Monday, 31 December 2018

Sanjay the Star

He is perhaps the star of the Season. And beyond. Sanjay Subrahmanyan clearly made the biggest impact with his music at all the venues he performed this December.

Starting with a special themed 'Thamizhum Nanum' concert that was sold out in early December, his concerts ran to packed houses, with fans admitting his music brought tears to their eyes.

As arts promoter and historian R. Lalitharam posted online -
'Not often you can give something to the musician who brings so much joy through his/her music, except thanking him. Today I could give a small token of my appreciation to Vid. Sanjay Subrahmanyan for the truly wonderful Kosalam that he tuned and presented. I could give him the calendar featuring his illustrious guru. ..'

The SS fans group follows him from sabha to sabha; and he acknowledges them after the show. Posing for photos, signing and listening to their warm words.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Padma Sugavanam's Season delivery

The smartest online flyer must be the one which vocalist Padma Sugavanam posted recently. It is featured here.

Padma's name did not figure on festival schedules - because she was in 'the family way' and delivered a child just as the Season unfolded.

So she put out this cheeky flyer.

Lectures attract fairly large audiences

Must The Music Academy shift its morning lectures to the main hall and switch the 9 a.m.concerts to the mini hall?

Some diehard attendees at the lec-dems think so.
Some sessions at the mini hall have seen people spilling out though these have been few this Season.
Also, some 9 a.m. concerts at the main auditorium see sparse attendance.

Lec-dems of Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha at its wedding hall venue also get sustained attendance.

One birdie says there's more drama than lecture at some lec-dems.

Creating stages outside sabha halls

Dancer and guru Roja Kannan is hosting a festival at Sri Kapali Temple, Mylapore.

The intent - to provide a stage to her young, talented sishyas who have not got many opportunities to perform. Especially during the margazhi season.
Dec.28 to 30, two concerts daily 6 pm onwards.

Many others with similar intent host concerts in spaces they can grab - small halls or temple campuses.

Nobody is using terrace spaces yet - though the Mylapore Trio host motta-madi kutcheris now and then.

Ah! The weather affects artistes

The weather is severe on artistes, especially on vocalists. Some have had to call off their concerts. 

The latest - the popular Rajani-Gayatri sisters. Earlier, Gayathri Venkataraghavan and Abhishek Raghuram cancelled their concerts.

Monday, 24 December 2018

Evergreen favourite; Yesudoss

He is the evergreen favourite. A vocalist who is what film distributors would call minimum guarantee - that is, assure you a close to a full house. And he has fans to this day. That is K. J. Yesudoss.
Sabhas still want to decorate him - recently he was given an award by Brahma Gana Sabha with the vice-president of India doing the honors.
And all his concerts this far have sold out.

At Chennai Cultural Academy, the Karnataka Sangha hall in T. Nagar's Habibullah Road was packed - must have held over 1000 people.

Tickets were sold out well before that evening's concert.
And after the main course, as Yesudoss launched into the thukkadas, his fans, standing up, after each piece gave their suggestions; he mulled over them, a bit like an actor, said a few words that evoked low laughter and the song was on. And when  it was over, a big round of applause - Malayalam, Sanskrit, Thamizh……he offered what he could till the clock struck 9.15.

The fans rushed to the front , clicked pictures and little ones stepped on the stage and posed. Then they crowded around his car.
Through many Seasons, Yesudoss has commanded a big attendance. And he vibes well with his rasikas.

< For concert schedules of leading artistes, do to the Guide Book posted online at

How does Ghatam Karthick manage his 50-plus concerts?

Ghatam Karthick is a kind of rock star on the sabha circuit. Besides playing in a few dozen concerts, he shares his stage experiences on his FB page and connects with fans and rasikas.
We chatted with Karthick on his Season's experience

- How many concerts this Season?
About 50 concerts

- How do you play alongside such a variety of artistes?
I go with the flow of the co-artistes by imbibing and observing their style, patterns and presentation

- How do you manage this hectic season?
by keeping my mind calm and taking adequate rest.

- How does the family come in?
They are very helpful. They understand my hectic schedule and compliment me in all sides.

- The son is also busy now?
Yes. Sarvesh performs with me in my Heartbeat concerts. He puts in lot of effort to perform at the highest level. He also adds on a lot of innovative things to present our pieces in a more contemporary style and form.

- You seem very positive despite the hectic days . .
I get lot of happiness by openly appreciating the goodness in others. I don't expect anything from them. I try to spread positivity. That's all.

- How do you unwind?
I do lot of other things besides music which keeps me refreshed. 

Film songs, intelligent humour, have good, tasty food and good sound sleep helps me a lot.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Scouting for talent, connecting with patrons

The Season brings all kinds of people.
Senior arts promoter Krishnamurthy is from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. He is part of the team of Sree Nilakanta Sivan Sangeetha Sabha.

The sabha runs a 12-day concert fest and has the stars and the young featured on stage - every year in July.
We met him at a sabha canteen, where he was meeting artistes and sabha heads.

"Our budget is big and finding sponsors is tough but we carry on somehow," he said.

And he is keen to spot some great talent here.

Nomad sabha's new worry

The managers of Indian Fine Arts Society ( IFAS) now has its festival at a kalyana mantap on TTK Road, Alwarpet. They have moved from place to place from their origin on Thambu Chetty Street in George Town, once the heart of Madras and hence, also of music patrons, rasikas and artistes.

But now comes a worry - the Chennai Metro Rail line proposed for the future will run down below the road where the mantap is located and will need a slice of the compound. 

The hall though will not be affected. Parking will be.

Sabha's newsletter

Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha has brought back its newsletter for the Season. Edited by R. Revathi and Sivakumar, the colour four-pager provides news, buzz and reviews of the sabha's events.

The first issue was circulated at the sabha's fest launch - on Sunday.

Good idea this!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Action in south Chennai

South Chennai rasikas have aplenty nowadays.
A music fest held in Indira Nagar just got over and Hamsadhwani's fest, featuring mostly NRI artistes will roll soon at the Youth Hostel here.

In Thiruvanmiyur, Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha and CarnaticWorld, promoted by Shashikiran rolls out a fest from Dec.15 to 25 at Sri Sankara School, Thiruvanmiyur. Concerts start early in the evening with some young and NRI artistes featured and the main show at 7 p.m. ( this alone is ticketed). Contact - 94440 18269.

On the other side of this area,  Kalakshetra's fest is on from Dec.20 to Jan.2, 2019. Ticketed. All the Rukmini Devi-curated Ramayana series of dance drama are being staged this year. Call 9444018908 for tickets ( can be booked in advance).

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Jugalbandhi of chitra veena and violin artistes

Perhaps for the first time, women artistes playing on the chitra veena and on the violin performed in a jugalbandi concert – this happened on Dec.11 afternoon for the Trinity Arts Fest in Chennai.
Vocalist and instrumentalist Bhargavi Balasubramaniam played the chitra veena alongside senior violinist Dr. M Narmadha in a jugalbandi.
The concert was at R.R Sabha, Mylapore
“Murali Raghavan, the festival convener organised our combination. We met and practised only for 45 minutes and the rest we improvised on stage. Since the chitra veena is different its a challenge for me,” said Bhargavi after the concert.
“Chitra veena and violin go together very well. Chitra veena has no depressions so the artiste has to push the strings carefully. One has to be very clear and smart. Bhargavi, being a student of guru N.Ravikiran does an extraordinary job every time,” says Murali Raghavan.
  • Report and photo by J. Dheepthi