Saturday, September 26, 2015

Article in Tamizh Magazine Kalki - Dated 4th October 2015

It is indeed a great honor to have been featured in one of the (75th year Special) issues
of a prestigious Tamizh magazine like Kalki and share my experiences about the magazine.

Please find the article attached.
Hope you enjoy reading it :-)

Compositions of Sri.Papanasam Sivan - Seminar - 26/9/15

The 125th Jayanthi Celebrations of Padma Bhushan Brahmasri.Papanasam Sivan started this morning with a seminar on his compositions.

Venue : Narada Gana Sabha (Mini Hall)
Time : 9.30 a.m to 12 noon

Chairperson of the proceedings was Dr.Va.Ve.Su. Speakers were Sri.A.R.Srinivasan (ARS), Sri.J.Subramanian, Dr.Radha Bhaskar and myself.

I had taken up the topic "Sanskrit Compositions of Sri.Papanasam Sivan".

The proceedings began with an apt introduction by Dr.Va.Ve.Su.

I took up Sanskrit Compositions and spoke about the literary excellence and the various facets that one comes across in his Sanskrit compositions, giving examples from various songs.

Sri. ARS spoke on "Films and Sivan". He gave a lot of anecdotes and kept the audience fully engaged throughout his talk.

Dr.Radha Bhaskar spoke on the Musical Excellence in Sri. Sivan's compositions. She gave an excellent insight into the topic, talking about various musical aspects seen in his songs.

Sri.J.Subramanian highlighted upon "Bhakthi aspects" in Sri.Sivan's compositions. He gave a lot of examples on the different kinds of Bhakti that are seen in Sri.Sivan's songs.

The entire event was neatly summed up by Dr.Va.Ve.Su in the end.

Our sincere thanks to Dr.Rukmini Ramani for having organized this event today on such a special occasion.

As an artist, it indeed feels very special to have been part of the 125th Jayanthi Celebrations of this great Vaggeyakara.

A special thanks to Sri. Tiruppur Krishnan and musician Smt.Gayathri Venkataraghavan who attended the seminar today..

It was a morning well-spent...

(Photo Courtesy : Mr. Srihari )

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ideas Unfolding.....

Unfolding Bud

One is amazed
By a water-lily bud
With each passing day,
Taking on a richer color
And new dimensions.

One is not amazed,
At first glance,
By a poem,
Which is tight-closed
As a tiny bud.

Yet one is surprised
To see the poem
Gradually unfolding,
Revealing its rich inner self
As one reads it
Again and over again.

- By Naoshi Koriyama

"Unfolding Bud" by Naoshi Koriyama is a beautiful poem, which though looks simple, has a lot of in-depth meaning.

I was teaching my son this poem yesterday and the verses set me thinking.....And here I am, expressing my thoughts on it...

The transformation of a water-lily bud into a magnificent, beautiful flower is a gradual process and a process through which, the blooming flower gains more vibrant colors and newer dimensions as it grows, with each passing day.

Here the poet compares the unfolding of the bud with one's understanding of a poem. Just as a tiny bud remains tightly closed, when one reads a poem for the first time, it sounds dull and uninteresting. But with each passing day, through repeated reading of the poem, the inner beauty of the poem unravels itself beautifully and expresses itself beautifully one fine day...

Well, I now proceed to extend this analogy to classical music too...

I think it holds good for both a performer and a listener. When one sings/listens to a particular composition or a raga for the first time, the true meaning might not reveal itself fully. For a performer, continuous practice of the same phrases or the same song adds a lot of color, meaning and dimensions to it. This is how the beautiful process of internalization happens. As a listener, repeated listening never results in boredom. On the contrary, each time one listens to the same music, a fresh dimension, a fresh meaning, a fresh interpretation opens up in one's mind. This is when we realize that each one of us is endowed with a unique degree of creativity ! And this makes us realize how blessed each one of us is !  

While constant innovation of some kind is necessary, every artist believes in this concept of "repeated renderings" of a particular raga or composition. We try and make it "our own" and the more we sing the same kriti in, say, raga Kalyani or Bhairavi, the more bhava or "feeling" we are able to portray through the music. New dimensions of the raga unfold each time and the experience is total bliss.   

“Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.”
― Brian L. Weiss, Muchas Vidas, Muchos Maestros

Another important virtue that one needs, in order to be able to appreciate and understand the "unfolding of a bud" or "unfolding of a piece of music" is patience. The things in Nature and our own spiritual nature are so beautifully linked...And once we start understanding and appreciating this vital link, life becomes more beautiful and creativity becomes unlimited..

So, let's all start looking at things around us with more care, with more awareness and let us try and achieve that inner peace through the virtue of patience and awakening of the mind..


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Guru Sri.Vaigal.S.Gnanaskandan - A Tribute

(Vaigal.S.Gnanaskandan : 
4th May 1934 - 3rd May 2015)                                               

It is never easy to decipher precisely as to what one feels for one's first formal Guru. There is reverence, helplessness and most importantly, a void that seems like it could never really get filled. Just a sum of what I am going through now, with the passing away of Sri.Vaigal.S.Gnanaskandan, a selfless human being and a teacher, who, in his quiet unassuming manner taught me a whole lot of valuable lessons - that have stood me in good stead through my musical journey thus far, as well as in life..

A trip down memory lane....

We were living inside the IIT Campus when I, as a little school-going girl, started my formal music lessons with Sir. My mother also learnt from him during this period and there are no words to describe this golden period during my musical learning. He was Producer at All India Radio Madras and he had dedicated his entire life to teaching. His disciples were everything to him. After each class for me, he used to teach my mother and this way, I indirectly learned all those songs that my mother learnt from him.

I started performing in 1986 and there has been no looking back since then. He immensely encouraged me and helped me meticulously prepare for each concert. He was instrumental in increasing my repertoire of compositions of various composers and gladly taught me whenever I needed specific compositions for the competitions that I used to take part in.

There were many occasions when he used to make all his disciples sing together. He taught us many great compositions for these special occasions.
(In the middle is my mother and I am seen to her left. Others in the picture are some of his other disciples.)


The very first Kriti that I learnt from him was 'Maha gaNapatE' in natanArAyaNi of Muthuswami Dikshitar. A staunch follower of the Semmangudi school and having been one of his prime disciples, the kritis that I subsequently learnt from him undoubtedly bore the Semmangudi stamp, be it Dinamani Vamsa, Pankaja Lochana, Brochevaarevvare, Deva Deva Kalayami and so on.

On numerous occasions, my mother and I had the fortune of sitting behind him on stage during his concerts and sing Kritis with him. 

It was on 5th May, 1994, that my first audio cassette (there were no audio CDs then) was released under the auspices of Nadopasana. The cassette was under the banner of Kalavardhani.

My Guru spoke on the occasion and blessed me.
This was at Srinivasa Sastri Hall, Luz.

The only thing that he always used to say whenever we went to him for blessings was 
 "நீ க்ஷேமமா இரு. கற்பகாம்பாள் உன்னப் பாதுப்பா"

I can go on and on writing about him, but sometimes, no words would suffice the emotions that one goes through.

One thing that has always struck me in all these years is that, my Guru never seemed to have got the recognition that he so richly deserved. He never went in search of name or fame. Selfless service had always been his motto till his end.   
Rest In Peace Sir.  My humble Pranams at the feet of my revered Guru, Sri. Vaigal.S.Gnanaskandan.

I share this loss with all his other disciples as well as his family.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Report on Lec Dem Mela in Sruti Magazine

A report of the Lecture Demonstration on  "Different Aspects of Siva Bhakti" that I had presented on the 14th of December 2014, jointly organized by Sruti and Karnatic Music Forum, has been given on Sruti's online blog, written by Smt.Gayathri Sundaresan of Sruti.

The link of the same is given below:

Monday, January 12, 2015

The December 2014 Music Season - a quick rewind (part 3/3)

Meenakshi Sundararajan Trust : 22/12/2014 :
Venue: Meenakshi College for Women, Kodambakkam

V.V.S.Murari - Violin
Shertalai Ananthakrishnan - Mridangam
Trichy Krishnaswamy - Ghatam

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. varNam - kAnadA - ata
2. shakti gaNapatim - nAtai - rUpakam - harikEsanallUr muthiah bhAgavatar (S)
3. hiraNmayeem - lalitA - rUpakam - muthuswamy dIkshitar (R,S)
4. keesu keesendru - bhairavi - misra cApu - ANdAl tiruppAvai (R)
5. sharanam vijayasaraswati - vijayasaraswati - desAdi - harikEsanallUr muthiah bhAgavatar
6. saravanabhava guhanE - madhyamAvati - Adi - pApanAsam sivan
7. swAgatam krishna - mOhanam - tisra Adi - Oothukadu vEnkatakavi
8. ennALu oorakE - subhapantuvarALi - misra cApu - tyAgarAja
9. virutham, irakkam varAmal - bEhAg - rUpakam - gOpalakrishna bhArati
10. tambUri meetidava - sindubhairavi - Adi - purandara dAsa
11. mangaLam


Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha : 23/12/2014 :
Venue: Vidyabharati kalyana Mantapam, Mylapore

Co - Artists:
Kandadevi Vijayaraghavan - Violin
B.Sivaraman - Mridangam
K.V.Gopalakrishnan - Kanjira

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. dEva dEva - mAyAmAlavagowla - rUpakam - Maharaja Swati Tirunal (S)
2. rAma nAma amruta - kamAs - Adi - pApanAsam sivan
3. parama pAvana guNasAli - pantuvarALi - misra cApu - tyAgarAja (R,S)
4. sukhi evvarO - kAnadA - Adi - tyAgarAja (S)
5. srikAnta - bhavapriyA - dEsAdi - tyAgarAja (S)
6. sri subramanyAya namastE - kAmbhOji - rUpakam - muthuswamy Dikshitar (R,N,S,T)
6. sri mAdhavA - behAg - Adi - pApanAsam sivan
7. tillAna - kamAs - Adi -


Brahma Gana Sabha : 24/12/2014 :

Sri.B.Ananthakrishnan - Violin
Sri.Tiruvarur Vaidyanathan - Mridangam
Sri.Trichy Krishnaswamy - Ghatam

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. Viribhoni(Varnam) - Bhairavi - Ata tAlam- Pachaimiriam Adiappayya
2. Sri Parvati Parameshwarau - Bowli - Muthuswami Dikshitar
3. nannu brOva - Abhogi - Adi - Tyagaraja (R, S)
4. saravana bhava guhanE - Madhyamavati - Adi - Papanasam Sivan
5. pankaja lOchana - Kalyani - misra cApu- Maharaja Swati Tirunal(R,N,S,T)
6. Sandhehamunu Deerpamayya - Ramapriya - Desadi - Tyagaraja
7. RTP-Natakurinji - Kanta Triputa (Daasarathe maam paalaya dayaanidhe inakula tilaka)
8. Virutham followed by Kaliyuga Varadan - Brindavan Saranga - Adi - Periasami Tooran
9. Jaya Jayati - Pantuvarali - Misra Chapu - Traditional Bhajan
10.Tamburi meetidava - Sindhubhairavi - Adi - Purandara Dasa


Narada Gana Sabha and Saraswathi Vaggeyakara Trust : 25/12/2014 :

Venue: Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall

Special RTP concert - Hamsanadham Ragam - Hamsanadham Tala Pallavi :

B.U.Ganeshprasad - Violin
B.Sivaraman - Mridangam
Trivandrum Rajagopal - Kanjira

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- - Gobilalitha Remembrance Concert : 29/12/2014:

This concert was in memory of Sri.S.K.Balasubramanian (Gobilalitha), a great music rasika. It was organized by his family.  

It was a great honor for me to perform on this occasion, a concert dedicated to a great soul.

Mysore Srikanth - Violin
Neyveli Skandasubramaniam - Mridangam
N.Guruprasad - Ghatam

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. Varnam - Sahana - Adi - Tiruvottiyur Thyagayyar
2. mOkshamu galadA - sAramati - Adi -tyAgarAja
3. vEnkataramaNA - latAngi - rUpakam - Papanasam Sivan (R,N,S)
4. marivErE gati - Anandha Bhairavi - syAma sAstri
5. telisi rAma - purnachandrikA - Adi - tyAgarajA
6. chakkani rAja - Kharaharapriya - Adi - tyAgarAja (R,N,S,T)
7. bhAvayAmi raghurAmam - rAgamAlikA  - rUpakam - Swati Tirunal
8. Om Namo nArAyaNA - karnaranjani - kanta cApu - Smt. Ambujam Krishna
9. cinnanchiru kiLiyE - rAgamAlikA - Mahakavi Subramania Bharathi
10. tillAn - sindubhairavi - Adi - Oothukadu Venkatakavi


Award Function - Brahma Gana Sabha : 1/1/2015 :

It was a great beginning to the New Year ! - I was fortunate to receive the "Washington Professor Shivakumar Endowment Award" for the Best Female Vocalist on January 1st 2015, at the inauguration of the Dance Festival at Brahma Gana Sabha.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The December 2014 Music Season - a quick rewind (Part 2/3)

Lec-Dem Mela "Shambho Mahadeva" conducted by Sruti and Music Forum: 14/12/14:


Mullaivasal.G.Chandramouli - Violin
S.Balashankar - Mridangam

The theme that I took up for this multimedia presentation was " Different aspects of Siva Bhakti".


Music Academy : 16/12/14 :

Idapally Ajithkumar - Violin
Poongulam Subramaniam - Mridangam
Bangalore.Rajasekhar - Morsing

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. varNam - ranjani - Adi - G.N.Balasubramanyam
2. karuNAkara - bEgadA - rUpakam - Maharaja swAti tirunAl (S)
3. teliyalEru Rama - dEnukA - dEsAdi - tyAgarAja (R,S)
4. jambUpatE - yamunAkalyANi - kanta Ekam - Muthuswamy Dikshitar
5. nambikkettavar - hindOLam - Adi - pApanAsam sivan
6. akshayalinga vibhO - shankarAbharaNam - misra cApu - Muthuswamy Dikshitar (R,N,S,T)
7. nirAmayE niranjanE - kuntalavarALi - tisra Adi - harikEsanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar
8. RTP - Ranjani Mala - Kanta 2 kaLai
9. KalyANagOpAlam - sindubhairavi - kanta cApu - nArAyaNa teerthar
10. tillAnA - vAsanti - misra cApu - Lalgudi Jayaraman
11. tiruppugazh
12. Siva pancAkshara stOtram


Chennai Cultural Academy : 17/12/14 :

B.V.Raghavendra Rao - Violin
Poongulam Subramaniam - Mridangam
Sree Sundarkumar - Kanjira


Lecture Demonstration at Music Academy - 18/12/14 :

Topic taken up was "Sankirtana RatnAvali" - a work by the composer Tiruvotriyur Tyagayyar.


Mylapore Fine Arts Club : 19/12/14 :

Mysore Srikanth - Violin
Poongulam Subramaniam - Mridangam
Sree sundarkumar - Kanjira

Song List: (R- raga alapana, N-neraval, S-swaram, T-tani avartanam)

1. varNam - AbhOgi - Adi (S)
2. dEvAdi dEva - sindurAmakriyA - dEsAdi - tyAgarAjA
3. enraikku siva krupai - mukhAri - misra cApu - neelakanta sivan (R)
4. sudhAmayi - amrithavarshini - rUpakam - harikEsanallur muthiah bhAgavatar (N,S)
5. kAmAkshi gowri - sAvEri - Adi - pApanAsam sivan (R,N,S,T)
6. bhOgindra sAyinam - kuntalavarALi - kanta cApu - maharaja Swati Tirunal (S)
7. RTP - hEmavati - tisra triputa
8. jagajjanani - ratipatipriya - Adi - Ghanam Krishna Iyer
9. tillAna - kamAs - Adi - Lalgudi Jayaraman
10. Mangalam


Deiva Tamizh isai Vizha : 21/12/14 :

This was a thematic concert of all Azhwar Pasurams.


Usha Rajagopalan - Violin
Neyveli Skandasubramanian - Mridangam
Nerkunam Shankar - Kanjira