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  • 02/17/13--12:01: Music reviews
  • Salute to teachers

    Young disciples of great masters of classical music performed at the 'Guru Shishya Parampara' programme of the Bharatiya Saamagana Sabha last week.

    Two teenage artistes of Hindustani music joined force in a significant way on the opening day of the festival at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall on Wednesday. Master Bhaskar Nath, disciple of Pandit Jasraj, on Shehnai and Master Akash, currently a student of Jayateerth Mevundi, on the flute, opened the Jugalbandi with Rag Jog.
    Though they took a few minutes to settle down, it was a rather unsteady start. They tried to develop the raga Sangathi by Sangathi.

    Sometimes, starting the Sangathi before the other boy finishes the previous phrase and overlapping it. It is not that there was no substance in their music. Flute and Shehnai both were tuneful and no doubt they have talent. But for a Jugalbandi, it requires lot of practice and rehearsals together. A methodical approach to the raga with an aesthetic touch can be brought with good preparation and direction by a senior Guru. I am sure they will reach great heights with higher training and some more stage experience. Keshava Joshi supported on the tabala.

    Intelligently woven

    Young T N S Krishnan, son of Madurai T N Seshagopalan, gave a vocal recital Thursday evening. After the shloka 'Dhyana Mulam, Guru,' the 'Sami ninne' gave him a bright start. While Tyagaraja's well-known Keertana on 'Guru' - 'Guruleka ituvanti' - suited the occasion, raga and swara for 'Saamagana Sudharasa' was pleasing.
    The elaboration of 'Vachaspati,' with his mood devoted to an exploration of the raga, had few intelligently woven phrases, including 'Grahabheda' and violinist Nagai Sriram responded with equal fervour. He gave an evocative rendition of the kruti 'Pahi Jaga Jananee Santhatham'. Krishnan showed his rich potential in a sparkling performance and his career is worth watching. Arjun Kumar lent good support on the mridanga.

    Impressive presentation

    Curtains came down on the 'Vasantotsava' held under the auspices of Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira last Sunday with the vocal concert of Padmasri Sudha Raghunathan.

    She was well supported by Embar Kannan on the violin, Neyveli Skanda Subramanya on the mridanga and R Raman on the morching. She chose Devaranamas of Purandara Dasa in the first half of the concert and compositions of Tyagaraja in the second half, and paid homage to these two great contributors of Karnatic Music.
    It was a proportioned presentation of choice melodies and she easily carried the day.

    There was customary abandon when she began the varna 'Vanajakshee'. After the invocatory piece (Sharanu Siddi Vinayakam), she chose 'Jaya Janakee Kantha' with the prelude of a Ugabhoga (Elli Harikatha Shravanavo).

    "Kelano Hari Thaalano" was given a detailed treatment. The swara prasthara - especially round the Nishada, with Janti Swaras - was attractive.

    The popular keertana of Tyagaraja 'Bantu Reethi' in 'Drutha Kaala' was followed by Thodi, the dignified raga which was delightful. Then she plunged into the climax of the programme in "Chesinadella Marachithavo". With her melodious voice, investing it with the required weight and authority, she impressed the gathering.

    Not in the usual melody

    Sikkil Gurucharan, who hails from a family of musicians, opened his concert with a composition of his Guru Sikkil Kunjumani in the raga Reethigowla. It was followed by a composition of Krishna Iyer on Guru Sadashiva Brahmendra.

    The 'Parama Pavana Papa Vimochana' (Ranjani), with a brief swara, was simple but beautiful. Then, the Pattanam Subramanya Iyer composition 'Pancha Natesha Pahimam' was rendered with a brief raga and swara.

    A composition on Saint Tyagaraja 'Sri Madadi Tyagaraja Guruvaram' was delineated in Kalyani. It was precise in form and content sans 'Gurucharan's usual touch'. H K Venkatram, Arjun Kumar and Guru Prasanna accompanied on the violin, mridanga and khanjari, respectively and rose to great heights.

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  • 02/24/13--10:44: Art reviews
  • Life's striking aesthetics

    The second chapter of "Magnum ke Tasveer," "Magnum's Vision of India - The last 50 years" (Tasveer at Cinnamon, February 8 to March 1), includes work by eight accomplished, mostly senior members of the famous international photographic cooperative.

    Being a visual pleasure in itself as well as often an existential experience, the selection appears to reflect western interests, notions and tastes and hence it offers at the same time insights into certain both persistent and changing strands of this country's perception elsewhere.

    Whilst older layers of responding to India as an exotic place of regal splendour and spirituality are marked, the now familiar accent on colourful vitality and overwhelming poverty prevails.

    These qualities being surely expected of the photographers by their sponsors and audiences do not however overshadow the artists' own empathetic focus on the humanity of their subjects.

    The closer to today the clearer becomes that the exotic allure of the local, while encompassing the ethos of the people and its optically attractive manifestations, is intuitively felt and consciously interpreted along strikingly aesthetic, rather than purely exotic, lines, frequently through references to forms of art to which the Western eye is used.

    The contemporary viewer is most appreciative when such sensitivities touch on the kind of visual properties and spirit that inherently belong to what is photographed, whether that pertains to faraway periods or the present.

    The earliest strata come from Marilyn Silverstone whose subtlety captures the elites, equally evident in the refined ranis among bejewelled glitter and diaphanous fabrics, sporadically shown with a twist - vanishing into the rich décor of the palace, and in the aware simplicity of politicians and culture heroes.

    The occasional working-class scene, like in the oeuvre of her contemporary Werner Bischof, combines nuanced yet emphatic rhythms that bind the human body in labour or play with the light and shade permeating the surroundings. The latter artist oscillates between respect for the natural way of the poor and the specific observation of the beauty of their wretched state.

    The recent images by Abbas, although centering on the predictable themes of grassroots spiritual activities and Kashmir's landscape charms, conjure a warm and gentle sort of pervasive lyricism around the rough immediacy of the modest plane, his black and white frames quietly stirring horizontals and diagonals along with atmospherically tremulous grades of illumination, shadow, lucidity and mist or translucency.

    Deliberately employed, strong colour starts to dominate with Steve McCurry whose shots, in contrast to the previous position of a fairly detached observer, engages directly with the gaze of the subject, his eyes looking into the camera and eventually the spectator allowing for real life to impregnate the otherwise highly aesthetised compositions, those remaining so despite the fact that the electrically intense reds, greens and white of their Holi and other ritual hues and flowers, rustic turbans and clothes come form the actual.

    Thanks to the recurrence of black and white in Ferdinando Scianna, the relationship between the sculpture-resembling human figure in its normal look during oil massage, sleep or burqa-clad status and its art-related versions as mannequins or formal statues gains much evidence, but without obscuring the feel of raw life underneath.

    Once more in colour, Bruno Barbey follows this approach individually and in a manner that appeals to the spectator today, his scenes of religious immersions of idols, of saints' monuments and of rustics in colourful attire posing against naively painted bazaar photo studios shock and endear mediating the natural and the artificial, almost surreal, the sculptural and the painterly, the artistic and the ordinary.

    In his own way, Raghu Rai carries similar elements either positioning them in a heightened togetherness, as in the real and painted wrestlers, or subtly merging both in larger groups. One may respond best to the youngest participant Olivia Arthur whose portraits of Ramnami Dalits with faces and bodies covered with tattoos of social protest bring out the unassumingly dignified and moving condition from within their appearance as a gesture and nature.

    Mannered vivacity

    The rural sceneries with animals displayed last week at iART at Bella Vista, Lavelle Road were done by Naga Reddy. They offered only a hardly distinguishable variant of a somewhat overused thematic and aesthetic formula that continues to be popular as a quick buy.

    His several mighty bulls with enlarged and well rounded body parts, muscles, hooves and horns are shown as forceful creatures animated by energy, joyous as well as dark urges and coarse dynamism which the artist perhaps naively suggests by dense and highly stylised hatchings and entangled squiggles in black pen and ink drawings. The animalistic charge is more effective there nonetheless than in the instances with somewhat garish colours.

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  • 02/24/13--10:45: Music & dance reviews
  • Veena ensemble

    There was a special programme on the concluding day of the Music Festival held under the aegis of the Bharatiya Saamagana Sabha, last Sunday. There was a Veena ensemble under the direction of Vidwan D Balakrishna, senior Veena player of "Mysore Baani".

    Saint Tyagaraja's "Pancharathna Krithies" are reputed in the field as five gems of Karnatic music. They are evershining compositions and appear always fresh and new to connoisseurs. But we don't hear them, on instruments - especially in Veena ensemble - frequently. Thus the "Dasha Veena" ensemble attracted a large gathering at the Chowdaiah Memorial Hall.

    The lyrics and music is amazingly blended in the 'Jagadananda Kaaraka'. He pleads "Oh Rama! Who will save me other than you?" in the 'Dudukugala' (Gowgala raga).
    The 'Sadhinchane' - especially the last charana - resembles the well knit Thaana Varna. The saint has praised Lord Rama's 'Mangala Swarupa', in the Varali kruthi 'Kanakana Ruchira'.

    Most popular among all the Pancharathna kruthies is 'Endaro Mahanubhavalu' with common 'Patanthara' and traditional style.

    Veena ensemble was performed in unison, and melodious, which was the result of the good direction of D Balakrishna. H S Sudhindra, Dayananda Mohithe and B Rajasekhar supported on percussion instruments.

    Appreciable vocal duet

    Deepa Anand and Roopa Kiran, known as Kasaravalli sisters, paid homage to Purandara Dasaru in the "Guru Shishya Parampara Sangeetha Utsava".
    They chose few well known and few infrequent devaranamas to make the concert an interesting one.

    "Sharanu Sharanu,' the invocatory piece, gave the sisters a pleasant start.
    They also sang a number of Ugabhogas like - 'Enna Dhanyana Mado,' 'Vande Mukundam,' 'Ninnane Paaduve Anavaratha,'etc, which bristled with lyrical charm.
    'Aacharavillada Nalige' is a well known satire-like pada, while 'Gaali banda kadeyalli toorikolliro' is a meaningful devaranama.

    'Ariyaru Manujaru' also was enjoyed by the audience. With their sweet voice and simple presentation Kasaravalli Sisters' vocal was appreciated by the assembly.

    Captivating moments

    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat presented a Mohiniattam on Friday by Sangeetha Iyer.

    She hails from a family known for Bhagawatha scholarship and has been trained by Kalamandalam Premalatha, Usha and Hymavathy.

    In Kathakali, she is the disciple of Kalamandalam Soman and Sangeetha has performed in various cities and festivals including Orissa, Chennai, Soorya Vestival, Mysore Dasara and Hampi Utsava and is the director of 'Mudra', where she trains young aspirants of Mohiniattam.

    It was a customary start by Sangeetha Iyer, with obeisance to Ganapathy, the portrayal standing out for in its evocative descriptions of the elephant-faced God. It was followed by a jathiswara in the raga Jinjoti.

    Though 'Shakuntala' of Kalidasa is chosen by every other artiste from centuries, it is still the choice of many dancers.

    Sangeetha also selected the Shakuntala, which had script by Unnikrishna (Mani Pravala) and music by Kotakal Madhu (Ragamalika) and choreographed by herself with slow but some captivating movements.

    Her restrained but pleasant Abhinaya came to fore in the Swati Tirunal pada 'Alar Shapari Thapam' in the raga Surati. She concluded with the popular lullaby.

    B S Anand (vocal), Rekha Raju (Natuvanga), N Gurumurthy (Mridanga), Purunur Subramanyan (Edakka) and Baiju (Veena) - supported from the wings.

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  • 03/03/13--09:38: Layered condition

  • It has already been for some time that one appreciates the efforts of Gallery Five Forty Five which, although not yet having a space fully suitable to display contemporary art, has been doing its best to project perhaps not the most spectacular nevertheless genuine and decent-quality work sourced especially, but not only, from younger artists' studios.

    This way, it fills the otherwise uncomfortable gap between the few leading art institutions, along with the not quite accessible to outside audiences artists' initiatives, and the facile commercial fare of most small galleries.

    The current exhibition there - "Photo Synthesis" (February 15 to March 5) curated by Lina Vincent Sunish, through its modestly restricted yet sincere, topical and fairly accomplished character, indeed reflects the spirit of the place.

    It also reflects and contributes to its improvement, since in comparison to her previous show it remains at the same time visually, technically and thematically varied as well as cogent, while relating to important aspects of our reality today.

    The premise of the exhibition relies on the three budding artists' individually diverse uses of digital photography in combination with effects and involvement of other media. As the curator explains, the techniques allow for the processes of layering, fragmenting and building upon an existing image, whilst a camera picture handled further lets the factual or the external be permeated by sensation, imagination and interpretation.

    One may add that the photographic element, which anyway is taken not in its straight look but in subtler and more complex manifestations, being part of contemporary sensibilities and urban circumstances, helps the viewer read and internalise the artists' personal moods, ideas and reference contexts, besides making it possible to directly collage as well as with nuances superimpose and blend as well as formally transpose a diversity of shapes, planes, hues, textures, luminosities and shadows.

    The curator stresses too the deep-down common, if not always evident, coexistence of the microcosmic and the macro and the nature of synthesis-anchored images, technical methods, artistic processes and thoughts.

    The most lucid camera rooting is found in the work of Manju Mohanadas who partly stratifies and partly merges or mutually transforms intimate palm close-ups and expansive landscapes, the atmospheric light-shadow of both together with negative-qualities mediating the in-between state, while the insertion of graphic details in red, from threads that connect and restrict to stitched trajectories and geographical mappings, suggests a fluid and not yet resolved condition of belonging to different places, spaces and times, a muted sort of intimacy spreading over a cool vastness.

    For Manush C J, the central to him is human figure or face, positioned so as to enable a feel of the presence, bears traces of the compelling power within photographic concreteness, as the artist manoeuvres the digital technique to virtually paint bodies that simultaneously hint at oils on canvas, sculptures and aquarelle-like colour translucency. Very good when sensitively rough and rudimentary, his shapes dilute under a profusion of layered textures and tonalities.

    Pratibha Nambiar conjures in her words 'ordinary amplified objects' whose commonplace, inert status becomes animated and nearly personified with a playful sort of warmth under which the spectator may intuit some of the artist's sentient mind.

    Bridging, hybridising and confusing the appearance of seeds, vegetal shells, pomegranate fruits and flowers, she evokes auras of things intimately proximate as though suspended in a premonition of immensity. One would like to recommend to the gallery to separately print commentaries rather than hang text cards next to works, since that increases the crowding of the limited and already disturbing space.

    Pleasant conventions

    The large show on view at Kynkyny (February 22 to March 11) ambitiously claims to present "The New Romantics" who in a variety of contemporary ways grasp situations and moods of love.

    What it does actually, however, is within the theme bring together many different names and personal styles whose impact nonetheless hardly differs because a great majority of the participants suit the popular, comfortably superficial, if not ingratiating, expectations from the subject dressed in a number of rather conventional aesthetic idioms. Lover couples in proximity, atmospheric single figures in mood-enhancing nature and mother and child images evidently prevail.

    Those introduce a hardly differentiated gamut of sweetly stylised versions and straight demonstrations, those either remaining within old-fashioned formal paradigms with a decorative tendency which is sometimes made seem more contemporary merely on the surface, or acquiring mannered classical art qualities alluding to wall painting or to grand statuaries, otherwise combining such traits with a strong caricature accent, as a dated realistic approach contrasts with abstract symbolism and sporadic truly contemporary expressions, the latter seen especially in Amrita Dhawan.

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  • 03/03/13--09:59: Mechanical rendering
  • Tyagaraja Aradhane was celebrated in many Sabha-Schools of the city, with Music concerts, vocal ensemble (Gosti Gayana), etc.

    One such organisation Nadajyothi Sri Tyagarajaswamy Bhajana Sabha is organising a Music Festival from last 47 years on the occasion of Tyagaraja Aradhana at the Sri Kannika ParameshwariTemple premises, Malleswara. Flute, Veena and solo violin recitals apart from vocal (both Karnatic and Hindustani) concerts were held on the occasion of the 9 days "Nadajyothi 48th Music Festival".

    Gayathri Gireesh who gave a vocal recital here, is not a stranger to music lovers of the city. A disciple of T N Seshagopalan, Gayathri a post graduate, is doing Ph.D. in music, now. A recipient of "Kalaimamani" title, has performed in leading Sabhas of the country. In the current concert a good musical atmosphere was spread when she started "Seshachala Nayakam".

    The dignified composition of Dikshitar was decorated with Raga and swara. In between, she sang popular compositions like Sarasa Samadana, ManavyaLa, Rama Rama Seetha etc, which pleased the audience.

    The high spot of the concert was Alapana of Kharaharapriya and the ever green keerthana "Chakkaniraja Margamu". Though glimpses of her talent were heard here and there, there was an overall impression of mechanical rendering. Young instrumentalists - B R Raghu on violin, B C Manjunath on mridanga and Bharadwaj Sathavalli on morching rose to the occasion.

    Kanakashyla Viharini, Sada Enna Hridayadalli, Thamburi Meetidava and Ramakrishnaru Manege Bandaru - in the concluding session, were also pleasing.

    Evocative vocal

    M S Sheela, reputed vocalist, sang in the Naadajyothi Festival on Wednesday. With her ringing voice, she presented a number of good compositions in pleasing ragas. The alap of Kalyani covering its colourful contours, prefaced 'Amma Ravamma' - an infrequently heard krithi. 'Devi Brova Samayamide' and 'Baale Balendu' - both in 'vilamba kaala' brought nostalgic memories.

    She exploited the glory of Purvikalyani in a spacious alap and the keerthane "Meenakshee me mudam" with evocative nerval and lively swara and other musical embellishments. J K Sridhar on violin, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga and B R Ravi Kumar on Ghata - gave good support.

    Promising young artiste

    Ramakrishnan Murthy, who gave a vocal recital on Friday for the Bangalore Lalitha Kala Parishat, is a computer science graduate from the University of California, Irvine. He had his initial training from Padma Kutty of Irvine and advanced training from Vidwan Delhi Sunder Rajan. He has been awarded prizes from Music Academy, Brahma Gana Sabha, Akashavani and 'A' grade artiste of All India Radio.

    Instead of a varna or usual invocatory piece on Ganapathi, Ramakrishnan opened the concert with the 'Bhavanutha' in Mohana. It was followed by grand compositions "Seshachala Nayakam" and "Ranganayakam Bhavaye" and in little fast speed 'Bhogendra Shayinam.' Todi received a sustained attention and the stately Swarajati "Rave Himagiri Kumari" anchored well to the lilting gait to leave a lingering effect.

    By some more stage experience his voice will grow deeper and stronger. He is fast acquiring an enduring capacity to captivate his listeners. In fact he has the talent to bring about a true concert atmosphere right from the first composition. It was a pleasure to see an young and upcoming artiste singing with full involvement and dedication. Three seasoned instrumentalists - C.N. Chandrasekhar, K.U. Jayachandra Rao and N.Amrith - rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

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  • 03/10/13--12:27: Art reviews
  • The way the "(social) bacteria" event was projected sounded grand, serious and innovative at least in theory. It was part of a large project series by FOA-FLUX, founded in Zurich by Dominique Lammli, a Swiss artist with a background in philosophy and Annemarie Bucher, her compatriot art and landscape historian.

    Supported by Swiss government institutions and happening in different areas of the world from India to South America and Africa, it means to approach "the functions of art in global contexts" as a research venture on scientific, artistic and applied planes. After contacts with a traditional art school in Bhutan, the work presented at Bar1 studios on February 23 was described as "a visual essay on mutations in interdisciplinary work" and included interactions with a young microbiologist Deepa Agashe and the city performance artist Smitha Cariappa.

    To vet one's appetite further, the introductory piece of information brushed on the wall mentioned the possibilities of art and science teeming to questions ethical and environmental issues, using biological materials or chemical reactions to make art. One does know and accept, even with the whole heart, that bridging speciality segregation is full of revelatory potential and that art can be generated in most unexpected ways and environs including through the meeting of non-art practitioners or normal people. In tune with the changing character and behaviour of reality, art has to become transient, focussed on words, information or on what is occurring among people rather than resulting in stable, physical objects.

    However it be achieved and whatever be achieved, the essential necessity for art it to conjure heightened sensations and thought-provoking recognitions between the participants and the audience. Perhaps one should take the Bar1 event as a stage in the learning process, nonetheless, the contributors should have practiced long enough to arrive at some interactive insights first in order to let the viewers intuit those. What the spectators faced in the actual were kind of illustrated starting point situations without affording a felt or even stated mutual impact and its broader ramifications.

    Everyone sat facing the video projection that showed an inner room with three participants. Maybe the aim was combination of remote contact and close proximity. Anyway, what one saw was three phases that hardly related to one another except a theory and future potentiality. The scientist gave a rather condescending lecture on what educated people know already, for instance that bacteria can be good or bad while she displayed some familiar lab dishes too and seeds with sprouts.

    The Swiss artist painted a bathroom scene with a screen and a tub, initially dripping pigment and then brushing a dragonfly, which could have been read as suggesting simultaneous cleansing and exposure to infection along with imagination, but did not really connect with the scientist so as to enable subtler or just new angle intuitions, like did not the scientist's adding a few strokes to the temporary mural.

    One commiserated strangely with Smitha Cariappa who was the only one to sincerely and gracefully try to interact with and influence what her colleagues as well as the audience felt. In between and towards the end of the project she kissed the participants and the viewers, offered them a desert suitably made of curds and pomegranate and collected spoons showing symptoms of a cold, eventually enacting an ancient death ritual involving food. Instead of believing that anything goes as long as it is supposed to be cutting-edge, perhaps the participants should consider that validity can be given to them by the audience and think what is possible for the audience to experience of what they offer to it.

    Two kinds of amateur art

    The duo exhibition at the Alliance Francaise (March 2 to 10) presented two different, almost equally popular aesthetic options employed by amateur artists. Although completely unlike each other, the styles of both participants nonetheless revealed a similar approach to ready form repertoires and broader subjects. In the case of Joe D'Souza the idiom may appear freer and more dictated by passion, whereas in fact his blend of faint but highly stylised linear silhouettes and very abstracted brushing all around closely follows a much overused and by now fairly old-fashioned paradigm. By contrast, MI Shaikh's drawings in black pen and ink rely on photographically sourced and composed realistic sights from today's Mumbai city. Conventionally chosen and viewed, it has the well-known crowded coexistence of imposing, colonial-time buildings, ordinary human crowds, taxies, trades and vegetation, all structured, shaded and textured monotonously varied hatchings. Comparatively interesting are the dense close-ups of plants or old clasped palms.

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  • 03/10/13--12:38: Music reviews
  • Glory of Agra Gharana

    Lalith J Rao, is known in the field not only as a senior vocalist, but also an able teacher. She was felicitated last week, on the eve of her 70th birthday at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. A documentary film on her, directed by Mayachandra, was also screened. It was followed by a musical feature on Agra Gharana, which gave a different experience than a usual vocal concert.

    Agra Gharana is one of the important styles of Hindustani music. Lalith J Rao traced the history of the Gharana right from Nayak Gopal, contemporary of Ameer Khusru. Saras Rang (Dayam Khan), who moved to Agra, is considered the founder of Agra Gharana. Lalitha Rao explained the salient features of the school and her ten students sang in unison ragas like Bheempalas, Bhairav, Pharz, Purya, Meghmalhar and a few others.

    Another interesting part was recordings of stalwarts of yesteryears. It was a great opportunity to hear the recordings of Zohar Bai, Faiyyaz Khan (Ramkali), Vilayat Husain (Shivamat Bhairav) and many others. Vyasamurti Katti (Harmonium), Gurumurthy Vaidya (Pakhawaj) and Shashibhushan Gurjar (Tabla) - gave good support on their respective instruments. It was an interesting and educative programme.

    Belied expectations

    Veena Seshanna (1852-1926) was a Veena player par excellence, an able teacher and a prominent composer of the post-Tyagaraja period. His compositions were discussed in detail last week, at a special seminar. It was part of the Veena Seshanna Memorial Music Festival, held under the aegis of the Swaramurthy V N Rao Memorial Trust in collaboration with Tumkur University and Bangalore Gayana Samaja.

    Senior vocalist Nagamani Srinath spoke on the swarajathies of Veena Seshanna and Uma Kumar and Tejaswini sang Bhairavi, Maanavathi and Karnatak Kaapi swarajathies, neatly. Veteran musician R Vedavalli said Seshanna's varnas are like guiding lamp to music students.

    Sumathi Krishnan and K Dharini presented Purvi Kalyani, Saveri, Kedara and Bhegade varna - all of them infrequent compositions. With some more home work they will be able to render them in a better way. But Geetha Ramanand played on Veena, thillanas in the ragas Kamatch, Hindustani Kaapi, Jinjoti etc. It was melodious and was assisted by V Gopal (Veena) and R Adamya (Mridanga). Dr R K Srikantan presided over the seminar and Rajalakshmi Tirunarayanan compered the programme.

    Good vocal

    Well known vocalist Nagamani Srinath opened her concert with a swarajathi of Veena Seshanna in Kamatch. After the familiar 'Manasuloni' raga Rishabhapriya was refreshing. Her feel for the composition "Neepadame" added lilt to her singing. Thus Devamanohari was equally touching.
    She concluded with a devaranama and excellent thillana (Jinjoti). Nalina Mohan (violin), H S Sudhindra (mridanga), S N Swamy (Khanjari) and Uma Kumar (vocal support) -gave lively support.

    A touch of class

    The celebrated Bhairavi varna 'Viriboni' in two speeds helped Hyderabad Brothers (Seshachari and Raghavachari) to create a bright musical ambience on last Monday. While 'Yela nee dayaradu' was a pleasing krithi, the 'Rama ninnu' is a infrequent composition. Sunadavinodini is a pleasing and 'rakthi' raga. Hyderabad brothers moulded the raga into an essay of aesthetic finesse.

    The composition 'Devadi deva' attracted with lyrical charm. Their chiseled style surfaced in the 'Dinamani Vamsha' also. Their vocal with good 'Bhava' and unhustled grace, earned the appreciation of the house. Even the concluding jawadi was a memorable one.

    Accompanists H K Venkatram, Harikumar and Sukanya Ramgopal shared the honours with the main artistes.

    Bright Chitra Veena

    Curtains came down on this year's music festival with an excellent chitra veena of N Ravikiran. A child prodigy Ravikiran's name is synonymous with Gotuvadya and he is acclaimed as a composer and performer all over the world.

    Purvi Kalyani varna of Seshanna gave him a rollicking start. Dhenuka is an emotion laden raga and Ravikiran played it with lilting flavor for the keertane "Ramabi Rama." Vaachaspati, a popular raga post Trinity period, with spacious alapana bristled with bright - striking phrases. It was a dignified soulful melody and Ravikiran lived up to his reputation. Akkarai Subbalakshmi, B C Manjunath, N Amrith and Ullur Giridhar Udupa - gave lively support.

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  • 03/17/13--12:20: Art Review...
  • Mutant development

    It was after several years that one saw an extensive and important exhibition of Babu Eshwar Prasad (Sumukha Gallery, February 20 to March 13).

    His work is still preoccupied with the landscape of our reality while at the same time continuing and altering its aesthetic and thematic focus. Familiar with Prasad's earlier paintings complemented by an occasional sculpture and video, one may have initially missed the muted, luminous translucency of his layered acrylics that evoked ambiguous complexities of our perception amid outer and inner spaces.

    Soon enough though, one could notice that pervasive simultaneity rediscovered in merged sequences of sights in a mutually enhancing interaction of photographic realness to the effect of plasticity, symbolic restructuring of the actual and a quintessential painter's sensitivity. Such qualities ensured that, unlike often in recent cutting-edge art which tends to limit itself to statements and pointing to mechanisms and attitudes, the spectator came close to a cathartic experience thanks to Prasad's capacity to evoke an ominous beauty whose visual sensations gradually led towards more conscious realisations.

    Titled "Skin of the Earth", the show centred on the now drastically evident condition of the ravaged soil around here epitomising the perilous rush to economic growth. The way the artist approaches it, in fact, considers the earth as the site and the body of what is happening as well as a metaphor, a participant in and a victim of the process who becomes a witness speaking for the state of things and revealing the dangers behind.

    These corporeally intuited premonitions are particularly strong in the digital prints with their proximity to the texture and red colour of iron-rich soil which always remains bare, both as the building material for anthills and for man-driven urban construction or ore mining. Throughout, the pan-organic pressure to erect, expand and exploit manifests its life affirming yet self-destructive core and consequences while contrasting-comparing-blending the human stratum with the natural.

    Dense agglomerations of ceaselessly industrious anthills almost mirror the tight pulse of high-rise residential complexes, whereas habitations of people observed from a distance turn into a virtual hive over which dragonflies hover as alter egos of airplanes.

    A termite mound and old-fashioned anvil create a hybrid monument to the situation, its imposing loftiness aspirational in the manner of mundane manual perseverance of people but also similarly fragile, perhaps doomed. The images become yet longer horizontally when capturing, with a somewhat cinematic effect, an endless unfolding of mutated earth surface and its exposed, wounded belly, the flights of the unnaturally grey or yellow sky, the windings of the hilly scenery undulations and the roads invaded into by omnipresent excavations and the ever stretching junkyards of outdated machinery.

    Whilst countless earthmovers busy themselves amid the countryside appearing to be like termites, piles of industrial or construction scrap and enormous pipes acquire the look and behaviour of alien birds and worms. The impact of prevailing is generated through image elongation over seamlessly merged similar scenes and motifs that as though open out and reflect one another as well as through disruptions and insertions into their character.

    The related videos wrap one's impression in a slow, nearly meditative dynamism emphasised by the formal finesse of their abstract aspect. The four canvases clarify, sometimes single out certain elements, beauty, nostalgia for the past and mystery of the future, transposing those into signs and metaphors. Maybe the most admirable is the three-part, shaped painting in wood inlay the meaning of whose substance reverberates in the symbolism of the imagery where a vegetal motif from Hieronymus Bosch, a personification of the preciousness of nature, in comic strip bubbles laments its wrecked condition.

    Cultured traditionalism

    The Contrivance group of 15 Bengali artists from different parts of the country celebrated their 35th anniversary of its Kolkata founding with a large exhibition at the CKP (March 6 to 12).

    Mostly, but not only, senior members of a Modernist and even earlier anchoring, they uniformly displayed sound technical and compositional skills combined with a formalist orientation around vital but not confrontationally presented situations and issues with predominantly pleasing images framed often in variants of broader idioms characteristic to the region of their origin.

    While Revivalist echoes were lucid (Mohi Paul, Tanushree Gosh) or subdued under a comparatively fresher language (Animesh Biswas, Malay Dutta, Nripen Nath, equally to classical modern patterns in sculpture, graphics and painting (Narayan Sutradhar, Pradip Sur, Sushanta Roy, Sudip Saha) including abstraction (Ajay Das), greater degrees of innovation were merely apparent - gracefully decorative (Bikas Mukherjee, Dipankar Mukherjee, Nirmal Kumar Mallick) or surface-bound in their dramatic arrangements (Swarup Nandi, Swapan Dendra, Srimanta Das Joydeep Chatterjee). One wished they had more courage.

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  • 03/17/13--12:23: Music Review...
  • Mechanical rendering

    Sri Ramakrishna Bhajana Sabha Trust conducted the 62nd annual Mahashivarathri Utsav with music, dance, bhajan, unchavrithi and other rituals customarily, for 15 days. P Unnikrishnan who gave a vocal recital, is a familiar vocalist and a popular artiste. In his concert, Kharahara Priya was the major item of the recital. Though alapana was on pedestrian lines, the thana was rendered to the accompaniment of Mridanga. Pallavi was set to Khanda Triputa and the swara prasthara lacked the usual flourish.

    Earlier, saint Tyagaraja's Dhenuka krithi 'Teliyaleru Rama Bhakti Margamunu' was chosen by Unnikrishnan. Tyagaraja's creation 'Mokshamugalada' in Saramathi had a special lyrical mood, which he tried to bring out in its presentation. In between he sang few Tamil songs like Shivaloka Nathane, Karpaga Manohara, etc. Overall there was an impression of mechanical rendering. The Astapadi 'Nathahare Jaganatha' came as one of the concluding item. But Embar Kannan impressed in both Saramathi and Kharaharapriya and K V Prasad on mridanga, gave lively support but nothing to write on the Ghata (Shivaramakrishnan).

    Vasantha Nrithyotsava

    The Sumana Charitable Trust conducted a dance festival called 'Vasantha Nrithyotsava' at Nayana Auditorium on Friday. There was variety and colour as three different styles were presented by three dancers.

    Dharini Kashyap who opened the programme is a disciple of Sunanda Devi and Rajeswari and has learnt Bharathanatya and Kathak also. She performed her Ranga Pravesha in 1983 itself. She is teaching at 'Natya Ninada' of Bangalore and has performed in many places.

    Dharini Kashyap opened her Kuchipudi programme with an invocatory piece on Ganesha and continued with a Bhadrachala Ramadas krithi (Idigo Bhadradi Gowtami), in which the (recorded) music was too loud. After the Annamachar's composition (Muddugari Yashoda) she moved to the Taranga. But she was not feeling comfortable with the pot on the head and was adjusting the pot throughout. May be she is performing after long time gap and needs more practice.

    Vidya Shimladka, student of Narmada and Ullal Mohan is known in the field both as a performer, teacher and journalist. She also opened her programme with a Ganapathi stuthi (Mahaganapathim Manasa) customarily. Commencing with a 'Surya Namaskara' she performed the 'Surya Kautvam', in which she could have made the 'Ashwa Gathi' more interesting. The 'Jagan Mohana Rajasabha' is very popular among dancers. For Vidya portraying 'Navarasa' was not a new thing. Her Abhinaya was good while depicting 'Shringara, Hasya'. But with some more experience she may portray Bheebatsa and Rudra impactfully. She also presented a Ashtapadi (Radhika Tava Virahe) and for a welcome change a vachana too. She concluded with an item on 'Desi Karna', in which she is doing research.

    The last programme of the evening was a Kathak recital by Sankhya Gopal. She is a student of Dr Maya Rao and is running a dance school, 'Nritya Loka'. After the 'Shiva stuthi', the opening piece, Sankhya took a popular Tulasidas composition. Geet (Madhuvanti) and the 'Main To Khelu' provided sufficient opportunities for Abhinay, dramatising the situations. But the best part of he programme was a Tarana in jinjoti. With some more experience she can reach great heights.

    All the three dancers used recorded music.

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  • 03/31/13--12:19: Music and dance reviews
  • Tribute to music

    The ESSAE Music foundation had organised music concerts - a veena and a vocal - by young artistes of Bangalore.

    First Ashwin Anand opened his Veena recital with the Kambodhi swara jathi. It has charana and is practised on a daily basis by artistes of Mysore School. The Karnataka Kaapi Swara Jathi is known for its very difficult sangathies, set to khanda atha thala and 'Ateetha Edupu'! 'Neerajakshi', the Saveri varna in jhampe thala is shining with datu swaras. The keertane 'Inthashodha' is one of the best compositions in the raga Rishabhapriya. He concluded his veena recital with the legendary jinjoti thillana. It was a classical treat sans gimmicks.

    Impactful rendering

    S Ramani and K S Giridhar, disciples of S Shankar, senior musician, opened their vocal with the Bhairavi swarajathi. 'Mayamelara', the Natakuranji varna in Khanda Triputa, was full of 'Ragabhava'. 'Rama Ninnu', the Anandabhairavi keertana, was small in size but was rendered with good impact. 'Nadiridiri Dheem' - the Thodi thillana is a less-known composition and concluded with 'Shiriye' in jinjoti. These young artistes presented compositions of Veena Seshanna impactfully. M P Aditya on violin and B R Srinivas on Mridanga supported them.

    Pleasing vocal

    The Bangalore Ladies' Association had organised music and dance programmes on Saturday evening in connection with its Golden Jubilee celebrations.

    Triveni Saralaya and Kavitha Saralaya, popularly known as 'Saralaya Sisters', who gave a vocal duet, were accompanied on the violin by M S Govindaswamy, on mridanga by V S Rajagopal and on ghata by M A Krishnamurthy. Their opening piece itself had the right tempo and the 'Akhilandeswari', the popular kruthi on Devi, was also pleasing. Their treatment had a touch of class and the 'Rama Rama Guna Seema' reverberated with good sangathies.

    With their good voices and neat presentation, they earned the appreciation of the assembly. 'Hari Kunida Namma' was lively and the 'Maitrim Bhajata' is a favourite patriotic song.

    Hunnime Sangeetha

    It was the turn of Dr Vaishaly this time to perform in the series 'Hunnime Sangeetha' at the 'Kadu Malleswara Udyanavana'. Clear rendition of raga with subtle ambience and the subsequent aesthetic articulation for Rageshree showed her prowess and competence.

    Her methodical approach to the raga (Vilambit Ek Taal and Drut Teen Taal) with an aesthetic touch brought a composite picture of the melody. A number of Kannada compositions - both devaranama and vachana - followed, with popular appeal. Maadi Maadi Kettaru (Basavanna), Aadalu Pogona Baro Ranga (Sripada Rajaru) Baraiah Ranga (Purandara Dasaru), Kayada Kattaleya (Akkamahadevi) - were bristled with melodious sangathies. Panchakshari Hiremath and Hanumanthappa Hugar accompanied on Harmonium and Thabala, respectively.

    Evocative, crisp dance

    Nirupama Rajendra, the popular dancer, who is well versed in both Bharathanatya and Kathak, gave a solo Bharathanatya recital. A Ganapathi Stuthi gave her a bright start. The opening, with Kannada lyrics, was followed by the well known 'Mudaka Rathna Modakam'. She performed with gay abandon, in the 'Lokadharmi' beautifully.

    The piece de resistance, however, was a piece from the 'Kumara Sambhava'. The well-known story was depicted with lively visuals, and had crisp movement and of course was attracted by Karnas, a result of intense research by Dr Padma Subramanyam. The 'Vatsalya Bhava' was well-depicted in the evergreen devaranama 'Jagadoddarana', dramatising the situations with visual appeal. The concluding thillana in Kadanakutuhala (Dr M Balamurali Krishna) was crisp and evocative.

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  • 04/07/13--14:21: Music and dance reviews...
  • A new cultural organisation

    One more organisation was added to the long list of Sangeetha Sabhas of the City. Krishna Kala Kendra was inaugurated by Dr R K Srikantan, veteran musician, last Sunday and Anoor Dathatreya Sharma inaugurated the website.

    The Sabha is aiming to cater to the cultural needs of the connoisseurs of Vasanthpura and the surrounding areas. Vinay Sharva, who gave the inaugural concert, had his initial lessons from S Shankar and has been receiving advance lessons from none other than Nedanuri Krishnamurthy. Apart from a good repertoire, Vinay is also well versed in Simhanandana Thala, also.

    The opening varna 'Sarasuda' was itself a revelation of Vinay's good training. For a change he chose a gem from the treasure chest of Mayuram Viswanatha Sastry. It was in the raga Naata and the chitteswara was also attractive. A infrequent krithi Vallagadanak Seetha Vallabha of Saint Tyagaraja was a welcome change from the routine, reserving the elaboration to the day's chief raga Bhairavi. With his deep sonorous voice, he brought a distinct imagery of the raga. After a long time we heard the Yenatinomu with well-knit nerval (Sundaresha Suguna Brinda Dasharath).
    Swara Prasthara which was lively, was also appealing. Devotionals - Jagadoddarana and Vandipenamma Muddu Sharade - were also rendered with a melodic grace. Vinay Sharva's career is worth watching. H M Smitha on the violin, Anoor Anathakrishna Sharma on the mridanga and Bharadwaj Sathavalli on morching, lent a good support throughout.

    Yuva Sambhrama

    The Sangeetha Sambhrama conducted the "Yuva Sambhrama" - a festival of music and dance by young artistes.

    Sindhu Suchetan and H S Smitha, young violinists, gave a solo violin recital, accompanied by B S Prashant on the mridanga and Kartheek on khanjari. In the first half of the concert, the sisters chose Saraswati for raga delineation. Saraswati is a Audava Shadava rakti raga. It is believed that Saint Tyagaraja popularised this raga through the composition "Anuragamuleni."

    Through this raga the sisters created a fine musical atmosphere. Sindhu and Smitha's violin duet was marked for their good "Manodharma," easily rising the melodic report to a crescendo in Mohana. It was a sort of reassuring concert.

    A pleasant dance drama

    The students of Vaishnavi Natyashala gave a dance drama "Bibi Nachiar" under the direction of Mithun Shyam, in the "Yuva Sambhrama."
    The story of Bibi Nachiar is well known and the young students opening with Seshadeva, Harijans of Tirunarayanapura (Melkote) and dreams of Princess of Moghul Durbar. 35 youngsters between 6 and 30 years - changing their roles in quick succession, performed with gay abandon. Their abhinaya was good and lively.

    Duet by father, son

    Nagaraj Hawaldar gave a Hindustani vocal, under the aegis of the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat. There was a family touch also, in the artistes' selection.
    Nagaraj's son Omkar Nath Hawaldar gave vocal support, while another son Kedarnath Hawaldar gave tabala support and their close relative Sameer Hawaldar was in charge of the harmonium.

    Nagaraj and Omkarnath Hawaldar opened their vocal recital with Purya Dhanasri. Starting slowly, they gradually - from swara to swara - climbed and reached the Thara stayee. The deep phrases lent a convincing imagery of the melody. They captured the listeners with a wholesome raga. It was followed by a number of devotionals - both Devaranama and Vachana. Aada Pogona Baro Ranga (Durga), Karuniso Ranga (Jogiya), Akka Kelavva (Pahadi) and Neene Dayalu Nirmala Chitha (Bhairavi) - delighted the connoisseurs.

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  • 04/14/13--13:13: Music and dance reviews
  • Season of music

    Once again Ramothsava, the music season has arrived. Though most of the Rama Mandalies conduct Ramotsava celebrations on the Rama Navami Day, a few organisations start the programmes from Ugadi itself, known as "Garbha Navami."

    One such organisation is Sri Vani Kala Kendra. It conducts Rama Navami Music Festival on its premises in Basaveshwaranagara. The spacious open air theatre with a beautifully decorated stage, has a natural musical ambience.

    Padmashree Dr Kadri Gopalnath, internationally acclaimed artiste, presented the inaugural concert of the Ramotsava on the auspicious Ugady day. A large gathering heard the saxophone of Dr Kadri Gopalnath with great joy.

    Padmashri Kadri Gopalnath sprung a surprise in the beginning itself! He opened the concert with raga Tilang. The lilting melody of the raga at once attracted the audience and the composition of Papanasham Shivan was evocative. Another melodious raga Kalyana Vasantha was briefly rendered for 'Naadalolludai.' This 'Audava Sampurana' raga is an appealing Rakti raga. At that stage Kadri surprised the audience by choosing a lesser known raga. It was Manoranjani, which is again a 'Audava Sampurna' raga.
    This raga is known through Tyagaraja's Keertana 'Atukaradani'. Dr Gopalanath presented this composition with swara and charana was played in 'drutha kaala.'

    He capped his efforts with a sparkling exposition of Kharaharapriya. With brisk swaras in different speeds, it glowed with resplendent glory. C N Chandrasekhar accompanied on the violin, V Praveen on the mridanga, Rajendra Nakod on the tabala and B Rajasekhar on morching, impressed the audience by their artistry.

    Tributes to MPL Sastry

    The MES Kalavedi conducted the annual "Prof M P L Sastry Memorial Dance Festival" last week.

    Subhashini Vasanth who gave a Bharathanatya recital in the festival, is a student of Smt Narmada and has also received guidance from Dr Maya Rao, Chitra Venugopal and Kalanidhi Narayan.

    Subhashini opened her Bharathanatya recital with Pushpanjali, customarily. "Moha Maya" the majestic varna in the raga Bhairavi, revealed her good training and hard practice.
    The episodes on Prahlada, Narasimha and Draupadi were well portrayed in the Meera Bhajan and the Mohana Kalyani thillana was also lively. Subhashini's performance with good abhinaya was reassuring.

    Sreevathsa (vocal), Soundarya Sreevathsa (natuvanga), Gurumurthy (mridanga) and Narasimha Murthy (flute) - gave spirited support from the wings.

    Programme on vachanas

    The Akhila Bharatha Sharana Sahitya Parishat held a "Vachana Sangeethotsava," on Saturday and Sunday. Musicians and musicologists from different parts of the State took part in both - the symposium and performances.

    The inaugural concert was a Shehnai, which suited the occasion, as it is a mangala vadya. The performer Pandith S Balesh, who hails from Belgaum, is now a resident of Chennai.
    He chose raga Nat Bhairav and gave a spacious exposition on a solid ground. He lent a well-reasoned imagery to the raga. It was melodious and impressive too. Sri Krishna Balesh (co-player), Suresh Atre (tabala), Prakash Balesh (dukkad) and R K Ravi (swara mandal) - accompanied the shehnai.

    It was followed by a vocal recital by Dr Ashok Hugganavar from Honnavar, who has earned a doctorate. He presented a number of Vachanas - both known and less-known, including Ullavaru Shivalayava, Swamy Neene, Chakorange Chandramana, etc. His voice range is limited but he sang simplistically. M Nagesh and Sudamshu Kulkarni supported on the tabala and the harmonium, respectively.

    Shivakumar Hiremath chose - Kanda Bhaktarige, Nadechenna and the meaningful "Pranathi ide Bhakthi ide", etc. Though he has a rich voice, lack of good feeling reduced the impact. Guru Sangappa Hugar and Sateesh Kolli - were incharge of tabala and harmonium, respectively.

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  • 04/28/13--14:02: Music and dance reviews
  • A melodious ensemble

    Sri Rama Seva Mandali, Chamarajpet, founded by Narayanaswamy Rao, is celebrating its platinum jubilee. As usual, a number of programmes by celebrities and young artistes, is slated to be held till May 16.

    To celebrate in a unique manner, the Mandali presented a special veena ensemble of 75 veenas, 'Nada Ranjini' on Wednesday. Dr Suma Sudhindra, internationally acclaimed musician, and Anuradha Madhusudhan, senior veena player, directed the ensemble, which was really a challenge!

    Veena players from different schools were trained for 100 days - first in small batches and gradually, with full strength. Each veena has at least seven strings - 75 veenas meant 525 strings to be tuned and maintained! Not a easy task and demands concentrated attention! Another challenge is teaching all with a common script (chitte) and to see all of them play in unison.

    Concert planning or selection of compositions and ragas was another important stage. A large gathering assembled to listen to divine music, at the special pandal at the Fort High School in Chamarajpet.

    The Navaragamalika Varna gave the ensemble a bright start. They saluted to invocatory God through the composition 'Mahaganpathim' of Dikshitar in the raga Naata. It was decorated with a brief swara, and Kalyana Vasantha was pleasing. Audience expect Kadana Kutuhala (Raghuvamsha) in any veena concert!

    Here, the artistes chose 'Manavyala' (Nalinakanti), a welcome change. Hamsanada, the well known raga was pleasing for its melodic flourishes. When the group started swara individually, it was a different experience. Then swaraprasthara with different permutations and combinations, was quite interesting and all joined, in the end.

    The percussionists led by Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma (ghata, tabla, khanjari, rhythm pad and morching) playing one after the other, joined in the end to reach a crescendo. There was a surprise for everybody: 'Priya Tarangini' a special instrumental composition for the occasion by Dr Suma Sudhindra was presented in the ragas Kharaharapriya, Ratipatipriya, Gayakapriya, etc. It was evocative with lilting melody. A number of devotionals followed in the concluding session.

    Encouraging youngsters

    When most organisers go behind popular artistes, here was an organisation which provided the main slot in the Rama Navami Festival to young students. Thirty-six students of Vani Kala Kendra aged 10 and 15 years sang in Karnatic style, compositions of Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Purandara Dasa, Vijaya Dasaru, Thanjavur Shankara Iyer were presented. 'Ranjani Mala' is a favourite of connoisseurs.

    Comparatively Ramakali is an infrequent raga. But youngsters sang with assurance. It was followed by a Keerthana on Lord Rama. 'Rama Ninne' of Tyagaraja was composed in raga Mohana. The Kannada devaranama 'Ide Samaya Hariye' was in raga Arabhi and 'Enthava Nenthavane' was in folk style.

    Charulatha Ramanujan accompanied on violin and a band of youngsters supported on different percussion instruments, under the direction of Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma. It was the result of hard work - direction of Vidushi M S Vidya and these young students have a bright future, with continued training and practice.

    Dance feature

    A group of 25 young students performed a dance feature on Ramayana, under the directions of B Bhanumathi, a senior danseuse.

    They opened the programme with a Pushpanjali, customarily. 'Sriman Narayana' the favourite devaranama was followed by 'Rara Rajeeva Lochana', the piece de resistance of the evening. Young dancers changing their role in quick succession performed with gay abandon and colourful costumes, episodes of Ramayana, like Seetha Kalyana, Mareecha, Seethapaharana, etc., were presented.

    With sustained effort and training they must improve their foot work (Thala Laya) and pep up their abhinaya.

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  • 05/05/13--12:54: Music and dance reviews
  • Pleasing violin duet

    Sri Seshadripuram Rama Seva Samithi is conducting the 65th year Ramanavami Music Festival till May 10, with veena, chitra veena, solo violin and nagaswara recitals, apart from vocal concerts, at the Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Ranga Mandira, Seshadripuram College premises.

    Mysore Nagaraj and Mysore Manjunath, who gave a violin duet in the Samithi last week, are both successful soloists and most sought-after accompanists. They are recipients of several awards and honours and have performed in major Sabhas of India and in many parts of the world.

    Brothers opened their violin solo concert with a popular composition of Saint Tyagaraja, instead of a varna or invocatory piece (on Ganapathi) customarily. They made graceful impact with 'Enthaveduko', another well-known composition of yester years. 'Vasantha raga' was evocative with lilting melody. Dr Manjunath aired 'Kharaharapriya', embellished with flurry of lively phrases. They combined well in the stately krithi 'Pakkalanilabadi' and the swara by turns was striking, generating good heat! 'Nasikabhushani raga' was brief but rendered with good feeling. Nagaraj chose 'Shankarabharana', the majestic raga, was marked for its depth of technique and imagination.

    They synchronised well, and played with good feeling, leaving an indelible impression on the listener. H S Sudhindra and K U Jayachandra Rao on double mridanga, rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

    Scholarly concert

    Dr T S Satyavathi, is known in the music field not only as a good vocalist, but also as an able teacher and scholar. In her concert for the Vani Kala Kendra, in the Ramotsava serial, she chose 'Rama nee pai Tanaku' after the varna. Brief swara added a lively lilt to her singing. Dhenuka is the 9th mela and is an emotion laden 'rakti raga'. The raga became popular through the Tyagaraja's composition 'Teliyaleru Rama'. In this composition Tyagaraja says - "Men only roam about in tension all over without being aware of the path of devotion... They are busy… making money by hook or by crook."

    Soaked in 'Bhava' Sathyavathi sang it enriching the raga's elegant coherence. 'Sri Narada Nada Saraseeruha' was again pleasing. After a quick 'Niravadi Sukhada', Mohana was elaborated charmingly and the Pallavi set to 'Khanda Triputa' (Karuna Jalade Dasharathe) glowed with lilting phrasings. It was a scholarly, impactful concert. Nalina Mohan on violin, V Krishna on Mridanga, Sathvalli Bharadwaj on morching fulfilled the needs of the hour.

    Promising dancer

    Maanasa Rao, a student of Nupura, gave a Bharathanatyam recital on Friday under the aegis of the Bangalore Lalitakala Parishat. Maanasa has received good training from Lalitha Srinivasan and has taken part in several dance dramas of her institution and has performed both in and outside the State.

    Maanasa opened her programme with 'Pushpanjali', customarily. It was followed by 'Shiva stuthi' and 'Ganesha stuthi' (Dr P T Narasimhachar). 'Ramaninnu' of Veena Seshanna (raga Anandabhairavi) - is a welcome addition to the dance repertoire.

    The 'Lokapavani' on the river Ganga was the main item of the evening. It was proof of the good training Maanasa is receiving and result of her talent. 'Astapadi' (Rati sukha saare) and 'Jawadi' (Ye Rama) brought out her Abhinaya talent impactfully.

    With her expressive eyes she performed beautifully and it is worth watching her career. Maanasa Rao concluded her recital with a 'thillana' (Kaapi), which was lively.
    From the wings - Lalita Srinivasan (Natuvanga), D S Srivatsa (vocal), Narayanaswamy (mridanga), Narasimha Murthy (flute) and Nataraja Murthy (violin) - gave good support.

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  • 05/12/13--13:05: Music reviews
  • Concert of high standard

    Ananya conducted the Annual Music Festival with vocal, flute and veena recitals.

    Neela Ramgopal, Dr Sreekantham Nagendra Sastry, Manasi Prasad, Madhu Kashyap, Mathur Srinidhi and Ranjani Venkatesh - received the Ananya awards.

    Neela Ramgopal, who presented the inaugural concert of the festival on Wednesday, is a veteran vocalist and an able teacher. She is the recipient of "Sangeetha Kalarathna" (Bangalore Gayana Samaja) and "Sangeetha Kala Acharya" (Music Academy) titles and many young performers of today are her disciples.

    Royal composer Maharaja Swati Tirunal (813-1846) is considered as one of the prolific composer of Karnatic music and he has composed a variety of compositions like navaratnamalika, navarathri kritis, ghana raga, padmanabha krithies, on kshetras, swarajathi, varna sringara pada, mani pravala, pada, javali, thillana, etc. They are in both well known and less known ragas, apart from ragamalika and different languages. Vidushi Neela Ramagopal, in the current concert, chose a number of compositions from the treasure chest of Swati Tirunal and presented in a lively form.

    The opening "Suma Sayaka" was in itself a revelation of her good repertoire and hard practice. "Palaya Sada Mamava," was rendered with brief swara. Bhavapriya, which is not a very familiar raga, is the 44th mela and a full fledged heptatonic scale and the raga became popular through the composition "Srikanta Niyeda" of Tyagaraja. Neela Ramgopal revelled in the alap of Bhavapriya and more so in the expansive presentation of "Mamavasrita Nirjara" of Swathi Tirunal.

    The Kuntalavarali raga for the composition "Bhogindra Shayinam" was brief but full of ragabhava. Nilambari was rendered with lilting melody followed by "Anandavalli Kuru Mudama." She crowned the concert with the majestic raga Bhairavi, followed by "Janani Mamava." In this composition, the composer prays - "Oh mother! The spouse of Brahma, kindly protect me, you are infinite." It was a highly matured concert and an aesthetic experience and was heard with more respect, than excitement. Charulatha Ramanujam on violin, B C Manjunath on mridanga and Sukanya Ramgopal on ghata, fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

    A touch of class

    O S Tyagarajan, senior vocalist, sang at Sree Seshadripuram Ramaseva Samithi, in the concluding week of the Sri Ramanavami Music Festival.

    Vittala Ramamurthy on violin, Alathur Raja Ganesh on mridanga and Srishyla on ghata - supported well. O S T sang "Teliyalaru Rama" with a good feeling and "Narada Gana Lola" attracted with good ragabhava.

    "Hecharikaga Rara" is one of the popular and evocative composition of Saint Tyagaraja. He sang this composition highlighting the ragabhava (Yadukula Kambodhi). For a welcome change he also presented two infrequent keertanas of Saint Tyagaraja - Palintuvo (Kanthamani) and Lekaya Ninnu (Asaveri). But it was in the unfolding of Kaapi that O S T came into his own, displaying his caliber and the krithi "Intha Soukhyamani" with lively swara. There was a touch of class in everything Tyagarajan sang.

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  • 05/19/13--11:50: Music reviews...
  • Shankara Jayanti music fest

    The Tyagaraja Gana Sabha Trust celebrates the Shankara Jayanti in a unique way, every year. Music concerts by both young and senior musicians and felicitation for veteran artistes mark the annual festival. Veena, Nagaswara and percussion ensemble apart from vocal recitals - were held as part of the festival last week.

    S Shankar, who gave a vocal recital on Thursday, is a senior vocalist and teacher. He is also recipient of 'Sangeetha Vidyanidhi' and 'Kalabhushana' titles. 'Sri Jalandhara' of Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar in 'Gambheeranata' raga, gave Shankar a bright start. 'Kalyani' was delineated with sparkling phrases for 'Sharade Varade', the Kannada composition of Veene Seshanna. The 'Brovamma' of Shyama Sastry, in the raga 'Manjee', was dignified. The raga was lively to weave a euphonic 'Kaapi' for 'Meevalla Gunadasoha'. With his resonant and rich voice, he elaborated 'Shanmukhapriya', leaving an indelible impression on the connoisseurs. Mathur R Srinidhi on violin, N Vasudeva on mridanga and N Amrith on khanjari - fulfilled the needs of the occasion. The devotionals - 'Guruvina Gulamanaguva Thanaka', 'Deva Banda', and Tyagaraja Mangala Panchaka (T N Padmanabhan) - also wowed the audience.

    Promising vocalist

    Young musician Divya Giridhar also sang in the music festival on Friday. Divya, an upcoming artiste, was initiated to music by Shringeri Nagaraj and receiving higher training under M S Vidya. She has passed post-graduation in music in distinction and has won prizes and scholarship (CCRT). She is well-versed in Sugam Sangeeth and light classical music also.

    Divya Giridhar, in the current concert, presented all the familiar items, to make the concert a wholesome one - including a varna, keerthana, devaranama, Thillana and a Bhajan. After a varna and invocatory piece 'Sudda Dhanyasi' was brief for 'Sri Hari Vallabhe'. The 'Pavanaguru' in Hamsanandi, was another infrequent composition.

    Raga 'Shankarabharana' was as pleasing to rise the concert to its evocative heights, followed by 'Shankara Gurum Bhajeham' of Bellary Seshagiri Achar. 'Innu Dayebarade', 'Baajere Muraliya', and 'Harichitta Satya' - were sung in the concluding session. B R Ramya, H S Krishna Murthy and N S Krishna Prasad supported on violin, mridanga and ghata respectively. Divya has good voice and has good future with training and stage experience.


    TSK School of Music in association with CV Nagaraj Memorial Trust hosted 'Aradhana', as part of the 16th music festival. Senior percussionist M T Rajakesari was felicitated with the title of 'Kalaradhanashree' on the occasion.

    Veteran vocalist Kanaka Swamy is serving the music field both as a vocalist, teacher and organiser. She is serving the Gayana Samaja for several decades in various capacities, and now she is the vice-president of the Samaja. Kanaka Swamy added brief swara for the opening krithi 'Sri Raghu Kula' and the chitte swara for 'Dasharathe Kripa' was equally attractive.

    Raga and swara for the familiar keertane 'Sarasaksha Paripalaya' was pleasing. After 'Idi Nyayama Sri Rama' in 'Drutha Kaala', the 'Sri Ramam Ravi Kulabdi Somam' was in 'Vilamba kaala'. The legendary keerthane 'Ramakatha Sudha' was developed with raga and swara. It was the result of her rich experience and age has not withered her spirits. Nalina Mohan (violin), M T Rajakesari (Mridanga) and B R Ravi Kumar (ghata) - accompanied with good understanding.

    Mysore V Subramanya

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  • 05/26/13--14:48: Music reviews..
  • Vocal, veena, violin concerts

    The Karnataka College of Percussion is a internationally known organisation. It is a well-known percussion training centre and also a very reputed participant in jazz and fusion music world.

    Directors T A S Mani and R A Ramamani are reputed conductors and composers and their CDs are on sale in several countries.

    Apart from training in vocal and percussion instruments, the college conducts music festival and workshops every year. The 48th Music Festival was held last week with vocal, veena and violin solo concerts.

    Padmabhushan Dr R K Srikantan, the nonagenarian musician, selected choice compositions and presented it in a grand manner.

    He sang "Vara Siddivinayakam" with brief swara, which was lively. He rendered "Ranganayakam," highlighting the ragabhava. He prefaced "Sri Raghukula" with a short and evocative alap and swara.

    His son, R S Ramakantha, brought out curvaceous texture of "Saveri," revealing his grasp over the classical medium. After "Inthakante", the popular devaranama "Harikathashravana Mado" were also enjoyable.

    S Seshagiri Rao on violin, N Vasudeva on mridanga and B N Chandramouli on khanjari - lent excellent support.

    A promising vocalist

    Anjali Sriram, disciple of M S Sheela, a popular vocalist, has won prizes in few competitions and has already performed in some Sabha and Sammelanas.
    Her choice of the composition of Mysore Sadashiva Rao was well appreciated by the audience. The "Saraswathi Bhagawathy" was also a good choice. The delineation of Madhyamavati for "Palinchu Kamakshee" was followed by "Swaraprasthara." It could have been much more impactful with a detailed alapana and nerval.

    But Anjali possess sweet voice and exhibited good taste in both selection and presentation. With some more higher training and concert experience Anjali Sriram can reach great heights. She was accompanied on violin by Mysore Satish, on mridanga by Anirudh Bhat and on morching by Amrit Kumar.

    Impactful Nadaswara recital

    On the valedictory of the Shankara Jayanthi Music Festival, a pleasant surprise awaited the music lovers. Comparatively, a less known musician N Anjaneyalu of Bagepalli, gave an impactful Nadaswara recital and was patted by the music lovers.

    He opened his concert with a "Varna" (Sumanesha, Ranjini), which gave him a steady start.

    It was followed by - "Siddi Vinayakam," "Seethamma Mayamma" and "Chethana" - evocatively. He crowned his effort with a "Pallavi" (Kokilapriya) set to Khanda Triputa taala. It was lovely and went straight to the hearts of the audience.

    G N Lakshminarasappa caught the attention as a co-player. R Raj Kumar and Punpalli P M Subramani - on dhol duet kept pace with the main artiste ably.

    All these concerts were held under the aegis of Sri Tyagaraja Gana Sabha Trust. A book called "Karnataka Sangeetha in last 100 years and future" by B K Anatharam, was also released by Dr S C Sharma, Vice-Chairman, Higher Education Council and Dr A H Rama Rao was the chief guest.

    Sunaada Vadya Vaibhava

    The Laya Milana troupe of Sri Mookambika Thalavadya Sangeetha Kalashala presented a percussion ensemble called "Sunaada Vadya Vaibhava."

    A dozen percussion instruments like - mridanga, ghatta, khanjari, morching, tabla, dhol, konakol - were along with flute (L V Mukund) and violin (J K Sridhar), performed with gay abandon. The "Viriboni" varna in two speeds gave them a rollicking start.
    The percussion instrument led by B K Chandramouli accompanied by turn for the "Swara Prasthara for the keerthane "Vinayaka."

    But the finale came in the form of an "Swarakshara Pallavi." They presented the Pallavi (Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma) in adi taala and neatly performed in three kaala and chatusra, khanda, thishra, mishra - were lively and entertaining. Percussionists vying with each other combined effectively and was enjoyed by the large gathering.

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  • 07/07/13--11:30: Music and dance reviews
  • Harmonium Habba

    Harmonium is a popular accompanying instrument in Hindustani Music. But though it is not a rare instrument in Carnatic music, we don't hear its solo recital frequently in Carnatic music. Till recently it was a must in 'Sugam Sangeeth,' which has been replaced by electronic instruments, from last few years. It is also a popular instrument in 'Ranga Geethe' (theatre music).

    Many stalwarts like Vittal Rao Koregawkar, Seshagiri Rao (Leg Harmonium), Ram Bau Bijapure, Seshadri Gavai, and few others have contributed to popularise the harmonium. Disciples of Ram Bau Bijapure founded the Bijapure Harmonium Foundation ten years back, under the leadership of Dr Ravindra Katoti, which celebrates the Harmonium Habba every year. In this year's Habba sponsored by Kamath and Kamath, which was held last week, veteran harmonist Pandit Vasant Kanakapure was felicitated and solo harmonium recitals in both Karanatic and Hindustani styles by young and senior artistes were held and the public response was also good.

    On Sunday evening the programme started with a solo harmonium recital by Thanmay Deochake from Poona. His rag Madhuvanti in vilambit and drut teen tal was sparkling, especially the swara was very attractive, who was accompanied well by Udayraj Karpoor.

    The main attraction of the Habba was a jugalbandi of Harmonium and Sarangi. While Dr Ravindra Katoti is a well known harmonium player who has accompanied top artistes of the Hindustani music, Ustad Faiyaz Khan is a multifarious talented artiste.

    He is known more as a vocalist, but he is also a tabla player and plays Sarangi too.

    They opened the Jugalbandi with rag Vachaspati. It is a popular raga in Carnatic music with several compositions. But it is not heard frequently in Hindustani concerts. The alap itself was successful in revealing the depth and maturity of the raga. It was a bright start, consolidating further as they delineated the raga, in both vilambit and drut teen taal.

    It was wholesome and a treat too. Soft Naada of Sarangi and bright sound of harmonium were attractive and pleased the gathering. Tabala accompaniment by Viswanath Nakod suited the needs of the occasion.

    This year's 'Habba' came to an end with a harmonium solo of Pandit Tulasidas Barkar.

    He is a veteran artiste from Mumbai. He chose rag Bihag in madhyalay jhaptal and drut teen taal. It was refined music with highly matured phrases. His fingers seemingly danced on the instruments, even in this age. It was followed by a composition (Natyasangeet), abhang and concluded with Bhairavi, customarily. He was ably accompanied on tabala by Kedar Vyshampayan.


    The Sai Arts International conducts a 'Nrityotsav' on the first of every month at Seva Sadan, Malleswaram under the guidance of Sai Venkatesh and Dr Suparna Venkatesh. Artistes, both local and from neighbouring states apart from foreign, have presented Bharathanatya, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam, Odissi, Sattriya and Manipuri dances so far.

    In the 50th month celebrations on last Monday artistes from USA, Malaysia and Bangalore presented dances in different styles.

    Five students of Padmaja Kelam (USA) opened the programme with Bharathanatya. No doubt 'Sringara Lahari' is a classic piece in the raga Neelambari. But dancer's expression was rather poor. The 'Asta Nayika' in raga malika was well choreographed, but it was not easy for the young dancers to portray different Nayikas successfully.

    They also performed 'Urdhva Thandava' in the raga Rishabhapriya. The young students performed with enthusiasm, but fell short in meeting the requirements and feeble music (recorded) also betrayed them.

    Graceful dance

    Young Swetha Venkatesh, who is familiar with the Bharathanatya, performed Kathak this time, which she has learnt from Mysore Nagaraj. She portrayed the life of Saint Meera through Meera's lyrics. Popular lyrics like Mere to Giridhar Gopal, Shyam Mane Chakar Rakho, Yeri Main to Prem Diwan - all performed with good Abhinaya.

    Sarvani Yadavalli from Malaysia in her Kuchipudi recital chose a composition from Krishna Leela Taranga. Standing on the brass plate she danced to different jathi phrases. Though it was brief, she was adequate in laya and she also performed well the Nataraja Thandava (Ragamalike) gracefully.

    Senior dancer Mysore Nagaraj presented 'Sharana Smarana' a one-man dance drama. He chose two Vachanas each of Basavanna and Akkamahadevi for his Kathak recital. Popular vachanas Vachanandali Namamritha, Naadapriya Shivanembaru, Thanu Karagadavaralli - were performed beautifully, with expertise.

    Under the direction of Dr Suparna Venkatesh, young dancers presented 'Asta Rathna' - based on the Kannada Jnanapith awardees' lyrics. Jaya Bharatha Jananiya, Kuniyona Baara, Saavirada Sharanavva etc. were performed with gay abandon.

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  • 07/14/13--11:57: Music and dance reviews
  • Gay abandon

    Popular dance institution Nadam conducted three-day Chinna Kalamandalam at ADARangamandira. Children performed not only Bharathanatya but also Kuchupudi, Odissi, Kathak and Kalaripuyattu. It was a pleasure to watch performances by young aspirants with enthusiasm (sometimes with over enthusiasm also) and without any stage fear. There was also few music performances in both Karnatic and Hindustani (vocal and instrumental) styles.

    Five children of Adyasha Ensemble, under the direction of Saritha Mishra, gave an Odissi dance recital. They opened the programme with a Mangalacharan customarily. The second item was Vasantha raga pallavi in Ek thal. With traditional colourful dress these young students performed with ease and confidence.

    Bharathanatya was chosen by the students of Vaishnavi Natyashala (Mithun Shyam). In the Panchamurthy Kautvam they offered to Ganapathi, Shiva, Devi, Krishna and Murugha. They paid obeisance to Viswasena in the Pushpanjali. I am sure with some more training and home work they can make better impact. Students of Kala Bharathi of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (direction: Bharathi Vittal) performed That, Amad, Thukda etc in Teen Thal, with good foot work, in Kathak style.

    These children, who belong to different dance schools performed with gay abandon and with more training and hard practice, many of them may become good dancers.

    Thaalavadya utsava

    The annual Thaalavadyotsava under the auspices of the Percussive Arts Centre was held with music concerts (vocal, percussion ensemble), illustrated talk and demonstrations last week and B K Chandramouli, Dr N Ramani, N S Krishnamurthy, B R Ravikumar and B S Prashanth received different awards.

    Young vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan gave a concert in the five-day Thaalavadyotsava. He hails from the family of well known musicians and is establishing as a prominent vocalist of Karnatic music. He chose raga Mandari, a 'Shadava' raga which is a 'Janya' of Kamavardhini raga, but Dhaivatha, 'Varjya'. It is a appealing 'rakti raga,' which became more popular during post Trinity period. Apart from Tyagaraja, Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Dr L Muttaiah Bhagawathar have also composed keerthanas in this raga.

    Gurucharan selected Saint Tyagaraja's beautiful composition "Paralokabhayamu". The aesthetic feeling in both the alapana and Nerval (Thinnagagani Daivalokamani) further enhanced the musical stature of Gurucharan. The 'Brovavamma' in a majestic gait and grandeur was lively and dignified. The well known composition 'Rama Nee Eda' received appealing airing, which was yet another instance of his talent and hard practice.

    Sikkil Gurucharan sang with good involvement and feeling which was appreciated by the connoisseurs. Charulatha on violin, A V Anand on mridanga and G Guruprasanna on khanjari - enhanced the total effect.

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  • 07/21/13--15:41: Music and dance review
  • Swanubhava

    Swanubhava conducted a two-day cultural festival, last week in Bangalore. Fortunately, it was not just an another festival.

    The programme provided an opportunity for the young students (middle and high school students along with students of music) to watch a variety of performing arts. It also paved way for interaction with the artistes to understand the performing arts to improve their knowledge and savour in a better way.

    Another welcoming thing was that the organisation was managed entirely by young students of performing arts. Though started in 2008 itself in Chennai, Swanubhava came to Bangalore, for the first time, last Friday and Saturday.

    Apart from classical vocal - both Hindustani and Karnatic, instrumental music, classical dance, folklore, puppetry, theatre and cinema too provided a variety of programmes, which youngsters enjoyed with gay abandon.

    It was a pleasure to see Abhishek Raghuram, who gave a vocal concert on Friday morning, shaping well to give a creative continuity to an illustrious line. He has progressed very fast to emerge as a sought after vocalist. Tyagaraja's familiar composition, 'Aadamodigalada' in the raga Charukesi attracted with a few lively
    sangathies. But it was Varali that was the pick of the morning, with evocative alapana.

    "Mamava Meenakshi" the dignified composition, studded with a flurry of sangathies building the swaraprasthara phrase by phrase, to reach a crescendo. It acquired a special delight because of the chiselled phrasings of swara. It was followed by a lively 'Tani' of Mridanga by Arjun Kumar. Charulatha Ramanujam supported well on violin.

    A brief explanation of alapana, nerval, swara and composition could have been enlightening for the young listeners, though he answered a few questions after the concert. The interaction duration could have been enhanced by reducing the number of programmes.

    Beautiful Bharathanatya

    Sridhar and Anuradha Sridhar, popular dancing couple, chose five episodes from Mahabharatha for their Bharathanatya recital. Laaksha Griha Dahana, Dyutha, Vastrapaharana, Keechaka Vadha and Geethopadesha - were performed beautifully. Changing their roles in quick succession with impactful Abhinaya, they stole the show.

    Though one felt at times it was more theatrical, the duo sparkled with dignified and lively visuals. Apart from their impressive Abhinaya the melodious music also contributed for the success.

    Impactful voice

    The "Pattabhirama Seva Mandali" is not only a religious centre but also a popular cultural centre of Jayanagara. On the occasion of the anniversary of Sri Vishnusahasra Nama Goshti, the Mandali had organised a cultural festival with music (vocal, flute), dance and lectures. Bellary M Raghavendra, who gave a vocal recital on Thursday hails from a musicians' family and is serving the Akashavani, Mysore, as a staff artiste. S Yashasvi, Anoor Dathatreya Sharma and C P Vyasa Vittala accompanied on violin, mridanga and khanjari, respectively.

    Raghavendra chose a few compositions of vintage flavour. For instance 'Sakethanagara,' a popular keertana of yester years, was a favourite of old timers. Both 'Sri Vasudeva' and 'Simha Roopanaada Sri Hare' - were sung in quick succession, before the 'Palinchuvo'. Any how the piece de resistance of the concert was 'Manasuloni,' which acquired a special delight as the vocalist was in his elements. Using his good voice admirably, the keertana chiselled with delectable phrases.

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