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    Kalabushana award conferred on Vainika Balakrishna
    Sri Tyagaraja Gana Sabha Trust is conducting music programmes every month punctually from last 44 years. It also conducts Shankara Jayanthi, Tyagaraja Aradhana, Ekaraga Sabha - every year and provide ample opportunities for young artistes too.

    In the annual music festival the Trust will elect a senior musician as the festival president and confer the title 'Kala Bhushana'. This year during the 5-day festival gamaka, veena, flute and nagaswara recitals, apart from vocal were held. Besides, the birth centenary of Chintalapalli Ramachandra Rao was celebrated and the festival was dedicated to C M Madhuranath, senior flautist. D Balakrishna, senior vainika received the title 'Kalabhushana' in the sadas, last week.

    The Reetigowla varna proved an effective opening gambit and helped spread a fine musical atmosphere in the auditorium. The Purvi Kalyani composition of Pattanam Subramanya Iyer was pleasing. The rendition of Bilahari by Srinivasa Prasanna, the coplayer, was brief but pleasant with the 'Raga Bhava' coming off in soft hues. The Dikshitar composition in Hindola, in which the "Kaala Pramana" brought depth of its own and the "Vilamba Kaala" highlighting the raga flavour. The colourfulness of Balakrishna's outline of Kambodi and the wholesomeness of his compact description of Pallavi revealed the richness of his experience as an insightful Veena player. Thana in the 'raga Panchaka' (Naata, Gowla, Arabhi, Varali and Sri ragas) made the Pallavi interesting and colourful one. Appealing tonal quality, alignment of expressions on the sruthi, artistic modulation of their flow and the artiste's delicately demonstrated dedication to the disciplines of "Mysore Baani" - earned appreciation of audience. V S Rajagopal, T N Ramesh and Bhagyalakshmi Krishna gave good support on mridanga, ghata and morching respectively.

    Nrityantar, the popular dance school, presented Samarasa, the thematic duet performances. 'Samarasa' means equal feelings and even essence and organisers called it "interplay of motion and emotions". The festival featured four thematic dance presentations. On Sunday, Madhulitha Mohapatra and Bishwabhushan Mohapatra, brought grace and beauty of Odissi dance on the stage. They commenced their programme with Ardhanareeswara of Adi Shank-aracharya in ragamalika. It was followed by Varsha Avisar depicting the glory of monsoon and rains. In the Geeta Govinda "Chandana Charchita" they beautifully depicted Krishna and Gopis. Madhulitha's Abhinaya skill came to the fore in Harirabhisarati'. In the Radha Vadana, they presented merging of the 'Jeevatma' with 'Paramatha", impactfully.


    Bharatanatya duet
    Seasoned dancers Anuradha Vikranth and Seshadri Iyengar presented 'Udvaha' in Bharatanatya. 'Udvaha' means marriage - marriage of not only man and woman but many other relationships. They opened the programme with Pushpanjali, in style. They tried to explore union and harmony through the composition of Shatavadhani R Ganesh, set to ragamalika. Songs 'Thaalu Nee Thaalu' and 'Mugdanendeniside' helped them to exploit a social-contemporary theme, which was welcomed by the audience. They concluded with a thillana in the raga Sumanesharanjini. Anuradha Vikranth and Seshadri Iyengar tried to explore the theme through their talent and experience successfully.


    Kannada compositions
    The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and Infosys Foundation jointly presented a vocal music concert at the Indian Institute of World Culture on Friday. Prof K S Vaishali is a disciple of Seshadri Gavai and Kishori Amonkar and has performed at events conducted by several organisations, both in Karnataka and other states. She is a Professor of the English at Bangalore University and has authored a few books in English and Kannada.

    Vachana and Haridasa compositions has an identity of their own. Though Hindustani classical musicians are not averse to the form, rounding off of a classical fare with a few padas in that genre being the practice for long. Though it is rare to hear concerts exclusively of Devaranamas, connoisseurs can recall 'Dasavaani' and also 'Haridasa Habba' held recently.

    Prof Vaishali presented devaranamas of Haridasas such as Sripadaraja, Purandara Dasa and Kanaka Dasa, winning applauds. 'Baraiah Ranga Baraiah' in Bheemapalas was the opening pada followed by 'Aadalu Pogona Baro Ranga' in Durga. 'Thoredu Jeevisabahude' (Charukeshi) of Kanaka Dasa is a well-known devaranama.She also rendered a few Vachanas of Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi. 'Dayavillada Dharma' in Patdeep and 'Bevina Beeja' - were evocative. 'Kaayada Kattalleya' and 'Kaanutha Kaanutha'' of Akkamahadevi were attractive. She presented a string of Vachanas and devaranamas in the classical musical set up. She sang with good feeling though bit loud at times. She opened her recital with Keeravani (Madhya lay Jhap thal and Druth Eka thal). Though brief, it was embellished with some fine phrases.

    She was ably supported by Vikas Naregal on thabala and Madhusudhan Bhat on harmonium.


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  • 05/29/16--07:05: Neat but short of emotion
  • Neat but short of emotion

    The Karnataka Fine Arts Council (KFAC) conducted the annual Kalavanta Festival last week. As many as 45 young artistes from all the states of South India, few even from USA also, vied with each other for the prestigious prize.

    S Girija Shankar from Tamil Nadu presented a vocal concert on Wednesday evening. After initial training, he is continuing his training now under Chitra Veena Narasimhan and Ravi Kiran and has won a few prizes also. "Vara Vallabha Ramana" the familiar invocatory piece gave Girija Shankar a bright start, followed by "Bhajare Re." True, the selection of "Tulasidala" and "Yetha Vunnara" left little to be desired. It was neat but short of emotion. Hence could not be put on a higher pedestal. Vaibhav Ramani (Karnataka) on violin and K S Ramakrishnan (Tamil Nadu) on mridanga fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

    Following talented young musicians won the prizes in the Kalavanta-2016: Ishwarya Shankar (vocal) and Ramana Balachander (veena), Sai Rakshit (violin), Tiruchi Aravind (mridanga) and R Kartik (khanjari).

    KEA Prabhath Rangamandira

    Though there are several auditoriums in the state capital there is a need for much more theatres, especially in suburbans and far away localities of Bengaluru.

    In this connection the newly built - "KEA Prabhath Rangamandira" in Kamalanagar - is a welcome addition. It is a beautiful multi-purpose AC auditorium with wide stage, green rooms, toilets and foyer with a seating capacity of 300 seats. In this auditorium, the Kala Sankalpa conducted the "Sangeethakam" - a festival with a dance and Yakshagana performances.

    Devotional dance-drama

    Praveen Kumar, who gave a Bharathanatya recital last week, is a senior dancer, teacher, choreographer and also a recipient of Bismillah Khan award from the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
    Praveen had chosen "Pandharpur" for his current one-man dance-drama. Pandharpur is a well known pilgrimage centre of India and Panduranga is known as a common man's God, worshipped by all class of people. It also played an important role in the "Bhakthi movement" of India and a centre of inspiration for many saints and composers.
    Praveen opened his programme with "Panduranga Astaka" of Adi Shankaracharya followed by the story of Namdev. A childless tailor prayed to Lord and Vittala appears in his dreams and blessed. He found a shell floating in the River Bhima and got a beautiful baby in it, who was named as Namdev, who became a popular Haridasa and composer later. In the next scene, the story of Narahari was presented.

    Praveen's dance bristled with impactful abhinaya, crisp footwork and lively movements and drama. Ganesh Desai's vocal music helped the dancer to go to the intended mood. Prasanna Kumar (natuvanga), Harsha Samaga (mridanga), Mahesh Swamy (flute) and Gurumurthy Vaidya (Pakwaj) - gave good support from the wings.

    "He" or "She"?

    Mantapa Prabhakar Upadhyaya, who is known for his female roles in Yakshagana, belongs to Saligrama of Udupi district and hails from the "Mantapa" family. After receiving training from the Yakshagana Kendra, he performed with several stalwarts in the field. But he became popular through his female roles in several "Ekaharya" Yakshaganas performed in many prestigious platforms not only in Karnataka, but also in a few foreign countries.

    Mantapa Prabhakar had chosen a very interesting episode for his Yakshagana performance, on Thursday. Shurpanaki is a interesting character of Ramayana. Through appropriate gestures, abhinaya, vaachikabhinaya, etc, Mantapa stole the show.

    With good humour and impactful "Mukhija" (facial expression), changing the voice from "Sundari" to "Rakshashi" in quick succession; more than all, with costumes and footwork exclusive to Yakshagana, he not only revealed an attractive stage presence but also caught the attention of the connoisseurs, throughout. It was so well-performed that it was difficult to find out, whether the performer was a man or lady!? Anantha Padmanabha Bhagavatha in Bhagavathike, Rajesh on Maddale and Aditya on Chande gave good support.

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  • 06/05/16--07:08: Golden jubilee of KCP
  • Golden jubilee of KCP

    Internationally acclaimed percussion institution Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) celebrated its golden jubilee with a year-long music programmes by both Indian and foreign musicians. The concluding session 'Mangala Mahotsava' was held last week with a three-day music festival at Sri Rama Mandira, Malleswaram.

    Rudrapattana Brothers R N Tyagarajan and R N Tharanathan, who gave the inaugural concert, are known for their wide repertoire, authentic 'Pattanthara' and traditional style. The composition "Raghupathe Rama Rakshasha Bheema" was a case in point. It is a fine keertana of Saint Tyagaraja in the raga Shahana, which deserves better attention from our musicians.

    The high spot of the evening's concert was that dignified composition "Thallininnu nera" in Kalyani raga. In this composition, Syama Sastri prays Devi - "Mother, I believe in you. Pray listen to me. I believe firmly that you are the substratum for all the worlds."

    Though their voice was not at its best, the evocative ragalapana, nerval (Syamakrishna Paripalini Janani) and swaraprasthara - were proof of their expertise and scholarship. The devaranama "Kugidaru Dani Kelade" of Vijaya Dasaru was also an infrequent kruthi.
    They sang in unison and developed with tautness. Senior violinist S Seshagiri Rao and enthusiastic percussionists Arjun Kumar and G Guru Parasanna - gave good support on their instruments.

    Unique series in many ways

    The "Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme" (EFCEP) is a unique series in many ways. It is a rare record that it has organised cultural programmes on every Friday for the past 34 years! It has organised a variety of cultural programmes like music, dance, drama, yakshagana, by both young and senior artistes. Artistes not only from Karnataka and other parts of India, but many foreign students have also performed in EFCEP, at the Yavanika Auditorium. From the beginning, it is being jointly organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, the Kannada and Culture Department, the Youth Empowerment and Sports Department and the Youth Writers and Artistes Guild.

    Colours of dance

    The 34th anniversary of Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme (EFCEP) was held on Friday, which was dedicated to H R Keshavamurthy, veteran Natyacharya. The programme called "Colours of Dance" was held on Friday at Yavanika. A number of dancers - mostly young students - presented different styles of dances of India. The evening's programme commenced with a Mohiniaata by Rekha Raju. She chose two devotionals - one each of Annamachar and Swati Tirunal. With her distinct graceful movements, Rekha's performance was pleasing.

    Ramayana is not only a tested piece but also one of the favourites of the Bharathanatya exponents. Raghunandan of Keshava Nritya Shala, the only male dancer to perform that day, chose 'Navarasa Ramayana' for his Bharatanatya. Through well-known episodes of Ramayana, he tried to present different 'Rasas', neatly. The chitteswara added colour to the compositions and he portrayed changing the roles in quick succession. Mudra and Maya Dhananjaya, students of Natyantaranga presented Shiva Vandana (Malkauns raga), a bandish in Malhar and a tarana in Bagesri in kathak style, which was the result of good training they are receiving.

    Sarita Misra, probably the senior-most among all the performers that evening, chose a Durga Stuthi for her Odissi dance recital. Her abhinaya was mature and impactful. Six young students of Chitra Aravind had selected a majestic composition (Shiva Kameswari) for their Bharathanatya recital. Seasoned percussionist Lingaraj has composed well-knit jathies in different permutations and combinations through a number of percussion instruments. Though slightly over-stretched, students performed with ease and confidence, but they have to improve their facials.

    The only music concert of the festival was a flute ensemble. Eight students of Venugopal and Chandrasekhar opened their concert with the familiar varna in the raga Mohana. An invocatory piece on Ganapathi, 'Banturathikolu', and a thillana concluded with the 'Bhagyada Lakshmi'. It was simple but tuneful and accompanied on mridanga by Vamshi. By and large 'Colours of Dance' was a mixed fare, with a number of young students and artistes participating with enthusiasm.

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  • 06/12/16--07:40: Cultural festival
  • Cultural festival

    Dr H Narasimhaiah was a great educationist, social reformer and a scientist. He was the principal and later President of the National Education Society and also Vice-chancellor of Bangalore University. 'H N' as he was popularly called, was also awarded 'Padmabhushana.' He was a great lover of drama and music. To encourage and promote fine arts he started the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat. To commemorate his memory, the Parishat conducts a cultural festival every year, under the presidentship of Dr A H Rama Rao.

    Music - both classical and devotional, dance and drama were conducted in this year's Dr H Narasimhaiah Memorial Cultural Festival, held at the Dr H N Kalakshetra last week. The opening programme was a drama "Mukhya Manthri" by Kala Gangothri. On Tuesday, Dr Vidyabhushana gave a vocal concert accompanied by Pradeshachar on violin, H S Sudhindra on mrudanga and S Srishyla on Ghata. Dr Vidyabhushana is a popular singer, known for his presentation of Haridasa compositions and a recipient of "Sangeetha Vidyanidhi" title from the JSS Sangeetha Sabha.

    Dr Vidyabhushana presented a number of devaranama and ugabhogas of different Haridasas. A ugabhoga "Kadu Karuni" followed by "Dayamado Ranga" gave him a fine start, with brief nerval and swara. "Huva Tharuvara Manege" is a popular pada and "Pogadirelo Ranga" with nostalgic overtones, is another well known devaranama and "Kande Na Govindana" was slightly in "drutha kaala". He was in a fine fettle and his voice touched the peak form, especially in the rendering of "Daari Yavudaiah" - with ragalapana, nerval (Innu Na Janisalare Bhumiya Mele) and swara. "Kaavudemmanu" (Purvi Kalyani) and "Muddumukha" - both of Vadiraja Swamy not a familiar devaranamas, but a welcome addition to the concert repertoire. The Sharanara Pooja (Kamalesha Vittala), Kaye Durga Gabhini, Thamburi Meetidava and Isstu dina E Vaikunta - pleased in the second half of the concert.

    Lyrics with good feeling

    A large gathering on Thursday eagerly awaited to listen to Faiyaz Khan, well known singer. He hails from a musicians' family and started his primary lessons from his father Ustad Abdul Quadar Khan and higher studies from Pandit Ram Narayan.

    Apart from vocal, he is well versed in the art of Sarangi and tabla also. He has widely travelled in countries like Germany, France, China, Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore. He has accompanied several senior artistes on Sarangi and is equally popular in the film field and a recipient of few prizes and awards, also. In the current programme Faiyaz Khan presented a wide variety of songs of different composers like Jnandev, Purandaradas, Tulasi Das, Vijaya Dasaru and few others.

    Faiyaz Khan was as refreshing as he intoned a leisurely Yaman. It was reposeful, redolent with some chiselled phrases associated with it. After a Abhang he sang "Pari Pariyali Shastrava" followed by the devaranama "Guruvina gulamanaguva thanaka" in Misra Mand. It was followed by 'Koduva Kartru Bere' and 'Ninagaru Sari Illa'. Raga Shivaranjini was chosen for "Nara Janma Sthiravendu" and two Hindi Bhajans - "Bhaja mana Ramacharan" of Tulasi Das and "Jo Bhaje Hari Ko Sada" - which were also well received. The "Kaliyugadali Harinamava" brought nostalgic memories of a glorious tradition.

    Whatever the song Faiyaz Khan chose he sang with good feeling with a steady adherence to the ragabhava as well as to the lyrics. It was hearty listening, thanks to his presentation with full of "Bhava". A band of experienced instrumentalists - Vikas Naregal on tabla, Sarfraj Khan on sarangi, Deepak Marathe on Harmonium, Vijay Gonahal on sitar, Vijayendra Atanikar (vocal support) and Rajesh Kulakarni (Thaala) - lent commendable support.

    Sparkling abhinaya

    Curtains came down on this year's 'H N Memorial Cultural Festival' with a dance recital by Vani Ganapathi, on Friday.

    Vani, senior and well known dancer was initiated to dance by her mother and has learnt from stalwarts like T A Rajalakshmi and Kalyanasundaram and has performed in many prestigious platforms both in and outside the country, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Japan, Berlin, Stockholm, London and Geneva. Earlier, she was performing with her sister Meera and has also presented a serial for Doordarshan on dance. She is training young aspirants at her school 'Sanchari' at Bengaluru. She has served the Censor Board as a member and a jury of the Indian Panorama for the International Film Festival. She has received many awards from many reputed organisations including Kal Ke Kalakar, Art Mantram.

    Vani Ganapathi's feature "Jaya Jaya Krishna" was based on a variety of compositions, in different languages. Pushpanjali and Krishnashtaka gave Vani and her students a good start. It was followed by few krithies with different titles like Navaneetha Krishna (Surdas), Balakrishna (Uthakade Venkata Subba Iyer), Venu Krishna (Tyagaraja), Shringara Krishna (Jayadeva), Yadava Krishna (Purandara Dasaru) - so on. Though they excluded Nritta-oriented items, Vani's sparkling abhinaya raised the fare to great heights. Students abhinaya tended to be a trifle dramatic and wee bit loud at times, but had its popular appeal and carried the day. Atmica Reddy, Vasudha Viswamurthy and Malavika Nair performed with ease and gay abandon. Pulakeshi Kasturi - Natuvanga, Balasubramanya Sharma - vocal, Lingaraju - Mridanga and Mahesh Swamy - flute - gave inspiring support from the wings.

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  • 06/19/16--07:15: Visual pleasure
  • Visual pleasure

    Indu Santhosh, who gave a Bharathanatya recital for EFCEP, is a disciple of Shobana Balachandra and has practised Ottanthullal also. She has a Masters degree in Fine Arts and is a practitioner of 'Hata Yoga' too.

    Indu's performance on Friday was a visual pleasure, with a talented student and an able teacher. The invocatory song 'Naatyanjali' was in praise of Lord Ganesha and Saraswathi, in ragamalika. Anyhow the piece de'resistance was a varna in raga Bhairavi.

    In this Tanjore quartet's varna, Indu portrayed the Nayika's love, anguish, pain and even anger, impactfully. She negotiated the rhythms with a perfect understanding and accord. In the second half, she chose an Astapadi, devaranama and a thilla. In both the Astapadi (Dwijawanthi) and devaranama (Baro Krishnaiah) - her abhinaya was restrained but pleasing. The Lalgudi Jayaraman's thillana in the raga Nalinakanthi - was a fitting finale to the recital.

    Music from the wings was inspiring to the dancer. Natuvanga by Guru Shobana Balachandra, vocal by Krupalakshmi, mridanga by Vijayaraghavan and flute by Vivek Krishna.

    Promising young vocalist

    Ramakrishnan Murthy, who gave a vocal concert for the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat on Wednesday, started learning under Padma Kutty (USA) and received advanced training from Delhi P Sunderrajan and is being guided now by R K Shriram Kumar. He is a recipient of a few awards, including the "Oustanding vocalist" from the Music Academy.

    Seasoned music connoisseurs are used to hear a varna and / or a invocatory piece on Ganesha, in the beginning of a concert, though there are few exceptions! But Ramakrishna Murthy straightaway opened his concert with "Etavunara" of Saint Tyagaraja, in Kalyani, which musicians choose for a detail elaboration, usually. Brief swara was also added by Murthy. He also sang another familiar Keerthana 'Samajavaragamana' with brief raga and swara. Drawing his inspiration from two lovely compositions of Saint Tyagaraja, the young vocalist built a reverberating base in "Geetha rthamu". In the post 'Thani' he chose a few popular devotionals like - Govardhanagiridhare and Dharma Shravana. A dignified thillana of Veena Seshanna in the raga Jinjoti lent the recital a delightful finale.

    Ramakrishna Murthy's vocal stood out for the melodic grace and he can reach great heights with some more experience. Three seasoned instrumentalists H K Venkatram, Arjun Kumar and Guruprasanna - accompanied with good understanding.

    Delightful concert

    Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira presented a vocal concert by Padmabhushana
    T V Shankaranarayanan, last week. Earlier young vocalist S R Vinay Sharva and Veena player Ramana Balachandran received G V Ranganayakamma - G V Vijayalakshmi Memorial 'Raga Laya Prabha Prashasthi'.

    T V Shankaranarayanan, (TVS) is a veteran vocalist and recipient of 'Sangita Kalanidhi' from the Music Academy and Padmabhushana from the Government of India. He is the best known practitioner of "Madhura Mani Baani" and known for his classicism and will never let down.

    Saint Tyagaraja says in this composition - "Dear Rama! Why do you not bless me with the wisdom you have bestowed to the great ones? … Yet real wisdom which transcends mere intellectual awareness have not you blessed me with! Why?". TVS unrolled a wide prospect of Shankarabharana. It was presented in fair detail with his characteristic melody.

    The nerval (Veda Sastra Tatvarthamulu) and swara prasthara highlighted the character of the raga and also its beauty. Shankaranarayanan also sang the popular "Bhuvaneswariya" with a spirit and abandon.

    A few devotionals like "Venkatachala Nilayam" were also pleasing. His son Mahadevan Shankaranarayanan proved his mettle as a co-singer. Nagai Muralidharan on violin, Mannargudi Eashwaran on mridanga and G S Ramanujan on ghata - gave excellent support.

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  • 07/03/16--05:53: Workshop on Veena
  • Workshop on Veena

    The SVN Music Academy conducted a workshop on Veena, the queen of instruments, under the direction of Dr R Visweswaran, in collaboration with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Three Veena recitals each of a different generation and style, pleased the gathering.

    Dr R Visweswaran is not only a veteran Veena player, but also a senior teacher, composer and also author of a few books. When one listens to veteran R Visweswaran on the Veena, it is impossible to believe that he is 85!

    "Sri Saraswathi," the soulful Arabhi composition of Dikshitar gave Prof Visweswaran a sound beginning. Then a rare Sriranga Prabandha of Venkatamakhi in the Raga Bouli.

    The "Brochevarevarura" was followed by "Sri Nararda" of "Saint Tyagaraja". Kaanada acquired a special delight at the improvisational flashes. Kambodhi alapana was spacious, neat and rich in gamakas. "Thaana," the speciality of Veena, was rendered in a few Hindustani-influenced ragas like Lalath, Maru Behag and Bairagi Bhairav, apart from Natakuranji and Kambodhi.

    He chose a self composed kruthi "Shive Sri Tripura Sundari Pahimam" set to misrachapu Thala, that too, in the "Atheetha Graha." He concluded with a composition of Tyagaraja in the raga Aahiri. He brought out subtleties of each raga, impactfully and the concert was like a guiding lamp to youngsters. Three percussionists - R Adamya Guruprasanna and B Rajasekhar gave good support on mridanga, khanjari and morching, respectively.

    Impressive Pallavi

    On Sunday, popular Vainiki Dr Suma Sudhindra opened her recital with a varnna, in Kalyani, but in five speeds, which revealed her brilliance.

    The "Hiranmayeem" of Dikshitar in that evocative Raga Lalitha, was also pleasing. Dharmavathi (the 59th Mela) alapana enlivened with some lovely "Sangathies".

    Thana was equally impressive and the Pallavi in Khanda Nade Adi Thala, with fine swaraprasthara, its lilting laya giving it a haunting tilt. The racy Desh Thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman lending the recital a delightful finale. Nalina Mohan on violin, B C Manjunath on mridanga, Srishylan S on ghata and Srilatha's (co-player) support were complementary to the Veena recital.

    Sparkling Veena

    Curtains came down on the Veena workshop with the Veena recital of Dr Jayanthy Kumaresh, who has a reputation for consistency. The Natakuranji Kruthi of Dikshitar gave her a flying start. Raga Kantamani acquired a lilting flavour with crisp swara for the Tyagaraja composition.

    Kharaharapriya alapana was presented with usual elan and the thana in different ragas was also attractive. "Prakkalanilabadi", the stately composition's impact bristled with a sparkling swara prasthara. The Jawadi and the Shyama Sastry Kruthi were also tuneful. H S Sudheendra on mridanga and Phanindra Bhaskar on ghata, rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

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  • 07/10/16--07:22: Music and dance reviews
  • Ananya Nrityollasa

    The Ananya Nrityollasa was held in the Outreach series, under the joint auspices of the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan, Infosys and Ananya.

    Namrata Krishnamurthy, who opened the evening's programme is a student of Poornima Ashok and has performed her Rangapravesha also last year. She commenced her recital with a invocatory piece - "Siddivinayaka" (Gambheera Nata), customarily. In the 'Adenamma' in Farz the 'Navarasa' was rather unimpressive. 'Kanjadalayatakshi' is a popular composition in music concerts also and the Swati Tirunal's composition "Chaleeye Kunjanamo" was in the raga Brindavani. With some more higher training Namrata can reach great heights.

    Good future
    Poojitha is a student of Nupura and a recipient of scholarship from the CCRT and has performed at a few places, both in and outside India. Her opening item itself, was attractive. It was Pushpanjali, followed by a Ganesha stuthi, from the traditional repertoire.

    In the "Alaka Lalla," Poojitha performed the "Yaga Rakshana" and "Mareecha Vadha" and lifting the "Shiva Dhanus." She concluded with a beautiful jawadi "Saami Neeke" in Behag. Poojitha made an immediate impact, and has a good future in the years to come.

    A beautiful interpretation
    Arupa Lahiri from Kolkata is a disciple of Chitra Visweswaran, a veteran danseuse. Apart from performances, she has also conducted workshops in France, Toranto, Malaysia and a few places in India. She is a postgraduate in English literature and pursuing her PhD and is a recipient of "Sringara Mani" title.

    The movements of the opening piece by Arupa followed the patterns of Alaripu, whereas the mood followed the kriti which describes the dance of Krishna. In the Vachaspati varna 'Sakhiye', the pangs of separation and yearning to unite, was well expressed. With her lively presence Arupa Lahiri blended the Nritta and Abhinaya effortlessly. Dramatising the elements her interpretation of the devaranama (Chikkavane Ivanu) was pointed.

    Aesthetic finesse
    Gayathri Girish, who gave a vocal recital for the Bangalore Lalathikala Parishat, is a vocalist known for consistency, who has performed in major festivals and sabhas of the country.

    The familiar "Sri Mahaganapathim Ravatumam" was her choice for the invocation. Less known "Rara Mayinti Daaga Raghuvira" - is a good addition to the concert repertoire. Her brief ragalapana of Karnaranjini (Vanchathonu - Muthaiah Bhagavathar) and Sindhuramakriye (Sadashive - Dikshithar) - were like supporting the compositions that followed.

    Her alap for Shankarabharana was noted for the verve, while the stately kriti "Enduku Peddala" was moulded into an essay of aesthetic finesse.

    Her Dhanyasi had an arresting quality enriching the delineation of the Pallavi in Tisra Thriputa and Khanda Nade, which was proof of her talent. Tail enders - Sada Enna Hridayadalli, Sri Venkatagirisham and Nagendra Haraya - were also pleasing. Three seasoned instrumentalists - Nalina Mohan on violin, B S Prashanth on mridanga and V S Ramesh on morching - accompanied with good understanding.

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  • 07/17/16--06:23: A guiding lamp
  • The Percussive Arts Centre is an exclusive organisation for promotion of the interests in the intricacies of Laya and Thaala. It is the first music centre established to commemorate the invaluable services of Palghat Mani Iyer, the legendary percussionist.

    From 1981, the Centre is conducting the academic session and workshops, apart from concerts. It has formed its own Percussion ensemble and has published a few valuable books.

    The Centre conducts "Thaalavadyotsava" every year, with music concerts and demonstrations. It has instituted a few awards also in memory of a few great personalities. During this year's "Thaalaavadyotsava" held this week, M T Rajakesari (Palghat Mani Iyer Memorial award), Dandamudi Sumathi Rammohan (Palani Subramanya Pillai award), Neela Ramgopal (Bangalore K Venkataram award), K U Jayachandra Rao (Puttachar award) and Phanindra Bhaskara (PACCMANA prize and G S Sriram Memorial award) - received the awards.

    Neela Ramgopal, who presented the inaugural concert, is a veteran vocalist and recipient of several awards, including "Sangeetha Kalarathna" from Bangalore Gayana Samaja and "Sangeetha Kalacharya" from the Music Academy.

    In the current concert, Neela Ramgopal's recital offered surges of optimism. The opening varna - a stately varna of Syama Sastry - caught the attention of the connoisseurs, at once. In the "Sogasuchuda Tharama" keerthana Saint Tyagaraja says - "Is it possible to see such beauty as that of your (Rama's) face shining with glossy cheeks? Your unrivalled beauty …. Your smiles, your forelocks and brilliance of your eyes …. Is it possible to see ….?!"

    Neela "Mami", as she is fondly addressed, sang Kannadagowla raga briefly, but was marked for its depth and imagination.

    Both - "Raga Sudha Rasa" and "Neela Neerada Krishna" - are well-known compositions. She gave equal importance to both lyrics and raga in "Marivere." For a detailed elaboration, the vocalist chose a Sanskrit composition "Mamava Karunaya Manukula". Swati Tirunal prays here "Pray give me protection with your kindness ….. you have the glory of bestowing the desired boons …. You are the beautiful swan dwelling in the lotus-like heart of great ascetics."

    Though voice was revealing her age (82) occasionally, it was neat, matured and full of "Bhava" and a guiding lamp to young vocalists. Charumathi Ramachandran on violin, K U Jayachandra Rao on mridanga and Arun Kumar on morching - accompanied with good understanding.

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    Yoga Advaith Veturi sang in the "Arohana" series of the Ananya on the basis of the waves he has made in Chennai and Bengaluru as a worthy student of Neyveli Santanagopalan, a senior musician.

    He has already won prizes from the prestigious sabhas like Music Academy and Bangalore Gayana Samaja. A resident of Malaysia Yoga Advaith vindicated this reputation through his choice and presentation of ragas and compositions.Opening with a familiar varna "Intachala", he jumped into "Pancha Matanga" and "Telisi Rama" in slightly "Drutha kaala". After a brief alapana of Pantuvarali he selected "Sundaratara Deham" - a beautiful keertana.

    He sang the composition neatly with nerval (Ragadi Samharam Raghavamudram) and Swaraprasthara. He appeared to find his moorings, particularly in the elaboration of "Karthikeya Gangeya" with 'nerval' and swara. His voice and pronunciations are good and will be able to invest his music with the required weight and authority with some more higher training and stage experience.

    The concluding devotionals - Kamala Nayana Vasudeva" and "Chandrachuda Shiva Sankara" - were also pleasing. Two seasoned instrumentalists - Dr Vittalarangan and
    B S Prashanth - suited their play suitably to make it a successful concert.

    Melodious movements

    Priya Raman, gave a Bharathanatya recital last week, under the banner of Ananya and Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academi. She is a disciple of Shubha Dhananjaya of Natyantharanga and holds a Master's degree from the University of Hyderabad and is going to join University of Texas shortly for her PhD.

    It was not just another Bharathanatya, but an exclusive dance recital of a great Kannada poet. Dr P T Narasimhachar, "Pu Thi Na" as he is well known, is a stalwart known for his lyrics and operas. In fact, he himself has tuned some of his lyrics and his lyrics are very much musical. Also, Dr V Doreswamy Iyengar has composed music for many of them.

    Priya had chosen only five lyrics of PuThin Na's and it was a brief recital. Far away from the mythological themes and stories and away from the routine compositions, it was fresh air and an earthy smell taking over.

    After the invocatory piece (Ganesha Pancharatna in Ragamalike, - Ek Thala and Tisra Gati) she chose "Echrecharu Maara" (raga Bhouli) in which fully blossomed flowers, rangoli, birds and animals filling human life - are narrated and the poet's elaboration comes out moving and meandering.

    The next item "Aashishangala Taleve" was from "Sri Rama Pattabhisheka," in which Rama addresses the citizens after the coronation. The Nritta portions depicted some sequences of the Ramayana. In the "Kolalanudu Govinda" (from the "Gokula Nirgamana") - conversation between 'Kubje' and Krishna is quiet interesting.

    In the concluding "Toogiri Raghuramana" (Raga Kaapi) poet compares Sita and Rama to Lakshmi Narayana.

    Priya's effort is commendable and has mastered a diction, which is at once subtle and evocative, and a good stage presence and melodious movements gave a good account of her grounding and talent.

    Shatha Prasad's vocal and Renuka Prasad's Natuvanga (recorded) - were complimentary to the dance.

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  • 07/31/16--06:17: Veena vaibhava
  • Veena vaibhava

    As the city grows, its cultural needs and demands also increase. Thus, Music Sabhas and organisations are coming up in suburbans catering to the needs of the connoisseurs. So also to train young aspirants music schools are coming in all the corners of Bengaluru.

    There is a good demand for Veena teachers also all over. Two popular Veena teachers of Bengaluru North Geetha Ramanand and Revathi Sadashivam are training a number of youngsters in Veena.

    Geetha Ramanand is a M (Mus.) degree holder from University of Mysore and a disciple of Ranganayaki Sundarrajan and C Krishnamurthy. She is a Top grade artiste of Akashavani and was also a programme executive. She is now serving as a member of the Audition Board of AIR and Expert Committee of the Cultural Department of the Government of India. She is running a music school called Swara Veena Laya.

    Revathi Sadashivam is a disciple of A Anantharaman of Kolkata and has been guided by R N Tyagarajan. She is a post graduate from Madras University and has won prizes from the Music Academy also. She is training youngsters in her school, Sri Guruguha Gana Vidyalaya.

    The Swara Veena Laya and Sri Guruguha Gana Vidyalaya jointly conducted the "Veena Vaibhava" on Saturday at the Sri Rama Mandira, Malleswaram. Revathi Sadashivam opened her Veena recital with a composition in the raga Anandabhairavi, of Veena Seshanna. Then she jumped to Kalyani alapana, which was fluent and impressive. The brief thana further enhanced the impact. In the composition "Bhajare Re chitha" Dikshitar says - "Oh mind! Worship Godess Balambika, the wish-yielding Creeper (Kalpalatika) to Her devotees. She is Sarvani, the consort of Siva .... She exults full of Bhava, Raga and Tala and is the bestower of the desires of the devotees and the protector of Her devotees". The swaraprasthara was brief but acquired a special delight. She concluded her classic Veena recital with a well known Jawadi.

    Tuneful music

    One of the popular keerthane of Muthaiah Bhagavathar "Sarasamukhi" gave Geetha Ramanand a bright start. With the intention of introducing different types of compositions to young students of Veena, she presented a keertana, devaranama, thillana and a naguma, with very brief explanations. "Kadagola Tarenna" was tuneful and the well structured thillana was one of the best compositions in the raga Durbari Kaanada. "Naguma," is a rare form and a speciality of Mysore composers. It was in the raga Keeravani and set to Adi thala. It was melodious and traditional. While Gopal V was the co-player V S Rajgopal supported on mridanga.

    Chip off the old block

    Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha presented a violin duet, which was sponsored by Smt Hemamalini.

    One noteworthy feature in the new crop of artistes is the emergence of many talented violinists. Karthik Nagaraj and Sumanth Manjunath belong to a great violinists' family of Mysuru. Both are sons of great violinists of our time - Mysore Nagaraj and Dr Mysore Manjunath and grandsons of Mysore Mahadevappa. Karthik is son of Mysore Nagaraj and doing his postgraduate degree in music. Sumanth is son of Mysore Manjunath and has stepped into college education now. They have already won prizes in music competitions held under the Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Nadabrahma and few others.

    Training under a common Guru and acquiring an authentic identity is a necessary condition for the success of a duet. It is also true that there have been only a few successful duos with few exceptions. It was therefore refreshing experience to listen to the violin duet by Karthik Nagaraj and Sumanth Manjunath, moulded into a single unity by their parents. Opening with a familiar varna, they saluted to Vighnaraja through "Pranamamyaham". "Sarasa Samadana" brought nostalgic memories among the old timers.

    Hindola was the piece de resistance of the evening. The swara for "Samajavaragamana" saw them in an ebullient mood. They invested the keertane with the right amount of melodic fervour. It was melodious and lively. It is worth watching their career. Seniors B C Manjunath and G Omkar Rao accompanied with good understanding.

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  • 08/07/16--06:10: Lingering melodies
  • Lingering melodies
    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat presented a solo violin recital by Dr Jyotsna Srikanth on Friday.

    Born in Bengaluru, Dr Jyotsna is now based in London. She gave up her medical career (pathologist) for music. She started learning music from her mother Rathna Srikantaiah and obtained advanced training under R R Keshava Murthy, the legendary 7-stringed violinist.

    Being an all-rounder, she has presented a number of Carnatic solo concerts, Indo Jazz concerts and contemporary Indian music shows. She has emerged, over the years, as a leading composer with contemporary flavours and has been featured in many major global music events and venues like Womad-UK, BBC Proms, Royal Albert Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall, London and of course, The Music Academy (Chennai) and Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

    Dr Jyotsna has composed music for several albums, ballets and films and her workshops and demonstrations are quiet popular. Naturally, she is a recipient of several accolades including fellowship from the Trinity College of Music, London and the title "Ganakalashri" from the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat. Now, Jyotsna Srikanth is the artistic director of Dhruv Arts in UK and founder of London International Arts Festival.

    From the very first pass of the bow, Jyotsna's solo had the melodious tone, so characteristic of her recitals. The stately varna in the raga Kambodhi gave Jyotsna a fine start. In the "Gam Ganapathe," raga and swara were brief but lively. Pantuvarali was spacious and wholesome. In contrast 'Raghunatha Ninnu' was a quickie and clarity even in the high speed was amazing. "Shobillu" was followed by raga Bahudari. It was noted for its sustained melodic excellence and harmonious blend. Post thani, she also played a Annamacharya composition and a thillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman.

    In total, Jyotsna Srikanth's violin was refreshing marked for its flair and fidelity. The percussion duo B C Manjunath and A S N Swamy gave spirited support on mridanga and khanjari respectively.


    Melodious movements
    Dr M Balamuralikrishna, a veteran musician, is a living legend of our time. He is well known for his creativity. He is popular not only as a great vocalist but also as a great composer and teacher. He has created new ragas and thalas. His compositions are well known for meaningful lyrics, melodious music and well knit thalas. Balamurali's compositions have been exploited by musicians and dancers alike to arrive at artistic features. Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy presented a Bharathanatya recital exclusively of Balamurali's compositions.

    Poornima Ashok, a senior dancer and teacher (Nrityanjali School of Bharathanatya), presented Balamurali's compositions in Bharathanatya, which was choreographed with impressive interpretation by Poornima Gururaja. It was an impressive, compact programme, with good music.

    Poornima Ashok opened her dance recital with a composition on Ganesha (Gam Ganapathe), customarily. A composition was in the rare raga Lavangi describing Devi as creator of world and destroyer of evils. In the next composition, Shiva was glorified as 'Papavimoshaka'. Poornima's abhinaya - especially in the Jawadi - was restrained but impressive. Then a composition devoted to Tyagaraja in the raga Behag. Still, seasoned connoisseurs felt inclusion of a varna would have made it wholesome. But it was neat and compact and with some more performances of the compositions, it will be much more impactful.


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  • 08/14/16--07:13: Music and dance reviews..
  • Naman Dance Festival
    Popular Odissi institute, Nritantar, conducted the annual Naman Dance Festival, on Sunday, which provided an oprportunity to witness different styles and schools of Odissi dance.

    Niladry Mohanty opened the programme with a Pallavi set to Ek tal followed by Shivashtaka in the raga Bhairavi. US-based Kaustavi Sarkar presented "Varsha" (rag Miyan Ki Malhar) and "Ardhanareeshwara" in ragamalika, gracefully. The Malkauns pallavi by the Nritantar dance ensemble was proof of their good training by Guru Madhulita Mohapathra. Senior dancer Meera Das's abhinaya impressed every one in the Astapadi "Sakhi He."

    In the "Moods of Rhythm" the Gunjan Dance Ensemble captivated with their pleasing movements and seamless symmetry in the dance. The "Naman - 2016" concluded with a dance-drama on "Ahalya."


    Tributes to Pallavi Chandrappa
    Chandrappa of Bengaluru was known as "Pallavi Chandrappa" as he was well-known as a Pallavi expert. His birth centenary was celebrated through the "Pallavi Sangeethotsava" in association with the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

    Mysore A Chandankumar, who gave a impressive flute recital here, is a scion of T Chowdiah, the legendary violinist. Mathur Srinidhi, G S Ramanujam and G Omkar accompanied him on violin, mridanga and ghata, respectively.

    The "Mahaganapathim" gave Chandan Kumar a steady start. One of the popular kruthi in the Aanndabhairavi raga is "Marivere" of Syama Sastry, in which he says with great feeling - "Oh mother! Katyayani, Amba, Sankari, Sukha Syamala! there is no one but you are the sanctuary for me in this earth to save me... your gait is like the swan and you shine as the essence of Vedas. Please grant my wishes and save me swiftly."

    Chandan Kumar's command over the nuances like Gamakas and rhetorical effects was commendable. Tyagaraja's Saranga keerthana was also evocative. Hindola was his choice for the ragalapana, thana and pallavi, which was marked for its masterly layakari, his "manodharma" in the swara prasthara easily rising the melodic report to a crescendo.


    Anniversary of Karana
    Shubha Dhananjay is known as a senior Bharathanatya and Kathak dancer and an able teacher (Natyantharanga) too.

    She has choreographed several dance dramas beautifully, including Kanmani Krishna, Radha Madhava, Kittur Rani Chennamma, Sri Srinivasa Kalyana, Mysuru Huli Tippu Sultan and Devi. She has performed on many prestigeous platforms of the USA, UK, UAE, Bahrain, Maldives, Nepal, Iraq, China, Cambodia and Malaysia. Naturally, she has received several awards and titles from many organisations. To impart training in different branches of fine arts, she founded "Karana." And to commemorate the 10th anniversary, she gave a Bharathanatya recital on Thursday evening.

    Shubha Dhananjayan presented selected compositions in the brief presentation. She opened with a Pushpanjali (raga Naata) customarily which was on familiar lines.

    It was followed by a pada on Subramanya in the raga Bagesri, which was well choreographed by Udupi Lakshmi Narayan. Kannada devaranama on Lakshmi by Purandara Dasa, suited the occasion, as it was just previous day of the festival of Varamahalakshmi. She danced like the one possessed, bringing her characters alive, convincingly. She also performed "Sabha Pathiki," with neat stances, precise laya and matured and impressive abhinaya and crisp jati, performed with ease and aplomb.


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  • 08/21/16--06:35: Aradhana concerts
  • Aradhana concerts

    Sri Raghavendra Swamy Aradhana provided another opportunity for connoisseurs to listen to their favourite musicians. In fact, Aradhana was celebrated by many mutts and organisations with not only religious rituals but also cultural programmes. One such institution Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi conducted Bhajan, discourse and music concerts apart from religious programmes at its own premises at Sudhindra Nagar, Malleswaram, during the 12-day celebrations.

    Roopa and Deepa, known as Kasaravalli Sisters, gave a vocal duet on Sunday evening. They presented exclusively Kannada devotionals, which were well appreciated by the listeners. The satirical devaranama of "Aacharavillada Naalige" attracted with its lyrics. A rare pada on Rayaru "Guru Raghavendraru Smarisutha" of Gopala Dasaru was tuned melodiously in the raga Brindavani.

    Raga Kharaharapriya was well elaborated for "Kayabekenna Gopala" and sustained with a flurry of lovely swara passages. Purvi Kalyani (Hanumantha Deva Namo), Sindhubhairavi (Sharanagatha Vatsala), "Dasanendennisu Enna" of Pranesha Dasaru and "Gopi Gopeesuthage" of Purandara Dasaru (Surati) - were also pleasing. Their cultivated voice and the facile way the words blended with the melody was proof of their craftsmanship. Seasoned instrumentalists J K Sridhar on violin and K Harinarayan on mridanga accompanied with good understanding.

    Devotional songs

    Another young vocalist Srinidhi is well versed not only in music, but also in Sanskrit and making clay Ganesha. Stalwarts of Karnatic music - Gudibande Kumaraswamy, B N Guduth and Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma - have moulded his music career and he has passed 'Vidwath' examination also. He has founded Sri Guru Sarvabhouma Music Academy in 2004 and has been teaching young aspirants. He has performed in several avenues and has been made the "Asthan Vidwan" of the TTD also.

    With this background, the audience expected a good concert from Srinidhi, which he presented. After a varna, he saluted to invocatory God through "Vandisuvudu Aadiyali". "Rama Rama Rama Seetha" - is another popular devarnama.

    "Harinama Jihveyolu Irabeku" was briskly rendered, followed by the familiar ugabhoga (Dhyanavu Kruthayugadi). With his good voice, which was traversing in all the three octaves easily, the Haridasa compositions brimmed with confidence to emerge as a solid piece.

    "Indu Enage Govinda" is a favourite of connoisseurs always. "Nandathanaya Govinda" was also lively. With some more higher training he can polish his nerval and ragalapana and improve the classic imagery. M N Satyanarayana, Aswathnarayan and Chidananda - accompanied on violin, mridanga and morching respectively.

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  • 08/28/16--06:46: Dance and music reviews
  • Lively Bansuri
    The Guru Rao Deshpande Sangeeth Sabha conducted the Malhar Sangeet Mahotsav as a tribute to Bharatratna Pandit Bhimsen Joshi.
    Malhar is a ancient and popular raga in Hindustani music with numerous varieties in it. A unique feature of Indian music is in the closeness to nature. There are ragas related to different seasons (Rutu) of the year. Megh Malhar, Mian Malhar, Goud Malhar - are some of the popular varieties. The sabha presented rag Malhar through an instrumental concert and a vocal music.
    One of our popular flautist Praveen Godkhindi, hails from a musicians' family of Dharwad. He started learning music from his father Pandit Venkatesh Godkhindi and received guidance from Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma. He has received several titles and awards including Surmani and Kempegowda Prashasthi and is a top ranking flautist of Akashavani.
    Pandit Praveen Godkhindi opened his Bansuri concert with rag Meera Bai Malhar. The opening strains carrying the peculiar double nishad and dhaivath blend set the tone and identity of the raga. The unfolding was leisurely and reposeful. The character of the raga was unfolded in both vilambith and druth. Comparatively Basant Bahar and Sur Malhar were condensed versions of the two ragas, but was full of raga bhava and melodious throughout. Rajendra Nakod gave good support on tabala.


    Vocal sans aesthetic feeling
    Pandit Harish Tiwari, who gave a vocal recital, first learnt with Guru Thakur Dhubey, in the Gwalior Gharana. But he was attracted by the Kirana Gharana of Bhimsen Joshi and practised and became an 'A' grade artiste of AIR.
    Pandit Harish Tiwari chose Mian Malhar to render in detail. It is believed that this raga was created by none other than Mian Tansen. Harish Tiwari took his own time in raising the raga structure, with actions matching the flow of the raga! The raga belongs to Kapi and is a "Vakra Sampurna" raga. Though his presentation was grammatically correct, could hardly provide aesthetic excitement! With his limited range of voice he also rendered Sudd Kedar, but could not rise to expectations. Ashish Sen Gupta and Vyasamurthy Katti accompanied on tabala and harmonium, respectively.


    Result of good training
    Suparna Venkatesh is a postgraduate in dance and has practised both Bharathanatya and Kathak and has received a doctorate from the Bangalore University for her thesis. She is also an able teacher and has trained a number of students.
    Among Suparna's disciples, 7 students (Sai Arts International) gave a Bharathanatya recital for "Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme" at Yavanika.
    In the opening Pushpa Manjari, they also paid obeisance to "Dikpalakas." The "Deva Manava" varna in Shanmukhapriya of Lalgudi Jayaraman was the piece de'resistance of the programme, in which episodes of Bali, Gajendra Moksha, Ahalya Shapa Vimochana, Draupadi Vastrapaharana - were performed changing the roles in quick succession.
    C Somashekhar, Nidhaga Karunada, Kavyashree Nagaraja and Swetha Venkatesh performed effortlessly and with assurance.
    The Punnaga Varali Kautvam was the choice of three youngsters (Kshamita Sastry, Ashwitha Rajesh and T S Sharath). They danced with pleasing movements, but have to improve their abhinaya. The item on Hari Hara was a bunch of slokas in ragamalika. They brought certain flair to their movements, emphasised by firm "Thattu-mettu" and precision in line. Yet one missed the deeper stance that carries forward the dance to liquid grace. It is certainly possible with higher training and some more stage experience.
    While Karthik Hebbar's vocal was inspiring to the dancers, Natuvanga by Guru Suparna Venkatesh, Mridanga by V R Chandrasekhar and flute by H S Venugopal - fulfilled the needs of the occasion.


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  • 09/04/16--07:13: Krishna Jayanthi Festival
  • Krishna Jayanthi Festival

    Both vocal and instrumental music, bhajan, dance, recital of Divya Prabhanda and Bhagavatha, Dolotsava - were held at Sri Venugopala Krishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram, as part of Sri Krishna Jayanthi.

    Sanjay Subramaniyan, who gave a vocal concert here on Sunday, proved once again, that he is a crowd puller. The Youngest musician to receive the title "Sangeetha Kalanidhi," Sanjay is a consistent vocalist and also never disappoints his music lovers. After singing a number of ragas he chose "Balagopala" a masterpiece in Bhairavi. In this composition Dikshitar says - "Oh Balagopala! protect me. You are the ocean of compassion to devotees. ...... is adorned with ruby gem-studded crown, necklace and bracelet ..... is worshipped by Bramha .... is well disposed with friends and foes, alike ......"

    The Bhairavi alapana was neat and he sang every sangathi with good involvement and deep feeling. Nerval (Vainika Gayaka Guruguha) and sparkling swaraprasthara - made it a wholesome treat. Earlier, a few evocative phrases in Suruti added a lively lilt to his singing. He concluded with a few Tamil devotionals. It was a lively concert throughout leaving an indelible impression on the listeners. Venkatesh on mridanga and Alathur Raja Ganesh on khanjari supported him.


    In the Ananya Nrithyollasa, there were three dance recitals - two Bharathanatya and one Odissi dance recital, last week.

    Chinmayi, who opened the programme, is a student of Radhika Ramanujam and has completed her Ranga Pravesha also. After the invocation piece (Ikshudanda), she moved to a well known keerthana "Kanjadalayathakshi," which contained beautiful description of the Devi. She concluded with another well known jawadi "Paralenna Mata" and a devaranama (Aluvadethako Ranga). With her pleasant stage presence and good abhinaya, she caught the attention easily.

    Impactful devotionals

    M R Venkatachar was a great philanthropist and a connoisseur of music. In his memory his family members have installed an endowment to organise a music concert every year at the MES Kalavedi. The inaugural programme of the endowment was held on Tuesday. It was a vocal music concert by O S Arun, popular singer. O S Arun is a seasoned musician, who is well versed in many categories, like classical, light classical, bhajans and devotionals in different languages.

    "Vatapi Ganapathim Bhaje," the established invocatory piece gave Arun, a head start. He also added swara for it, briefly. His next choice was "Endaro Mahanubhavulu," the most popular composition, among the Pancharathna Kruthies of Saint Tyagaraja. The meaningful kruthi is the most favourite composition of the music lovers always and everywhere.

    Then he started singing devotionals one after the other, in different languages including Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi. He chose songs in a variety of ragas like Neelambari, Misra Mand, Pahadi, Kaapi ... so on. Eppadi Than, Dhanya Ho, Hari Hari Rama Nama, Tumak Chalati Ramachandra, Jagadoddharana, etc, etc. He paid tributes to Purandara Dasa, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Tulasi Das and many others. With his resonant and rich voice and a harmonious blending of lyrics with the appeal of the raga, also using the body language appropriately, Arun captivated the listeners. A band of instrumentalists accompanied him with a good understanding. Mathur Srinidhi on violin, Shivaraman on mridanga, Sri Krishna on Harmonium, Martin on Thabala and Selvam on Thaala.
    Graceful Odissi

    Though Paridhi Joshi gave an Odissi dance recital here, she has also learnt Bharathanatya (Ganesha Natyala, New Delhi) she was later attracted by the beauty of Odissi dance and joined Nrityantar Academy. Melody and rhythm were brought out gracefully in the Janasammohini Pallavi by Paridhi Joshi. In the "Bajuchhi Sahi Bajare," Sakhi says "Oh Dear Radha! people on the streets are talking about your (Radha and Krishna) love affair! It will not go unnoticed! But your love affair has become talk of the town of Braj! Paridhi's abhinaya was pleasant and concluded with a Shiva Stuthi "Jaya Mahesha" in Ragamalika neatly.
    Bharathanatya duet

    A boy (Yogesh Kumar) and a girl (Aditi Sadashiva) joined together to perform a Bharathanatya duet. Aditi is a postgraduate in dance and is continuing her training under Guru Satyanarayana Raju. Yogesh Kumar, a scholarship-holder, is also a student of Satyanarayana Raju and has won prizes also. He is teaching young aspirants in Bharath-anatya. The celebrated varna "Nee Inda Maye" - was proof of their talent and good training. While Yogesh chose "Sandhya Thandava," Aditi's selection was "Shiva Panchakshareya." They performed with ease and confidence.

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  • 09/11/16--07:06: Bengaluru Ganesha Ustava
  • Bengaluru Ganesha Ustava

    Ganesha pandals have come up all over the city and mandalies are vying with each other to celebrate Ganesha Utsava, as grand as possible.

    Apart from religious rituals, cultural programmes are also being held all over. Though music concerts are the main cultural attraction, orchestras, dance, gamakas and dramas are also conducted by many organisations. One such organisation, Bengaluru Ganeshotsava in its 54th year, is conducting Ganesha celebrations on a grand scale at the National High School Grounds in Basavanagudi.Pandit Venkatesh Kumar, a senior and reputed vocalist, is a recipient of Sangeeth Natak Akademi award, Padmashree and Honorary Doctorate from the University.

    Rag Puriya Kalyan, in both vilambith and druth, was marked for its beautiful phrases; travelling in all the three octaves, had their desired aesthetic impact. It was followed by a number of Kannada Devaranamas, and was well responded by the audience.

    Kaliyugadolu Harinamava (Purandara Dasa), Ole Hatthi Uridare (Basavanna), Toredu Jeevisabahude (Kanaka Dasa) and in slightly 'Drutha kaala' Mantralaya Vaasa (Vijaya Vittala) - were quiet impressive. The devotional "Matha Bhavani" was embellished with pleasing tharana. The resonance in his voice enlivened Kannada devotionals revealing the depth of his creativity and experience. He was well supported by Jagadeesh Kurthkoti on tabala and Dr Ravindra Katoti on harmonium.
    BVS Sangha

    B V S Sangha, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary, is another organisation, which celebrates Vidya Ganapathi Mahotsava every year.

    The Sangha had invited young and upcoming artistes on all the three days to perform and exhibit their talent.

    A 15-year-old artiste, Aditi B Prahlad and a disciple of Vinay Sharva, has already won several prizes and awards, including Kalashree (Kannada and Culture department), Kempegowda Prashasthi (BBMP), child prodigy award (Government of Karnataka). To crown it all, she also received from the Rashtrapathi, the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievement in the field of Carnatic classical vocal, recently.

    In the current concert at the BVS Sangha, Aditi Prahlad was supported by three seasoned instrumentalists - J K Sridhar on violin, B K Chandramouli on mridanga and Narayana Murthy on ghata.

    Adithi Prahlad's vocal recital gave a good account of her steady progress. The Kaanada varna gave her a fine start and she added a brief raga and swara for "Siddi Vinayakam." Both 'Sri Saraswathi' and "Nada Thanumanisham" - are familiar compositions to music lovers.

    Among the Panchabhutalingam (five elements) "Arunachalanatham" (Jyoti or fire) is in the pleasing raga Saranga. Dikshitar says and prays that he always contemplates upon Lord Arunachalanatha, who is in the company of Apitakucamba. "Shiva Shiva Enarada" is another well-known composition in the raga Pantuvarali. "Marugelara" was rendered with a vintage flavour. "Sarojadalanethri" had a detailed airing, with 'nerval.' In the post 'thani' she also sang a devaranama (Aadidane Hari), thillana in Farz and Mangala (Ramachandraya).

    Adithi has a good voice and is learning music with all sincerity. With some more higher training, she will be able to improve her alapana, swara and nerval, to reach great heights.
    A promising violinist

    A noteworthy feature in the new crop of artistes in this part is the emergence of many talented violinists.

    The latest addition to this list is Vaibhav Ramani, a disciple of Kumaresh Rajagopalan. He is performing both as a soloist and accompanist, in and outside the state and has been honoured with prizes from the Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Narada Gana Sabha and a few other Sabhas.

    Vaibhav Ramani's violin recital (Indian Institute of World Culture) took off on a vibrant note with the varna, in the raga Thodi.

    He was his sure self as he intonated Naata for the invocatory piece. The popular kruthi "Nagumomu" deftly supplemented with a neat alapana and swara.

    With continued training and some more experience, Vaibhav Ramani wiill be able to bring more depth to his music - especially to his raga, and nerval.

    But it was a pleasant recital, in total, and Vaibhav Ramani showed great promise. Anoor Vinod Shyam and Anoor Sunaad accompanied on mridanga and khanjari, with good understanding.

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    Performance with ease and assurance

    Supraja Prasad, is a disciple of Prof M R Krishnamurthy of Kalakshithi School and has completed her Ranga Pravesha and has also performed at a few avenues.

    She is a graduate in engineering and has completed "Vidwath" in dance. Supraja usually performs with her sister Bhoomija. She performed solo, as a tribute to her Guru, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan last week.

    The necessary discipline of technique to take up the air in all seriousness was evident from the invocatory item Alaripu (set to Sankeerna jathi) itself. The keerthana of Dr M Balamuralikrishna which was tuned in the raga Vishwambari was on Lord Nataraja. The devotee prays, "Bho Shambho Shankara! Please bless me and protect me always."

    The Anandabhairavi varna "Sakhiye" of Tanjore quartet was the mainstay of the recital. Unfolding a firm footing in the basics, she performed with a relaxed attitude. The profundity expected in the varna (Virahoth Khanditha Nayaki) was not fully exhibited but it was pleasing.

    Both the Pada (Urake - Devagandhari) and Asta padi (Yahi Madhava, Aarabhi) provided her ample opportunity to prove her Abhinaya skill. The concluding thillana (Natabhairavi, Veena Krishnamacharya) had several dance postures with evocative foot work. She tried to depict "Vatsalya Bhava" in the Kannada devaranama "Krishna Nee Begane Baro" dramatising the playfulness and prank of Balakrishna. Supraja has a good stage presence and performs with ease. But she has to graduate in the effective use of her facial expression.

    Another feature of this dance recital was the emergence of Gagana as a Nattuvanar. While Srivathsa's vocal was complimentary to the dance, Gurumurthy on mridanga, Pradeeshachar on violin, supported well.

    Proof of good training

    The Sharada Samskruthika Sangha, Basaveshwaranagara, had organised three music concerts in connection with the Ganesha Utsava.

    Divya Padmanabhan who gave a vocal recital here, is now a disciple of R N Tyagarajan of "Rudrapattana Brothers" fame. She is an MTech graduate from IIT, Chennai, and pursuing PhD at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru. In one of the compositions (Ramanatham Bhajeham) Muthuswamy Dikshitar says -

    "I offer my obeisance to Lord Ramanatha who was worshipped by Lord Ramachandra. He confers the desired boons on his devotees. He has the glory of possessing "Koti Tirtha." Tanks of holy waters in His temple precinct.... He resides in the hill Gandhamaadana, situated at the centre of "Setu."

    This Keerthana was chosen by Divya Padmanabhan as the main item of her concert. As a prelude, she sang raga Kamavardhini and elaborated with nerval (Kumara Guruguha) and swaraprasthara. Though alapana was brief, the swaraprasthara was dragged little. Earlier, she also sang another fine composition of Dikshitar "Sri Balasubramanya," which was also delineated with raga (Bilahari), nerval (Kanakavalli Deva) and swara, highlighting the musical stature. "Kanaka Shaila Viharini" - is a favourite of connoisseurs and "Idi Nyayama Sri Ramchandra" was a quickie. As a prelude to the devaranama "Narayana Ninna Namada," she also sang a sloka (Kasturi Tilakam) neatly.

    Divya is deeply interested in music and her "Paattanthara" is also good. With some more higher training and stage experience, she can climb the ladder of success. She was accompanied by Shankararajan and G S Nagaraj on violin and mridanga, respectively.

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  • 09/25/16--07:26: Melodious mandolin
  • Melodious mandolin

    Rabindranath Tagore Nagar Cultural Association is conducting music programmes every month punctually, from the last 25 years. It also conducts music competitions, Harikatha, Namasankeerthana, etc apart from a music festival, every year.

    The 26th annual music festival of the RT Nagar Cultural Association was held last week with vocal, mandolin performances and Namasankeerthana concerts at the Sri Vinayaka Cultural Centre of Vinayaka Devasthana. Another name for the instrument mandolin is 'U Srinivas'. He was a child prodigy and a versatile mandolin player, who inspired several youngsters to learn mandolin. One such youngster is U Rajesh, younger brother of U Srinivas.

    In his concert for the RT Nagar Cultural Association on Thursday, Rajesh presented a number of well-known compositions in popular ragas. Drawing his inspiration from a popular varna in Mohana, he saluted to invocatory God through 'Siddi Vinayakam' in Shanmukhapriya. 'Manavyalara' was in good speed while 'Sharavanabhava' was rendered in super fast speed. The evocative keerthana 'Entha Muddo' reminded past masters of Karnatic music.

    Tyagarajas familiar kruthi 'Nagumomu' was given a detailed treatment. Rajeshs mandolin is melodious and he plays with ease and assurance. But his attention was more on speed and rhythm-oriented swaraprasthara than ragaalapana and 'nerval'. They say 'speed mars the melody'. Seasoned connoisseurs felt that a slightly slower tempo would have invested it with greater grandeur.

    Mathur Srinidhi on the violin and Vyasa Vittala on khanjari while replying to the sallies of mandolin, maintained their musical composure and played with alacrity. But, senior percussionist Tiruvaruru Bhakthavatsala supported on mridanga in his characteristic and enjoyable manner.

    Visually appealing

    Four members of the Abhijatha Dance Ensemble presented Hari Hara, blending Bharathanatya and Kathak. Lakshmi and Bhavani tease spouse of the other to herald supremacy of their husbands (Hari or Hara). Finally they agree that both Hari and Hara are great and supreme.

    For the second item, the popular devaranama of Purandara Dasa - 'Yene Bhamini, Yene Bhavani' was chosen. In the next piece, Vishnu and Shiva praise each other quoting Kalinga Mardana, Natarajas dance at Kanaka Sabha, Ravana Vadhe etc. Dr Ganesh Avadhani's composition was also interesting.

    Rohini Prabhath, Neha Seshadrinath, Ashwin Prabhath and Naveen Heggade - gave better account of themselves. Their nritta was invested with elan and crisp lines. They performed with ease and involvement adding to the visual appeal and the choreography was also neat.

    Excellence in Abhinaya

    The Bengaluru International Arts Festival was organised by AIM, at different venues in the city. Folk music and dance from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Odisha, Rajasthan, Kerala, Gujarat, Telangana and of course Karnataka - were not only colourful but also attractive.

    Rama Vaidyanathan, a leading Bharathanatya exponent of India, performed on Friday at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall.

    Innovative Rama Vaidyanathan opened her dance recital with 'Sannidhana', in which she compared the development of Alaripu (set to Atta thala) to the architecture of a Hindu temple. The sacred 'Beejamantra' was also used intelligently. Even the common place 'Alaripu' highlighted the grace and dignified beauty of Ramas style.

    The main item of the evening was 'Navarasa Mohana'. Different reactions of the royal audience in the court, to Baala Krishna, who had come to kill Kamsa - were performed by Rama. Her portrayal was neat and pointed, the easy flow of one episode (Rasa) to another, to depict different 'Rasa' making for visual delight; Krishna coming alive each time in the delineation. There was an unmistakable grace that lent a touch of class to her performance and the easy way she covered the stage added a distinct character to her elegant style.

    Even in the Thumri, Sancharis were so variegated and eloquent that they were full of life and involvement. Restrained but impactful and matured Abhinaya with telling expressiveness, received admiration. Musicians from the wings also shared the honours with the dancer. Natuvanga - Dr S Vasudevan, vocal - K Venkateswaran, mridanga - Sumod Sreedharan and violin - Viju S Anand.

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  • 10/02/16--05:23: Characters come alive
  • Characters come alive

    Valmiki Ramayana is a ever-green epic, which is inspiring all the branches of fine arts (music, dance, painting, sculpture, folk, literature) from centuries. Though the story is well-known, it is recreated, enacted in all the languages of India, again and again.

    Rukmini Devi Arundale is highly respected as a great person who revived and brought sacredness and made Bharathanatya a divine performing art. Through her Kalakshetra, she brought on the stage Valmiki Ramayana as a dance drama with fine classical music and beautiful choreography. The Iskcon presented the Ramayana, through six episodes, last week by the Kalakshetra artistes.

    In the Paduka Pattabhisheka, Bharata and Shathrughna arrive at Ayodhya, summoned by Vasishta Rishi. Bharata refused to fulfill his mothers desire and vows to bring back Rama from the forest. In the next episode Guha's devotion is well expressed.

    In the last episode, Rama adorns Sita with the Tilaka and they ornament each other with flowers. After hearing about the death of his father (Dasharatha), Rama is profoundly affected but refused to return. Bharatha requests Rama to give his Padukas' (Sandals) and owes to lead the life of an ascetic using garments made of the bark of trees and rule the country in Ramas name.

    He says the kingdom had been given to him by Rama for safe keeping .... and the kingly honours be offered to the Padukas.

    The Kalakshetra is known for meaningful choreography and beautiful dance and classical music. Dance and music coalesced beautifully to lend intensity to each sequence. Each of the performers danced like one possessed bringing their respective characters come alive convincingly and make an indelible impact.

    Girish Madhu (as Rama), Sreenath (as Lakshmana), Aryamba (as Sita) and Hari Padman as Bharatha - performed well and received the appreciation of the connoisseurs.

    K P Rakesh (Natuvanga), Sai Shankar and Mithun Madhusudhan (vocal), K P Anil Kumar (mridanga), T Shashidhar (flute), Shiva Kumar (violin), Ananthanarayana (veena) and Sivaroaven (maddala) - supported well from the wings.

    Worth watching

    Divya Hosakere gave a Bharathanatya recital under the banner of the Every Friday Cultural Evening Programme, at the Yavanika auditorium.

    Divya is a student of P Praveen Kumar of Chitrakala School of Dance and has also performed the Arangetram successfully. She is a student of first-year degree and has performed in few programmes at the school also.

    Divya Hosakere's invocatory piece (Pushpanjali) vouched for a sound grounding in laya, with spacious movements. Her nritha in "Rupamujachi" - the celebrated varna was crisp. She performed the intricate jathies with ease and confidence. Her Abhinaya skill with expressive eyes was evocative in the pada "Yarukagilum Bhayama" and the devaranama "Baro Krishnaiah" dramatising but not over-doing anything. The curtains came down with the familiar thillana in the raga Dhanasri.

    Divya Hosakeres career is worth watching. Seasoned artistes - P Praveen Kumar on natuvanga, R Raghuram (vocal), Lingaraju (mridanga) and Mahesh Swamy (flute) gave inspiring support.

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  • 10/09/16--05:11: Rasaasvada
  • Rasaasvada

    The Nrityantar Academy of dance conducted "Rasaasvada," a dance festival at the Seva Sadana. Nrityantar, apart from conducting training classes under the direction of Madhulitha Mohapatra, conducts dance festivals also every year.

    Sreyashi Dey, Arnab Bandyopadhyay and Aditi Bandyopadhyay of "Rasa Collective" presented Anantha, the infinite. It focuses on the concepts of creation, based on the "Panchabutha" (earth, water, fire, wind and space). Based on the ancient veda and upanishads, they presented in the Odissi style, which was also lively.

    Students of Nrityantar opened their Odissi recital with Pallavi in the raga Malkauns. Madhulitha Mohapatra in her solo dance chose a Ashtapadi of Jayadeva "Ramate Yamuna Pulina Vane." Suspicious Radha imagining the flirtatious Krishna in his love play with other maidens - was a proof of Madhulitha's abhinaya skills. Arrival of the first rain of the season by the four students in the "Varsha Avisar" was also enchanting.

    Students of Rasika Dance Ensemble, opened their Bharatanatya recital with a Pushpanjali in the raga Vijayavasantam. The "Laya Kavitha" was like a "poetry in rhythm." "Kapalinee" the dual was also pleasing. The "Laya Vinyasa" was like a "Thani avarthana" of a "Sangeetha Kucheri," which was a proof of their good training under Kiran Subramanya and Sandhya Kiran.

    Tributes to Tyagaraja

    The Sadguru Sri Tyagabrahma Aradhana Kainkarya Trust had organised a special programme called "Tyagaraja Vaibhavam," last week.

    Tyagaraja's "Rama Bhakthi" is well known and his compositions are nothing but undivided devotion to Lord Rama with infinite poetic imagination and sheer simplicity of expression. His compositions have reached all over and enriched Karnatic music. Two known vocalists presented a few compositions of Saint Tyagaraja, emphasising the lyrical beauty also apart from music.

    Amritha Venkatesh's first choice was "Sri Rama Jaya Rama" in Yadukula Kambodhi. The composer says - "Oh mind! Think of Sri Rama. How fortunate mother Kausalya should have been, to kiss the radiant cheeks of Rama!" In the "Vachamagocharame" keertana, Tyagaraja says "Rama's prowess is beyond words," while in the "Alakalalla," he (Madhyamavati) describes sage Valmiki gazing on the curly forelocks gambolling on Sri Rama's forehead.

    After these compositions Amrita Venkatesh chose "Sasivadana! Bhakta Janavana" in the raga Chandrajyoti, in which "Maricha Vadha" is also explained. A brief alapana and nerval (Kanulara Sevinci) enhanced the flavour of raga (Mukhari) and the kruthi (Entani Ne Varnintunu Shabari) in which Shabari's devotion is described. "Manasa Manasa" in Vardhani, Shobane and Pavanaja stuthi - were the other songs she presented. Amrutha Venkatesh rendered with brief details and very brief raga and swara, which suited the occasion, concentrating mostly on "Baala Kanda" of Ramayana. Charulatha Ramanujam and B S Prashanth accompanied on violin and mridanga, respectively.

    Aesthetic finesse

    G Ravi Kiran, a promising vocalist presented Tyagaraja's keertanas on Kishkinda and Sundara Khandas. In the opening - "Adamodigalade" (Charukesi) keerthane Anjaneya's first meeting with Sri Rama is explained and in the "Alagimpamemi" "Lord! you are a past master in the art of utilising the four strategic expedients of Saama, Daana, Bhedha and Danda (persuasion, temptation, separation and subjugation)" - is described in the well known keerthana "Sarasa Saamadana" in the raga Kaapi Narayani.

    While explaining "Kanakana Ruchira" - Varali Pancharathna Kruthi, Ravi Kiran said, "Tyagaraja has narrated beautifully Hanuman's description of Rama, when he met Sita Devi for the first time. He sang Varali raga which was brief and noted for its verve and the nerval (Pavamana Sutudu) was also meaningful. He concluded with another popular devotional "Thava Dasoham." Ravi Kiran's concert was moulded into an essay of aesthetic finesse. Charulatha Ramanujam and H S Sudhindra supported on violin and mridanga, respectively.

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