Garga Sudha Rasa - Sunil R.Gargyan


Garga Sudha Rasa



The nice thing about watching concerts online is that I have managed to listen to a few artistes whose name I have been hearing but have been unable to go for their kutcheris. 
One such person is a youngster Sunil Gargyan, who has learnt music from Nagai S. Bashyam and P. B. Shrirangachari initially and later from none other than P.S. Narayanaswamy.
I listened to him recently during the online kutchery series by Mani Krishnaswamy Academy and what I saw a young lad with a sweet disposition & a sweeter voice ! 

He started the concert with a shlokam which was a thaniyan about 46th Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt. Thaniyan is an invocatory verse of glorification to an Acharya which is usually composed or submitted by a sishya. Having made an auspicious beginning he commenced the concert with a Thyagaraja krithi in Ragam Mayamalavagowla ‘Tulsi Dalamulache’ set to Rupaka Thalam. I had first heard this sung by the legendary M. S. Subbulakshmi. 
Both Thyagaraja Swamy & M.S. Subbulakshmi were and continue to be legends of ALL time .....atleast the world thinks so. Ofcourse some individuals like Kamalahasan & T.M. Krishna may have other views. 
In this song Thyagaraja Swamy says : I shall ever be worshiping with joy the Transcendental Lord, the personification of righteousness, the prince of Ayodhya, with tender tulasi, which are sacred basil leaves. I shall garland Him with fragrant flowers like the lotus, punnaga, champaka, jasmine & lily. The Lord also is happy with just a leaf offered with complete devotion. Even in the Bhagavadgita Gita this is expressed by the Lord himself. Such a song has to be sung with devotion and Sunil lent his best to give that effect. 
The next was a Kanakadasa composition in Ragam Begada set to Rupakam thalam ‘Lokabharithano’. Now, if Purandasa’s compositions are rarely sung in concerts then Kanakadas’s compositions are hardly sung, so it was pleasant to see Sunil sing this. 

Kanakadasa (1509-1609) whose original name was Thimmappa Nayaka was a Haridasa, a renowned composer and philosopher. He is known more for his Ugabhoga along with his keerthanas where he used simple Kannada language and native metrical forms for his compositions.
There are many stories associated with Kanakadasa but the most famous one was a happening at Udupi. Following the instructions of his Guru Vyasaraya Swamiji he had come to Udupi. But it was an era when discrimination on the basis of caste was at its peak and the Brahmin priests would not let him enter the temple as he was from a lower caste, inspite of Vyaasaraaya Swamiji asked them to let Kanakadaasa into the temple. Though upset, Kanakadaasa sat outside the backside of the temple meditating & singing songs in praise of Lord Krishna. Those who have visited Udupi would notice that the deity faces the west. It is believed that when Kanakadasa was outside the temple for days waiting to be allowed to go into the temple and see God, a spectacular incident took place. They say, he was pining & singing kirthanas when miraculously the deity turned around to face the west side wall which was the backside of the temple where Kanakadasa was and the outer wall cracked and he was able to see his Lord. This left the orthodox community flabbergasted and realising that the Lord will reach out to only pure devotion and ever since, Sri Krishna's deity has been facing west, though the main entrance is east-facing. Today that window (commonly called ’ Kanakana Kidiki’ ) stands as a tribute to Kanakadaasa. Devotees who visit the temple, try to have a darshan of Lord Krishna through this small window seeking to re-live the ecstasy where Kanakadaasa had when having the divine ‘darshan’. It is also testimony to the eclectic Hindu belief that devotion, poetry, and sainthood are above caste and creed.
Sadly this kind of stupid & rigid mindset hasn’t changed in so many centuries...... we still have the Guruvayur Devasom not allowing Yesudas inside the temple. Isn’t Udupi Krishna and Guruvayurappan one and the same ? Haven’t they heard of this story of Kanakadasa ? 
There was a request from the listeners’ end which was rendered most confidently by Sunil. The request was Thyagaraja Swamy’s composition in Ragam Shubhapantuvarali ‘Ennalu Oorake’, set to Misra Chapu thalam. Here Thyagaraja taunts his Lord Rama, asking him ‘How long are you going remain unconcerned about your Thyagaraja?‘ 
The beauty of this kind of Bhakti or devotion is not slavery but a variety of relationships rolled together. 
This song was also Sunil’s main piece where his hard work and the advantage of acquiring good teachers was displayed. 
Then came one of my favourite songs ‘Saagavaram Arulvai’ in Ragam Varamu composed by Subramanya Bharati. 
This particular song is a tribute to Lord Rama. Bharatiyar asked the lord for immortality in physical form. But he got it in spirit that lasts forever for generations to come.

What followed was a Telugu composition ‘Dhannyudevaddo Dasharathe’ by Patnam Subramanya Iyer in Ragam Malayamarutham set to Adi thalam. 
Patnam Subramanya Iyer (1845 - 31st July 1902) left behind almost 100 compositions.
Subramaniya Iyer was born in Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur district but moved to Chennapatnam, today’s Chennai. This gave Subramaniya Iyer the prefix to his name. Many of his students such as Mysore Vasudevachar, Poochi Srinivasa Iyengar, Bhairavi Kempegowda and Tiger Varadachari became famous composers and vocalists.
Two of his famous compositions are ‘Raghuvamsha Sudha’ in Ragam Kadana Kuthuhalam and Evari Bodhanna in Ragam Abhogi. It is said the Ragam Kadana Kuthuhalam which has western notes, is invented by Patnam Subramanya Iyer.

Sunil’s next song was Dikshitar’s ‘Sri Mathrubootham’ in the Ragam Kannada set to Misra Chapu thalam. This again was rendered very sincerely by Sunil. This song was about the Thayumanavar temple in Trichy and most people are aware of the story that goes with this temple....How Lord Shiva himself came in the form of a pregnant girl’s mother and helped during the delivery since the mother could not arrive on time ! 

Another not so often heard Dikshitar composition was ‘MayeTvam’ in Ragam Tarangini set to Adi thalam. This is a rare Sanskrit krithi by the genius composer, was a special song in D.K. Pattammal’s repertoire deserves mention for rich ‘Sahityam’ which is rich in both poetic beauty & philosophical content. The song is addressed to Goddess Maya or the illusionary force, which causes human suffering, which keeps us bound to the material world and emotional entanglements, as result proving to be a hurdle in our spiritual enlightenment ! Dikshitar asks ‘Maya’ to go away and not trouble him further. Each of the 3 Charanams are unique in their own way.... the 1st Charanam for every word rhymes with one and another, the 2nd Charanam for its musical arrangements of the syllables using ‘goppucha yati’(meaning like a cow’s tail ... broad to start with then gradually tapering). The 3rd Charanam has the Rāga Mudra and the Vaggeyakara Mudra and also reaches the highest note at ‘guruguhodaye’, making it a remarkable composition if well delivered.... which Sunil did ! 

He went on to sing an Ugabhoga set in ragamalika as a Viruttam, in the Ragams Shanmukhapriya, Kaapi, and Hamir Kalyani this was very wonderful and continuing with a Vijayadasa’s composition in Hamir Kalyani ‘Guru Purandaradasare’ set to Misrachapu thalam. 
It was pleasant that Sunil chose Vijayadasa’s krithi because singers often don’t choose beyond the compositions of the Trinity.

Sri Vijaya Dasaru (1682 AD – 1755AD) holds a very revered status among the Madhwas. Sri Purandara Dasaru had composed 4,75,000 Devaranamas and he had ordained his youngest son to be reborn as Vijaya Dasa and compose the balance 25000 Devaranamas, to complete 5,00,000 dasa padhagalu. These numbers are astounding leaving one wondering if the likes of Purandara did anything besides composing & singing ! 
All his devarunamas and other compositions carried the signature ‘Vijaya Vittala’. 
Having sung almost all composers barring Shyama Sastri, he next choice was a Swathi Tirunal’s composition in Ragam Neelambari 
‘Kanthanodu Chennu’ set to Rupaka thalam. 
This song is a Padam in Malayalam, which expresses the sorrow that pervades the heart of a young damsel, who is in love with Lord Krishna. She thought her beloved would come and stay with her. Not having that pleasure she sends a young friend of hers as a messenger to go and convey her misery to her beloved.  She wants her friend to convey the message ‘gently and sweetly’ so that her beloved won’t be offended. The love affair is all in her mind which she thinks is real and this makes her miserable.
These emotions were well conveyed by Sunil, ofcourse Ragam Neelambari by itself has that effect.

Towards the end before the ‘Mangalam’ Sunil sang ‘Vandematram’ in the best suited Ragam Desh.
On the whole the concert was satisfactory almost as good as a live concert sans accompaniments. What is to be seen is the consistency and skill improvement from Sunil’s side.... after all he has an advantage of being young !

About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 

Classical PR .......Palghat Ramprasad


Classical PR


I don’t want to be one more person to whine about the impact of Corona, or profess some knowledge about when the scientists across the globe are going to find the cure or vaccine whichever comes first ! Nor am I sure how this economic crisis the world is going through will play out. I can’t claim that I have discovered any hidden talent within me or that all my relationships are improving and blossoming ! One thing I can state confidently is that, this is the first time in my life, I have seen the entire world come to a standstill. It’s brought the world to its knees and for several people it’s been not just a career changing but life changing experience. Everybody is exhibiting their talent and skills on the social media.... it certainly proved one thing and that is Man is very quick to adapt to any given circumstance ! 
Here, when I use the term ‘Man’, it’s not a gender bias, it’s universal (need to clarify this before all the women activists shout hoarse.... but then they are busy with the issue of the homeless migrants)
Talking about adapting, the Carnatic music fraternity was quick to adapt and kept the connectivity with the music lovers alive by performing online. One of them has been the Mani Krishnaswamy Academy, who has been bringing a lot of good music to our homes. 
On this platform, I happened to listen to Palghat Ramprasad and the first thought that came to my mind was one of regret ... regret that I had not heard him before ! 
I need to admit that last year during the music season, quite a few people had recommended that I go for one of his programmes and also write about it but somehow running between overlapping concerts, I missed going for his... clearly my loss ! 
The morning concert on the FB sans accompaniments or any superior audio system was in a way enjoyable to listen. It was just music without the frills and easier to focus on the voice quality. 
In Palghat Ramprasad, it was a combination of good voice, swarasthanam and bhavam. Being the grandson of the much acclaimed mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Iyer and with a family full of musicians, it’s quite natural that music is a way of life for him. 
His concert started with Muthuswami Dikshitar‘s composition in Ragam Vasantha ‘Margadhalingam Chintayeham’. Dikshitar had his own method in composing songs. He used to visit various temples, and get inspired by the deity there and compose spontaneously on the deity. This particular krithi, is on Lord Maragatheshwar is the presiding deity of the temple in Tiruengoimalai, a place near Trichy. As the name suggests it is on a hilltop which has a serene & meditative atmosphere. There is belief that Parvathi worshipped Shiva here, so it is also known as ShivaShakti malai. The lingam in this temple is said to be transparent and also is said to throw a green shadow when camphor is burnt in front of it, during Arati .... it is referred to as emerald lingam or Maragadhalingam 

It needed me to only listen to the first song to realise that Ramprasad was a musician who doesn’t compromise on the grammar and all other aspects of pure music. 

Ramprasad next chose to sing a Purandaradasa krithi, ‘Devaki Kandha’ set to Ragam Hamsanadham which immediately struck a chord with me. Maybe I am biased, since I am from Bangalore and had learnt several Devaranamas by Purandaradasa and I used to always feel the lack of his compositions in most concerts. 
I had myself learnt this song in Ragam Piloo, which has a Hindustani base to it, and listening to him sing this in Ragam Hamsanadham was different. After all, (wo)man is a creature of habit ! 
Very often Purandaradasa krithis are sung in different ragams because there is no documented notations by him, unlike the Trinity. Apparently Ramprasad had set this song in Hamsanadham and I later came to understand that he has taken it as a project, to give Dasarapadas or Devaranamas a status of being among the main songs which are sung during concerts. Till now they have been relegated to being among the thukkudas, which are sung towards end of the concert, where you see most of the audience exiting. People have spent time setting to tune, contemporary works such as Perumal Murugan and others but no one has taken the same effort for the compositions of the Father of Carnatic. I look forward to other singers taking this up in the future. His initiative is available as ‘Vittala Pravaham’ online, though personally I would prefer them as a solo rendering and not group singing ( he with his students) because it somehow felt like bhajanasampradaya, which again defeats the purpose ! 

Next came a Oothukaadu Venkatkavi’s composition in Ragam Dhanyasi ‘Balakrishnan Pada Malar.’ The essence of the song is that, those who take refuge in Lord Krishna, will know no sorrow and this bhavam of complete surrender was well conveyed by Ramprasad. 

This not being a concert where the artiste can face the audience was a deterrent yet Ramprasad did not let it cloud his singing. He chose to sing Saint Thyagaraja’s composition ‘Adugu Varamula’ in Ragam Aarabhi.

This song is not a standalone composition but a part of a musical play composed by the Saint Thyagaraja called ‘Prahlada Bhakta Vijayam’. The Walajapet manuscript, ‘Sri Tyagaraja Swami Charithram’ makes a special mention about the time and occasion of the composition of the two musical plays he composed, ‘Nowka Charithram’ and ‘Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam’. 

It says that a young boy with a flute appeared before Tyagaraja after the composer had performed his daughter’s marriage and requested the bard to compose songs on him. Thus emerged the Nowka Charitram or Boat Story and the very next day was created the Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam or the victory of Prahlada’s devotion. These plays are a blend of literary & musical excellence and where conversations employ both direct and indirect speech. The composer’s mudra (signature) figures in every song, and (thank god for that lest someone should start a controversy about its authorship) and one finds a repetition of ragams not uncommon in such compositional forms.

 The Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam is in five acts with 45 kritis set in 28 ragas and 138 verses, in different metres in Telugu. I would think that is not an ordinary achievement. I take days to write one review and just imagine writing two musical plays and 700 songs. I wonder how he found the time.... oh but then Kamalahasan has the answer, Saint Thyagaraja didn’t have to worry about meeting expenses or making chapatis for dinner unlike me .....he had other options according to the actor ! 
Prahlad Bhakta Vijayam is a combination of musical genius and undisputed devotion. It is undoubtedly a treat to the ears and contains the potential of being staged as a delightful play. It has Telugu/Sanskrit poetry, grammatical features like kanda padyam, dvipada, utpalamala, champakamala, and dandakam.
Not adopting the same ragam for the whole play, he has used innumerable ragams except that he has used Ragam Saurashtram, for his opening and closing pieces, the influence of Yakshagana is also apparent through other devices he had adopted.

The surprise element surfaces in Act 2. Its first song is the now popular ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana’ in Ragam Sahana, sung by Prahlada, has Thyagaraja identifying Hari with Rama. He does not seem to be unduly bothered that Rama is a later avatara to Narasimha and viewed either historically or from the angle of mythology, did not exist during Prahlada’s time. In fact, strangely throughout the play there is no mention of Narasimha the saviour deity of Prahlada. Such was his single minded devotion to his Lord Rama ! The need to give these details is to elicit the apparent mindset of Saint Thyagaraja. It is unthinkable that someone with this kind of staunch devotion would use his God for any purpose which would bring dishonour to his Lord ! 

The songs from Prahlada Bhakti Vijayam are popular on the concert platform. Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer once observed that Carnatic musicians were rendering its kritis without knowing that they were from Prahlada Bhakta Vijayam. For example, I have also learnt ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana’ without knowing that it was part of a musical play.
The play opens with the kriti, ‘Sri Ganapathin’ in Ragam Saurashtram and it concludes with the famous mangalam in the same ragam, ‘Ni nama rupa mulaku.’ 
Thyagaraja has employed many rakthi ragas such as Huseni, Sahana, Punnagavarali, Pantuvarali, Kalyani, Ghanta, Nilambari, Gaulipantu, Asaveri, Ahiri and Paras.
Among the trinity, it is only Tyagaraja who has composed musical plays. He is also the first to have composed a mangalam in Saurashtram. Rare ragas like Nagagandhari and Parazu along with homely proverbs, thought-provoking similes, references to flora in these the two operas, now doesn’t it reveal a mastermind was at work, and these constitute just a fraction of his work. I hope that all this will establish his stature, while it is certain that his work & fame will outlive anyone’s celluloid fame !! 
For Thyagaraja it was his Lord’s ‘ KAMALanayana’ which mattered ! 
This song ‘Adugu Varamula’ is as if the Lord himself is having a dialogue with Prahlada. He says, ‘O child of a demon and a friend of Thyagaraja, do ask me for favours and I will grant them. I am constantly thinking of you and watching your every step and I am overjoyed with your unswerving devotion. I shall grant you gold, wealth, beautiful houses, loving wife and children because I love you my child. The Lord asks Prahlada in the song ‘Why do you endure so much because of your devotion ? I will kill all those atrocious Rakshasas (to be read as all evil in the world) And this I shall do not out of pity but with valour, and in a grand and praiseworthy manner. I shall grant you the kingdom of Brahma and Indra. I cannot wait to present you all the gems, exquisite ornaments studded with precious stones, elephants, palanquins and horse-drawn carriages and elephants, after all I am a friend of Thyagaraja. The Lord offers him all these despite the fact that Prahlada was a prince and lacked nothing. 
This reminds me of my grandmother giving an explanation for the ritual of doing naivedyam (offering to God) before she eats. When we questioned her, that if God was so great why should we symbolically offer him food ? She used to say that without that ritual it’s just ‘Sadam’ but after the ritual it becomes ‘Prasadam’ ! 

Ramprasad concluded his concert with a soulful sholkam in ragam Sindhu Bhairavi followed by Sadashiva Brahmendra’s composition ‘Sarvam Brahmamayam’ in Madhuvanti.

As for me, I am looking forward to a live concert of Palghat Ramprasad sometime in the future..... 
About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 

Sakhiye Snehithiye - Janani Narayanan


Sakhiye Snehithiye

All dance occurs in the three dimensions of space and the fourth of time — but it can be a beautiful experience to feel the invigorating intensity with which Bharatnatyam brings all those dimensions to life. On Friday evening at 5.30pm, in R.K. Swamy Auditorium, it was Janani Narayanan, presenting her own ‘Sakhiye’ to an eager audience. 

Sakhiye the confidante ! we all as women, have that one special friend who knows all about you and your deepest secrets, intimate desires. Who would do anything for you, or sometimes wouldn't do keeping your welfare in mind, a friend who guides you, teaches you a thing or two about life and friendship. She is who you would call a ‘Sakhi’. She would be ever available to listen to you, who is anguished when you cry, joining in when you laugh or understanding when your mind is troubled and confused, often sometimes being a source of clarity.
In today’s language ... she is your go-to person, your Confidante!
It can be a different friend at different points of your life . This does not necessarily imply any betrayal or a break up in the friendship, it’s just that as we go through life’s journey there are different people who play significant roles in our lives. Their contribution is often immeasurable and they remain in our hearts. For example, when in school, I had two very best friends Lakshmi & Kalpana. Then I had some close friends in college, Uma & Kousar Jahan. Then at work there was Sujatha who shared her secrets & lunch with me. Marriage took me to Chennai and with my new life came new friends Sita, Payal, Girija, Vinita, Banu and Sathya who have rejoiced in my happy times and cried along with me in my sorrow. We as women form great bonding with our own gender and it is from such personal relationships that Janani herself has 
drawn inspirations. Also from famous friendships from our mythology no it is become friendship that blossomed in to teenage friendship and much more of MS amma and Bala Amma from our Carnatic and Bharathanatyam fields, Ace tennis players Martina Navaratilova and Chris Everett, American Female Revolutionaries Susan B Antony and Elizabeth Staton and more…… Janani has taken inspiration from stories of these people, her friends and herself to depict the various aspects of friendship. Her choreography for this production encompasses stories from mythology, of historical figures and personal experiences to highlight the evolution of friendship in different stages of our lives. Through her choreography Janani educates her audience, especially the younger generation on different mythological and historical stories. One example of that can be seen in the Varnam she presented, where Janani had integrated stories in her jathis, which are abstract dance routines. 
Janani Narayanan is an accomplished dancer trained under Bengaluru based couple Guru Kiran Subramanyam and Smt.Sandhya Kiran. And later under Guru Smt.Vidhya Subramanian from Cupertino, California. She has been performing since 2000 and has created a name for herself. 

Her Varnam was titled ‘The Confidante’. This Varnam ‘Saamiye Vara solladi’ set in Ragam Purvikalyani and Adi thalam. 
It is a well known composition of Natyacharya Sri Dandayudhapani Pillai. 
In this central item, the heroine, who met her beloved lord and fell in love at first sight is anxiously waiting to meet him as promised. When he doesn’t show up at the specified time, she reaches out to her best friend and requests her to go and bring him. She says,’ Don’t you know that you are my best friend, the one who knows all my secrets. He is that handsome Lord Kumara, one who resides in his 6 abodes.” Intentionally the Sakhi asks her back “Are you sure he is the one for you? - the one who rides on his peacock, the one who is praised by all in this world, the beloved son of Goddess Sivagami. With trees showering flowers, birds tweeting melodiously, young boys looking up to him as a hero, young damsels shying away, women taking off the evil eye and wise men praising him and blessing him, you want me bring That Lord?” The heroine admits it’s him and asks her friend not to delay any further, to describe how the romantic space and time is fading away, and in the bright moon evening, scented flowers have blossomed spreading their fragrance in air intoxicating and deepening her desires to meet him. She further expresses “The lord of love - Cupid or Kama - is also showering his arrows and tormenting her”. The friend responds to her saying that Kama has no other job other than looking for young damsels who are love struck and showering arrows on them. 
The heroine further convinces her by narrating how she yearns for him every day. Understanding her plight the friend decides to help, but takes her time. The helpless heroine asks her friend if her heart is like a rock. Nevertheless, the heroine convinces her friend by sharing one of her dreams with her Lord. Finally her Sakhi decides to help the heroine. 

Janani Narayanan, an accomplished Bharathanatyam dancer from the Bay Area California brought this theme to us which 
premiered earlier in October 2019, she worked with leading Bay Area musicans for orchestration support for the performance. Couple of the items had been specially composed and written for this presentation.

One other remarkable presentation of hers, was ‘Parama Purusham’ in Ragam Hamsanadam set to Adi thalam. She referred to this composition of Sri Narayana Theerthar, as ‘Young Companions’ Here young heroine, or Nayika is all decked up and goes along with her friends to see the young Prince’s arrival. She hears from her friends about the handsome prince, the one with sharp chiselled features, who is the most benevolent one and is easily approachable by all. He enjoys the music of young women and plays the flute to mesmerize all. Now, there is no prizes for guessing who is this prince ...,,It is Lord Krishna !! Now hearing that the young prince is none other than Krishna, the heroine is eager to meet him. Their eyes meet…..and rest is an inevitable romance. 
This dance was precedend by a traditional Nrittanjali set to Kanda Triputa thalam. showcasing various stages of Sakhis in a woman’s lifetime.
                                                            
What was special is that the lyrics that reflects Janani’s personal journey in life and the role her female friends have played in that. Janani and her vocalist Asha Ramesh worked on the lyrics together making it relatable. 

Her next piece was called ‘The Close Associate’ which was a 
Kshetreya Padam ‘Evvade Evvade’ in Ragam Shankarabharanam set to Mishra Chapu Talam, 
choreographed by Guru Bragha Bessel . The Padam explains a true friend knows you so well, that no matter what you try to hide, they can see through it. In this padam, the heroine tries to trick her best friend. Having spent the night in secrecy with her beloved, she plans to send him away at dawn. However, her friend happens to see this. To avoid being judged by her friend, the heroine pretends that she doesn’t know her lover and says “Who is that guy? Do you know him? He came into my house at night like Cupid’s arrows and caused mayhem. The other time, one hot summer afternoon, he entered my house like a thief, asked for water and when offered he hugged and kissed me. But I must say he was handsome and he confessed he was none other than Lord Krishna. Is that true?” 
Haven’t all of us tried to hide our early affairs or infatuation initially and much later share them with our dearest friend. 

Janani ardently addressed the air above her; next the floor below her; and also the space’s various diagonals and horizontals.
Thus her body filled the surrounding box of empty space with energy, all while maintaining a full-bodied flow of pulsating rhythm to a score featuring percussive vocal syllables. These are among the most basic pleasures of Bharatanatyam, but by any standards they are extraordinary. Janani delivers them and much more complex aspects with terrific skill. 

Then came a piece that she called as ‘The Unconditional Supporter ‘ a composition by Akka Mahadevi ‘kelavva Naanu ondu kanasa Kande’ in Ragamalika also a Talamalika. 

Akka Mahadevi a 11th century female mystic saint, who the Lingayat community revere. Her story is similar to that of the more popular Mirabai. Akka Mahadevi believes that Lord Shiv’s is her husband and beloved from a very young age, so her marriage to King Kaushika was almost contractual, since she laid down some conditions to marry him. One of them being freedom to pursue her spiritual path and uninterrupted time with Lord Shiva. So just as Mirabai’s songs has love towards Krishna as the premise and Mira considers herself as a lover of Krishna, so also Akka Mahadevi thinks she belongs totally to Lord Shiva. In this composition she narrates to her dear friend about her dream with her beloved Chenna Mallikarjuna (Shiva). One night in her dream he appeared as a mendicant. As he moved away she ran behind him and held his hand - he was her charming Chenna Mallikarjuna, just as she had imagined him to be ! She describes how her Lord enamoured her and accepted her happiness, love and devotion and she wants to be with no one but him. Her friend though initially upset and shocked at hearing the heroine’s intentions provides her support and helps her to reject family life and worldly attachment and be one with her beloved Chenna Mallikarjuna.   
A lovely sentiment depicted in a lovely manner by Janani. 
I was particularly impressed by her choice of Akka Mahadevi, who I feel is hardly known except by the Lingayat community. Maybe because Kannada still is not so wide spread as Tamil or Hindi. 
Hope I am not starting a controversy by this observation. In any case, I am fast learning that controversy is the sure path to get eyeballs ! 
The last piece was a Thillana which she called ‘An Ode to friendship’ in Ragam Rasikapriya, set to Adi Talam, composed by was Asha Ramesh.
The joyous finale to the recital, the thillana is a fast paced number composed of a mixture of nritta and natya aspects. The words describe the celebration of friendship. The one who makes you laugh, enjoy your company, the friend who shares your happiness sorrows and worries, one who is understanding and encourages and finally the one is none other the reflection of Me. It ends hoping that the frienship will last forever ! 

Janani’s performance made me feel and understand that while the exquisite footwork of Bharatanatyam is beyond my grasp, the ways in which form and communication connect are infinitely subtle, and my knowledge Bharatanatyam is slight; but the sensuous beauty of these arts draw me deep in. It’s a good way to feel, as a spectator submerging into a vast realm of unknown beauty.


About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 

Abhangamala - Sivasri Skandaprasad


Abhangamala


During the 2019 - 2020 Margazhi month, there was one particular video which was going viral on WhatsApp. It was not anything remotely like the ‘Kolaveri’ or ‘Jhimki Kammal’ songs. It was of a young girl called Sivasri, among a group of people going around Mada Veedhi of Kapaleeshwar Temple in Mylapore, singing Namasankeertanam! 

Instantly, she became a rage among the Kutchery going crowd. It was evident that the girl had immense talent and was trained in Carnatic Music. Obviously, the sensation was limited to a certain segment of people, for it's meant for those who are interested in this genre. Well, I being one of them, when I heard that she is performing at a private residence, on Feb 8th, I rushed straight from Bangalore into the host’s house, looking tired with disheveled hair and crumpled clothes. My entry, of course got the unintended attention, momentarily distracting everyone from Sivasri. 

She started with a Namavalli ‘Narayana Narayana Jai Jai’ and it was evident that it was an evening well begun. Our country has always glorified parents and teachers, therefore in line with that sentiment came Sant Eknath’s Abhang ‘Guru Mata, Guru Pitha’ in Hamsadhwani Ragam. Sivasri herself follows the sentiment of this Abhang, and we saw her mother singing on the stage with her and her father too has a huge role in her progress.

Sivasri chose to sing Pithukuli Murugadas’s composition ‘Cholla Cholla Thithikume’ in Ragam Kamaas. Pithukuli Murugadas was famous for his songs on Muruga and hence his Guru Ramdas gave him this name. A freedom fighter who lost an eye during the Salt Sathyagraha, he was a popular singer. 

Sivasri has come from a family which has been strongly steeped in namasankeertanam & singing. She sang a song in Ragamalika written by her paternal grandfather Seerkazhi R.Jayaraman. Is music and this deep involvement with God, a genetic thing? As if to answer my question, Sivasri moved to singing her father Seerkazhi.J.Skandaprasad’s composition ‘Karunarasa Paripooorna’ in Ragam Desh, in the most wonderful way. 

Sivasri is not only a competent singer, but also a confident performer with an extremely expressive personality, which could be an asset since age is in her favour and she being a Bharatnatyam dancer. 

She has the intelligence to strike a balance between the Namasankeertanam style & Kutcheri style. For example, she sang a Virutham from Meenakshi stotram followed by Papanasam Sivan’s ‘Devi Neeye Thunai’ in Ragam Keeravani. It was a well thought out Virutham which was appropriate for a song which was based on Goddess Meenakshi of Madurai. Such maturity must have come with the guidance of her teacher and father, who have a pivotal role to play in her life. I guess, years will display the same maturity when hopefully she will be her own person. 

Her next choice was a composition of Bhadrachalam Ramadas, ‘Janaki Ramana’ in Ragam Sri. This was ably delivered, though what followed as a Purandaradasa’s krithi ‘Jagadhodharana’ in Ragam Dhanakaapi, had its shortcomings in the diction and the doubtful lyrics. Probably my childhood music lessons in Bangalore under a well known Kannada teacher is making my mind accept only what I was used to listening & singing. 

One more Kannada song followed this in Ragam Maand ‘Bega Baaro’ a Vysaraya Krithi. 
Sivasri holds much promise with very good stage presence and pleasing demeanour. 

Much appreciation for the meticulous song list planning by Sivasri or whoever planned it for her. They had included Bhadrachalam Ramdas from Andhra, Eknath from Maharashtra, Purandaradasa from Karnataka, Swathi Tirunal from Kerala, Papanasam Sivan and few more from Tamilnadu. Indeed a National Integration Programme!!

Like it was, ‘Aaye Giridhar’ composed by Swathi Tirunal in Ragam Pooryadhanashree, followed by ‘Maadu Meikkum Kanne’ a popular composition of Oothukkadu Venkatakavi which is basically a folk song. 

One more Abhang ‘Pandharicha Raya’ followed in a folk tune. Admittedly, she sang it very beautifully & energetically but before we could recover, it was yet another Abhang, 
‘Namacha Bazar‘, composed by Palak Das in Ragam Misra Bilawal. Soon after, it was ‘Santancha Dindi’ a folk song, getting me to wonder if it was primarily an Abhang programme and then the next song almost convinced me.. it was 
‘Majhe Maher Pandhari’, an Abhang composed by Sant Eknath in Ragam (should I say Raag and not Ragam) Yamankalyaan. Then comes the most popular Abhang ‘Teertha Vitthala’ by Namdev in Ragam Ahir Bhairav.. Now this was surely an overkill. But it was not over. Here comes another Abhang ! ‘Vrundavani Venu’ composed by Bhanudas in Ragam Bhimpalas. 

No doubt, Abhangs are now almost as mandatory in a Namasankeertanam or a Carnatic concert, as much as cake cutting on birthdays or even Paneer Butter Masala in any dinner but it could be in decent proportion. I have not heard any Hindustani Concert where a Kavadi Chindu or Tirupugazh being sung, have you?? 

About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 

Trinity by Madras Players


Trinity by Madras Players



Remember Aamir Khan's film 'Lagaan' which was a big hit ? While we can attribute it to good film making, one of the reasons was that it had all the right ingredients like 'Cricket' and the 'Freedom Movement' !

Now these two as a combo with the right treatment is bound to be appealing. Likewise, the English play 'Trinity' by Madras Players had the right mixture in right proportion of Carnatic music & good storytelling. I had first seen it in 2018 at Museum Theatre and recently I saw their ‘extended’ version of the play, during the rehearsals before their US tour. I was particularly curious about the fact that the original 90 minute play had been extended by another 30 minutes at the behest of the US organisers.

In an era where everything is becoming smaller and having a shorter life span, this is surprising. Like 5 day Test Cricket became ODI and then came T20 and there is some talk about 100 ball cricket, or how Idlis became mini idlis, samosas became mini samosas and the worst being the mandatory filter coffee becoming mini coffee !

Nobody has patience for anything lengthy. And here was a play which instead of getting edited was getting elongated !! Apparently, it seems that the hosts in Canada and the US felt that audience there are used to 2 hours plus of any entertainment and also they need to travel long to reach wherever it is, so they must to receive more. Yeh Dil Maange MORE !!

And why not, after all it would be a smart idea to maximise wonderful singers such as Vijay Siva and Gayatri Venkataraghavan. Pay for a play and get a concert also.... ‘Buy one get one free’ offer !
While on the subject, I am quite sure many people find my posts too long and give it a miss ! And imagine if I further elongate them ...

This play is a sure winner... after all it's all stories related to the three stalwarts of Carnatic music, presented not in their native tongue but in English which makes it relatable to all. And the icing on the cake is that we have real Carnatic exponents playing the parts of Sri Thygaraja Swamy, Muthuswamy Dikshitar and Shyama Sastry’s wife Lalita .. an absolute treat for both the music and the theatre lover.

Mr P.C. Ramakrishna a well known name in Chennai theatre circles both as an actor & director, has brought the best of all elements that is needed to make a powerful production. It is the famous Kalki Krishnamurthy’s granddaughter Seeta Ravi, who has done a wonderful job with the script. It’s not an easy task to bring three individual stories together without letting them overshadow each other, also not letting it sag at any point.

At the outset, it was not three biopics (for that would have been too long) but an inspiration from all three lives and the gems that were brought forth by this inspiration. It was the first time I was seeing a blend of so many factors. Be it the setting or the costumes, they were so authentic and relevant to the period.



It opens with S.Ram entering as a Sutradhar which I feel was a very important role since it proved to be a link between the three stories. He starts with an interesting explanation of the power of the magic number 3 in other words why ‘TRINITY.’ He puts it across in a very simple way.. how everything that is meaningful comes in threesome. For example it is birth, life and death, the beginning, middle and the end, and Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara.

My own observations are that surely there must be a reason that, we have been advised to do 3 Pradakshinas (Parikrama) and both the Shaivism and Vaishnavism symbols on the forehead are three lines. The number 3 is supposed to create a balance & harmony... Just like how a tripod gives stability during photography. I have a question ...Why else would a bar stool be on three legs, used by people who are possibly unsteady & often lack balance? These stools don’t have arms or a backrest and people are perched on them while having a drink(s). It’s pure geometry that these stools are designed on 3 legs, the reason being 3 points form a plane, these will not wobble even if it’s placed on an uneven surface. So, that’s my Magic 3 for you ! Actually, this very thought is echoed in the best selling book ‘Eat, Pray & Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert which was later made into a successful film starring Julia Roberts.

Vijay Siva as Dikshitar was totally in his character and sang wonderful compositions like 'Mayuranathan' in Dhanyasi and ‘Parimala Ranganathan' in Amir Kalyani. The music was soulful with only a tampura as an instrument. What has been included was a ‘Nottuswaram’ which was a sample of Dikshitar’s brilliance. Nottuswaras are a set of 39 compositions, which gave simple Scottish & Irish tunes. They are all composed in Sanskrit lyrics in Western C Major scale. We have a scene in the old film ‘Thillana Mohanambal’, where Sivaji Ganesan is a famed Nadaswaram player Shanmuga Sundaram, who demonstrates the same on his instrument thereby retrieving the defecting crowds. It’s indeed a fine example of the versatility of Carnatic Music.



Also, Dikshitar's students who sing snippets from his compositions in a wide range of Ragams such as Amrithvarshini, Brindavana Saranga, Attana, Kedaram, Shanmugapriya, Kalyani, Mohanam, Yaman Kalyan & Kamalamanohari. All this only makes this play a ‘must watch'.

There is no debate about Vijay Siva’s musical strength and he was ideal for the part, which is evident in his depiction of the character. He shows us his brilliance in a scene while singing in the Hindustani style. It has to be mentioned that it wasn't just Vijay Siva as Dikshitar but all those who acted as his disciples, sang so very well. It was clear that they had formal training in Carnatic music. Victor Paulraj creates magic on the stage, and in 2018, it was a full fledged Sleeping Ranganathar in a temple setting. In such a short time it is impossible to enact three life stories. In Muthuswamy Dikshitar's portion, it focussed on how he got inspired to write so many songs and how he became an inspiration to others. It explains how he travels to different temples & places and his style was patented by mentioning both the Ragam in the lyrics of the song and also mentioning the deity of the particular temple during his travel or should we say it was a pilgrimage or maybe his personal spiritual journey ! After all, nothing but devotion could have brought about such rich music.

Next was Shyama Sastry’s life, where the Director P C Ramakrishna had beautifully devised it, so that the narrative was from the perspective of Shyama Sastry's wife Lalita enacted by another wonderful singer Gayatri Venkataraghavan. To have an artiste of Gayathri's calibre and not use her singing talent is stupidity, considering her name is quite a draw. To confess, I also was drawn to watch the play, (as if I need any strong reasons) partly because I was curious to see what Gayatri could do, since the TRINITY is an ALL MEN group. Hope Trupti Desai and other so called feminists and activists don't take this as a gender bias and rush to the Supreme Court seeking justice !!

Anyway, it was such a joy to hear Gayatri sing a Swarajathi in Yadhukula Khamboji composed by Shyama Sastry and ‘Himachala Thanye’ in Ananda Bhairavi. Her portrayal of Lalita was so sincere that she merges with the tampura as she explains her multidimensional role in Shyama Sastry’s life.



There is an interesting scene where it is elicited why & how Shyama Sastry used the term ‘Shyama Krishna Sodari’ when referring to Goddess Kamakshi. To go into the details will be playing spoil sport and giving away all of it. It has to be seen on the stage with all the attention it deserves.

The entire narrative about Shyama Sastry was shown through his wife Lalita’s eyes. This was interesting because first we have Dikshitar’s characterisation seen through the eyes of his students, where it was the Guru - Sishya relationship that was highlighted and it’s justified because his students Ponnaiah, Vadivelu, Chinnaiah and Ananda accompanied him all through, enduring the life he had chosen for himself. To gain the admiration & devotion of one’s students and also be their inspiration is the life of a great teacher. And such teachers leave behind a part of themselves in their students !
Here we have Shyama Sastry’s character brought to life as seen through the eyes of his spouse Lalita. In this era, where we are constantly fighting for gender equality and women vocally demand recognition & attention... this story line is going to make Shyama Sastry’s wife Lalita appear as if she was a doormat and an ignored wife who is relegated to live behind the curtains and only noticed by her husband when convenient. But on the other hand, you find Gayatri Venkataraghavan's portrayal showing Lalita as a cheerful and energetic lady with a mind of her own (as she doesn’t get influenced by a well meaning Dharma Akka, who tries her best to get Lalita to complain about her husband) and not wallowing in self pity. It’s so natural to see the equation between Lalita & the friendly yet inquisitive Dharma Akka trying hard to drive Lalita to tears (reminding me of Oprah Winfrey Show or our Indian alternative Rendezvous with Simi Garewal who wants everyone to bear their private secrets, fears and life in public). Shyama Sastry’s wife is shown as an involved and understanding wife who appreciates his creativity & respects his obsession for Goddess Bangaru Kamakshi. She revels and prides herself to be known as his wife while understanding that his creativity comes with certain eccentricities.



There is a scene where she shares the achievements of her husband and him winning over other musicians in the king’s court with great pride. The script is justified to have given the character Lalita the main role, for if she had been a nagging and demanding wife, who needed him 24*7, probably we would not be enjoying the great compositions of Shyama Sastry. This part of the play brings to us the relationship between a loving couple and how Lalita complements Shyama Sastry & respects his work.

The last was excerpts from Sri Thyagaraja Swamy’s life and his relationship with Lord Rama and also with his own daughter Seethamma ! Sri Thyagaraja Swamy is shown as an affectionate father and all this is from Seethamma's perspective.

So refreshing to see young girls in Pavadai Dhavani or half saree as it's called and with long plaits with kunjalam. The whole play was so colourful and visually pleasing, taking us back in time without losing the interest of today’s audience. The whole team needs to be appreciated.



I became nostalgic when Seethamma and her friend sang 'Ramininchuvaaravura Raghuthama Ninuvina,’ remembering my sons singing this when they were really tiny and for me this song nobody can sing better than them. I share this anecdote in order to elicit, that just as I found my children adorable, Thyagaraja Swamy finds his daughter very lovable and is concerned about her future. The world knows him as Lord Rama's devotee yet as a parent he is no different from me ! Seethamma is in awe of her father and shares his devotion towards Sri Rama. This part of the play shows the relationship between a father & his daughter. Thyagaraja explains with great humility, the reason behind him putting his signature in every one of his composition. You must watch the play to understand the significance.



Dr. Sunder acted as Sri Thyagaraja in a heartfelt manner and in any case Thyagaraja Swamy was famous for his devotion and lyrics, not for his voice or his singing !

During the first show in 2018 there was a personal moment for me, and that was to hear my mother sing along with Saint Thyagaraja’s 'Balakanaka Maya' set in Ragam Attana and I instantly knew without her telling that it was my father who came to both our minds, Attana being his favourite Ragam.

The whole 120 minutes journey of these great lives culminating in a grand finale, where the entire cast came: the flow was as if Dikshitar and Lalita were joining the singing with Thyagaraja. This was very deftly handled and how it was brought to life on the stage is for you to see. It was an interesting touch of the director to blend all three lives...... a scene worth waiting for towards the end of a delightful play!

About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs. Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 


'YUVA' Namasankeertanam - Ganapriya School of Music


 'YUVA' Namasankeertanam


This program was one of its kind, where the students of the music school ‘Ganapriya’ presented an evening of Namasankeertanam, on January 12th 2020 at Sringeri Mutt Hall, R.A.Puram. 

One would wonder what a group of teenagers or even younger Children would have to do with Namasankeertanam... infact I can’t think of my kids at that age (or even now) sitting among the audience let alone perform in such an event. 

Hey, just incase anyone has a doubt that they are atheists or agnostic, I need to clarify that it is not so, it’s just a matter of interest or choice!
And here I see a bunch of kids all appropriately dressed sitting and delivering 2 hours of melodious and Bhakti filled Namasankeertanam. 

I think the credit must go to their teacher Bhagyalakshmi Suresh, whose own experience with Bhakti has brought her to train her students not just in Carnatic music but also launch them in a field rarely chosen by children. This way more of her students get to perform in public and also they learn the art of Sampradaya Bhajan singing. 


The planning in both the seating arrangement & in giving an opportunity to each student on the stage is no small task, which Bhagyalakshmi Suresh ably delivered.  The children sang ‘Sriguru Bhodendra’ a composition  on one of the trinities of Namasankirthanam in Ragam Suruti. Ironically, for a person who has always been interested in music & it’s relevance in the Bhakti movement, I had not heard of Sri Bhodendral till I saw a play on him by none other than Bombay Gnanam. This composition was started with a virutham ‘Yasyasmarana Mathrena’ in Ragam Nattai followed Ragam Suruti for the above  song.

According to Bhajana Sampradaya, it’s mandatory to include Jayadeva’s Ashtapati. 
Maybe Bhodendral who lived during the 17th century was inspired by Jayadeva who lived in the 12th century and his poetic genius !
Bhagyalakshmi had chosen Jayadeva’s 19th Ashtapati set in Mukhari Ragam. Jayadeva like Purandaradasa has not left behind any notations or rather maybe nothing pertaining to that was discovered. These were people who were driven by Bhakti and had no ambition or care to record anything. Therefore, one has the liberty to sing it in a Ragam of their choice. But in the case of Ashtapathis, they were set to tune by Marudanallur   Sadhguru Swamigal one of the Trinities in the field of Sampradaya Bhajan. 

The students of Ganapriya followed the demands of Sampradaya Bhajan, which requires that the preshlokas of each set of Ashtapati and the post shlokas to be sung which the children followed. As the name implies each Ashtapati is a set of 8 verses, most often each verse having about 2 lines and needless to say, each Ashtapati being a gem in itself. 
So if today we are able to enjoy these gems , much credit goes to  Jayadeva, Bhodendral, Maruthanallur Swamigal and every singer who has brought it to us like the these youngsters of Ganapriya school. 

The clarity & confidence the youngsters lent to the rendering deserves mention. This could not have been possible without the encouragement of their parents & teacher who has also painstakingly taught them the nuances of a remarkable composition such as the Ashtapati. 
Another rendering was Thygaraja Swamy’s ‘Jaya Jaya Sri Raghurama’ in Ragam Mangala Kaushiki. Such a beautiful name for a beautiful Ragam, this is what our music is all about. All these names lend life to these Ragams as if they are human beings ! 

The children took turns to lead the songs, one of them being Shreepada Raya’s ‘Nanda Nandana Pahi’ in Ragam Maand.   The Virutham here was ‘Sundara Kara’ in the same Ragam. I could notice that each of the Virutham were specifically chosen for the songs. 
Now while Bhajan is very common in the North of India, here the Ganapriya students chose to sing Surdas’s composition ‘Gopi Gopala Bala’ in Ragam Gamanshramam.  
Kabir Das was not left out and his composition ‘Hari Bolo’ was the next. 

Today the Abhang has become a part of every concert. Here a rare Tukaram Abhang on Ganga Mayya and a very popular Abhang composed by Bhanudas ‘Dhanya Dhanya’ we’re presented. Bhanudas incidentally was the great grandfather of Eknath and probably Eknath’s inspiration too. 

A Sai Bhajan ‘Nacho Nacho’ was started with an apt Virutham ‘Krupa Samudram’ in Ragam Hamsanandi. 
These kids definitely need mention Priya Ashwin, Ashwin Suresh, Akshara Ashok, Ashrith Narayan and Ananya Ranganayaki. The youngsters were so good that it prompted me to find out their names, because who knows they maybe the future stars of Carnatic Music. 

About the Author:

Sandhya Shankar belongs to a well respected business family in Chennai. She is a Life Skills & Corporate Trainer by profession. She is an avid reader and a natural writer, who has written several poems and articles. She even presented her poems as a reading at the British council. She has keen interest in all art forms  and has explored many different forms of painting like stained glass and Tanjore being among them. 

Music being her first passion, she had her formal training under Terakotti Chandrasekharaiah at Bangalore and later briefly under Mrs Champa Kumar. She is a regular visitor of concerts, theatre and other live performances. Her witty reviews have gained a loyal and interactive readership for their sound technical commentary and relevance for every kind of melophile, from the casual-goer to the ragam expert, frequenting Chennai’s rich music scene.

(*The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of Music of Madras.) 

Garga Sudha Rasa - Sunil R.Gargyan

Garga Sudha Rasa The nice thing about watching concerts online is that I have managed to listen to a few artistes whose name...