Monday, May 18, 2015

May 15, 2015 - Ganabharathi, Mysore

violin - mattur srinidhi
mrudangam - ku jayachandra rao
morsing - vs ramesh

veene seshanna bhavana

varnam - panthuvarali - adi - shatkala narasaiya
thanavari thanamu - begada - adi - thyagaraja (s)
palaya deva deva - bhairavi - rupakam - swathi thirunal (r,n,s)
dharma shravana - durga - adi - purandarasa
appan avadharitha - karaharapriya - adi - papanasam sivan
rtp - mohanakalyani - adi - “buddhi dEvi vivaram | bhOgi kankaNa karam"
ragamalika: hindolam, madhuvanthi
narajanma bandhaga - madhuvanthi - adi - purandaradasa
mayil meedhu - charukesi - adi - calcutta gurumurthi
thillana - khamas - adi - patnam subramania iyer

pavamana - saurashtram - adi - thyagaraja

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27, 2015 - Seetharama Bhakta Samajam, Selayur

violin - r raghul
mrudangam - sumesh narayanan
kanjira - s sunil kumar


Sang in Selayur last night... Was accompanied by Raghul, Sumesh Narayanan and Sunil Kumar. Special thanks to Sumesh for agreeing to play at the last minute as the previously scheduled mrudangist was unable to make it.

In 2.5 hours, I only sang one raga alapanai (varali), but sang it without looking much at the time. This was a nice/new feeling, to sing it to the point that I was content, and not constantly looking at the clock to keep it within a certain duration.

Song list:
varnam - navaragamalika - adi - patnam subramania iyer (s)
sobillu - jaganmohini - rupakam - thyagaraja (s)
aaro ivar aaro - bhairavi - adi - arunchala kavi (n,s)
vinave o manasa - vivardhini - rupakam - thyagaraja
nathajanapalini - nalinakanthi - adi - thanjavur sankara iyer (s)
eti janma - varali - misra chapu - thyagaraja (r,s,t)
ramanai tharuvai - sindhubhairavi - adi - arunchala kavi
thillana - khamas - adi - patnam subramania iyer
pavamana - saurashtram - adi - thyagaraja

Now trying to learn some new songs while I have a slight break in the schedule. Then off to Abu Dhabi on May 7th!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January 31, 2014 - Sangeeta Ganamrutam

With the emergence of several music streaming services, I decided to start the day by browsing some of the more well known services like spotify, rdio and saavn, to compare which service seems to have the best interface and library. While on saavn, I did the obligatory search for my own name (I'm only human), and found an album that I have sung on, which I have never even heard before!

Rewind to late 2013 when I ran into Neyveli Santhanagopalan Mama somewhere outside Chennai while we were both on concert related travel. Our concert trips had overlapped so I got to spend half a day with him having some wonderful discussions about music and musicians of the past. Three days later I got a call from Mama asking if I would be able to sing on an album of compositions of Veenai Sri Varadayya. He informed me that I would have to sing just a portion of them, while the others would be sung by Smt. Aruna Sairam, and the remainder by his daughter Sriranjani Santhanagopalan.

This seemed like a simple request at first, except there was a slight catch. I'd have to learn five songs (including an ata tala varnam) I'd never heard before, and record them in the studio in just three days! At first I told him I wasn't sure I would do justice to them in such a short time, but he was very confident that I could. Within a few minutes of our phone call, I had several emails with the notations for the songs along with a note saying that I could call or Skype Mama any time to go over the songs if I had any doubts. For 2.5 days, I went over the notation (for me, this starts with re-writing the entire krithi in a different form that makes it easier for me to read and sing while practicing). On top of learning these rare songs, one song was in a new ragam I'd never even heard of, 'nutana gowla.'

I had one Skype session with Santhanagopalan Mama and he gave me the approval for the first three songs to record the next day. I remember after going into the studio, one song just didn't come out very nicely. There was suddenly a lot of hesitation in my singing and doubt in the sangathis. Mama told me to leave that song and finish the other two that day. Later that night, Mama called me and asked me to come on Skype to go over that song as well as the remaining two. With his help, I was able to finish all the remaining three songs the following evening. I should mention that Mama was in the studio both days to oversee the recording, and whenever I had any doubts, he would stand in front of me and put talam while I recorded the song, giving encouraging gestures to boost my confidence.

I went back to my usual routine of travel and concerts and forgot about the album altogether. A few months later, Giri Trading invited me to the release function of the album in Mylapore, but I was not in town at the time. Suddenly today I found this album, Sangeeta Ganamrutam on and listened for the first time to the songs I had sung, as well as the ones sung by Smt. Aruna Sairam and Sriranjani.

I'm not qualified to comment on the compositions themselves, but I will definitely say they were challenging and something worth adding to any musician's or music student's repertoire. Mostly, I'm still shocked but grateful that Santhanagopalan Mama had the confidence that I could learn these songs and made sure I recorded them within just a few days.

To Stream: Saavn -
To Purchase: Giri Trading -

Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 19, 2014 - Carnatica's Global Fest

violin - v sanjeev
mrudangam - b ganapathiraman
ghatam - n guruprasad

venue: hare krishna movement, thiruvanmiyur

varnam - kaanada - ata - poochi srinivasa iyengar
mudhumomu - suryakantham - adi - thyagaraja (s)
sri kamalambike - sri - khanda ekam - muthuswami dikshitar (r)
antharangabhakthi - shadvidhamarghini - adi - koteeshwara iyer
endhuku dhayaradhura - todi - misra chapu - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)

thillana - hamsanandhi - adi - srimushnam v rajarao

December 17, 2014 - Naadha Brahmam

violin - parur ms ananthakrishnan
mrudangam - b sivaraman

tag centre, t nagar

varnam - kalyani - adi - poochi srinivasa iyengar (s)
evarikai - devamanohari - misra chapu - thyagaraja
kaapadhuve - anandabhairavi - rupakam - thanjavur quartette (r,s)
vaa vela vaa - thanaroopi - khanda chapu - koteeshwara iyer
entharanithana - harikambodhi - adi - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)
krishna nee begane - yamankalyani - misra chapu - kanakadasa

thillana - basanth - adi - tn seshagopalan

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 16, 2014 - Charsur Arts Foundation

violin - hn bhaskar
mrudangam - srimushnam v rajarao
ghatam - sv ramani

narada gana sabha mini hall

varnam - kathanakuthuhalam - adi - ks krishnamurthy
angarakam - surutti - rupakam - muthuswami dikshitar (s)
gana mudha panam - jyothiswarupini - misra chapu - koteeshwara iyer (r,s)
dharma shravana - durga - adi - purandaradasa
chakkani raja - karaharapriya - adi - thyagaraja (r,n,s,t)
thillana - hamir kalyani - adi - muthiah bhagavathar

This year I sang the inaugural concert for Charsur Arts Foundation (CAF) in Narada Gana Sabha Mini Hall. In this concert series, up and coming artists perform with established senior artists. I could not have asked for a better team to sing with. I shared the stage with Sri HN Bhaskar after many years, and I was so happy with the way he supported me. I have known him since I was very young, so our off stage friendship made for a very comfortable rapport on stage as well.

On mrudangam was Kalaimamani Srimushnam Sri V Rajarao. I am not qualified to comment on someone as senior and experienced as Rajarao Mama. Mama has known me practically since I was born, and I consider him to be one of my gurus in my musical pursuits. Sri SV Ramani, as Rajarao Mama put it, played in all the right places to complement perfectly.

I felt really good after this concert, for so many reasons. Before the concert started, Rajarao Mama told me to sing slowly and comfortably and to modulate my voice. This last minute advice actually eased my nerves a little bit, as I felt like I was singing with my teacher accompanying me, and not just such a great vidwan. Sri Bhaskar and Sri Ramani helped lift the concert to such a higher energy level, and got the audience involved from varnam to thillana.

Although it is a small hall, I enjoy singing here with rasikas sitting around me on stage. Reminds me of when my guru Sri Sanjay Subrahamanyan sings to packed audiences in much larger auditoriums such as Music Academy and Narada Gana Sabha Main Hall. 

Hope to get to that stage one day!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

December 13, 2014 - Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha

violin - b ananthakrishnan
mrudangam - sj arjun ganesh
kanjira - sunil kumar


varnam - malavi - adi - ks krishnamurthy
innum paramukham - begada - rupakam - doraiswamy kavi (s)
padmanabha pahi - hindolam - adi - swathi thirunal (r,n,s)
sarasa sama dana - kapinarayani - adi - thyagaraja
kapali - mohanam - adi - papanasam sivan (r,s,t)
nannu vidachi - reethigowla - misra chapu - thyagaraja
virutham - jonpuri (uppum karpooramum...)
eppovaruvaaro - jonpuri - adi - gopalakrishna bharathi

I'd originally planned on singing a different song for the main (I won't say what song, perhaps I'll sing it before the season is over), but called a last minute audible and sang the more well known 'Kapali' by Papanasam Sivan. I have sung this many times in Chennai and wanted to avoid it this season. For various reasons I decided to just go ahead and sing it instead, but there seemed to be a good response from the audience for this familiar krithi. A special thanks to Ananthakrishnan for his support during the Mohanam alapanai. I took a break in between as my voice was getting a bit hoarse. As I recovered with some warm water, he filled in with beautiful phrases of Mohanam and maintained the flow of the ragam.

A new 'tukkada' added to my repertoire is the popular "eppovaruvaaro," made famous by Madurai Mani Iyer. I have always loved this song and although I vaguely recall singing it upon request in a wedding concert a few years ago, I have never sung it in a sabha concert. I enjoyed finishing the concert on the energetic note that this krithi provides. Arjun Ganesh & Sunil Kumar helped tremendously in maintaining that energy and added to the composition and concert.