.V. Balakrishna on mridanga, Jagadeesh Kurtukote on thabala - accompanied with good understanding.

    Command over laya

    R A Ramamani, internationally acclaimed artiste, gave the inaugural concert of the 'Ananya Sangeethothsava', on Wednesday. Seasoned instrumentalists B Raghuram, B K Chandramouli and A S N Swamy - rose to great heights in their supporting roles.
    With decades of concert experience behind her Ramamani brought to her rendering some infrequently heard ragas and compositions with commendable grip on laya and fidelity to convention that commanded respect. This was evident from the very beginning when she chose a varna in Pancha nade.

    Kambodhi Atta thala varna is a familiar, common varna. But Ramamani made it exciting by presenting it in 'Pancha nade', tisra Rupaka thala, Sankeerna, Misra, Khanda Chatusra and Tisra which was breath taking and challenging! 'Gajananayatam' in Chakravaka was followed by "Budhamashrayaami" (Natakuranji, Misra Jhampe), which suited the day (Wednesday). 'Janaki Ramana' in Sudda Srimantini is a favourite of old timers.

    Raga Janaranjini took of on a bright note. The cerebral appeal of Karnatic music gained prominence in the pallavi rendering. Raga Nasikabhushani is the 70th mela and was known as Naasamani, earlier. Raga alapana and thana in three speeds was well knit and attractive. Pallavi (Vani Kalarani Sharvani Nasikabhushani) with raga mudra set to chatusra triputa and khanda nade - was another instance of Ramamani's mastery over the medium.

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