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  • 08/10/14--12:12: Music and dance reviews
  • Audio-visual spectacle

    "Kathak Through The Ages"- a dance feature presented on Friday, proved how the 'history of dance' could blossom into a beautiful audio-visual spectacle.

    Kathak, one of the popular dance forms of India 'through the ages', was presented through dance, music and painting. Temples, revival at the palaces of the Rajput kings, Moghul emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Wajid Ali Shah; music (Dhrupad, Taraana, Thumri, Khayaal, Ghazal), costume, saints and sufism- all was presented through dance and music.

    A good lot of thought and research has gone into the production and Dr Maya Rao, one of the ace choreographers of India, had fielded a well trained team, which performed gracefully without letting go of tempo and switching roles (including costumes), in quick succession.

    Throughout the 90-minute programme, the stage was vibrating with life, music and rhythm. Melodious music, the background painting (slides) and the period costumes were immensely attractive.

    It was a result of the experience and talent of the veteran choreographer Dr. Maya Rao, assisted by Madhu Nataraj and a team of artistes and technicians. The dancers from the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography and the Stem Dance Kampni, performed with perfect disciplined team work. In total, "Kathak Through The Ages" was a memorable experience.

    A pleasant performance

    Senior dancer Anuradha Vikranth of Dristi Arts Centre, gave a dance recital along with her senior students. After the Ganesha Stuthi they chose the "Arishad varga" and different episodes were selected to portray Kaama, Krodha etc.

    Arjuna-Urvashi, Kaikeyi, Ravana-Seetha episodes were performed with ease and confidence.

    The Nijaguna Shivayogi's lyrics was a welcome addition to the dance repertoire.
    Finale came in the form of a thillana in the raga Sumanesharangini. It was a pleasant performance with good team work.

    Tribute to USK

    US Krishna Rao and Chandrabhaga Devi were not only veteran dancers but also respected guru's and reputed choreographers. In their memory, the Bharathiya Vidya Bhavan conducts an annual dance programme in association with Maha Maya. Last week, there were two dance recitals in their memory.

    Sneha Narayan, recipient of the USK scholarship for the year 2014, gave a Bharathanatya recital in the beginning. Sneha first performed few items choreographed by USK and Chandrabhaga Devi, taught to her by Shobha Venkataramani.

    She opened with Ganapathi and Saraswathi Stotra set to ragamalika, followed by a jathiswara in Kalyani. The "Shringara Lahari" of Aliya Lingaraj Urs is one of best compositions in the raga Neelambari, which is an ideal piece for Abhinaya. Sneha performed gracefully and also presented few items under the guidance of her Guru Praveen Kumar.

    The Purandara Dasa Devaranama "Kadagola Tharenna" is a popular choice and concluded with a thillana in Simhendra Madhyama. With good stage presence Sneha Narayan gave a good account of herself as a dancer of good promise. She was supported by Shobha Venkataramani and Praveen Kumar (Natuvanga), Raghuram (vocal), Rangaswamy (mridanga) and Dayakar (violin).

    Aradhana concerts

    Religious and cultural programmes are being held across the City for the Aradhana of Sri Raghavendra Swamy. One such institution is the Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, which had organised Bhajans, discourses, instrumental and vocal music (both Karnatic and Hindustani) concerts.

    M S Sheela, a popular musician of the state, gave a delectable vocal recital in the Aradhana series, which appealed to both connoisseurs and lay listeners alike. To suit the occasion, the experienced musician chose the Kannada compositions of Haridasas and sang appealingly. She presented the invocatory song, setting a stately colour to the concert.

    Further "Smarisabeku Ninna Guru Sarvabhouma" added further validity to her musical acumen. The swara for "Srinivasanu Oliyalu" was lively and the ugabhoga as preamble was meaningful. While "Manava Shodhisabeku Nitya" was in a majestic "vilamba kaala", the popular pada "Narayanathe Namo Namo" was a quickie. The "Bannisi Pogitha" brought out the sweetness and allure in Sheela's voice.

    Nalina Mohan, BC Manjunath and Narayan Murthy accompanied on violin, mridanga and ghata respectively. Sheela also sang few more compositions including "Hare Venkatashaila Vallabha", evocatively.

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  • 08/17/14--12:45: Music and dance reviews
  • Homage to Haridasas

    Poornima Kulkarni, who gave a Hindustani vocal recital last week, was initiated into music by Usha Datar and has been groomed by Pandith Basavaraj Rajguru.

    She has also received guidance from Pandit Vasant Kanakapur and Kusum Shinde. A gold medalist in both B A and M A, Poornima is an 'A Grade' vocalist of Akashvani and an able teacher.

    In the current concert, Kulkarni presented songs of different Haridasas like Purandara, Vadiraja, Vijaya Dasaru, Kamalesha Vittala, Gopala Dasaru etc. Based on classical ragas of Hindustani music, she stressed on the meaning of the lyrics and impressively sang "Jaya Jaya Mushika Gamana" (Yaman), which set the pace for a tuneful fare.

    The evocative raga Kalavathi was chosen for "Veeneya Nudisida". "Kunidado Ranga" in Desh, "Palisenna Mathe Durge" in rag Durg - all of which were absorbing. Rag Marva was brief but pleasing, while "Sharanara Surbhoja", "Eneyaru Ninage Hanumantha Raya" and the popular pada "Kadagola Tharenna" was convincing. Poornima Kulkarni's rich voice was proof enough to show that she had mastered the art. Vikas Naregal on thabala, Ashwin Valvalkar on harmonium and Sameer on flute - supported with good understanding.

    Melodious veena

    Internationally acclaimed veena player and president elect of the 45th Musicians Conference of the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, Suma Sudhindra, chose a number of popular compositions in well-known ragas.

    After the invocatory pieces, Suma chose the "Mokshamugalada", the ever popular keertana. In this composition Saint Tyagaraja says - "The vital force 'Prana' and 'Anala' (fire) combine to generate Pranava-the Omkara. From that Omkara, the 7 musical notes emerge." It was prefaced with a short but lilting raga. "Narayana Ninna" was appealing and 'Jalandara' was rendered in jet-speed and the 'Raghuvamsha' had that popular appeal.

    Hindola glowed with some sweet phrases and the familiar krithi "Samajavaragamana" had a well woven swara. She concluded with two devotionals - Tunga Teera Viharam and Jagadoddharana.

    It was melodious and pleasing throughout. Nalina Mohan, B C Manjunath and S N Narayana Murthy gave good support on violin, mridanga and ghata, respectively. Both the concerts were held under the aegis of the Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Sudhindra Nagara.

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  • 08/24/14--12:54: Music and dance reviews ...
  • Colourful Odissi

    Last week, Nrityantar, a popular Odissi dance institution, organised it's annual Odissi dance festival- Naman.

    Three dance recitals, highlighting different schools of Odissi and developed by different gurus, were performed on the occasion. The festival actually began with a panel discussion with senior dancers, teachers and scholars on the theme "Odissi outside Odisha - dancing in cultural diversity to pluralism".
    Bhramara Geeta

    Leena Mohanty, the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar awardee from the Sangeet Natak Akademi, presented 3 dance pieces. She opened the programme with Mangalacharan, customarily, which was in the interesting raga Jana Sammohini.

    Capturing the mood of the Shravana, she presented the pallavi with rhythmic variations, in Ekatali. The 'Bhramara Geeta,' selected from the Bhagavata, was an interesting item. Here Radhika addresses a bee, which takes form as a messenger of Krishna and says - "After making us (Radhika) drink the enchanting nectar of His lips Krishna suddenly abandoned us, just as you (bee) might quickly abandon some flowers".

    It included the stories of Balichakravarthi, Vali-Sugreeva, Surpanakha episode etc. Leena Mohanty's abhinaya caught the attention.
    Murali Pani

    Five upcoming artistes of the Nrityagram Dance Ensemble presented three compositions in Odissi style. The opening pallavi was in the raga Shankaravaran, set to Ektali. Pairing in twos and fours, Gopis praise the flute of Lord Krishna in "Muralipani Chahan," which was pleasing. In the Jayadeva's Astapadi, young girls presented the Dashavatar, changing roles in quick succession. Students performed with gay abandon and will have a great future with some more higher training and stage experience.

    Kavita Dwivedi is the daughter of Guru Harekrishna Behera, a senior Odissi dancer, choreographer and recipient of the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. She had chosen a very interesting story on womanhood. In the "Sweta Mukti" stories of 5 women were narrated through short episodes.

    All of them were deeply influenced by the philosophy of Buddha, the greatest torch bearer for humanity. Gautami (the foster mother), Yashodhara (wife), Magandhi (the rejected queen), Amarpali (the court dancer) and prakruti (the downtrodden woman) - were portrayed with impactful Abhinaya.

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  • 08/31/14--13:45: Music & dance reviews
  • The glory of harmonium

    The Bharatha Bharathi Prathishtana along with Sri Jayarama Seva Mandali felicitated veteran harmonium player Palladam S Venkataramana Rao, last week.

    It was followed by a solo harmonium recital by Venkataramana Rao, accompanied by Krishna Prasad (co-player), Brinda Raghunath on violin, B Raghunath on mridanga and R Ramesh on ghata. Rao presented many familiar pieces but capped his efforts with an evocative exposition of 'Daarini Thelusukonti,' one of the fine compositions of Saint Tyagaraja.

    The composer says "O merciful Goddess! You are the Mother who confers inestimable prosperity and wealth, who protects devotees… That I have been privileged to witness the Friday worship of yours …..".

    The delineation of this Keerthana cast a mood of sobriety on the audience, gathered in good number. Earlier, he opened the concert with the popular Natakuranji varna. The invocatory piece 'Gajavadana Beduve' was pleasing with brief swara and followed by all time favourite 'Endaro Mahanubhavulu,' the popular Panchayat krithi He concluded with a devotional 'Sharanara Surabhoja.'

    With his command over the instrument, Rao cast a spell and there was brevity of expression in the recital and swayed the audience.

    Young vocalist

    Earlier, Dr Ramya Mohan gave a vocal recital supported by Brinda Raghunath and Venkata Krishna on violin and mridanga, respectively. Ramya has been groomed by M A Narasimhachar, a veteran vocalist and popular teacher. She is a child psychiatrist in London and is continuing her music practice with Shivashakthi Nesan.

    In the current concert Dr Ramya chose a number of well known compositions, which caught the attention of the listeners on her musical potential. For instance, 'Ranjani Niranjani' was liked by all and 'Sarasaksha Paripalayamam' had brief but pleasing alapana. A infrequent krithi of Maharajapuram Santhanam was also evocative. With her good voice and simple presentation 'Dasa Dasara Maneya' was also appreciated.

    With some more training and concert experience Ramya Mohan can improve her ragalapana, nerval and swara prasthara, to reach great heights.

    Flute duet

    Father-son duo B K Anantharam and Amith Nadig gave a flute recital for Malleswaram Sangeetha Sabha on Saturday at the Sri Rama Mandira in Malleswaram.

    Latangi chosen by the duo for a brief elaboration, which is the 63rd mela and a popular 'rakti' raga.

    The alap was short and impactful, which vindicated their reputation as experienced flautists. 'Marivere,' the popular krithi in Latangi was also delightful. The reasonably spacious alap of Kambodhi was shared by them by turns and the keerthana "O Ranga Shayee" followed the established pattern. It was tuneful and wholesome.

    The concert came to an end with the devaranama 'Jagadoddarana.' Accompanists J K Sridhar (violin), K U Jayachandra Rao (mridanga) and B N Chandramouli (khanjari) - shared the honours with the main artistes.

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  • 09/07/14--14:48: Music and dance reviews ..
  • Rama Katha

    Prof S K Ramachandra Rao (1925-2006) was a multifarious talented person, whose contribution to Indian culture, philosophy, arts are phenomenal. His works, both in Kannada and English, are being published by Prof S K Ramachandra Rao Memorial Trust through Surama Prakashana. Last week, two books - one on dance (Bharathanatya Shastra) and the other on music (Namma Sangeetha Mathu Vaggeyakararu) - were released. After the function, a dance recital on Lord Rama was presented.

    Satyanarayana Raju, who gave the dance recital, is a senior dancer of the State and an able teacher as well. Based on fine compositions of different composers, in his solo performance, he presented different episodes of Ramayana. He opened the programme with "Melukovayya", a popular composition in the raga Bhauli. Saint Tyagaraja says in this composition - "O Rama! King of Kings, Royal Warrior! Please wake up quickly. Hosts of celestials and kings are waiting for your 'Darshana' and to worship you."
    It was followed by "Thumaka chalata Ramachandra" wherein Kousalya's motherly feelings were expressed beautifully. In the next krithi - "Pattabhishekavelallo", Satyanarayana performed the role of Manthara and Kaikeyee with popular appeal, though wee bit loud at times. Characters like Guha, Shabari and Hanumantha - were portrayed through different compositions, pleasingly. If a link is knitted between the compositions and the story, it would become more impressive. Srivatsa's melodious music was complementary to the dance and a team of talented artistes Shakunthala Prabath (Natuvanga), Veda Krishna (mridanga), Dayakar (violin), Shubha Santosh (veena) and R K Usha (compering) - supported the dancer.
    Compositions in Kannada

    Shantha Vijayaraghavan, an engineer by profession, is also a musician and composer. She has composed a number of compositions in Kannada on different deities and places of pilgrimage. Her collection of songs RAGASUDHA was released on Saturday at the Gayana Samaja Auditorium.

    After the release, young vocalist Pawan Rangachar gave a vocal concert ably supported by Anirudda on violin, B.S. Prashanth on mridanga and Raghunandan on ghata.

    Pawan Rangachar opened his concert briskly with a varna of Lalgudi Jayaraman, in the raga Nalinakanthi. Then he chose "Deva Deva Kalayambike", a celebrated composition, with brief nerval. 'Sriranganatha' of Shantha Vijayaraghavan in the raga Madhyamavathi is a welcome addition to the concert repertoire. After the 'Marakatha Marahara Kumara' he elaborated Kalyani raga. Alapana was short but was rendered with good ragabhava.

    The familiar composition "Pankaja Lochana" was briefly elaborated with swara. He
    concluded with two devotionals - Namajapa and Hari Hara Nimmanu Mechisabahudu. Pawan has good voice and sings with sincerity. He has a bright future with more stage experience.

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  • 09/14/14--12:43: Music and dance reviews
  • Sangeethotsava
    Ananya had organised 3 concerts under the Sangathi- Yuva Sangeethotsava series, in collaboration with 3 other organisations in the city.

    Prarthana Sai Narasimhan, who gave the inaugural concert, hails from the South Canara district but is settled in Chennai. She is fortunate to have received training from two stalwarts in the field - Chengalpet Ranganathan and Mani Krishnaswamy. In the current concert, she was ably accompanied by Achutha Rao on violin, Vishnu Vardhan on mridanga and R. Narasimhan on ghata.

    Prarthana opened her programme with the evergreen varna "viriboni". Her overture of Bhairavi varna in four speeds, held out hopes of a delectable programme. "Vara Vallabha Ramana" with brief swara was pleasing and "Evarani" was a meaningful composition. It was a welcome experience for seasoned listeners to listen to the delightful"Ennallu" composition, for which the vocalist tried to lend weight. The "Vararagalaya" attracted with its excitingly paced chitte swara. She chose "Sahajaguna Rama" for a detailed airing - Raga wise, nerval wise and swara kalpana wise. Prarthana tried to establish her credentials as a class singer and can reach great heights with some more stage experience. She concluded her concert with a memorable jawadi.

    Shaankara Sourabha
    A week-long "Shaankara Geeta Sourabha" was organised by the Vedanta Bharathi, under the direction of H H Sri Shankara Bharati Mahaswamiji, pontiff of Yadathore Yoganandeshwara Saraswathi Mutt, K R Nagara. In the festival, Bhagawad Shankaracharya's compositions were rendered to classical music - both in Karnatic and Hindustani styles by talented musicians.

    Saketharaman, a Masters degree holder in software engineering, is a sought after vocalist and recipient of few awards and titles.

    He choose few beautiful compositions of Aadi Shankaracharya and rendered impressively. He opened his concert with Bhujangathraya slokas - "Sada Baala Rupa" in Khanda Gathi. Eight slokas from 'Gangastaka' in different 'Nade' to indicate the flow of the holy river Ganga, set to Hameerkalyani raga - was followed. Both Karnatic and Hindustani ragas were used to present Haristuthi "Acharyobhyo".

    The "Bhramarambha Ashtaka" was sung in the keerthana format. The ragalapana, nerval (Srishyla Sthala Vasineem Bhagavatheem) and swara prasthara were complementary to the Astaka with good pronunciation. It was followed by interesting 'Thani' by the percussionists - K U Jayachandra Rao (mridanga), Guru Prasanna (Khanjari) and Jagadeesha Kurthkoti (Thabala).

    A few verses were presented in the format of slokas like Kanakadhara Stotra, with good ragabhava. Saketharaman also sang Shivanamavali Astakam, neatly. It is a very good attempt to popularise Shankaracharya's works in the classical music repertoire. In the current concert, though violin (Charulatha Ramanujam) and flute (N. Rjakamal) had limited scope, both added pep to the concert.

    Curtains came down at this year's Yuva Sangeet Utsav with a Sarangi recital. Alla Rakha Kalawant belongs to a great musical family of Sarangi and has been groomed by his grandfather (Ustad Imamuddin Khan), father (Ustad Yamin Khan) and guided by Ustad Abdul Latif Khan. He also teaches at ITC Research Academy and has accompanied leading artistes.

    With not many Sarangi players now in the country, inclusion of a Sarangi solo recital in the current Utsav is appreciable.

    Allarakha Kalawant chose rag Shudd Sarang for a detailed exposition. He dwelt on its vast potential for improvisation touching the pivotal swaras. His Saraingi's unique tonal resonance sans thrills and gimmicks, was an enjoyable experience throughout. He was well supported by Kiran Godkhindi on Thabala.

    Yuva Utsav
    The Smrithi Nandan had organised the annual Devnandan Ubhayakar Yuva Sangeet Utsav on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. There were two classical vocals and one Dhrupad recital, apart from a Sarangi solo recital, in the 28th Utsav, held at the Canara Union Hall, Malleswaram.

    Priya Purushothaman, who gave a vocal recital on Sunday morning, was brought up in New York and is now settled in Bangalore. She has received good training from Pandit Dinkar Kaikini and is continuing her practice under Aditi Kaikini Upadhyay. She is also a teacher and author of a few books and articles.

    Priya opened her concert with Thodi and later with the Nom Tom Alap, she painted the raga on a wide canvas, colourfully. The raga received appealing airing in both vilambit and drut and took on a majestic gait and grandeur in Tharana.

    Comparatively, Jhonpuri was brief but pleasing and concluded with a Meera bhajan. A sizeable audience heard Priya's vocal, backed by her good voice and training, with more respect than excitement. She was well supported by Shruteendra Katagade on thabala and Prasad Kamath on harmonium.

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  • 09/21/14--11:53: Music and dance reviews
  • Ankura Festival

    'Ankura - a festival of young dancers,' was held under the aegis of the Karnataka Nrityakala Parishat, last week. Ten students trained under different Gurus performed to prove their mettle.

    Divya Ravi, who gave the inaugural dance of the festival, is a student of Rasika school, and is continuing her training with Dr Soundarya Srivathsa and is also learning Kathak.

    She opened the programme with a Pushpanjali, customarily, followed by the Ganesha Stuthi of Dr M Balamuralikrishna. In the well known composition "Sabhapathiki", few familiar episodes were performed neatly. She presented the jawadi (Parulennamata) gracefully and with her good Nritha and Nritya, she caught the attention of the assembly. Her performance is worth watching.

    Poor expression

    Prithvi Sarathi, a student of Samskrithi, opened her programme with Pushpanjali and chose "Devadideva" as the piece de resistance of her recital.

    Though she has good stage presence, her expression - especially the 'Navarasa' - was poor and she has to improve her laya.Vineetha Nair, student of Natya Priya, saluted to invocatory God through a keerthana and selected the Navaragamalika varna, "Samininne".

    She performed with ease and confidence, but not without shortfalls. Wrong announcements should be avoided and "Ankura" should be held across the state - at least in district headquarters, to encourage budding artistes.

    Not in good form

    MBA graduate A Dilip Simha is a student of both veena and vocal (Vidushi Neela Ramgopal) and he is not new to the field of music. In his latest concert for Ananya, Simha sang few selected compositions of great composers.

    For instance, his "Neelotpalambikaya," was a fine selection and was rendered neatly. For a detailed alapana he chose Thodi, a 'Ghanaraga' and the grand composition "Gathi Neevani", with nerval (Rakashashivadane Sarva Loka Nayaki). Both raga and swara were not without slips but was tidy enough to sustain patient listening. Aditya, Phanindra Bhaskar and Kartheek accompanied on violin, mridanga and khanjari respectively.

    A mixed fare

    A two-day dance programme was held at the Bangalore Gayana Samaja under the guidance of R K Usha. Three male dancers Sathyanarayana Raju, Surya Rao and Pavitra Bhat presented 'Navarasa', based on different episodes.

    The Nayika and Nayaka concept of Indian classical dance, is a great contribution to the world of Art. Mostly composed by D S Srivathsa and sung by Srivathsa and Vasudha Balakrishna, stories of Markandeya, Shiva, Kiratarjuna Prasanga, Bhasmasura etc, were performed accounting for popular appeal.

    Dramatising situations, dancers performed with ease, but tended to be overly dramatic.

    Their facial expressions came alive only in parts and the depiction was a mixed fare. The emphasis was more on the narrative rather than rasabhinaya, as it should be in dance. With some more performances on the subject, they can certainly reach great heights.

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  • 09/28/14--11:57: Pleasing violin duet
  • As the City is constantly expanding, so is the cultural needs of its citizens. It has also become very difficult for art lovers to travel around the City to attend cultural programmes and the need for new Sangeetha Sabhas in the suburban areas has arose.

    One such organisation is the R T Nagar Cultural Association, which, from last 24 years, has been catering to the cultural needs of people residing in-and-around Rabindranath Tagore Nagar and surrounding areas. Apart from monthly music concerts, the association also holds music festivals every year. Last week, the 24th Music Festival was held with both vocal and instrumental music concerts - Namasankeerthanam and dance programmes, which was held in association with the Vinayaka Temple.

    On Sunday, well-known violinists Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi gave the final concert of the festival. Being the son and daughter of legendary violinist Lalgudi Jayaraman, they are successfully continuing the family tradition.

    The opening Charukeshi varna of Lalgudi Jayaraman was itself an indication of the great music that was to follow. After the familiar, "Anuragamu" the Anandabhairavi krithi of Shyama Sastry, was another weighty piece. Vijayalakshmi chose Saveri, which glowed with delectable cadences. There was perfect understanding and precision in the expression of the krithi "Ramakatha Sudha".

    In fact, though they presented a Pallavi, it was "Madhyamavathi" which was wholesome and delineated in detail. Rishabhapriya is not a rare raga, but also a raga not heard frequently. When the connoisseurs were expecting a detailed ragalapana the duo moved to Ragamalika in a hurry. Kannada Devaranamas - Smarane Onde Saalade and Rama Mantrava Japiso - were also pleasing and well-received.

    In total, the violin duet was true to tradition and a touch of "Lalgudi Baani" was there throughout. Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma gave impressive mridanga support along with Tumkur Shashi Shankar on ghata.
    Krishna Jayanthi

    Cultural programmes being held in connection with the Sri Krishna Jayanthi Mahotsava will continue till Thursday at the Sri Venugopala Krishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram.Two of the concerts I attended here this week, had several things in common. In both the concerts, there were male vocalists- young and promising. The first concert on Tuesday was by Kartheek Narayan, a disciple of Rajkumar Bharathi and a recipient of few prizes, including from The Music Academy. All of 21 years, this engineering graduate, gave a pleasant rendition of "Sri Mathru Butam" with the Bhava coming off in soft hues. Few compositions he presented, made old-timers recall the golden times of music.

    For instance, both "Eavasudani" and "Sarasijanabha Sodari" were rendered with vintage flavour. His good voice highlighted the raga Saveri. The pallavi (Thaye Thripura Sundari) in the raga Kalyani and Adi Thala was delightful as it had the economy of expression with no repetitive movements. Two young instrumentalists - Apoorva Krishna and Akshay Anand gave good support on violin and mridanga respectively. No doubt, these youngsters are bound to make a mark in Carnatic music.
    Vocal to be improved

    Aditya Narayan, 17, the other vocalist, is a student of senior musician Suguna Varadachari. Narayan is a 12th standard student who has won few prizes in music competitions. He presented a number of good compositions with practiced ease. In the concert held on Thursday, highlight of the programme was the delineation of that grand composition "Sree Krishnam Bhaja Maanasa".
    Though he sang with assurance, the nerval and swara could have been improved to make the performance more impactful. While he sang 'Akhilandeshwari' in good "vilamba kaala," the 'Paralokabhaya' was in "Drutha Kaala". He continued singing even during the current failure, which showed his confidence and courage.

    With some more stage experience and higher training Aditya Narayan can climb the ladder of success. K J Dileep on violin and Akshay Anand on mridanga, suited the needs of the occasion.

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  • 10/05/14--11:47: Music and dance reviews
  • Nitya Nritya
    "Nitya Nritya" - a three-day National Conference and Festival of Dance, was held under the auspices of the Nupura. Kathakali, Odissi and Mohiniyattam, apart from Bharathanatya recitals and lecture demonstrations on different subjects of dance were presented.

    Dr Ranjitha Vivin of Nupura School presented "Vande Padmanabham" last week. Ranjitha, a senior student of Lalitha Srinivasan, has completed her Ranga Pravesha in 2001 and has performed in the UK, USA and Canada, apart from important centres in India.

    Dr Ranjitha had chosen compositions of Swati Thirunal for her current programme. Swati Thirunal (1813-1846), the royal composer of Travancore, was a prolific composer in the galaxy of great composers of Karnatak Music. He has composed a variety of compositions like varna, daru, keerthane, pada, thillana in the pen name of Padmanabha. They are in seven languages and some of them are in Hindustani style also. A few of them are popular in dance too.

    Dr Ranjitha opened her programme with a invocatory piece (raga Hamsadwani) customarily followed by a Devi Stuthi in the raga Shudda Saveri. The Thana varna (Kambodhi) was the main item of the programme. With Gajendra Moksha, Draupadi and Rukmani episodes in the 'Sanchari' the varna was well presented by the dancer.

    In fact, it was proof of Ranjitha's progress over the years. The javali (Behag) provided her a good opportunity to exhibit her Abinaya talent and concluded with a Ragamalika thillana.

    Guru Lalitha Srinivasan (natuvanga), Srivatsa (vocal), Narayan Swamy (mridanga), Vivek Krishna (flute) and T.S. Krishnamurthi (violin) - supported from the wings.
    Rare theme

    Dr Radhika Nandakumar is a senior dancer from Mysore, an able teacher and a choreographer. For the "Nitya Nritya' dance festival, she had selected a very interesting story called "Indra Dhwaja Mahotsava". Brahma taught 'Natya Vidya' to Bharatha; Bharatha taught the same to his children - so on and so forth the Guru parampara continued.

    The choreographer had made use of physical exercises, different items of dance; and had brought a real magician on the stage along with a bird (pigeon).

    But it was prolonged and to make it more impactful, needs editing. Radhika Nandakumar in the lead role and R S Nandakumar's vocal and Jayachandra Rao's instrumental music - also caught the attention.

    Navarathri Utsav

    Navarathri was celebrated not only in Mysore but all over the State. In Bangalore, most of the temples celebrated Navarathri with both religious and cultural programmes. Colourful decorations and different "alankara" to principal deities every day and exhibitions of dolls - were the main attractions, and devotees every where celebrated Navarathri with traditional pomp and gaiety.

    One such temple, Sri Kanchi Shankar Mutt, Malleswaram, celebrated the Navarathri Utsav for ten days with music (vocal, veena and violin), naama sankeerthane and parayanam. Young Ramakrishna Murthy who sang here on Sunday started music lessons from Smt Padma Kutty (USA) and is continuing the training under Delhi Sunder Rajan and Vairamangalam Lakshmi Narayanan. In a short spell itself he has earned the goodwill of connoisseurs through his talent and good performances. For instance, he has been declared the "Best Vocalist" of the season by the Music Academy, more than once.

    With all these background young Ramakrishna Murthy had attracted a good gathering in the current concert. "Suma Sayaka" the varna of Swati Thirunal Maharaja, gave the vocalist a bright start and the next two compositions on Devi, helped bring a good musical atmosphere. "Kanjadalayathakshi Kamakshi" in Kamalamanohari and "O Jagadamba" with a detailed swara prasthara was evocative. Kalyani, the majestic raga, had a detailed airing with a gentle touch of pivotal swaras.

    Another fine composition "Kamalamba Bhajare" with a meaningful nerval (Nitya Kalyani Kathyayini) and well woven swara - was quiet apt for the occasion. "Maanabhimanam" in ragamalika was delightful and concluded with "Sarvamangala Mangalye". Ramakrishna Murthy won the hearts of the music lovers and all that he needs is some more experience to reach the top. Tiruvaroor Bhakthavatsala added pep to the concert throughout with his powerful strokes while Ananthakrishna and G S Nagaraj accompanied on violin and Khanjari respectively.
    Good Classicism

    Sriram Prasad and Ravikumar - known as Malladi Brothers to music lovers presented a number of compositions on Devi, on the occasion of Navarathri, held under the aegis of the Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamiji's 80th Avatara Mahotsava Samithi Trust. They were well supported by Pradeshachar on violin, Tumkur Ravishankar on mridanga and Shashi Shankar on ghata. "Sri Shankara Guruvaram" was pleasing and the very selection of raga Devagandhari was appreciated.

    The "Kamadhenukam Ashraye" (Dhenuka) was by a lesser known composer Srinivasa Sharma. In the first half they elaborated "Chintayamam Kandamoola" - a well known keertane of Deekshitar delightfully. In the second half, the brothers chose "Sarojadalanetri" for a detailed elaboration. It was as usual of good classicism, though not one of their best! In between they also sang - Pannagam Prarthaye, Nanukanathalli, Rama Bhaktha, Sri Rama ...Sringara Rama and others neatly.

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  • 10/19/14--12:34: Music and dance reviews
  • Music conference

    The Bangalore Gayana Samaja conducted its annual music conference last week successfully with music concerts by seasoned musicians, talent promotional programmes by young artistes and academic sessions by scholars and musicologists. Senior musician S Shankar, who presided over the conference received the coveted title "Sangeetha Kalarathna", in the valedictory function.

    The opening concert by the popular duo Ranjani and Gayathri, attracted a large gathering, which was proof of their popularity and the artistes also rose to the occasion and satisfied the connoisseurs. Though they presented many ragas, few of them received special attention, for instance, Mukhari, which was embellished with lively sangathies. In the composition "Kshinamai Tiruga" Saint Tyagaraja says - "O Mind! Do not aspire for super natural yogic powers as they will boost your ego and distract you from the path of salvation. The royal highway to salvation based on approbation of the Lord is the dedicated worship through devotional songs!"

    Their lively presentation with nerval (Edi Jesina Jagannathudu) lent flavour to the keerthana. Desh stood out for its aesthetic charm and swaraprasthara, the emphasis shifting from one swara to another was particularly impressive. In the Pallavi, their imagination was in full swing and melody flowed like a stream. Tamil composition of Koteswara Iyer (Chalanaata), Jagadambikaaye (Vasantha - Dikshithar), devaranamas (Ea Pariya Sobagu and Yake Kadeganna Noduve) and Abhang - were noted for their melodic contents. B K Raghu on violin, H S Sudhindra on mridanga and G S Ramanujam on ghata - gave lively support.

    Kalavathi Avadhoot is known for her good voice, repertoire and hard work. In her concert last week for the Gayana Samaja, she sprang a surprise by singing a Pallavi which was composed on S Shankar, the conference president. It was in Natabhairavi, a 'rakti raga'. Though the Pallavi (Anandam Anandam Shankaram) was pleasing, it was not without shortfalls.

    Earlier she tried to bring out the raga bhava in 'Paramdhamavati' with nerval (Paranjotirvikasini Paramatma Prakasini) while 'Bhogeendra Shayinam' - a popular devotional, the "Easabeku iddu Jayisabeku" another popular devaranama were pleasing. Well known instrumentalists - Charulatha Ramanujam, K U Jayachandra Rao and Arun Kumar B S - supported with good understanding on violin, mridanga and morching, respectively.

    Kiran Subramanyam and Sandhya Kiran are one of our leading dancer couples and they are also popular teachers in Bangalore. They have taught hundreds of students in their institute Rasika. They are celebrating their school's silver jubilee by organising programmes throughout the year. First the series 'Sammilana' was held on Saturday, with three different programmes. After Pushpanjali, the customary Ganapathi krithi by Parswanath Upadhye and Shruti, was quiet attractive. 'Sadachaleswara' of Dikshithar had good jathies. Kartik Datar, Somashekar Chudanath and Srinivasan Rajendran caught the attention of the audience by their lively performance.

    "Madhurashtakam" was the choice of Rasika ensemble (Rasika Kiran, Shivaranjini Harish, Matangi Prasan, Sushmitha Suresh, Preethi Prasad, Divya Vinod) who performed with impactful abhinaya. The thillana in Rasikapriya had crisp jathies, performed in a befitting manner. All of them were choreographed by Kiran Subramanyam, neatly. Srivatsa's vocal was an added attraction and Kiran's natuvanga was inspiring. Srihari on mridanga, Mahesh Swamy on flute, Dr Nataraj Murthy on violin, Shubha Santosh on veena and Manjunath on rhythm pad - supported the dancers.

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  • 10/26/14--11:47: Music and dance reviews
  • Lively presentation

    Many young violinists are coming to light and joining the band giving enough proof that Karnatic music's future is bright and safe. Sisters Sindhu Suchethan and Smitha H M, are disciples of the senior violinist H K Narasimha Murthy.

    The duo once again proved that they are maturing fast. In their concert for the Saptaswara Academy, the very opening varna (Lalgudi Jayaraman) was an indication of the rich quality of music that was to follow.

    After the familiar devaranama "Jaya Janakee Kantha", the sruti was brief but was a pleasant one. Dharmavathi is the 59th mela and was known earlier as Dhaamavati and Dhaumya. Dikshitar, Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan, Veena Seshanna, Kotiswara Ayyar and few others have composed compositions in raga Dharmavati.

    The Sisters' alapana was more evocative. It was followed by two of Tyagaraja's compositions - Palukavemi and Kamalapta Kula, they were rendered neatly.

    For a detailed airing they chose Purvi Kalyani, not only a popular and appealing raga but also a favourite of both musicians and connoisseurs. With their soft touch and lively presentation, it was an impressive recital.

    All they have to add is more experience and some more compositions in "Vilambakaala". The duo, Sindhu and Smitha deserve a careful watching. Two young percussionists Prashanth B S and Karteek, lent excellent support throughout the recital.

    Spirited vocal

    Vasantabhairavi is an ancient raga, traced to the medieval period and is a "rakti raga". 'Ni Dayarada' of Saint Tyagaraja is a well known krithi in this raga and Dikshitar's "Prasanna Venkateswaram" is also an appealing composition.

    When it is sung by a versatile artiste like Sanjay Subramanyan, it is a feast to music lovers. Sanjay in his concert for the Bangalore Gayana Samaja sang it with brief raga and swara, impressing the large gathering.

    "Parakelananu" with Chiteswara was another fine composition and he chose a less known devaranama of Purandara Dasa "Onde Manadali Bhajisuve", singing it with brisk swara. Keeravani was his choice for raga, thana and pallavi.

    Using the timbre intelligently, Sanjay Subramanyan's concert was noted for its moments of aesthetic delving and his vocal had a characteristic style. Varadarajan on violin, Neyveli Venkatesh on mridanga and Venkata Raman on khanjari gave spirited support on their respective instruments.

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  • 12/28/14--12:55: Music and dance reviews
  • Nrithyollasa

    The Nrithya Lahari Kala Kendra Trust has been training young aspirants in Bharathanatya from the last 10 years.

    Rupa Gireesh, a young dancer, teacher and choreographer has been training youngsters and there was a special dance programme to commemorate the "Dashamanotsava" on Saturday.

    Five students opened the programme with a Pushpanjali, customarily followed by Alaripu in Thisra and Chaturashra, a Sloka on Ganesha, Saraswathi and Lakshmi.

    "Ananda Narthana" - is a well known Krithi and young students changing the roles in quick succession performed the "Ashta Lakshmi" beautifully.

    After the composition (Shringa Puradheeswari) on Saraswathi, an Astapadi (Jayadeva) and a devaranama - gave them a good opportunity to exhibit their Abhinaya skills.

    No doubt these children will reach great heights with some more years of training. Throughout the recital, the melodious vocal music (Rohini Prabhunandan) was complementary to the dance, while Natuvanga (Rupa Gireesh) was inspiring. Betta Venkatesh on Mridanga, Shankara Raman on Veena, Vivek Krishna on Flute and percussion by Rahul - supported well.

    Tribute to a maestro

    A rich tribute was paid to Veena Venkata Giriyappa (1887-1952) under the auspices of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja. Prof. R. Visweswaran, senior musician, received the award at the programme.

    Nallan Chakravarthy Murthy has composed Varnas, Keertanas on Devi, Dwadasha Thillana, Apurva raaga Kriti Manjari and many more. In the current academic session, Nallan Chakravarthy demonstrated few Thana varnas composed by him.

    "Sri Ganeshwaram" in Kanakangi "Kamalapriye" in Kalyani and another in Charukeshi. He brought out all the salient features of the varnas. Prof. R. Visweswaran is not only known as a vocalist and a Veena player, but also a musicologist and an author.

    He spoke and demonstrated on 'Spirituality is the ultimate goal of music'. He illustrated through compositions in Varali, Devagandhari etc. It was thought provoking and useful. Srinivas demonstrated new trends in manufacturing Mrudanga.

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  • 01/04/15--11:29: Music and dance reviews
  • Mangala vaadya

    The Bangalore Lalitha Kala Parishat opened their programme for the New Year 2015 with a 'Mangala Vadya', on Friday.

    The Nagaswara belongs to the family of woodwind instruments. There are mainly two varieties of the instrument, called the "Timiri" and the "Baari".

    Though principally an outdoor instrument, it is heard within Sabha kacheries also.
    Cultural history says eminent Nagaswara Vidwans once ruled the Karnatic music field. Pallanivelu and Prabhavathi Pallanivelu, the husband and wife duo who presented the Nagaswara recital, are reputed for their chaste classical music.

    Familiar invocatory piece "Vathapi" gave the duo a flying start and the swara enhanced the good feeling. "Ramanannu Brovara" is not a rare kruthi. But it is not being performed frequently these days. Thus it was welcomed by the connoisseurs.
    The alap of Hindustani Kaapi at once acquired a special delight. A classic krithi "Srivalli Deva" brought again a graceful impact.

    Because of their good vocal knowledge, the lyrical feel of the words was deeply felt by music lovers. It was melodious and left a pleasing impact.

    R Rajkumar and B R Venkatesh gave a spirited support throughout the concert.

    Sankranthi music festival

    An eight-day Sankranthi Music Festival under the aegis of the Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira, was inaugurated last week.

    Prof Nagamani Srinath who gave a vocal concert here on Saturday, is a senior vocalist and an able teacher.

    The composition "Thulaseedala" has always been known for its ragabhava. The divine kruthi "Ninuvinaga mari" was sung, highlighting emotional overtones.
    The swara Prasthara was complementary to the ragabhava, though not a wholesome one.

    The platform is not new to Uma Kumar, the co-singer. But with some more training and experience, she will be able to avoid slips here and there. "Vanchatolu" attracts by its well knit chitte swara also.

    "Manamuto" was enlivening with the alapana, nerval and swara. Charulatha Ramanujam, Palladam Ravi and Sukanya Ramgopal gave good support on violin, mridanga and ghata respectively.

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  • 01/11/15--12:30: Music and dance reviews
  • Sangeetha Sambhrama
    The 'Sangeetha Sambhrama' conducts music and dance festivals every year with Tyagaraja Aradhana, during which senior artistes are felicitated. Music classes under the direction of senior musician Vidushi P Rama are also conducted. There were music concerts (Jugalbandi, Classical Karnatic, Thaala Vadya, Veena fusion and old Kannada film hits too!) and dance (Kuchupudi, Bharathanatya) programmes for eight days.
    T N S Krishna, who gave a vocal concert in the 'Nirantharam' on Saturday, is not a new artiste to music connoisseurs. He has been trained well by his father and guru Madhurai T N Seshagopalan and is climbing the ladder of success in quick succession. In the current concert, the familiar Varna 'Valachi' gave Krishna a flying start. The concert began 35 minutes late and another artiste joined the team after Varna. By the time they took the 'Vathapi', the audience forgot everything and got engrossed in the music.

    'Vatapi' is a commonly heard Kruthi. But Krishna made it appealing with nerval and swara, though the swara prasthara appeared over stretched, for an invocatory piece. After a Sloka, the Kannada devaranama 'Neene Doddavanu' was pleasing.

    It was followed by two grand compositions - 'Nannu brovu Lalitha' and 'Marivere'. Then he shifted to the main Kruthi of the evening. Saint Tyagaraja says in the "Venkatesha Ninu Sevimpanu-Keerthane, Venkatesha! protector of ascetics! we need a thousand eyes to feast of your radiant form, you are indeed my sole refuge and my Treasure".

    With Alapana, Nerval (Bhagavatha Priya Tyagaraja) and Swara, it was wholesome and concluded with another devotional 'Devaki Nandana'. C N Chandrasekhar on violin, H S Sudhindra on mridanga and B Rajasekhar on morching - shared the honors with the main artiste. Need more experience
    Students of the Allian University presented a ballet called 'Shiva Pancharamakshetramulu' in Kuchupudi style. Demon Tharakasura's story is well known. When Karthikeya killed Tharakasura, his body scattered into five different places, which becomes famous later, like Amara Lingeswara, Bhimeswara, Someswara etc. Young students performed with ease and confidence.

    Though the costumes were colourful, they must be more careful and attentive about the jewels etc. With some more training and experience, their performance may become more impactful and mature. Dr Vasanth Kiran (Natuvanga), Sruthi Chandrasekhar (Vocal), Ramesh (Mridunga) and Murali (Flute) supported from the wings. Melodious flute
    Young flautist J A Jayanth hails from a reputed musician's family. He is the grandson of T Sankaran, well known musician and musicologist. In his concert for the Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira, Jayanth presented a number of fine compositions. Among them, 'Raka Sasivadana' caught attention easily with both raga and chitteswara. The raga takka, which belongs to the Mayamalava Varga is an ancient, pleasing raktiraga.

    There are no many compositions in this raga and Tyagaraja and Dikshitar have both composed in this raga. Earlier, Kruthi 'Jaya Janakeekantha' was also enlivening. 'Maru Balka' brought nostalgic memories, while Huseni left a lingering effect. His talent came to the fore, especially in Kaapi. In the pallavi, he tried to embellish lively phrases. It was sweet, lively and played with ease and all that he needs is more experience. H M Smitha, Anoor Anantha Krishna Sharma and Anoor Sunad gave lively support on Violin, Mridanga and Khanjari, respectively.

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  • 01/18/15--11:37: Music and dance reviews
  • Purandara uthsava
    Every year music schools compete with each other to celebrate both Purandara Dasa and Tayagaraja's compositions in Pushya Maasa. But on such occasions, emphasis would be given to Tyagaraja's compositions. Though concerts exclusively of Purandara Dasa's Devaranamas are not very rare, connoisseurs dont frequently get an opportunity to attend such concerts. It is Purandara Dasa who framed the primary lessons and laid a strong foundation for Karnatic Music and brought classical music closer to common man. He has composed not only Devaranamas but also Suladi, Ugabhoga Vrithanaama, Thripadi, Tatwasuvvali, Kanda etc. in music. In his compositions, 'Sangeetha' and 'Sahitya' vie for supremacy.

    Thus Purandara Dasa is called "Sangeetha Pitamaha" and has earned a highly respectable place in the Indian music world. There are still a few organisations that celebrate Purandara Dasa's compositions through exclusive music concerts of Haridasa's compositions.

    One such organisation, Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, conducted the festival with not only music concerts, but also Bhajan and discourses at its premises in Sudhindra Nagar.
    Rayachur Seshagiri Das hails from a great Haridasa Lineage of Abigihal Govinda Dasaru of "Vijaya Dasara Parampare". He is well known for his Devaranama singing in Hindustani style and has bagged several title and honours.

    He presented a full concert of Haridasa Padas. He began with an invocatory, "Sathatha Gananatha", and selected "Dasaraya Purandara Dasaraya". "Thunga Theera Viharam" is a favourite of devotees and presented "Madhwa Raya" in Raga Gorak Kalyan.
    "Palisamma Muddu Sharade" was on Saraswathi and "Bhagyada Lakshmi" on Maha Lakshmi, while "Kusanu Kandeera" was on Krishna. Sripad Das on Harmonium, Gopal Gudi Bande on Thabala and Sudhanva on Thaala accompanied the vocalist. Good voice, diction and rendering with good feeling made the large gathering happy.

    Happy harmony
    Dr Sukanya Prabhakar, who sang in the Purandara Utsava on Thursday, is a 'A - Top' grade vocalist, an able teacher and an author. Sukanya opened her concert with "Dangurava Saarirayya" in the Raga Vasantha. She presented a number of compositions of different Haridasas of Karnataka; "Sri Ranganathana Noduva Banni" in Aarabhi was pleasing. The speed of the song is usually suggested by the composition itself. But though "Sarideno Ninna Venkataramanna" was a good choice, listeners felt it was too slow (Vilamba). After the "Ninna Maganene Gopi" in Pharz she highlighted Hamsanandi and convincingly sang "Yenendu Kondadi Stuthisalo Deva" with Nerval and Swara. With her rich voice, it was a happy harmony of music and verse. Senior instrumentalists B. Raghuram and N. Vasudeva gave good support on Violin and Mridanga, respectively.

    Young artiste
    The other musician who sang in the Purandara Utsava is Maruthi Prasad. He is a blind vocalist, key board player and a teacher and also a recipient of several prizes from reputed organisations. Violinist Achutha and Mridanga player S N Swamy supported him well. "Sree Pathiyu Namage" in Sriraga, gave Maruthi Prasad a bright start. "Guruvina Gulamanaguva Thanaka" - is a meaningful devaranama and he sang "Kaavudemmanu" of Vadiraja in Aarabhi. Instead of the traditional raga, he sang "Yeke Brindavanadi" in Rangamalika. With good voice, pronunciation and good selection, Maruthi Prasad delighted the audience.

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  • 01/25/15--12:04: Music reviews
  • Sankranthi music festival

    The annual Sankranthi Sangeetotsava, held last week under the aegis of the Dr R K Srikantan Trust, featured music concerts, lectures and even a vocal ensemble. Musicians paid rich tributes to Dr R K Srikantan, doyen of Karnatic Music.

    Vishnu Venkatesh gave a Mandolin recital in the Sankranthi Music Festival on Wednesday. He is a disciple of Mandolin maestro U Srinivas and is continuing his training under U Rajesh. He has bagged few prizes including the "Prathibhakankshi" from the Sri Rama Seva Mandali and is also a student of M Tech at the R V College of Engineering.

    Venkatesh presented a number of popular compositions of different composers. "Vinayaka" - the well known invocatory piece gave him a pleasant start and he rounded off with swara. A "Pancharatna Krithi" (Endaro Mahanubhavalu) helped bring a good musical atmosphere. It was followed by compositions in Pantuvarali, Reetigowla etc.

    He crowned his concert with a Pallavi in Charukeshi. Good "Naada" was the main attraction throughout and though it was proof of his progress over the years, it has to improve - especially the alapana and nerval.

    But the violinist (Apoorva Krishna) and the lone percussionist (M R Sainath) tried their best to lift the concert to a much higher level. On the other hand, a "Upa pakkavadya" would have added a little more pep to the young artiste's concert.

    Promising vocalist

    Bhargavi Venkataram hails from a reputed musician's family and is a disciple of T M Krishna, one among the most sought after vocalists. In her current concert for the Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi, Sudhindranagara, she gave an exclusive concert of Haridasa compositions.

    She opened the programme with "Jaya Janakeekantha". It appealed with the intensity of the outpouring ragama-like also. The highlight of the concert was "Ille Vaikunta" with alapana and swara vinyasa. She has a sweet voice, compositions are backed by good "Pattanthara" and renders with good feeling.

    She sings with professional confidence and can reach great heights with more experience and higher training. Nerval has to be improved and more ugabhogas would have made an impact. Mandya Nagaraj and B S Prashanth accompanied on violin and mridanga, respectively.

    Mechanical rendering

    Vocalist Mohan Santhanam, who is not a new artiste to the Bengaluru audience, was accompanied by C N Tyagarajan on violin, A V Anand on mridanga and B N Chandramouli on khanjari. Mohan Santhanam chose compositions of Mysuru composers for his concert.

    No doubt, Mysuru Sadashiva Rao, Veena Seshanna, Vasudevachar, Maharaja Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar, Muthaiah Bhagavathar - are reputed composers. But to make the concert more attractive the vocalist could have chosen infrequent or lesser known compositions and instead of selecting more than one krithi of the same composer, he could have chosen compositions of other (left out) composers!

    "Maathe Malayadwaja" is a known Daru followed by "Prannamamyaham" in the raga Gowla. "Neekepudu" in Abhogi was a familiar composition of yester years! Though chitte swara of the "Jalandhara" is attractive, as rendered by him without fluency, Sri Ramadevi (Shankarabharana), Sripathe Premamuga (Gaanamurthe) and Vaanchatolu (Karnaranjini) - were the other compositions.

    Mohana is a familiar raga, but he failed to capture the loveliness of that popular raga. To bring out the stateliness of the kruthies, he has to familiarise them and in total the concert was rather mechanical.

    Pleasing and confident

    Amruta Deshpande, who sang in the Purandara Utsav, originally hails from Dharwad and has now settled in Bengaluru. She had her initial training from Narayana Rao Majumdar and later from Pandit Vinayak Torvi. She is a masters degree holder in both music and philosophy.

    In the concert, Amrutha De-shpande began with "Adigad-igondipe Purandara Guruve". While "Daasaraya Purandara" was of Jagannatha Dasaru, "Ramanama Bhajisidavage" was in Ragamalike and "Naray-ana Ninna Naamada" is equally popular in Karnatic music.

    "Endendu Enna Manadinda" (Venkata Vittala) and "Enage Dorakada" (Purandara Dasa-ru) - were also evocative. She concluded with "Yaake Chinth-isuthiruve" in Bhairavi and she sang with her good voice and confidence. She was supported by Narasimha Kulakarni on Harmonium and Guru Sangappa Hugar on thabala.

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  • 02/01/15--11:23: Music and dance reviews
  • In footsteps of MS
    Sony Music has brought out a new CD of Dr M S Subbulakshmi from the National Centre for Performing Arts archives. After its release, there was a vocal recital by S A Aishwarya, great granddaughter of MS. She was introduced to music by her grandmother Dr Radha Viswanathan and is continuing her training under Jambu Kannan.

    Opening with the familiar varna "Eranapai", Aishwarya continued with another well known composition "Siddivinayakam" with a brief raga and swara. Then she chose "Raghuvamsha", which is mainly popular for the instrumental music. Shankarabharana, the stately raga was well narrated and she sung the majestic kruthi of Saint Tyagaraja "Enduku Peddala" like a professional musician!

    The centre of attraction at the concert was the mridanga support by veteran T K Murthy, who had accompanied M S for several decades. In fact, there were two mridanga players, with young B C Manjunath being the other. The percussionists gave a lively support and the tani was also memorable. In the post "thani' session, Aishwarya presented few devotionals like - Entha Bhagyamunu, Jagadoddarana and Shiva Shiva Bho. The 19-year-old girl has a good voice and music is in her blood. No doubt, soon she will reach great heights with more training and stage experience. Violin support was provided by senior C N Chandrashekhar.

    Ananya presented two dance recitals in this month's "Nrithyollasa" - a Bharathanatya and a Kathak recital. Both the artistes were from foreign countries. Moritz Zavan Stoeckle started his bharathanatya training with at Venice and attended many workshops conducted by well known dancers and has worked with many dance companies. He is a lighting designer at the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice. He has won the Gd'A Veneto dance competition and has performed in several organisations, including the Europa Festival, Rome.

    Moritz opened his dance recital straight away with a varna of Papanasam Sivan in the raga Natakuranji. He performed with practised ease, with simple but beautiful Adavus. Without overdoing anything, he danced with simple costumes. Well known Astapadi "Priye Charusheele" was a good selection for Abhinaya. But seasoned connoisseurs felt it was bit slow and he has to improve his Abhinaya skills for a better impact. He concluded with another fine thillana in the raga Shankarabharana, of Tanjore quartette.

    Not wholesome
    Bharkha Patel, hailing from New York, is a student of Rachna Sarang and has performed both in the USA and India. In her Kathak recital, the first item was on Ganapathy, customarily. It was in Ek thaal.

    Pakhawaj was also used along with tabla, with flamenco beats and Mexican cajan in the background music. She also performed a Thumri (Bolat Sham) and a Tharana (Bageshree). She has good stage presence but it was very brief a recital to make an impact.

    Dance festival
    Sadhana Sangama Dance Centre conducts not only dance classes but also music and yoga classes. Apart from the annual dance festival (Mukula, Yugala and Bahula), the centre conducts monthly dance programmes called "Nrutya Nirantara", under the direction of Jyothi Pattabhiraman.

    There were three dance programmes on Monday, as part of this year's dance festival. Students of Nrityantar Dance Ensemble presented three items beautifully in the Odissi style.
    They paid obeisance to Lord Jagannath and the 'Panchabhuta' - Prithvi (earth), Jal (water), Agni (fire), Vayu (air) and Akash (sky). The Odia poetry was on Radha and Krishna's eternal love, where Sakhi warns Radha that people on the streets, bazaar and everywhere of Braja are talking about her (Radha) and Krishna. The concluding dance "Varsha Avisar" was a celebration of the arrival of rain. It was beautiful and a proof of their good training.

    Bharatha Natya

    Under the direction of K Brinda, students of Ananya Kalanikethan gave a Bharathanatya recital. Opening with Pushpanjali and Ganesha stuthi (raga Naata), they chose a piece on Dashavathara in ragamalike. Swaravali and Devistuthi was also in ragamalike - and all the six young students performed changing the roles in quick succession and assurance.

    Curtains came down on this year's dance festival with a duet by Sumana and M Puja. Both are the students of Jyothi Pattabhiraman and are preparing for the proficiency examination also. The opening Malhari (raga Gambheera Naata) is a traditional item, but appeared too "Vilamba" which marred the impact. The second one was a Abhinaya piece from the well known "Antahpura Geethe" of Dr D V Gundappa. They performed the "Dangurav Poydavane" with ease and smiling faces. With some more training and watching seniors' programmes they can improve their performances.

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  • 02/08/15--12:43: Music reviews
  • Enthralling music festival
    The Bharatiya Saamagana Sabha conducted quiz competition, presentation of awards and music concerts (both Karnatic and Hindustani) in this year's music festival "Navarasa Sangeethotsava" held last week. Abhishek Raghuram, one of the most sought after young vocalist, presented a vibrant concert at the festival.

    "Ananda Natana Prakasham" gave a good start and swara for "Srivalli Deva" was brief but interesting. Kamach which belongs to the 28th Mela Harikambodhi, is a pleasing raga, with many popular compositions in it.

    Kamach received detailed airing and the "Thaana" was more edifying. And it also revealed how the youngster can intelligently render the Graha Beda! Needless to say the pallavi was embellished with racy swara prasthara.

    H N Bhaskar on violin excelled - especially in Kamach and Arjun Kumar on mridanga rose to great heights throughout. But Sundar Kumar on khanjari, joined the team after the first composition.

    Aradhana concerts

    During the 23rd Aradhana Sapthaha, the BTM Cultural Academy paid rich tributes to great composers like Purandara Dasa, Tyagaraja, Muthuswamy Deekshithar, Shyama Sastry, Mysore Sadhashiva Rao and Ballary M Seshagiri Achar.

    K Gayatri, who is slowly establishing as a good vocalist, is a disciple of senior musician Suguna Purushothaman and is a postgraduate in music. She presented a few selected compositions of Syama Sastry, one of the trinities of Karnatic music.

    Syama Sastry (1762-1827) has created his own unique style and is a class by itself. Music, lyrics, and rhythm find their best blend, in his compositions. Gayathri sang "Ninuvina" in a majestic "Vilamba Kaala." The "Kamakshee"

    attracts with not only lyrics but also with its "Kaala Pramana."
    Her talent and hard practice came to fore in the "Palinchu Kamakshee." Indeed it was a weighty kruthi, but her full potential did not come alive in this concert. She was well supported by Adithi Krishna Prakash on violin, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga, S Srishyla on ghata and Prasanna Kumar on morching.

    Spring Music Festival

    Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira honoured Dr Bombay Jayashri Ramanath with "Sangeetha Vedantha Dhureena" award, last week.

    In the 60th year programme of the institution, Sanjay Subramanian who sang in the "Sankranthi Sangeethotsava" (Spring Music Festival), has gained a reputed place in the Karnatic music world, through his talent.

    He sang a number of compositions in good ragas, mainly two ragas were delineated in an attractive way. In the early part of the concert he dwelt on raga Thodi in detail, with due stress on pivotal swaras and phrases, registering well on the listeners.

    In the Keerthane "Kolavamare Gada," Saint Tyagaraja says - "It has been my privilege to offer Sri Rama, the wielder of the Kodanda, in my humble abode, an honour not bestowed even on His most intimate devotees! To lose myself in singing His glory --------- What an enviable blessing"!

    In the second half of the programme Sanjay chose Kedaragowla, very appealing Rakti raga.

    The Pallavi was noted for its "ragabhava" heightening its emotional appeal. Earlier, with his fine voice, also sang a infrequent kruthi of Mutthaiah Bhagavathar and a Kannada devaranama - "Maneyollagado Govinda" and "Nira Pamana" with vintage flavour.

    Mysore Nagaraj, K U Jayachandra Rao and B Rajashekhar - provided competent support on violin, mridanga and morching, respectively.

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  • 02/22/15--06:01: Music and dance reviews
  • Yuva gaana festival

    Ananya conducted "Yuva Gaana", a young musicians' festival, last week. Incidentally, all the three were male vocalists and are not new to Bengaluru music lovers. Aditya Prakash, who gave the inaugural concert, is the son of Viji Prakash, a senior Bharathanatya dancer. He is a disciple of Palai Ramachandran and is now being guided by P S Narayana Swamy. "Vatapi Ganapathim Bhaje", the familiar invocatory piece, gave him a fine start that was followed by a Pancharathna Kruthi (dudukugala).

    The popular devaranama "Rama Nama Payasake" was sung exemplifying the lyrical grandeur of the composition. After a fast "Nijamarmamulanu" of Tyagaraja, the main item of the evening was selected. "Bhajare Re citta" received a detailed airing with alapana, nerval (Devim sakti Beejodbhava) and swara, enriching its melodic cadences. Adithya Prakash's career is worth looking forward to. Anuthama Murali on violin and Raghunatha Rajaram on mridanga gave sustained support throughout the concert.

    Lalgudi style

    Violinists Lalgudi G J R Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi, gave a duet prformance for the Nadajyothi Suvarna Sangeetha Sambhrama on Sunday. They belong to a great lineage of musicians and are carrying the legacy successfully.

    The violin duet by the brother and the sister can be marked for its flair and fidelity. The initial compositions including a varna gave them an ebullient start. After a long time, the audience heard "Ea Vasudhani", rendered with vintage flavour. "Sogasu Juda Tharama"-was convincingly delineated. Though Simhendramadhyama registered well, it was Shankarabharana which received a more detailed airing, presented with aesthetic finesse. It was tuneful with a Lalgudi touch all the way. Arjun Kumar and Ranganath Chakravarthi, the percussion duo, accompanied with aplomb.

    Proof of progress

    The opening keerthane "Siddivinayakam" itself showed that Pavan Rangachar was capable of a perceptive recital, in the "Yuva Gaana" festival on Saturday. Pavan is a student of T V Gopalakrishnan and Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and is now continuing his training with R N Tyagarajan. He was well supported on violin and mridanga by Achutha Rao and A Renuka Prasad respectively. "Brochevare" was a good selection and he also presented few 'Vivadi raga' compositions. The Kannada devaranama "Sulabha Poojeya Maadi" delighted the audience with both its raga and lyrics. The choice of "Kamalaptakula" was well received by the audience too. In this composition, Saint Tyagaraja says - "Oh! Lotus eyed Rama! I have come seeking your grace. Please show me mercy and assure me freedom from fear". "Kannare Kande Na Achuthana" - is another well known Dasara Pada. An evocative raga Reetigowla was embellished with a flurry of alluring "sangathies". The "Dwaitamu Sukhama" - easily measured upto a standard, not easily reached by a young artiste. A "Upa Pakka Vadya" would have added little more pep to the overall impact of the young musicians concerts and unfortunately, the festival had a poor audience response and was hardly encouraging. Connoisseurs must encourage the young artistes, in the interest of classical music.

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  • 03/01/15--07:08: Music and dance reviews
  • Lalitha Kala Parishat

    With a voice that blends well with the Sruti and is classical in form, the vocal recital of Sangeetha Shivakumar for the Bangalore Lalitha Kala Parishat last Friday registered favourably with the moderate turnout. She is a disciple of Charumathi Ramachandran and is not a stranger to the music connoisseurs.

    She revealed her prowess in a varied repertory by devoting to different compositions of Purandara Dasa. The programme included devaranamas, both familiar and unfamiliar, in the concert. The alap (Shankarabharana, Thodi, Kamatch and Sunadavinodini) was neat and in a melodic finesse.

    The pada 'Chandrachuda Shiva Shankara' embellished with graceful sangathies, accounted for a pleasant listening and 'Thambulava Kondu' was an infrequent devaranama. Her musical sensitivity was in full focus in the elaboration of 'Kelano Hari Thaalano'. 'Mandamathiyu Nanu' and 'Baro Krishnaiah' both had a nostalgic flavour and concluded customarily with "Indina Dinave Shubhadinavu". H M Smitha on violin, H S Sudhindra on mridanga and S Srishyla on Ghata supported the singer adequately.


    Srivani Centre for Performing Arts conducted its annual festival 'Vaibhavam 2015' with music (vocal, violin solo, flute and percussion ensemble) and dance programmes. On the occasion, senior artiste S Shankar was felicitated in recognition of his services to the field of music.

    In the vocal ensemble of 'Vaggeya Vaibhavam', senior and young musicians paid rich tributes to the great composers of Karnatic music, by singing their compositions. They opened the 'Gosti Gayana' with Pillari Geethe (Lambodara) and continued with kruthies of different composers. 'Suryamurthe' and 'Sri Guru Guha Dharaya' (Dikshitar), Devi Brova Samayamide and Mayamma Enine Pilachithe (Syama Sastry), Jagadananda Karaka and Endaro Mahanubhavulu (Tyagaraja), Sajjana Sangadollu and Parama Purushane (Kanaka Dasa) were sung in unison, with devotion.

    Melodious performance

    Bharathi Prathap, who gave a Hindustani vocal recital last week for the 'Nadajyothi Suvarna Sangeetha Sambhrama', had the privilege of learning under Pandith Rama Rao Naik and is continuing her practice with Lalith J Rao. She has performed in few Sabhas, both in and outside of India and is also teaching young Hindustani music learners.

    Bharathi's rich fare comprised elaboration of two Bandish in two speeds. She opened her concert with Purya Kalyan leisurely, in an expansive mood. Elaborating leisurely with total involvement, the raga was wholesome. Shahana Kaanada (Madhya Laya Jhap Thal and Druth Teen Thal) glowed with bright sangathies, proving her good training and talent.

    The Tharana in Sohani (Dadra) heightened her tonal flourish and she also sang few devotionals. She had good support from Kedarnath Hawaldar on thabala and Vyasamurthy Katti on Harmonium.

    Vibrant raga

    S Shankar, senior vocalist and a recipient of 'Sangeetha Kalarathna' title, opened his programme with 'viriboni', the majestic varna in the raga Bhairavi. The invocatory piece 'Gajavadana Mam Pahi' was rendered with brief swara and 'Merusamana' attracted with alapana and nerval. 'Brovavamma' and 'Bhajare' were sung with relish and 'Anupama/Gunambike' is a favourite of yesteryear.

    He gave a colourful picture of the raga Shankarabharana and a sweeping swara for 'Manasu Swadheena', enriching its intended mood. Another fine keerthane 'Sri Kamakoti' with pleasing alapana was a pleasant experience. S Seshagiri Rao on violin, A V Anand on mridanga and T N Ramesh on ghata, accompanied with good understanding.

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