Saturday, January 31, 2009

HINDU-Bangalore Edition- 30/1/09

Here is a review of the concert held under the auspices of BTM Cultural Academy,Bangalore on 23/1/09:
(This appeared in the Hindu,Bangalore Edition dated 30/1/09.)

IMPRESSIVE Devoted performances

The17th Aradhana Sapthaha of the BTM Cultural Academy, Bangalore, featured a vocal concert by Gayathri Girish on Friday, accompanied by Nalina Mohan (violin), C. Cheluvaraju (mridanga), Vyasa Vittala (khanjari) and Karthik Mohan (ghata).

The concert, devoted entirely to the compositions of Muthaiah Bhagavathar, commenced with “Manamohana”, the atta taala varna in Mohana, followed by “Sakthiganapathim” in Nattai raga and rupaka taala, to which were appended some free flowing kalpana swaras. A crisp alapana in Vijayasaraswathi preceded the krithi “Saranam Vijayasaraswathi” in adi taala. The raga identity of Shahana was established in the very first phrase of its alapana, notable for mellifluous sancharas around the dhaivatha in the ascent and the lucidity of notes right down to the mandra panchama in the final phase. The krithi, “Manamu Kavalenu Thalli”, was succeeded by “Giripriyam Gangadharam” in Kadanakuthuhalam.

“Sarasadalanayane” in Saramathi, one of the most beautiful renderings of the concert, underscored the widely spaced syllables of its sahithya and its leisurely gait. “Saravanabhava” in Pasupathipriya led to an elaborate alapana of Sankarabharana that revealed the artiste’s felicity of expression in all three octaves without exaggerated efforts at modulation, enhanced by the smooth overtones of her voice. “Manadirkisainda” a heavy composition in adi tala incorporated a detailed neraval and kalpana swaras with alternating passages in the tisra gathi. The concluding segment of the concert included, among others, “Vanchathonu” in Karnaranjani and a tillana in Hamsanandi. The efforts of the accomplished accompanying artistes would have had greater impact with better balancing and adjustment of the sound system.

* * *

HINDU-Madurai Edition-23/1/09

Here is a review of the concert held under the auspices of Sri Sathguru Sangeeta Samajam, Madurai on 4/1/09:
(This appeared in the Hindu,Madurai Edition dated 23/1/09.)

Fest Music lovers enjoyed a variety fare as eminent artists performed during the 57th anniversary of Sri Satguru Sangeeta Samajam, Madurai.

Rajalakshmi Padmanabhan

Excellent alapanas

Gayatri Girish, on the second day, brought out the inbuilt rhythm in ‘Swagatham Krishna’ that followed the soothing strains of ‘Nadasudha Rasa’ (Tyagaraja) in Arabhi. The chords of Akkarai Subbulakshmi’s violin blended well with Gayatri’s vocal chords, to produce excellent alapanas in Purvi Kalyani and Khambodi. Palladam Ravi and Adambakkam K. Shankar made creative contributions on the mridangam and ghatam respectively. The tukkadas were exclusively on Lord Krishna, including ‘Kakkai Chiraginile,’ ‘Katrinile Varum Geetam’ and ‘Kunidadi Krishna.’

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A visit to tyAgarAjA temple- tiruvArUr

In one of my earlier posts in December, while posting about my concert for Brahma Gana Sabha on 27.12.08, I had said that I would write a separate post on the kriti "hastivadanAya" in the Raga navroj, a composition of Muthuswami Dikshitar. (I had sung this kriti in this particular concert.)

It was on 19.01.2005 - Sri.N.V.Subramaniam of saraswathi vaggeyakAra trust had organized a "musical visit" for a small group of musicians, to the tyAgarAjA temple, tiruvArUr. It was a unique experience..

The group of musicians included Sri.Tiruvengadu Jayaraman, Sri.Tirupunthuruthi Venkatesan,Sri.R.K.Sriramkumar, Smt.Prema Rengarajan, Smt.Sumathi Krishnan and myself. We chose all the Kritis of Sri.Muthuswami Dikshitar composed on the different deities in this famous temple in tiruvArUr and each one of us rendered around 5 to 6 kritis.The total number of kritis covered from morning to evening was 51 :-)(40 kritis on various deities + kamalAmbA navAvarNa kritis sung in unison)

The most interesting feature was that we started our journey into the temple that morning and sang the respective songs standing in front of the respective sannidhis (shrines). We had no mikes, no accompaniments. This kind of ambience to sing, was simply wonderful.

The grand finale to this journey around the temple was the group singing of the "kamalAmbA navAvarNa" kritis. All of us sat in front of the shrine and during the evening "Deeparadhanai", we sang these kritis in unison. The vAra kriti budhamAshrayAmi(nAttakurinji) was also sung in unison at the respective shrine inside the temple.

I sang the five kritis hastivadanAya (Navroj), sundaramUrtim(takkA), dakshiNAmUrthe(shankarAbharaNam), tyAgarAjE(sArangA) and neelOtpalAmbA jayati(nArAyaNagowla).

(I am singing the kriti dakshiNAmUrthe in front of the sannidhi)

This was the first time I sang the kriti hastivadanAya and that too, standing in front of the gaNapati sannidhi !! (this is one of the shOdasha gaNapati kritis)

Hence, each time I sing this song in a concert, I am reminded of this trip to tiruvArur. :-)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

God's Little Creations

While travelling by Shatabdi Express yesterday to Bangalore for a concert at BTM Cultural Academy, I saw a differently-abled child travelling with her mother. Immediately,my thoughts went back to a cultural program that I had attended as one of the Chief Guests, about two years back.

This cultural show had children aged between 3 and 10 participating in it. All these children were orphans. As I watched them perform beautifully on stage, my eyes were moist with tears- it pained when one realized that these tiny-tots had no one to call "their own".

Looking at these children, I wondered what kind of turbulent thoughts would have been going on in these innocent minds. They would have definitely missed having their "near and dear ones" there.

I was pained by the fact that these innocent children had been deserted at birth,for no fault of theirs and wondered why some peoples' destinies are carved out in such a manner.

I express my heart-felt appreciation for voluntary organizations like Udavum Karangal, and many others, which have been doing wonderful service by taking care of these "less-fortunate" children.

Other organizations like the "Banyan","Vishranthi" also deserve mention here for the care they take towards destitute women and senior citizens deserted by their families. At this point I am also reminded of "Nivedita House", started as a wing of "Udayan", a voluntary organization started to help children whose parents are affected by leprosy. Australian Cricketer Steve Waugh has written in a wonderful manner in his autobiography "Out of my comfort zone", about Niveditha House and Udayan.

Let us all extend our co-operation towards these voluntary organizations and help the needy children in whatever little way we can. Monetary help can always come in, through grants and sponsorships. But, the emotional care and affection that these children need- lets give it to them in plenty and make our lives more meaningful by such good deeds :-)

Let us bring happiness into the lives of God's "Little Creations".

Tamizh Iyal Isai Vizha- 20.1.09

This concert was organized by Avinashilingam University, Coimbatore.

(V.V.S.Murari- J.Vaidyanathan-Sree Sundarkumar)

The occasion was their annual Tamizh-Iyal-Isai Vizha and the morning session consisted of discussions, debates etc.

Our concert was in the evening and the occasion was graced by the presence of the Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Registrar and other dignitaries of the University.

The discipline that was seen there amongst the students assembled in the hall under the impeccable supervision of the VC, Mrs.Saroja Prabhakaran, reminded me a lot about my days at college, where there would be total silence in the auditorium when we used to be sitting there under the supervision of our respected Madam Principal, Miss.K.S.Lakshmi ! (One glance from her would make us shiver like a leaf :-))

Such successful ladies as the ones mentioned above, who head prestigious institutions are the driving forces resulting in the all-round success of the institutions.

Tyagaraja Aradhana at Tiruvaiyaru-15.1.09

The 162nd Aradhana of Saint Tyagaraja held at Tiruvaiyaru was very special to me - because I got to compere (live) from there, about the Aradhana !

I gave a brief introduction about the Aradhana for about 2.5 minutes in English, immediately followed by a 2.5 minute version in Tamil. This was broadcast live on AIR and telecast live on DD-Podhigai, just before the live relay of the Nadaswaram recital and Pancharatna Kriti renditions.

This was an out-of-the-world experience for me !!

I was asked to be at the venue by 7 a.m.(the live started at 8.25 a.m).
I stood under the Pandal, where the usual concerts take place (opposite the Saint's Samadhi) and audio balancing, camera positioning etc were done.

Around 8 a.m, all Vidwans started assembling there for the group rendition of the Pancharathna Krithis and the Nadaswara Vidwans also started playing. Soon after,the Unchavruthi procession got over. The TV crew signalled to me that I had to start in exactly three minutes !

The wonderful music from the Nadaswaram continued and I realized that I had to mentally "switch off" from that and concentrate on my speech.

Standing under the Pandal in that pious atmosphere and giving a speech that was watched live all over the world, were indeed very special moments for me.

After this, I joined the other musicians to render the Pancharatna Kritis.

15.1.09 - 8.25 a.m to 8.30 a.m - An occasion for me to remember forever !!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chennai Sangamam

"Tamizh Mayyam" has been organizing a four-to-five day Mela in the city of Chennai in the past few years.Carnatic Music concerts,folk arts, puppet shows and several other art forms have been part of this program titled "Chennai Sangamam".

A very unique feature of this festival is the venue chosen for this event. Public parks, beaches are chosen, so that the general public gets to know more about our traditional art forms.

In the year 2007, I sang at the Annanagar Tower Park at 7 a.m ! There was an excellent response even at that early hour.Last year, I sang at Kalakshetra. This year, yet another new venue was chosen. It was a huge playground in Palavakkam (on ECR Road), in Palkalai Nagar. A huge crowd had gathered and many, at the end of the concert, came and told me that they really enjoyed the "open-air concert"!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Rasika Ranjani Sabha - 8.1.09


Mysore Srikanth - Violin
Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar - Mridangam
Madipakkam Murali - Ghatam

Song List: (R-Raga Alapana,N-Neraval,S-Kalpanaswaram,T-Tani Avarthanam)

1.Varnam (Manamohana)-Mohanam-Ata-Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar
2.Manaviche Konavayya-Sarasangi-Rupakam-Patnam Subramanya Iyer (S)
3.Parvatharaja Kumari-Sriranjani-Adi-Muthuswami Dikshitar (R)
4.Maa Janaki-Kambhoji-Adi-Tyagaraja (N,S)
5.Karunajudavamma-Varali-Misra Chapu-Shyama Sastri (R,N,S,T)
6.Kannanidam-Ragamalika-Adi-Ambujam Krishna
7.Varuvai Varuvai-Darbari Kanada-Adi-Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar
8.Paadhagangal Theerkum (Virutham)-Behag
followed by Oruthi Maganai-Tiruppavai-Behag
9.Thillana-Sindubhairavi-Adi-Uthukkadu Venkatasubbier

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gudalur Narayanaswami Balasubramaniam (GNB)

The phenomenon called GNB....

GNB (6.1.1910 - 1.5.1965)

This day marks the beginning of the centenary year of one of the greatest names in the world of Carnatic Music - GNB.

I am sure many grand concerts and programmes will be organized in the forthcoming year throughout the world to celebrate this memorable year..

What a musician he was !! Blessed are those who have had a chance to attend his live concerts..Lesser mortals like me have to be contented with recordings that are available of this great maestro.

In the following weeks, I will come up with some interesting anecdotes that I have heard from others who have been directly associated with Sri.GNB and, also a few audio clippings to illustrate how his music has inspired many musicians like me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam,Madurai - 4.1.09


Akkarai Subhalakshmi - Violin
Palladam Ravi - Mridangam
Adambakkam Shankar - Ghatam

Song List: (R-Raga Alapana,N-Neraval,S-Kalpanaswaram,T-Tani Avarthanam)

2.Naadasudha-Arabhi-Rupakam-Tyagaraja (R,S)
3.Swagatham Krishna-Mohanam-Tisra Adi-Uthukadu Venkatakavi
4.Anandanatam-Purvikalyani-Rupakam-Neelakanta Sivan (R,S)
5.Mayamma-Ahiri-Adi-Syama Sastri
6.Saravanabhava-Pasupathipriya-Adi-Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavathar
7.O Rangasayee-Kambhoji-Adi-Tyagaraja (R,N,S,T)
8.Kakkai Chiraginile-Brindavana Saranga-Adi-Mahakavi Subramanya Bharatiyar
9.Katrinile Varum-Adi-Kalki Krishnamurthy
10.Kunidhado Krishna-Hamsanandi-Adi-Purandara Dasa
11.Tiruppugazh(Kadhi Modi)-Chandrakouns

I was very fortunate, to have had Sri.Pazhaninathan (son of my Guru's Guru, Ramanathapuram Sri.Sankara Sivam) amidst the elite Madurai audience and to have got his blessings at the end of the concert.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sri Maruthi Bhaktha Samajam Nanganallur - 3.1.09


V.Sanjeev - Violin
Poongulam Subramaniam - Mridangam
Tenkasi.H.Paramasivam - Kanjira

Song List: (R-Raga Alapana,N-Neraval,S-Kalpanaswaram,T-Tani Avarthanam)

1.Varnam (Chalamela)-Natakurinji-Adi-Rangaswamy Nattuvanar (S)
2.Ramabhakthi Samrajyam-Sudhdhabangala-Adi-Tyagaraja
3.Kaanbadheppodhen-Bilahari-Adi-Ambujam Krishna (R)
4.Sukhi Evvaro-Kaanada-Adi-Tyagaraja
5.Vaayukumaran-Kalyani-Adi-Papanasam Sivan(R,S)
6.Saravana Bhava-Pasupathipriya-Adi-Muthiah Bhagavathar
7.Nagumomu-Abheri-Adi-Tyagaraja (R,N,S,T)
8.Rama Namame-Desh-Adi
9.Bhavayami Gopala-Yamunakalyani-Kanta Chapu-Annamacharya
10.Tamburi Meetidhava-Sindhubhairavi-Adi-Purandara Dasa
11.Slokam(Anjana Sukumaram),Mangala Muruthi-Madhuvanthi-Adi-Tulsidas
12.Kurai Onrum Illai-Ragamalika-Adi-Rajaji

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kalarasana - 2.1.09


V.Sanjeev - Violin
B.Ganapathiraman - Mridangam
Nerkunam Shankar - Kanjira

Song List: (R-Raga Alapana,N-Neraval,S-Kalpanaswaram,T-Tani Avarthanam)

1.Varnam-Kanada-Kanta Ata-Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar
2.Vara Vallabha-Hamsadhwani-Adi-G.N.Balasubramaniam (S)
3.Arula Vendum Thaye-Saramati-Rupakam-Dandapani Desikar
4.Lokavana Chatura-Begada-Adi-Tyagaraja (R)
5.Bruhadambikaayai-Vasantha-Misra Chapu-Muthuswami Dikshitar (R,S)
6.Saravana Bhava Guhane-Madhyamavathi-Adi-Papanasam Sivan (R,N,S,T)
7.Telisi Rama-Purnachandrika-Adi-Tyagaraja
8.RTP-Hemavathi-Misra Jathi Triputa (2 Kalai) (R,N,S)
"Velane nin padhame konden alava tiruchendur valar vadi"
9.Chinnanjiru Kiliye-Ragamalika-Subramanya Bharathi
10.Muruganin Marupeyar-Behag-Kanta Chapu

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Yet another year has drawn to a close and what a tumultuous year it has been! If the economic meltdown wasn't bad enough, Indian pride and our sense of security was deeply dented by a bunch of terrorists , who I believe have inadvertently brought us closer to each other as a nation. The eternal optimist that I am - I feel the worst is over for us and that 2009 is going to dawn on us in a bright and beautiful manner. As artistes, we also have a strong role to play- in healing the troubled and disturbed minds, as also in trying to bring families and communities together.

I'm going with Barack Obama's Presidential campaign mantra - "YES WE CAN!" Yes, my friends, I know we can have a great year, we can and will overcome hurdles and stumbling blocks, we can make our country and all its lively citizens happy, healthy and prosperous.

So, here's wishing you all unbounded joy, and from me personally, a promise that I will earnestly try to regale all my listeners with good classical music!


Sri Ranjani Trust - 31.12.08


B.Raghavendra Rao - Violin
B.Ganapathiraman - Mridangam
Sree Sundarkumar - Kanjira

Song List: (R-Raga Alapana,N-Neraval,S-Kalpanaswaram,T-Tani Avarthanam)

1.Varnam-Kedaragowla (S)
3.Rangapathe-Kaanada-Rupakam-Margadarsi Sesha Iyengar (R,S)
5.Ododi-Dharmavathi-Adi-Ambujam Krishna (R,S)
6.Enneramum-Todi-Adi-Marimutha Pillai (N)
7.Vanchatho-Karnaranjani-Tisra Adi-Muthiah Bhagavathar
8.Manasuvishaya-Naatakurinji-Adi-Tyagaraja (R,S,T)
9.Pazhani Ninra-Kapi-Rupakam-Periasami Thuran
10.Petra Thai-Revathi-Adi-Ramalinga Swami Arutpa
11.Thillana-Revathi-Misra Chapu-Lalgudi Jayaraman