Anthara Gandhara (G3) Venkatraghavan - Gayathri Venkataraghavan

Anthara Gandhara (G3) Venkatraghavan

It’s become a rarity to come across a musician who perceives Carnatic music more as an art than as a career, or a pathway to fame. And here was one such musician who gave us a lovely evening filled with pure music and devotion.

Her first song was a famous Pancharatna Krithi composed by Saint Thyagaraja in Ragam Arabhi ‘Sadinchine O Manasa’ set to Adi Thalam. It’s common knowledge that Thyagaraja’s Ishta Devata was Rama and almost all his compositions were revolving around him. This song starts in a playful tone about Lord Krishna where Devaki, Vasudeva and Yashoda are mentioned. There is no excess of adjectives to describe Krishna but he used metaphors & similies instead, making it a rich tapestry of words. He refers to Krishna as one who is ever attractive to the Gopikas and as a contrast in the 6th charanam he refers to Rama as Raghuvamsa tilaka, one who is a brother to all women not related to him. The lyrics ‘Samayaniki Thagu Mataladene’ is s…

Tamizhikkum Sanjayendru Per - Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Tamizhikkum Sanjayendru Per

There has always been a clamour for Tamil language and for it being the identity of people of Tamil Nadu by all politicians who want to use Tamizh(not Tamil) as a tool to fulfill their political aspirations. All politicians are fighting to keep Hindi from entering the borders of Tamil Nadu, in order to preserve and protect Tamizh language while their own children and grandchildren go to the most expensive & best International Schools where Tamizh is neither the medium of instruction nor is it a part of the syllabus!

For sometime now, one of our best Carnatic musicians Sanjay Subrahmanyan has this exclusive Tamizh concert where he sings only Tamizh compositions. It’s a fitting tribute to this city which has nurtured Carnatic Music and all those marvellous compositions by several well known & lesser known Tamizh poets waiting to be exhibited.
Sanjay had sung on a similar format for Shubhashree Thanikachalam’s ‘Marghazhi Maha Utsavam’ for about 18 years (…

SHANTI SUTRA by Kalakshetra - Kalakshetra Foundation

SHANTI SUTRA by Kalakshetra

Last year since it was the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Kalakshetra Foundation presented a special production called ‘ShantiSutra’ as a tribute to not only the Mahatma but also Rukmini Arundale the founder of Kalakshetra. This year Kartik Fine Arts presented this at Narada Gana Sabha yesterday and I got an opportunity to watch it.

Both these individuals Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and Rukmini Arundale were huge influencers of their time. They were determined in their respective missions and passionate about their work. They had lofty ideas and some even wondered how realistic these ideas and they surely would have faced their share of criticism for their methodology like all leaders. If Mahatma’s dream for India’s freedom was the single purpose of his life then Rukmini Arundale’s dream of establishing or rather preserving the ethos, creativity, culture and tradition of India through art was her personal mission.

The dance drama brought these two v…

Sivanin Vijayam - N.Vijay Siva


Yes, it was a definite victory for Vijay Siva as he held a large audience captive at Narada Gana Sabha on 4th December for KARTIK Fine Arts. He was ably accompanied by Manoj Siva on mridangam, R.K.Shriramkumar on violin and Sunil Kumar on Kanjira. 
He started the concert with Saint Thyagaraja’s ‘Nenarunchara Na Pai Nichola ’ in Simhavahini Ragam. His swaraprastaram was very interesting. This ragam sounds so much like Sarasangi that one can get confused. I have found musicians entering into allied territories when they are singing the swara alapana but such was not the case with Vijay Siva who delivered it with classical purity.
Have you ever enjoyed a neat, pure, genuine, appropriate and  wholesome home cooked meal (although it may appear simple) more than a lavish 8 course meal with 380 odd items greasy and rich in calories  ???  I have often had this experience when I go to some wedding where there is an obscene display of wealth and it's all about making a statement…

Chanceyillai RaGa - Ranjani & Gayathri

Chanceyillai RaGa

This program happened on the 30th November this year and if I am writing about this after more than a week, it’s only because I have been busy, so busy, busier than the busiest artistes! Come November-December every year, a kind of disease strikes me. I have been in a state of anxiety, running around in a frenzied state from one sabha to the other, beginning every morning with planning my day like never before, and ending it completely exhausted. Isn’t this is also a kind of addiction?

This was a program organised by Times of India, who are doing everything in their capacity to eat into what is left of The Hindu’s loyal readership! Selling at half the price of The Hindu and yet not being a monopoly and understanding that the people of Chennai have strong likes such as their morning filter coffee with The Hindu and Carnatic music. They have a talent contest every year, and the prize winners of that will get an opportunity to sing before an elite audience who have actual…

Malladi (ous) Singing - Malladi Brothers

Malladi(ous) Singing - Malladi Brothers

There are many pairs of siblings who perform together. Among Indian classical music vocalists, some of my favourite pairs of brothers have been the Gundecha Brothers in the Dhrupad genre of Hindustani music, the Trichur Brothers and the Malladi Brothers.

It was Malladi Brothers in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on 29th November this year. They have their own loyal following, one among the audience was the Former Chief Minister of Karnataka S.M.Krishna. Not disappointing their fans, they started a majestic Varnam in Hamsadhwani by Mysore Vasudevachar ‘Vande Anisham Aham Varana’. Malladi Brothers are well known for their purity in singing and sticking to the grammar of Carnatic music. They don’t even try straying from the tradition.

Their next song was Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s ‘Kshitija Ramana’ in Ragam Devagandhari. The going was good till Ravikumar the younger brother missed a note and Devagandhari became ‘Asura’gandhari! Hope nobody googles to find out if s…

Racy and Klassy Murthy! - Ramakrishnan Murthy

Racy and Klassy Murthy!

In the past years, one name making the rounds, as someone to watch out for, in the Carnatic music field, has been this youngster , Ramakrishna Murthy.
I have also been attending his concerts year after year, and was greatly impressed with his steady growth. Listening to him again this year at Bharati Vidya Bhavan on 27th November, I was happy to see his progress in all aspects of the performance. His breath control, swarasthanam, depth in understanding in the ragam, infact the whole delivery was more than satisfactory !
His first song ‘Duddukku Gala’ in Ragam Gowla, which is one of the Pancharatana krithis of Saint Thyagaraja. It was so flawlessly sung also establishing why this pancharatna krithi is called a gem. His next song was one from Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s Navagraha krithis ‘Budham Ashrayami Satatam Suravinutam’ in Ragam Natakurinji. A well thought choice because the concert happened to be a Wednesday. These great composers have spared none or nothing ... t…