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    In the footsteps of Srikantan

    Senior musician M S Sheela, gave a vocal recital in the City last week. A senior student of R K Srikantan and 'a top grade' musician of the Akashavani, Sheela, also received the Swaramurthy V N Rao Memorial National Award on Saturday. Connoisseurs were also happy to hear and attend her concert after a gap of few months. The event saw a huge attendance.

    In an old world atmosphere in front of the sanctum sanctorum of the Yathiraja Mutt in Malleswaram, Sheela gave a delectable vocal recital. After a brisk varna (chalame), she presented "Deva Deva Kalayambike" of Swathi Tirunal in the raga Mayamalavagowla, setting a stately colour to the concert. Two pleasing compositions - 'Rama Ramana', with chitteswara and 'Govardhana Gireesham' - were rendered in quick succession. The tranquility of Varali, which she brought out in her alap, was commendable.

    Though Mohana is a common raga, she presented in a way worthy of a senior with a spacious and sensitive unfolding in both Madhya and Thara sthayee and the swaraprasthara was creditably manoeuvred with interesting phrases. Few devotionals such as 'Thoradu Jeevisabahude' also pleased the gathering and 'Krishnana Kolalina Kare' (of P T Narasimhachar) was a welcome change and she concluded it with a thillana. While Nalina Mohan on violin gave the vocalist ample support, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga played with a thorough understanding of the vocalist's style and its needs. And S N Narayana Murthy was in charge of Ghata.

    A puppet show

    Puppet theatre shows of Karnataka are known to have a rich cultural history. K Narahari Sastry performed the yeoman service through Suthramela. Inspired by M R Ramaiah of Agalakote and M R Ranganatha Rao (of Ranga Puthali), Sri Narahari Sastry has practised and mastered the traditional rod puppetry and has been performing from last several years.

    The Bangalore Lalitkala Parishat presented a puppet show by Suthra Mela at the Dr H N Kalakshetra. They chose the popular "Indra Garva Bhanga' episode. With colourful costumes and jewels, the puppets caught the attention of one and all. Episodes such as - Krishna as Gollathi, palm reading - were very impactful. Background music was given by K Muralidhara, Saroja Ganapathi was good and suited the occasion. Under the direction of Narahari Sastry, 82, Ravindra Narahari, Satyanarayana, Shankara Murthy, Sandhya Raveendra - acted as "Suthradharas" to make it a successful show.

    Saama Festival

    Sri Academy of Music and Arts concluded the annual music festival "Saama" with day-long music concerts, competitions and felicitation programs, in which nearly 50 artistes performed in both vocal and instrumental concerts.

    Senior vocalist R S Ramakantha presented Devi kruthies of different composers. Muthaiah Bhagawathar's varna "Mahishasura Mardhini" was the right choice to begin with followed by "Kamalambike Mamavasada", a composition of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar in the raga Nadaranjini. "Kanjadalayatakshi" is a popular kruthi and he chose an infrequent kruthi of Syama Sastri "Pahisri Giriraja Suthe". The "Ambavani" in Saraswathi was very familiar in old Mysuru and he elaborated Kalyani for "Bhajare Rachitha with nerval and swara, which was proof of his expertise. B Raghuram on violin, T S Chandrasekhar on mridanga, Somashekhar on ghata, Bhargava Halambi on khanjari and B Rajashekhar on morching - supported him on their respective instruments.

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  • 08/09/15--06:39: Steps that never stop
  • Steps that never stop

    Ponnaiah Lalithakala Academy conducted the dance series "Steps that Never Stop", providing a platform for many senior dancers to perform. In the series this month, senior dancer Suma Nagesh gave a Bharathanatya recital at the Padmini Rao Parampara Auditorium on Monday. Suma was initiated into dance by Radha Sridhar and received advance training from Prof MR Krishna Murthy (of Kalakshiti). She has also learnt Mohiniattam and is a recipient of the "Singaramani" title from the Sursingar Samsad and is teaching at the Kalakshithi and Natyasri institutions.

    Suma opened her programme with a Vinayaka Stuthi, customarily. She then presented a number of compositions with special reference to Abhinaya. Kapali of Papanasam Sivan (Mohana raga), a Jayadeva Astapadi (Ragamalike), a Kshetraiah pada in Anandabhairavi, a Devi stuthi "Bhavani Bhavani" in Durga - expressing sentiments to the finest in all these compositions. This was followed by a beautiful vachana of Akkamahadevi "Holeva Kenjadegalla," again in ragamalike. After the popular Meera bhajan "Gungaru band", she concluded with the mangala "Ramachandraya Janaka". The denouement in Sumana's characterisations were fine and her facial expressions came alive, making the abhinaya beautiful.


    Rajashree Holla, trained under Ramalinga Sastri and Dharani Kashyap, is continuing her practice under Veenamurthy Vijay and has performed in many festivals, both in and outside the State. In the 'Bho Shambo' of Dayananda Saraswathi (Revathi raga), Gangavatharana was depicted well. Paathra Pravesha Daru was from the dance drama 'Vipra Narayana Charitham'.

    She had adopted a devaranama "Baaro Krishnaiah" for the Taranga. No doubt she danced on the brass plate, but the foot work was rather brief.

    Dancing duo

    Sisters Nitash and Bianca Radhakrishna are students of Sri Venkatesha Natya Mandira and have been trained by veteran artiste Radha Sridhar . They have passed the proficiency examination and have also completed their "Ranga Pravesha." The duo opened their performance with a Jayadeva Astapadi.

    Only three avataras were emphasised in the Dashavatara and their sparkling eyes and brisk movements enriched their visual appeal. The Navarasabhinaya in the 'Aadenamma' of Puliyur Doreswami Iyer in the Raga Pharz can be more impactful with some more experience.

    They selected a thillana (Brindavani) of M Balamuralikrishna to conclude the evening's programme.

    Nitash and Bianca Radhakrishna have a bright future ahead of them.

    Vainika Rathna

    Ranjini Kala Kendra trains youngsters in Veena and other subjects and organises the Veena Utsava every year. She confers the "Karnataka Vainika Rathna" title on a senior Veena player on the occasion. Veteran musician Rajalakshmi Tirunarayanan received this year's award and workshops apart from Veena recitals were held on Saturday and Sunday at the Ananya Sabhangana.

    After the felicitation function Rajalakshmi Tirunarayanan gave a Veena recital, supported by Meera Raghu (co-player), VS Rajagopal (mridanga) and TN Ramesh (Ghata). She deployed her concert craft convincingly, by making it a enjoyable programme, though a brief one. Even the initial strains of the opening devaranama "Gajavadana Beduve" with interesting swara, was pleasing. Charukeshi is the 26th mela and said to be brought to light by Saint Tyagaraja and the raga became very popular in the post Trinity period.

    Rajalakshmi's methodical approach to the raga with an aesthetic touch brought a composite picture of the melody. The popular kruthi "Kripaya Palaya", honed to the traditional format was proof of her expertise. It was followed by a number of small but pleasing compositions. A Jawadi in Behag, devaranama (Kadagola Tharenna), Kavadi; "Siriye" and thillana in jinjoti of Veena Seshanna, received encomiums from the gathering.

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  • 08/16/15--07:01: Vaadya vaibhava
  • Vaadya vaibhava

    The Bangalore Gayana Samaja conducted the annual Vaadya Vaibhava with three instrumental concerts.

    "Vaadya Vaibhava" is dedicated to M L Veerabhadraiah and Swaramurthy V N Rao, whose birth centenary is being conducted all over. Dr Suma Sudhindra, who gave the inaugural concert on Friday, is a senior Veena player of the State and recipient of several awards and titles including "Ganakalabhushana" from the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat.

    Suma's rendition of the Bahudari varna set the pace for a tuneful fare. "Pranamamyaham" with brief swara gave steady start followed by "swara raga laya". But Varali (Mamava Meenakshee) was true to its melodic presence and "Ninuvina" was a popular composition of yesteryears.

    Then she chose a infrequent composition of Swaramurthy "Ninna Nambide" in raga Dharmavathi, which suited the occasion very well. A brisk "Jalandhara" was followed by a pallavi, the piece de resistance of the evening. Bhairavi alapana was weighty in its enunciation with expansive Thana (Natakuranji, Kaanada, Hamsanandi and Hindola), enriching Pallavi's charm. Suma Sudhindra concluded her concert with the evergreen thillana in the raga Jinjoti.

    Y G Srilatha, the co-player, registered her presence through good support on Veena. Nalina Mohan, B C Manjunath and Narayana Murthy accompanied on violin, mridanga and ghata respectively, very well.


    With the aim of "Deriving Joy out of art and making art more relevant in people's lives", the Kalanandanam started in the year 2011 under the direction of Vidushi Sunitha Venugopal. It conducts workshops and organises special events to showcase talents of budding artistes, both in music and dance.

    In the "Shravana Sandhya" organised last week, music and dance programmes were held, apart from felicitation to Vidushi Geetha Hegde (Hindustani) and Veena Murthy Vijay (Kuchipudi dance). Hema Gautham and Sandhyasree Samit - gave the inaugural dance programme. Hema is a disciple of Veena Murthy Vijay and Sandhyasree is a student of Anuradha Vikrant. They performed nearly four items including Todayamangalam and Tharanga. A devaranama "Hari Aadidano" was chosen to perform on the brass plate. Though it was called as Kuchipudi and Bharathanatya jugalbandi, had little to rave about.

    Next there was an interesting dance drama on "Nadi - an eternal flow". Keerthana danced for Karthik Hebbar's lyrics and music. The river will soothe the spirit, nurse the heart, fulfill desires, flow on to nourish and give aplenty to all …! It comes with the ferocity of Durga, as the knowledge of light …! A love poem by Rabindranath Tagore, which describes the river banks of Yamuna and the monsoon. In the "Kaveri" episode - Agastya Muni put her (Kaveri) into his Kamandala; The river Kaveri will be in Kamandala during daytime and during night she will be his (Agastya's) dutiful wife. Her quest begins to find her true self and seeks freedom.

    She concluded with the devine Ganga Stotram of Shankaracharya. It was neat and lively. Keerthana Ravi with her powerful and graceful movements caught the attention of the connoisseurs.

    Karthik Hebbar's music and lyrics were spirited and his vocal was inspiring. Also the dance was well supported by Aranya Narayan (Natuvanga), Harsha Samaga (mridanga), Nitish Ammannayya (flute) and Shruthi Kamat (sitar).

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  • 08/23/15--06:27: Haridasa Sambhrama
  • Haridasa Sambhrama

    Music, Gamaka and discourses were held as part of Haridasa Sambhrama under the joint auspices of the Nadajyothi Sri Tyagarajaswamy Bhajana Sabha, TTD Daasa Sahitya Project and Sri Yadugiri Yathiraj Mutt, last week.

    Vani Sateesh, who gave a vocal recital is the daughter of Vidwan M Venkateshachar and a senior vocalist of the State. In her current concert exclusively of Haridasa compositions, Vani was accompanied on violin by B K Raghu and on Mridanga by A Renuka Prasad.

    A Sripadraja's Devaranama "Popu Hogonna" in Mohana, gave her a sunny start. It was followed by "Aarigadaru Purva Karma Bidadu" of Kanakadasa. The flowing alapana of Shankarabharanna and meaningful nerval (Garuda Seshadrigallu) added to the impact of the "Bhajisi Badukelo Maanava". She also presented Bandide Apakeerthi (Naada Namakriye), Deva Narahari Embo (Shudda Sarang) and a Mangala of Prasanna Venkata Dasa. With her melodious voice honed to Sruti, Vani pleased the

    Tributes to Vainika

    Rudrapattana Brothers - R N Tyagarajan and R N Tharanathan gave a vocal concert at the Vani Vidya Kendra on Sunday. Rudrapattana Brothers, who are 'A Top' grade musicians, are known for their classism. There was musical fervour honed to the traditional format and justified the reputation they have built for themselves in a distinguished career.

    Rudrapattana Brothers chose raga Malayamarutha for a detailed alapana. Malayamarutha belongs to the chakravaka varga and a shadava raga. No doubt it is a rakti raga and became more popular during the post Tyagaraja period. Brothers' Alapana and Swaraprasthara had a dignified aura. Both nerval and swara for "Dhanyadevvado" (Patnam Subramanya Iyer) glowed with neat sangathies.

    Earlier, they opened the concert with "Rama Neepai" of Tyagaraja in Kedara, which gave them a pleasant start. Dharamavathi had several aesthetically appealing phrases and the chitteswara of the composition "Ninna Nambideno" (of Swaramurthy V N Rao) was also well knit. The concluding Begade Thillana (Veena Seshanna) is also not a familiar one.

    Senior violinist Nalina Mohan supported with pleasing touches, while veteran mrudanga artiste T A S Mani's sensitive percussion support enhanced the rhythmic overtones and A S N Swamy on Khanjari suited the needs of the occasion. The concert was part of the birth centenary celebrations of Swaramurthy V N Rao, organised by five leading Sangeeth Sabhas of the city, namely, Malleswaram Sangeeth Sabha, Tyagaraja Gana Sabha, Naada Jyothi Sri Tyagaraja Swamy Bhajana Sabha, Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, Vani Vidya Kendra and Sri N Raja Rao.

    Cultural festival

    Prof M P L Sastty was a reputed educationist, a scholar and a well-known social worker. Till his last days he worked sincerely for the development of M E S College. He was not only a patron but also a great connoisseur of music and dance. In his memory M E S Kalavedi conducts a cultural festival every year.

    During this year's "Vidya Sagara Prof M P L Sastry Memorial Cultural Festival" 15 young artistes participated in three music programmes (vocal, harmonica and violin duet), last week.

    Sharada Karthik, who gave a vocal concert in this festival, is the daughter of Nalina Mohan, a senior violinist. She continued her training under M S Sheela to become both a vocalist and a violinist. She has performed in few places and has won prizes including "Prathibhakankshi" from the Rama Seva Mandali. Sharada was not confident when she started with the celebrated Todi Varna. But soon she settled and the invocatory piece "Vallabha Nayakasya" was neat and "Saraswatheem Bhagawatheem" was a welcome addition to the concert repertoire. "Anupama Gunambike" brought nostalgic memories and raga Bindumalini (Entha Muddo Entha Sogaso) is a favourite of connoisseurs always. For a detailed airing she chose two stately compositions - "Swarasada Bala Gopalam" (Swathi Tirumal) and "Bhajare Re Chitha Balambike' (Dikshitar), which anchored well, to leave a good impression on the listeners.

    Sharada Kartik has a trained voice that traverses in all the octaves and has a bright future, with some more higher training and concert experience. Sughosh and B S Prashanth accompanied on violin and mridanga,

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  • 08/30/15--07:44: Music and dance reviews
  • Promising dancer

    Dancer Vidya V Thayoor, who started training under Bhavani Ramanath (Nrityarpana), presented a beautiful Bharathanatya recital.

    She is now continuing her dance training under Soundarya Srivathsa of Nartana Keerthana. This engineering graduate completed her "Rangapravesha" in 2013 and has given many performances.

    "Ambasutha Karivadana" gave Vidya a bright start. Her laya as in the varna (Swamy Nanum - Nata Kuranji) had some sound grounding. Her portrayal of Virahothkhanditha Nayika, testifying to hard practice in both Nritha and Nritya, made an immediate impact.

    Her Abhinaya in Antahpura Geethe was pleasing and she concluded her good performance with a thillana (Durga) and Mangala. Vidya Thayoor is can reach great heights with more training.

    Karnataka Vaibhava

    The Nadasurabhi Cultural Association organised "Karnataka Vaibhava"-a two-day young musicians festival.

    Vivek Sadashivam, who gave a vocal recital, was initiated into music by his parents - vocalist A Sadashivam and veena player Revathi Sadashivam and is being trained by R N Tyagarajan. He has won several prizes including from the All India Radio National competition.

    In the current concert, three young instrumentalists accompanied him - R Achuta Rao on violin, B S Prashanth on mridanga and R Kartheek on khanjari. Vivek's classical-chiselled style surfaced in the very first number (Nayaki varna) itself.

    He chose "Prannamamyaham" in Gowla as a invocatory piece. We don't hear Raga Rishabhapriya (62nd mela) very often, though it is not a rare raga.

    Although Tyagaraja and Dikshitar have composed in it, Rishabhapriya attained its full form and stature during the post Trinity period. One of them "Intha Shodana" of Veena Seshanna, was selected by Vivek Sadashivam, which was welcomed by connoisseurs.

    In Saveri, his feel for the raga added a lilt to his singing. He chose another infrequent kruthi "Ninna Nambideno" in Dharmavathi and moved to the Pallavi. Natakuranji is known as "a fairly ancient rakti raga of super eminence with heavy emotional impact".

    His rendering of alapana and brisk thana and pallavi, was pleasing. He also sang a devaranama (Narayana Ninna) and a thillana. Vivek Sadashivam has a honed voice and sings with practiced ease. He has a bright future.

    Antahpura Geethe
    The Keshava Samskruthi Sabha organised a two-day cultural festival on the occasion of the 13th annual Music and Dance Festival last week. The title "Keshava Kalarathna" was conferred to veteran musician Neela Ramagopal and the book, "Geetha Gopala" of Thirumalarya, was released on the occasion by M A Jayarama Rao.

    "Antahpura Geethe" of D V Gundappa is the most sought after source material for all dancers and choreographers. H R Keshava Murthy had choreographed the same decades ago and has presented it on different platforms of the State. Students of Keshava Nritya Shala and College performed under the direction of BK Shyam Prakash.

    It was the rendition of a dream of a farmer who visits the Belur Temple and dreams of "Shilabalikas" dancing in front of Chennakeshava. As many as 11 students performed one after the other representing each "Shilabalike".

    Though they performed effortlessly, they have the potential to do better. It is Jhanavi Jayaprakash's (recorded) vocal that helped sustain interest.

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  • 09/06/15--07:45: Aradhana concerts
  • Raghavendra Swamy Aradhana was celebrated in many parts of the city which brought another opportunity for connoisseurs to listen to their favourite artistes. One such organization, Sri Raghavendra Seva Samithi conducted a 12 days cultural festival including music (vocal and instrumental) concerts, Harikatha and discourses, apart from religious rituals at their own Mutt, at Sudhindra Nagara, Malleswaram.

    N. Vijayalakshmi, who gave a Veena concert at the Aradhana Mahotsava, is a "A-Top" grade musician of Akashavani and is well versed in both Veena and vocal.

    A student of her mother Rajalakshmi Narayanan as well as Kalpagam Swaminathan, she has also learnt vocal under Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer. She is a recipient of prestigious awards like "Kalaimamani" and is also a staff artiste of Madras AIR.

    Vijayalakshmi opened her concert with "Gajavadana Beduve" customarily. "Jaya Jaanakee Kantha" was followed by "Sakala Grahabala Neene". The evergreen Pancharathna Kruthi "Endaro Mahanubhavulu" brought an air of dignity, casting the shadow of coming musical experience. "Indu Enage Govinda" enhanced this effect.

    The alap of Kalyani, the legendary raga of the Karnatic music was yet another instance of the Veena player's mood and the choice of "Nambi Kettavarillavo" brought out the entreating mood of both the raga and lyrics.

    Few more popular devaranamas like - Jagadoddarana, Bhagyada Lakshmi - were presented to top the concert. Without any showmanship or glamour of contemporary Veena style, Vijayalakshmi played with good tonal quality and was lively throughout.

    Both the percussionists - B.K. Chandramouli and Sukanya Ramgopal - rose to the needs of the occasion and the Veena style.

    Prodigious artiste
    Though Harikatha is a popular art form from centuries, there are very few artistes in it now, compared to other arts. When many youngsters are not taking Harikatha as a profession, entrance of a teenager - that too a girl - is most welcome and appreciable. Tushar L Acharya, who hails from Udupi, but settled now in Bengaluru, is a disciple of Ravi Kumar Das and is also learning music and dance. She has passed SSLC with distinction and recipient of few awards already.

    Tushar chose the story of Prahlada for her Harikatha recital in the Aradhana Mahotsava. Apart from portraying the beautiful picture of the Prahlada, she gave a good picture of Hiranyakashipu, Narada, Parvatharaja and others with good humour also. With her rich voice she sang a number of songs like - Bho Shambo, Om Namo Deva, Deva Lakumi Ramana, Hari Narayana etc. etc. She narrated the story without overdoing anything but in a pleasant way. Though bit loud at times, the accompanists [Srinivas - Harmonium, Jagadeesh - Thabala, Sri Prakash - Khanjari and Krishnamachar - Thaala] supported well on their respective instruments.

    Rare kruthies
    Sri Guru Raghavendra Sevashrama conducted the 344th Aradhana celebrations at their temple at L.R. Bande, Kavalbyrasandra, with vocal and veena recitals apart from Bhajan programmes. Senior musician Dr Sukanya Prabhakar who gave a vocal recital on Monday, is a recipient of Doctorate from the University of Mysore, for her thesis on the compositions of Maharaja Jayachamaraja Wodeyar.

    Sukanya Prabhakar presented a number of Kannada compositions of different Haridasas which suited the occasion and was well appreciated.

    With her decades of concert experience, Sukanya brought to her rendering of some infrequently heard devaranamas in evocative ragas that pleased the gathering. The opening Ugabhoga (Hari Para Daiva) and the pada (Dangurava Saariraiah) caught the attention of the listeners on her musical potential with good involvement and enjoyment.

    While "Sharanu Sri Guru" of Guru Jagannatha Dasaru was tuned in Mayamalavagowla, "Baro Raghavendra Namma Manege" of Achutha Vittalesha was in Maand. She revelled in the alap of Hindustani Kaapi and more so in the espansive presentation of B.K. Padmanabha Rao's master piece "Tunga Teera Nivasi". She brought out the lingering effect in the "Ramachandra Raghavendra Bhaktha Vatsala" of Anandamma successfully.

    With a prelude of a Ugabhoga (Ra Enda Mantradollu) the kruthi "Nanena Maaduveno" (Durbari Kannada) also got a detailed airing. J.K. Sridhar and M. Gururaj extended good support on violin and mridanga, respectively.

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  • 09/13/15--06:19: Impressive Kathak
  • Impressive Kathak

    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat presented a Kathak recital by the students of the Nadam, on Friday. Eight students of Naadam performed as many items under the direction of Nandini Mehta and Murali Mohan.

    Young dancers opened their programme with a invocatory song "Mahaganapathim". Madhurastaka ("Adharam Madhuram") is a all-time favourite, which was followed by a Shiva Thandava Stotram. Dramatising few episodes from Ramayana they performed the popular Tulasidas Bhajan "Sri Ramachandra Kripalu" pleasingly while the Basant was performed with abandon.

    That, Amad, Tukda, Paran, Tihayee - revealed their good training. They concluded with a beautiful tharana in Durbari. Their talent and practice came to fore throughout the programme and made an immediate impact on receptive audience.

    Malhar Utsav

    The Guru Rao Deshpande Sangeet Sabha conducted the Sangeet Mahotsav "Malhar" in memory of Bharatrathna Bhimsen Joshi, the legendary musician.

    In the festival on Sunday Padmabhushan Rajan and Sajan Mishra weaved a magic web around the packed audience at the JSS Auditorium. The raga Ramdasi Malhar unfolded itself, slowly and steadily weaving its magic and finding a responding chord amongst the listeners, young and old. Mandra Sancharis - starting from Panchama - created a beautiful musical atmosphere. The haunting outpouring in profuse strains of unalloyed melody cast a spell on the audience. The mood continued in the rag Megh.

    He brought out the 'ragabhava' impactfully through Madhyalay teen thaal and shone with its scintillating tharana in Ek thaal. They concluded with a pleasing Bhajan in Desh. The tabla support by senior Ravindra Yavagal and harmonium by Dr Ravindra Katoti merged with the mood of the vocalists.

    Evocative vocal

    Young vocalist Dattatreya Velankar who sang in the "Guru Smaran" is a disciple of Pandit Vinayak Toravi. He has performed in Jugalbandi concerts and few leading institutions.

    With his good voice and training Megh Malhar caught the attention of the connoisseurs. Through Madhya Lay Jap taal and Druth teen taal, the raga bhava was evocative. Without any gimmicks and overdoing Gowd Malhar was pleasing while the Abhang was presented with lilting melody.

    Velankar acquitted himself confidently and his career is worth watching. Gurumurthy Vaidya and Madhusudhan Bhat accompanied on tabla and harmonium, respectively.

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  • 09/20/15--06:17: Music reviews
  • Birth centenary

    Sangeetha Vidwan Selvapillai Iyengar was a veteran vocalist and a reputed Guru, who also served Akashavani for several decades, as a staff artiste. His birth centenary was celebrated last week by his family members, in association with Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira.

    Curtains came down on the centenary celebrations with a vocal recital of Madurai T N S Krishna. He is the son and disciple of T N Seshagopalan, also a software engineer, and has performed in leading Sabha and Sammelans.

    In the current concert, Krishna presented a number of songs composed by different vaggeyakaras in several languages and attractive ragas. For instance, "Seshachala Nayakam" is a dignified keerthana for which the swara was also complementary. Both "Na Ninna Dhyanadolliralu" and "Marugelara" are old-time favourites. Though his voice was not at its best, it was in the unfolding of Kalyani that Krishna came into his own, displaying his talent and good training and the choice was another well known Krithi "Kamalambam Bhajare", with exuberant swara vinyasa. C N Chandrasekhar, V Praveen and G Guruprasanna gave spirited support on violin, mridanga and khanjari respectively.


    The Samanvitha organisation paid homage to Dr M S Subbalakshmi, the legendary musician, on her birth centenary. Compositions popularised by MS were rendered in music and dance.

    R S Nanda Kumar recalled several interesting anecdotes pertaining to MS, in his speech and few artistes were also felicitated on the occasion. There were brief recitals of Bharathanatya, Veena and vocal.

    Three young members of Vivekananda Kala Kendra gave a dance recital of few selected compositions. The popular Ganesha stuti, few familiar devaranamas - Daasana Madiko Enna, Jagadoddarana and Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma - were performed by Lekha, Geetha and Kavya. Though "Bhavayami" is a sought-after composition, audience felt as if it was abruptly ended. They performed with rather casualness and less said the better on their Abhinaya and foot work. With higher training and hard homework they can improve and come out of the short comings.

    R K Padmanabha who belongs to a great lineage of vainikas took off on a bright note with a familiar varna and continued with "Pranamamyaham" and "Annapurne." His alap and easy paced thanam and the krithi "Broeheva" - all were lively and tuneful. C Cheluvaraj on mridanga and Gurumurthy on ghata accompanied the Vainika.

    The "Deva Deva" gave senior vocalist Kumaraswamy of "Gudibande Brothers" fame, a steady start. Sudda Dhanyasi was brief, but proof of his expertise and "Yadava Nee Ba" was also pleasing. B Raghuram and B Dhruvaraj supported on violin and mridanga.

    Krishnashtami celebrations

    Krishna Janmasthami was celebrated in many temples and organisations in the city. One such venue Sri Venugopala Krishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram conducted vocal, veena, mandolin and dance recitals in the 14-day festival apart from religious programmes.

    L V Mukund, who hails from the Belakavadi family and a disciple of Dr N Ramani, gave a fine flute recital, and was accompanied by J K Sridhar on violin, V S Rajagopal on mridanga and A S N Swamy on Khanjari.

    Though he presented a number of compositions, he chose a well known keertana of Saint Tyagaraja for a detailed airing. While presenting the composition "Inta Soukhyamani" in the raga Kaapi, the nerval and the swara prasthara brought out the ragabhava in greater detail. In this kruthi Tyagaraja says "can I adequately describe the profound bliss the chanting of Rama Naama gives me? Who can quantify and qualify that bliss?" Earlier Mukund also presented Durmargachara and Manavyala and concluded with Thamburi Meetidava. Mukund's flute was melodious and lively, throughout.

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  • 09/27/15--06:32: Well-trained students
  • Well-trained students

    Five young dancers acquitted themselves creditably in a Bharathanatya recital for the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat, last week. They are all students of 'Samskruthi' and have been trained by Satyanarayana Raju, senior dancer.

    The dancers opened their programme with the Pushpanjali, a traditional concept, which helped create a proper mood. It was followed by a Shiva Panchakshara stotra. "Endaro Mahanubhavalu", the popular "Pancharatna Kruthi", was the major item, in which dancers sought to convey their grasp over the medium. Few episodes like Shabari Moksha, Seetha Kalyana from Ramayana were performed charmingly. Though "Entha muddo Entha sogaso" is a melodious composition, it had less scope for Abhinaya. They concluded with a composition of Bhadrachala Rama Das. The students - R Chaitra, Adithi Sadashiva, Prithvi Parthasarathi, Gowri Sagar and Nikhitha Manjunath performed with ease.

    Karthick Hebbar's vocal was added attraction of the programme, while Shakunthala Prabhath, Lingaraju and Karthick Sathavalli, supported on Natuvanga, mridanga and flute, respectively.

    Mandolin concert

    Rabindranath Tagore Nagar (RT Nagar) Cultural Association is catering to the cultural needs of RT Nagar and surrounding areas, from last 25 years. It conducts music, dance, bhajan programmes every month, punctually apart from annual music festival, competition and aradhana programmes. The silver jubilee music festival was held last week with instrumental music, Hindustani recital, sugam sangeeth and dance, apart from vocal.

    The musical instrument mandolin is attracting young aspirants very much, all over. One such person Prasanna Kumar Ballal gave a mandolin recital in this festival on Wednesday. He started off in style with a well-structured varna in the raga Todi.

    The invocatory piece on Ganesha was followed by few tuneful compositions like 'Bagaayanaiah' and 'Naada Sudharasa'. "Raghuvamsha" is common in any instrumental concert. But he chose Simhendra Madhyama for alapana, thana and pallavi. It was melodious, pleasant without being scholarly. With some more higher training and experience he can bring depth to his music.

    A band of experienced instrumentalists gave inspiring support to him - Mathur Srinidhi on violin, Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on mridanga, Narayana Murthy on ghata and B Bhagyalakshmi on morching.

    Kalakshetra style

    Prof M R Krishnamurthy, veteran artiste, is known in the field as a senior dancer, choreographer and teacher. He has trained a number of young aspirants in his institution 'Kalakshithi' during last 25 years. Two such students gave a dance recital (Aradhana) as a tribute to their Guru. Gagana Badrinath is a software engineer and has passed Vidwat examination in Bharathanatya. The other dancer Suchitra Diwakar is also a computer engineer and a post graduate in fine arts.

    The programme "Aradhana" not only gave a glimpse of Kalakshetra's choreographic thoroughness, but reassured that Rukmini Devi Arundale's student (Prof M R Krishnamurthy) is doing a good job in keeping alive its reputation. Gagana and Suchitra opened their Bharathanatya recital with a Pushpanjali (Naata raga), customarily. They offered salutation to Ardhanareeswara through a composition (Kumudakriya) of Dikshitar.

    Naturally the main item was a varna, in the typical Kalakshetra tradition. The popular "Chalame Jesevaiyya" in the Natakaranji raga was a treat. Kuvempu's famous verse "Beral ge koral' was the special item of the day, specially choreographed by Prof A Janardhanan, for the occasion. Moods and feeling of Radha and Krishna were brought beautifully through the Ashtapadi of Jayadeva and concluded with a thillana in the raga Dhanashree. Both performed neatly and they have good future in the years to come.

    No doubt Hariprasad's melodious vocal and unfailing musical flourishes were the high sport of the programme. Natuvanga by Rakesh, mridanga by Lingaraju, violin by Pradesh Achar and flute by Mahesh Swamy - all supported with good understanding.

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  • 10/04/15--06:24: Colourful Krishnanjali
  • Colourful Krishnanjali

    "Krishnanjali" - a tribute to Lord Krishna through dance was presented by the Gramsci Foundation, under the leadership of Anand Srivastava, a visual artiste and promoter of arts.

    Dancers from different parts of India - Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi apart from Bengaluru - presented dances in different styles. Bharathanatya, Mohiniyatta, Kuchipudi and Odissi - brought a variety and colour to the festival.

    Krishna is the most colourful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. From centuries Krishna's divinity has been expressed through music, dance, painting, folk and poetry by innumerable artistes. Some of them were brought on the dance stage now, successfully. Sweta Prachande, a disciple of Priyadarshini Govind, opened her Bharatanatya recital with a Mallari in the raga Gambheera Nata. To make little Krishna sleep, mother Yashoda narrates episodes from Ramayana, Krishna's favourite bedtime story. Here, the dancer used verses from "Krishna Karnamruta." Dramatising a few episodes like Seethapaharana, Maya Mriga, young Sweta with her charming Abhinaya performed impactfully "Kalinga Narthana" also.

    Saji Menon (Mumbai), student of Dr Kanak Rele, with the customary costume of Mohiniyata, chose Jayadeva's Astapadi. Radha urges the sakhi to bring Krishna in the astapadi "Sakhi He." In the next item, Lord Krishna redeems Kubja of the suffering and bondage of Kamsa and Saji's Abhinaya was also good.

    T Reddy Lakshmi, from Delhi (Kuchipudi), chose a devotional of Swati Tirunal in which Dyutha, Vastrapaharana, were enacted in the "Sanchari". In the Taranga naturally she danced on the brass plate with a variety of foot work. But the background vocal was poor and the sound of percussion was louder than vocal and the recording quality was also bad, robbing all her efforts.

    Again, Astapadi "Geeta Govinda" was the choice of Madhulita Mohapatra for her Odissi recital. Radha's search for her beloved on the banks of River Yamuna was enacted. In the next song, "Bajuchhi Sahi Bajare," Meghna Das also joined Madhulita. In the Oriya song, the sakhi tells that the love of Radha and Krishna has become the talk of the town and their love affair is being trumpeted in the streets. Both the dancers performed with ease and good expression.

    Ubhayker Sangeet Utsav

    Smriti Nandan daughter of (Late) Lalitha Ubhayker is conducting young musicians festival regularly for the last 28 years.

    Young vocalists and instrumentalists of Hindustani music, students of great Gurus, participate in the Devnandan Ubhayker Yuva Sangeet Utsav, every year. This year, flute, dhrupad and percussion ensemble, apart from vocal concerts, were held last week at the Canara Union Hall.

    Opening concert of the Utsav was a percussion ensemble - solo tabala by eight students - all below 16 years. They are all students of Pandith Samar Saha and was conducted by Bivas Sanghai and it is their first performance outside Kolkata. They performed with abandon and their career is worth watching.

    It was followed by a vocal concert by Swyamduti Majumdar of Bengal. She has been trained in the Kasur Patiala gharana and is a recipient of scholarship and is also a playback singer. In the current concert, the time-tested raga Purya Dhanashri received appealing airing. Starting slowly, she reached the thara stayee gradually, stage by stage. Touching the pivotal swaras gently, she tried her best to bring out "raga bhava".

    With her good voice, the next composition "Yadpiya Ki Aaye" was also delightful. It was pleasing though not outstanding and Swyamduti Majumdar can reach great heights with some more training and experience. Sumit Naik on tabala and Madhusoodan Bhat on harmonium - accompanied her.

    Devotional music

    One of well-known musician Dr Vidyabhushana gave an exclusive concert of Haridasa compositions, last week.

    It was part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of RT Nagar Cultural Association, held in collaboration with Sri Vinayaka Temple, RT Nagar. Dr Vidyabhushan presented devaranamas of different Haridasas and was accompanied by J K Sridhar on violin, B S Purushotham on mridanga and Prasanna Kumar on morching.

    The pada, "Kondadalallave" gave him a bright start. "Kanninolage Nodo Hariya" has a meaningful lyric and "Istudina Ea Vaikunta" is a popular devotional of Kanakadasa. He elaborated Mohana raga for "Pore Emma Swamy" neatly and presented with nerval (Maara Janaka Ninna) and swara prasthara. He sang a number of Ugabhogas which were well received. It was very apt and enhanced the impact of the Devaranamas. A large gathering enjoyed Vidyabhushana's music, which he sang melodiously and with good feeling.

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    A mixed fare at Bengaluru Festival

    The International Arts and Cultural Foundation of Sri Srivatsa Shandilya conducted a dance festival called "Bengaluru Festival" last week, with three dance recitals.

    Padmini Upadhya, is not a new person to Bengaluru audience. She was popular here as a child prodigy and was a pet student of Guru Narmada. After a gap of few years connoisseurs got an opportunity to witness her dance performance. In the meantime, she is continuing her training under Indira Kadambi also, and has performed in few organisations both in and outside India.

    Padmini opened her programme with a Pushpanjali (Arabhi) and moved to a Daru - the familiar "Maathe." She proved her good training and talent and her Abhinaya was also pleasant in the astapadi "Sakhi He." She concluded with a patriotic song "Shanthi Nilaya Vendum."

    From the wings, Padmini was well supported by Vasudha Balakrishna on vocal, Prasanna Kumar on natuvanga, S V Balakrishna on mridanga and Niteesh on flute.
    Deepa Shashidharan and Rekha Sateesh gave a Kuchipudi recital. Deepa is a disciple of Manju Bhargavi and Vempati Ravi Shankar and founder of Kuchipudi Parampara Foundation. Rekha is a student of Lakshmi Rajamani and now continuing under Vempati Ravi Shankar.

    A composition of Swati Tirunal, in the raga Saveri was the opening piece of the Deepa and Rekha's Kuchipudi recital. "Rukmini Pravesha Daru" was the choice of Deepa, selected from the dance drama "Rukmini Kalyana." Annamacharya's "Vande Vasudevam" was the choice of Rekha, in the raga Sree. Both performed the taranga (Narayana Teertha's Krishna Leela) with different types of steps - foot work and concluded with a piece on the national integration. They performed with practiced ease and was proof of their experience.

    Last programme of the evening was again a Bharathanatya recital by Dr Raksha Karthik. Raksha is a student of Nritya Kalamandalam and a dental surgeon by profession. She commenced her programme with the "Purvaranga Vidhi" customarily. Popular devaranama of Purandara Dasa "Jagadoddarana," selected usually as a Abhinaya piece, was taken as the main item.

    Raksha brought her potential in the right perspective in the "Natanam Aadina" also.

    Nitya Nritya

    Connoisseurs of Bengaluru eagerly look forward for the "Nitya Nritya" Dance Festival, every year. This year's programme included lecture and demonstrations apart from dance recitals and special theme of this year's conference was Asta Dikpalakas.

    Students of Bharathanjali presented "Ramacharita Geetham" based on the compositions of Papanasam Shivam. Familiar episodes from Ramayana like Seetha Swayamvara, Shurpanakhi, Maya Mriga and concluding with the Pattabhisheka - were lively and performed with conviction, all the attractive aspects of the art getting the due emphasis.

    With some editing the dance drama can be compact and much more impactful. Few parts like Kaike were slightly overly dramatising but few other scenes like crossing the sea on bridge - were attractive and proof of the choreography skill of Anita Guha. Every charana ending with chitteswara added to the punch and sparkle of the

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  • 10/18/15--07:17: World Music Festival
  • World Music Festival

    The Karnataka College of Percussion (KCP) conducted the World Music Festival with musicians from Australia, Japan, Germany, Hungary and Switzerland, apart from India. There were recitals of both well known and rare instruments, which attracted a large gathering.

    Do your remember Tunji Beier? Tunji studied in Bengaluru (Carnatic music) mridanga under T A S Mani and also passed the Vidwat examination. Beier performed many a times with KCP and "Tala Tarangini". Adrian studied many other drumming traditions from West and East and has toured extensively. He was awarded masters degree and has performed with Karaikudi Mani and now employed as a lecturer at Melbourne Polytechnic. Adrian has specialized in the Bass Trombone. Together they (Tunji Beier and Adrian Sheriff) have formed a music ensemble named Prrim (means "well spring)."

    Satsuki, from Japan is a resident of Australia now and a specialist in Koto. Satsuki has performed with several ensembles. Koto is a stringed instrument in Japanese Classical music, from 7th century, itself.

    The festival opened with the troupe Prrim, which consisted of percussion (Tunji Beier), Koto (Satsuki Odamura) and Bass Trambone and Shakuhachi (Adrian Sheriff). The composition "Charukesi" was based on a Tyagaraja's keerthana played on violin by Lalgudi Jayaraman, which was set to the fifth mode of the melodic minor scale, developed in three different tempos.

    The "Autumn Rain" was composed in the traditional hirajoshi Koto tuning in a traditional Japanese style. The wuru wuru (means 'Bird of flight' in Dani of West Papua) was resembling Kharaharapriya and Sri of Carnatic music. The alap from the bass Trombone was followed by the improvisations by the bass Koto, the Persian zarb and bass Trombone. "Song of the Water boy" can be related to raga Harikambodhi, which also featured morching, khanjari and bass Koto. The "Prrim" was pleasant and very interesting and received well.

    The "Trimukhi" troupe was led by internationally acclaimed musician R A Ramamani (vocal) with Mike Herting from Germany on key board, Dr Prakash Sontakke on slide guitar, Karthik Mani on drums and Adarsh Shenoy on tabla. They opened the programme with "Jayam" which was based on the raga Kamach.

    It began with konakol, followed by the solos on the key board and slide guitar. The second composition "Arun" was based on Nagaswaravali raga; Alap on keyboard was followed by an interactive session between the vocals and keyboard. A drift from Madhyamavati to Hamsadhwani by shifting the tonic note in vocal was exciting. Both Carnatic and Hindustani forms of Kalyani raga were exhibited in the "Dance of Kalyani." Percussion skill of both Karthik Mani and Adarsh Shenoy came to fore in the next composition.

    In the composition "Varshini" based on the raga Amruthavarshini, Ramamani's thaana, in three speeds and in all the three octaves, caught the attention of the connoisseurs. Also the Konakol - especially the question and answer session between Kartheek and Shenoy, was enthralling. The three-day "World Music Festival" organized in connection with the Golden Jubilee of the Karnataka College of Percussion was a feast for connoisseurs.

    Vocal ensemble

    The "Navarathnamalika " - nine gems of Purandaradasa are sung by musicians every year during the "Punya Dina" of "Sangeetha Pithamaha." The Sangeetha Sambhrama Trust organised it in a unique way, last week. Nearly 1,500 musicians and music students sang together Navaratna Malika.

    It was directed by Vidushi P Rama and concept by Srinivas G Kappanna. The ensemble opened with Pillari Geethe "Lambodara Lakumikara" customarily. Jaya Janakee Kantha (in Naata raga), Aadidano Ranga (Aarabhi), Kallu Sakkare Kolliro (Kalyani), Odi Baraiah (Bhairavi), Sakala Grahabala (Athana), Pogadiralo Ranga (Shankarabharana), Na Ninna (Kaanada), Krishna Mooruthi (Kambodhi), Bandanene (Sri) and concluded with Indina Dinave - in Surati. Instrumental support was provided through Karaoke music. It was a unique experience to hear so many voices together.

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  • 11/01/15--05:19: Conference concerts
  • Conference concerts

    The 47th Music Conference of the Bangalore Gayana Samaja held last week, was dedicated to Bharatharathna M S Subbulakshmi, on the occasion of her birth centenary.
    Senior vocalist in the State M S Sheela, who presided over the conference, received the title - "Sangeetha Kalarathna" - in the Vidwat Sadas, while H S Venugopal (flute), M G Gopalakrishna (mridanga), Anuradha Madhusudhan (veena) and Himamshu (organiser) - were conferred with the title, "Sri Kalajyothi."

    M S Sheela, a leading star of the Karnatic musical firmament, cast a spell on a large audience on the inaugural day of the conference. Sheela's vocal recital opened with a majestic varna of Mysore Sadashiva Rao. Dropping the off-repeated invocatory pieces, she chose "Lambodaramavalambe" for a welcome change.

    It was further developed with nerval (Surabhusura Samsevitha) and swara delightfully. It was followed by two small compositions, "Pattividuva Radu" of saint Tyagaraja and "Sharadeye Karuna Varidiye" of Vijaya Dasaru. Her alapana, nerval (Savana Rakshaka Nityotsava) and swara for "Evarura Ninnuvina" brought out the grandeur of the raga Mohana, successfully.

    She crowned her concert with a well-knit pallavi set to Khanda Triputa thala in the raga Kharaharapriya. The melodious voice and lively presentation of Sheela struck a responsive chord among the audience. Charulatha Ramanujan on the violin responded with equal fervor and Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma on the mridanga capped it all with his wonderful strokeplay along with G Guruprasanna on khanjari.

    Vocal duet

    Kavitha Saralaya and Triveni Venkataram, popularly known as "Saralaya Sisters" - gave a vocal duet on Thursday, in the music conference. They were well supported by Nalina Mohan on violin, H S Sudhindra on mridanga and S N Narayana Murthy on ghata.

    Saralaya sisters established their credentials as class singers in the pallavi set to Tisra Roopaka thala in Khanda Nade. Raga Shanmukhapriya received detailed airing which revealed their musical potential and involvement.

    Earlier, "Sarasaksha Paripalaya" with nerval and Swara Prasthara caught the attention of the listeners.

    "Bhavayami" is an evergreen composition and they tried their best to bring out the stateliness of the raga and the kruthi "Sri Krishnam Bhaja."

    In between, they also sang - Bhogeendra Shayinam, Sharanum Bhava, neatly. Though their voice was not at its best on that day, they sang with professional self-confidence and no doubt, they are capable of singing with a better impact.

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  • 11/08/15--05:42: Music festival
  • Music festival

    The Suswaralaya College of Music organised it's annual music festival in association with Sri Rama Lalithakala Mandira with an array of Veena concerts, percussion ensemble and lecture demonstrations, apart from vocal recitals. On the occasion, senior veena player T Sharada was conferred the "Swaralaya Shrunga" title.

    T S Pattabhirama Pandit, who gave a vocal recital here on Saturday, is a talented musician, who has received the prestigious Bismillah Khan Award from the Sangeet Natak Akademy. Pattabhirama presented a number of kruties in well known ragas. The highlight of his recital was the majestic raga Kambodhi which had a detailed airing. In the composition, "Sri Subrahmanyaya" Dikshitar says "- I salute again and again Lord Subrahmanya …. who bestows both material prosperity and salvation". After an elaborate nerval, he started the swaraprasthara in "vilamba" and gradually moved to "Drutha Kala". The swara with different permutations and combinations was quiet interesting. Earlier, Pantuvarali was quiet pleasing for "Sarasaksha". He concluded with an infrequent thillana of Ariyakudi in the raga Kaanada. MA Sundareshan on violin and V Praveen on mridanga responded adequately to the musical ideas and improvisation of the vocalist.

    Kannada compositions

    Curtains came down on the 47th music conference here on Sunday at the Bangalore Gayana Samaja with R K Padmanabha's mesmerising vocal recital. CN Chandrasekhar on violin faithfully followed and the percussion duo - Cheluvaraj and Sukanya Ramgopal - were their competent self.

    Since it was Rajyotsava day, he chose only Kannada compositions, which suited the occasion very well. He opened his concert with a self-composed varna and moved to a devaranama "Madhukara Vruthy Nannadu". Jyothiswarupini, the 68th mela raga was selected for the rare devaranama "Naivedya Kollo Narayana". The next performance was a meaningful pada with a satirical tone "Ellanu Balle Embuviralla". The alapana, thana and pallavi was in Kannada raga with a self-composed Kannada thala. Kannada raga belongs to Dhirasankarabharana varga, which is a "Ubhaya Vakra" raga. Tyagaraja, Dikshitar, Patnam Subramanya Iyer and Papanasam Sivan's compositions in Kannada raga are quiet popular. No doubt it was a brilliant exponent of the raga and delightful exposition of grand Pallavi. With his vigour, involvement and enjoyment, he also sang "Saarideno Ninna Venkataramana" (RKP) with nerval and "Daasarendare Purandara Dasaraiah", "Rangana Thoriso", "Aadisidalu Yashode".

    Melodious vocals

    Young vocalist Sikkil Gurucharan gave a vocal concert here on Friday at the Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat.

    Gurucharan was successful in bringing a fine musical atmosphere from the opening Natakuranji varna itself. "Appa Ramabhakti" of saint Tyagaraja, with brief nerval (Kapi Varidhi Datuna) and swara, was pleasing. "Rama Ninne Namminanu" - is an old favourite and he chose the raga Gangeyabhushini, with lilting phrases for the devaranama "Sulabhapujeya madi". He then went on to raga Niroshtaka for Muthaiah Bhagavathar's composition "Raja Raje Rajithe". The lingering effect of his music was found in the Kaanada raga and the Keerthane "Sakhi Evvaro".

    Sikkil Gurucharan highlighted the lyrical and musical beauty of each composition, which connoisseurs enjoyed throughout. While Nalina Mohan on violin supported with good understanding percussionists HS Sudhindra and Sukanya Ramgopal adorned the concert with sensitive stroke play.

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  • 11/15/15--05:17: Nada Surabhi
  • Nada Surabhi

    Nada Surabhi, one of the well known Sangeeth Sabhas of Bengaluru, caters to the cultural needs of the Koramangala extension by conducting monthly music concerts, youth festivals, Aradhana and Karnataka Vaibhava apart from an annual music festival. The Sabha also felicitates a senior musician and confers the title 'Sangeetha Surabhi'. During the 22nd Annual Music Festival held last week, veteran musician Neela Ramgopal was honoured with the title and the book 'Neela Ramgopal - A musical journey', authored by Harini Raghavan, was also released on the occasion.

    Ranjani and Gayathri, who gave a vocal duet here on Saturday, are popular vocalists and a large number of connoisseurs participated.

    Vachaspati is known as one of the most popular prathi madhyama ragas of the post-Trinity period. Tyagaraja's 'Kantajudami' and Veena Seshanna's 'Yemani Delupudura'- are well known compositions in this raga. Ranjani and Gayathri chose Vachaspati and it received an appealing airing. They painted a beautiful picture of the raga and the 'Grahabheda' was yet another instance of their mastery over the medium. The crowning glory of the concert was a soulful raga, thana and pallavi in Dwijavanti.

    Sparkling ragamalika swara - was an added attraction. The sisters' music appealed greatly to the audience, who stayed till the end. H S Smitha on violin, Delhi Sriram on mridanga and Omkar G Rao on ghata - rose to the occasion.

    Expectations belied

    Vocal, veena, flute and solo violin concerts brought variety and colour to the 'Ananya Deepotsava' musical festival.

    B R Sridhar, who gave the inaugural concert, hails from a known family of musicians in Mysuru. He is the son of Belakavadi Rangaswamy Iyengar and disciple of V S Rajagopal and Venkatesh Thevar and worked at Akashavani (in mridanga). Connoisseurs relished the opportunity to listen to the senior percussionist's vocal concert on Friday. He was well supported by B K Raghu on violin, A Renuka Prasad on mridanga and Sukanya Ramgopal on ghata, who kept the proceedings on a lively note.

    Few attractive raga and compositions constituted an impressive choice of his musical equipment. For instance Vasantabhairavi, an appealing 'rakti raga'. With nerval and swara, he tried to elaborate 'Nee Daya rada' of saint Tyagaraja. In Kalyani he chose a pallavi in Adi Thala. He also sang compositions like 'Mokshamugalada' and 'Amba Vanni'. It is not a melodious voice, but his modulation and the relish with which he intonates the numbers make for a pleasant listening. A little more attention to 'Sruti' - especially in the 'Thara sthayi' - could be of help.

    Music festival

    The Academy of Music conducted the annual 'K K Murthy Memorial Music Festival' at its own Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, last week. The Chowdiah Award was conferred on Vidushi Sudha Raghunathan.

    The award presentation function was followed by a vocal concert of Sudha Raghunathan, a Padmabhushan awardee and a sought after musician. Her chiselled style surfaced in the very first number 'Ninukori' - a familiar varna. The invocatory song was 'Vandisuvudu Aadiyali Gannanathana' with brief swara. Meaningful 'Mokshamugalada' is an ever popular composition of saint Tyagaraja. 'Aparadhamula' was rendered with brief nerval and swara.

    The 'Koluvamaregada' is a special composition of saint Tyagaraja. It had a special place in the Mysore Prantya, as most of the Asthan Vidwans of Mysore Palace chose it as a major item of their concerts. In the keertana, Tyagaraja says - "What a grand royal seat. 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." She presented the composition with alapana (Thodi), nerval and swara, as usual. Though her voice was not at its best, the kruthi was moulded into an essay of aesthetic finesse. Her feel for the lyrics in devotionals (devaranama, abhang) added lilt to her singing.

    B V Raghavendra Rao on violin, Palladam Ravi on mridanga and R Raman on morsing - fulfilled the needs of the occasion.

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  • 11/29/15--06:44: Tributes to a Vainika
  • Tributes to a Vainika

    L Raja Rao (1909-1979) was not only a veteran Veena player, but also a teacher, composer and author. In his memory an award has been instituted and this year's award was conferred on Rajalakshmi Tirunarayanan, veteran Veena player of "Mysore Baani".

    After the award function there was a instrumental trio accompanied by B C Manjunath on mridanga and Narayana Murthy on Ghata.

    Suma Sudhindra, Nalina Mohan and L V Mukund - on Veena, violin and flute respectively, regaled the audience. 'Chalame' the familiar varna set the pace for the evening. They played safe with familiar krithi and ragas. For instance, "vathapi", the all too common composition, was their choice as the invocatory piece. "Bhajare" was elaborated with brief alapana and thana in different ragas and they reveled in the swara prasthara.

    Flights of fantasy

    Both Carnatic and Hindustani and vocal and instrumental music regaled the connoisseurs in "The Flights of Fantasy" festival held under the aegis of the Ganjam Jewellers.

    Sanjay Subramanian, who gave the final concert of the festival has been designated with the coveted title "Sangeetha Kalanidhi" as he has been selected as the conference President of the Music Academy, Chennai, this year. His opening "Sharanagatha Vatsala", a infrequent varna, straightaway made a mark with his accomplishments. The "Karikala Bhava" was also a welcome change from the routine invocatory pieces. "Chalamelara" brought nostalgic memories and again a less known devaranama "Kande Kande Swamiya". "Marivere Dikkevaraiah" with nerval and swara - rendered with lively phrases, to leave a pleasing impact.

    His sparkling presentation added luster even to familiar ragas and satisfied the demands of discriminating listener. Kharaharapriya had an arresting quality, brisk, grace and tempered modulation enriching the delineation, succeeded in highlighting its emotional overtones, and a blissful feeling swept the listeners. The accompanists Varadarajan on violin, Neyveli Venkatesh on mridanga and P L Sudhir on ghata - rose to great heights in their supporting roles.

    Buddhaditya Mukherjee, the well-known Sitar player, is not a new person to Bengaluru music lovers. Purya Kalyan gave him a bright start. He painted it on a wide canvas in both vilambit and drut. Without overdoing anything he presented Tilak Kamod also with simple but good sangathies. His style (school) Imdadkhani Gharana surfaced throughout the concert. Shaumen Nandi gave a spirited support on the tabla.

    Kartheeka festival

    Nadajyothi Sri Thyagarajaswamy Bhajana Sabha conducted the annual Kartheeka Sangeetha Shubha Sandhya with veena, harmonium and sugama sangeeth apart from classical vocal recitals.

    Veena Kinhal, a native of Bengaluru, now residing in the US, gave a veena recital. Being the daughter of L Raja Rao, she belongs to a great lineage of veena players and has won several prizes in her young age. She received "Sadas Sanman" from the Karnataka Ganakala Parishat very recently.

    In the current veena concert, after opening with a varna, customarily, saluted to Ganapathi, through a Gowla raga keerthana and moved to the "Manasa Etulo" another evocative composition. Though the instrument (Veena) and the sound system was troubling frequently, Veena played with ease and confidence. Her alap for Abheri was noted for its verve and the thaana in different ragas was refreshing.

    'Nagumomu', the well known composition was rendered with brief swara. Without any gimmicks and over elaboration, it was classical and soulful. After the 'Thani' (Mridanga - B C Manjunath and Ghata (B R Ravi Kumar) she also presented few Kannada (Jagadoddarana) and Tamil (Rajaji) devotionals and concluded with a thillana of Veena Seshanna.

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  • 12/06/15--07:03: Anniversary of Sursagar
  • Anniversary of Sursagar

    Sursagar celebrated its 34th anniversary with two grand music recitals, last Sunday.
    First, Neeladri Kumar, young sitarist and "Prasishya" of Pandith Ravi Shankar regaled the packed audience. Rag Sree blossomed with attractive sangathies. Connoisseurs enjoyed each bit embodied with evocative phrases. The drut gat in a faster tempo in Misra Kaafi, electrified the audience. Yogeesh Shamshi's tabala was supportive throughout.

    Insipid performance

    The Bengaluru Sangeeta Utsav - Season - 4" was organised by the Raj Events, supported by S V N Music Academy.

    In the three-day event it had scheduled, vocal (classical, light and jugalbandi), instrumental (violin and dance solo, Nagaswara, Harmonium, trio) music by both celebrities and young artists. But undeterred by the absence of few artistes (due to calamity in Tamil Nadu) and poor attendance, the organisers conducted the festival with a good determination.

    Manjula Amaresh, who gave a dance recital on Saturday, has been trained by many stalwarts like Shyamala Muralikrishna, Revathi Narasimhan, B Bhanumathi, V P Dhananjayan, Shantha and Kalanidhi Narayanan. She is a postgraduate in Bharathanatya and has also passed the proficiency examination.

    Manjula has performed in places like Chennai, Bengaluru, USA, Hong Kong and Middle East.

    She is the director of "Bharathaanunada" and has also choreographed a few dance-dramas like Pancharatantra.

    In the current programme, Manjula Amaresh had chosen the popular story of Akkamahadevi based on the well-known vachanas of the Saint like Akka Kelavva, Hasivadode, Bettada Melondu Maneya Maadi, Chilipili Endu, etc.

    Manjula performed with ease and assurance and her abhinaya with expressive eyes is also fairly good. Vocal by Balasubramanya Sharma was complementary to the theme and dance. But the dance drama failed to come fully evocative and with some more effort may become better impactful.

    Captivating vocal

    Chowdiah Memorial Hall was reverberating with overflowing connoisseurs, when Kaushiki Chakraborthy started her vocal recital.

    She captured the audience from the very first raga. In the Rag Bihag with two madhyams, she brought out the 'ragabhava' impactfully. Drut and 'sargams' - further enhanced the good feeling and jumping from shadja to thara shadja precisely in a electrifying speed was also amazing.

    Her Kalyani and Charukeshi reminded that she has also learnt Karnatic music (a student of none other than Dr M Balamurali Krishna)! Gamakas, Graha Bheda (Murchana) and Sargam - all were exceptionally appealing. Yogesh Shamshi also received applause for his enlivening support on tabala.

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  • 12/13/15--05:40: Margali Utsava
  • Margali Utsava

    December month is "Margali Sangeetotsava" all over South India!
    One such venue is "Sri Ramanuja Kalakshetra" of Yadugiri Yathiraja Mutt in Bengaluru. The Mutt has organised music, dance and discourses under the direction of H H Sri Yathiraja Jeeyar swami during this month.

    Dr T S Satyavathi, who gave a vocal concert here on Tuesday, is known in the field not only as a senior vocalist, but also as a scholar, teacher and author. The majestic varna "Vanajaksha" gave a bright start to Satyavathi's current programme.

    Then she chose a fine composition in the raga Darbaru, in which Saint Tyagaraja says - "Rama! Darling of my heart! The one with a beautiful name of leonine valour! Having the eyes like red lotus! Wandering in quest of you I have become worn out and emaciated." Her swaraprasthara to the keerthana was brief, but was absorbing.

    Another familiar composition of yesteryears "Varamulosagi" with raga, nerval (Parama Dayakara Suguna) and chaste swara were as reposeful. After the "Devadi Deva" a meaningful devaranama of Kanakadasa "Thoredu Jeevisabahude" - was welcomed by the audience with pleasure.

    She chose a gem from the treasure chest of Swati Tirunal. Thus, "Gangeya Vasanadhara Padmanabha" in Hamir Kalyani was delineated with as much aplomb. The last two devotionals - "Kaagada Bandide" and "Palise Enna Sri Mahalakshmi" - were also rendered with good feeling. Satyavathi's concert was refined and revealed depth and maturity. Nalina Mohan and C Cheluvaraj gave good support on violin and mridanga, respectively.

    Nritya Neerajana

    Seven dance recitals (Bharathanatya and Mohiniatta) were held in this years Ananya Nritya Neerajana, held last week at the Seva Sadana, Malleswaram. Guru Nandini Eswar and Vidushi Pusthakam Rama received the "Ananya Puraskara" in the valedictory function.

    Four students of Mudrika Foundation, under the direction of Minal Prabhu, presented three items in Bharathanatya. Opening with a Pushpanjali customarily, weaving the performance through a Shiva Stuthi in Ragamalika and ending with a Kalinga Narthana of Uthakadu Venkatasubba Iyer. It was the result of good training and showed promise.

    Students of Raasa Vrinda, Mysuru, commenced with a "Ganesha Vandane" followed by a unusual composition of Guru Karaikudi Mani - "Guru Sharanam." Varna "Sri Krishna Kamalanatho" was seen in a different perspective in the interpretation of Guru Nandini Eashwar. Nritta and Nrithya showed a more convincing application in young dancers Supreetha Aithal, Chinmayee Bharadwaj, Meghasri Gowda, Kousalya Chandra, Rohit Easwar, Alaka Deshpande and Nityasri Setty.

    Dancers changing the roles in quick succession performed Krishna Janana, crossing the river, Puthani and Shakatasura Samhara - with ease and confidence.

    Ramanama Sankeerthane and Sri Durga Pancharathna - were the last two devotionals they chose. It was well choreographed and directed by veteran artiste Nandini Easwar.

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  • 12/20/15--05:39: Sparkling puppet show
  • Sparkling puppet show

    The Bangalore Lalithakala Parishat had organised a puppet show at the H N Kalakshetra on Friday by the Dhaatu Puppet Theater. The puppetry is a unique art and is quiet popular not only in India but also in many countries like Bulgaria, China, Turkey, Egypt, France, Russia etc.

    Dhaatu Puppet Theater, founded by Vidyashankar Hosakere and Anupama Hosakere, is specialised in the art form of doll keeping and puppetry to tell stories from Indian epics. Dhaatu has performed on many prestigious platforms in both India and abroad and organises puppet festival every year, in a grand manner. It has successfully revived the Eachanur style of string puppetry and has so far produced several stories like Bhakta Prahlada, Harishchandra, Vijayanagara Vaibhava, Mooshika Katha, Leelavati (of Bhaskaracharya), Choodala, Nala Damayanthi, Shurpanakha Prasanga etc.

    For the current show, Dhaatu had selected Astavakra, an interesting story from the 'Aranya Parva' of Mahabharatha, set in Upanishadic times. Due to the curse of his father (Kahola) Ashtavakra formed as bent in eight places from birth itself. Father Kahola loses a scholastic debate in the Maharaja's court (with Vidwan Vandi) and is drowned in the waters. But Ashtavakra grows up to be a supreme intellect at the age of 10 itself and defeats Vandi. He brings back his father and also Astavakra emerges as cured of the curse.

    The story was well narrated with the help of a Suthradhara (another puppet) with crisp screenplay. Appropriate costumes and jewellery and good lighting (Honnalingaiah) made the puppets glitter and music and dialogue also contributed to the success of the show. Director Anupama Hosakere along with puppeteers Mythily Shikarpur, Malini Chadaga, Sindhu Govindraj worked hard to make the puppet show an impactful one.

    Many faces of Krishna

    Mrudula Bhaskar, who gave a Bharathanatya recital (Sri Ramanuja Kalakshetra, Malleswaram) last week, is known both as a dancer and an actress. After learning with few well known teachers, she is now continuing her studies under A Lakshmanaswamy, Chennai, and has performed in several places.
    Varna is a test piece for a dancer's attainments as also endurance. Mrudula chose the popular Charukeshi varna of Lalgudi Jayaraman "Innum" as the main item of the evening. Her face brightened up as she unfolded the many faceted personality of Krishna. With a lithesome figure and charming face, she performed a devaranama, (Kadagola Tharenna - raga Yaman Kalyani), and a thillana (Balamurali Krishna - Brindavani raga). With ease and assurance she concluded with a Pashuram in ragamalika. Mrudula Bhaskar was supported from wings by Preethi Bharadwaj (Natuvanga), Jayanthi Raghavan (vocal), Lingaraju (mridanga) and Niteesh Ammannaiah (flute).

    Good choreography

    Padmabhushan Saroja Vaidyanathan is a veteran dancer, guru, choreographer and author of few books. Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai is conferring the title "Acharya Choodamani" on her, at the end of this month. On this occasion, 'Swastika School' felicitated her on Thursday. Three students of Saroja Vaidyanathan gave a Bharathanatya recital as a tribute to their Guru. Among them Anuradha Venkatram is a senior artiste known not only as a dancer but also as a teacher and choreographer. She opened her programme with a composition on Rama and Vaidehi. Of course, the piece de resistance of her recital was a Thodi varna of Swathi Tirunal in which she revealed that she has the potential to carry on the rich tradition. Her performance and choreography were neat and crisp.

    The other two young dancers - Amrith Sinha and Kassiyet (Kazakhstan) presented a Swathi Tirunal composition "Shankara Srigiri" in Hamsanandi and a small thillana of Saroja Vaidyanathan. Their Abhinaya was falling short in enlivening. With some more higher training and stage experience they can reach great heights. Prema Sridhar, Deepthi Srinath, Nagaraj and Vivekrishna supported on natuvanga, vocal, mridanga and flute, respectively.

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  • 12/27/15--05:27: Saamrajya Pattabhisheka
  • Saamrajya Pattabhisheka

    Sri Sadguru Seva Trust has organised Sri Rama Saamrajya Maha Pattabhisheka on a grand scale with cultural programmes - including music, dance, gamaka, drama, discourse - and religious rituals. The event will continue till January 7, 2016.

    Pandit Venkatesh Kumar, who gave a music programme here, is a popular Hindustani vocalist and a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademy Award. A sizable audience heard his music on Wednesday with rapt attention and respect. The detailed development of Puriyakalyan was systematic and a treat to the ears. His approached the raga methodically with an aesthetic touch.

    Shankara was slightly brief but rendered with great impact. Venkatesh Kumar is also known for his renditions of devotional songs. 'Ra emba', 'Thoredu Jeevisabahude' of Kanakadasa, 'Pranathi ide' and a Meera bhajan were sung with good feeling. It was a soul stirring concert. Viswanath Nakod and Dr Ravindra Katoti gave competent support on thabala and harmonium respectively.

    Spectacular show

    On the completion of 20 years of service, the Abhinava Dance Company organized a two-day dance programme at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. Rajendra and Nirupama not only performed with 150 students (and 100 technicians and back stage workers), but also directed Abhijna, showcasing their productions performed in the last two decades.

    The Naadageethe 'Jaya Bharatha Jananiya' gave a rollicking start. In 'Samagama', Rajendra and Nirupama gave a Kathak and Bharathanatya recital. The blossoming of lotus in 'Padmashali', movement of bees in 'Shakuntala', that of animals in 'Panchavati' and the valour of Abhimanyu were all highlighted with melodious movements. LED screens, dazzling light and sound brought cinematic effect for a popular appeal, though it was a bit too loud at times. But colourful costumes, beautiful background and graceful performances by a large number of young dancers made a lasting impact.

    It was narrated through conversation between Bharatha Muni and Abhinava Guptha. It was a pleasant surprise to see senior scholar Shathavadhani Dr R Ganesh as Bharatha and music director Praveen D Rao as Abhinava Guptha. Music, both vocal and instrumental (Praveen D Rao, Dr Mysore Manjunath, Praveen Ghodkindi, Faiyaz Khan and few others), also contributed to the success of the show. The spectacular and colourful show was an exhilarating experience.

    Promising prodigy

    Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and the Infosys Foundation in association with MES Kalavedi and Ananya presented veena and vocal concerts under the 'Outreach Cultural Programme' series.

    Fourteen-year-old Ramana Balachandran is a child prodigy. He is not only a Vainika, but also a vocalist and a mridangist too. After initial lessons from his mother he continued his veena lessons from his father Balachandran and has performed nearly 100 veena concerts across South India and in the Rashtrpathy Bhavan in New Delhi. He has won many prizes including the Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Shanmukhananda Fine Arts, Mumbai, Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai, and CCRT scholarship.

    Ramana caught the attention of connoisseurs right from 'Sachidananda', an infrequent varna in the raga Bhegade. It was followed by a keerthana in Dharmavathi. But the piece de resistance was the well known composition of Saint Tyagaraja 'Ea Vasudha Neevanti'. Earlier Shahana alapana blossomed with good 'ragabhava' sans gimmicks. Thana was brief but brisk and sparkling. He concluded his fine concert with the famous thillana in jinjoti.

    No doubt, Ramana Balachandran has a bright future in the years to come. He was well supported on the mridanga by C Cheluvaraj and on ghata by N Gurumurthy.

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