Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Time to wrap up!

It is time to wrap up our coverage of Season 2014 and move on.
While a few sabhas continue with dance and music concerts, the zing has fizzled out and people are back to daily life and music and dance on a good weekend!

Nalli Chinnaswamy Chetti hosted his annual high coffee party where awards were given too every artistes who was decorated with awards by various sabhas.

Many rasikas have made plans to head to the Thyagaraja aradhana at Thiruvaiyaru in Thanjavur since it falls this week, close to the season.

For us, the season did not seem too exciting. Rather, it seems to be sliding into a pedestrian routine save for some great concerts. Sabhas need to rethink and to present the season smartly.

Hope to see you all back in December 2015.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Useful brochure for dancers

This is a smartly designed brochure that classical dancers must possess - the brochure published for the Natya Kala Conference curated by dancer Swapna Sundari for Sri Krishna Gana Sabha.

The conference asked select dancers to focus on one character they had explored as an artiste and present the character on stage. 'Knowing Again' was the conference theme.
The brochure carries a gist of all characters explored and a bio-note on each participant.

Anupama Kylash co ordinated the contents and Aalaap helped produce this brochure in Chennai. The sabha should have copies now. Grab one.

No percussions please. T M Krishna in concert.

T M Krishna's morning concert at Krishna Gana Sabha on 23rd Dec. at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha was unique and as has now come to be expected, unpredictable. He had no percussion that day for his concert ( no kutcheris for him please ). No mridangam, no khanjira, no ghatam and no moharsing. Just he and his conscience keeper R K Sriram Kumar on the violin. And of course the thamburas. 

For someone who staunchly vouched for thanis during his erstwhile kutcheris, even asking rasikas stepping out for coffee breaks during thanis to sit back, it being an important constituent of kutcheris or so he used to announce, this was more than a huge surprise. 

But surprises have come to be part and parcel of TMKs concerts these days haven't they?. So what next ? Who knows violin could be the next victim, and it could well be TMK and TMK alone some day soon ! 

Sabhas should be the last ones to complain as he is helping them bring down the cost of accompanying artists, however small, having already denied them their legitimate dues to ticket his concerts, by insisting his concerts are to be free and free only. A ploy TMK has adopted for his concerts, ONLY during the Music Season for last three years. 

TMK's so-called innovations apparently have no limits ! 


- By N. Srikumar 

Charumathi Ramachandran's one-day fest on Jan.1

Vocalist Charumathi Ramachandran's music academy is hosting a one-day concert and lec-dem series at Arkay Centre, Luz on January 1. This is open to all. Here is the schedule --

9 -10 30 AM- CHARUMATHI RAMACHANDRAN - NEW JAVALI CREATION 

10-30 - 1200 NOON : ARUN KAUSHIK - (CHICAGO) - DIS. OF CHARUMATHI-VOCAL ;RAVI SRINIVASAN-  (NEW YORK) VIOLIN ,MRIDANGAM

12-00 -  1 30 ; ASHWIN SRIKANT (SAN JOSE ) - DIS. OF CHARUMATHI,RAVI SRINIVASAN  VIOLIN,ARJUN--(ATLANTA)- MRIDANGAM 

3-00  - 4-30 ; JANANI RAMACHANDRAN (DALLAS)-VOCAL.SRUTHI SARATHY  (SAN JOSE ) VIOLIN,VIVEK(SAN JOSE) MRIDANGAM 

4-30  - 6 p.m. - SANGEET NATAK AKADEMI AWARDEE, LAKSHMI VISWANATHAN , BHARATNATYAM - LEC DEM; SPECIAL  SCREENING  OF HER FILM ON DANCE

6 PM ---  AWARDS  FUNCTION 


 6- 45 PM - CEYLON KARUNAKARAN   VOCAL , SHYAM RAVI SHANKAR- VIOLIN,SAI -NIVA EITHAN  - MRIDANGAM (AUSTRALIA) Vocalist

Season's star - Abhishek Raghuram

Abhishek Raghuram is clearly the star of this December Season. His fans kept growing, excited and gushing. Lots of young ones in the audience. They did not miss even his fringe events. And lots is written on his music and concerts on social media. 

Says D. Gopalakrishan, "He is full of energy and so audience are also electrified. Abhishek Raghuramukku drishti chuthi podungo."

But there are others who have counter-points. Said Frenchwoman Chantal who lives in Chennai for three months at this time of the year," Abhishek's mastery is great and he is talented but the musicality…the bhava of the music does not touch you..at times, I feel his music lies too heavy on me."

<< What do your think? Share comments here or mail to - kutcheribuzz@gmail.com


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Two generations, four feet!

Brahma Gana Sabha presents from Jan.1 onwards a dance featuring parent-child dancer duos. 
Revathi Ramachandran and Manaswini, Geeta Chandran and Sharanya, Gayatri Kannan and Mahati, Nandini Ramani and Sushama, Jayanthi Subramaniam and Sumitra, Prof. C V Chandrasekar and Manjari besides others.

At Sivagami Petachi Auditorium, Alwarpet. On till Jan.12.

Musical touch to New Year welcome

Carnatica carried on with its unique New Year eve musical party - getting dozens of artistes to take part in mass singing at the Music Academy 11 p.m. onwards on Dec.31.
The idea was to give an ethnic touch to ushering the new year - many young artistes were seen on stage.

Dance writer-critics honoured

The five-day Natya Kala Conference's valedictory event was held on Dec.31 morning at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, T. Nagar. 

Senior dancer Yamini Krishnamurthy was the chief guest. Awards were given to writer-critics Sunil Kothari, Lakshmi Venkataraman and Nandini Ramani.

Dancer Swapna Sundari was the convener of the conference. It was held over five mornings and the theme ' Looking Again', allowing artistes who presented papers to re-look at characters who have dominated themes in classical dance.


As was the case with Natya Darshan, the attendance of dance students was small.

An evening with fans of K J Yesudoss. in North Madras.

The skies were overcast, the Marina looked a ghostly blue-black and LED lights of pavement-side bunk shops told us were in Park Town ( those who do not know their city too well will have to be told that Park Town is an area around the High Court in north Madras.)
Sunday  breaks the maddening, chaotic buzz of this retail market zone of the city. We were headed to Raja Annamalai Manram campus, a art deco building bathed in illumination for its December season fest of Thamizh isai.
The early evening concert of Saswathi Prabhu was on inside. In the crowded lobby people queued at the old-styled ticket sales counter. The evening's big show was a concert of K. J. Yesudoss. Tickets were priced at Rs.150 and Rs.250. The former was sold out. There were a few seats for the latter and people grabbed them hastily.
It was evident that many were here to listen to Yesudoss. They were his fans and they were animated. There were families, elders, children and yuppies. Some of them time-passed by checking out the CDs on sale in the foyer.
We took in the vintage architecture and teak fittings, the busts and the Hall of Fame boards. Dandapani Desigar led the honors. The list ended with this year's awardee - Sirkazhi Siavchidambaram.
As the cars streamed in fans craned their necks - would they get to see their idol? A drizzle had begun, and the lights created a Christmassy feel to the campus.
This is the only surviving performing arts body in north Chennai which hosts a music/dance fest for the 'season'. Today, it stands in a neighborhood that has changed. The wholesale markets, the High Court, the colleges are still there but there are no residential colonies. The rasikas who attend concerts here come from Mannady and Royapuram, from Perambur and Avadi.
Arumugham is one among them. He tells us of a Yesudoss concert he attended in Thiruvallur some years ago and of his favorite Yesudoss songs. "I hope he sings one of them today!," he adds.
The house is full save for the VIP and donor seats in the first five front rows. The curtains part at 7.15 and the artistes on stage - Mahadeva Sharma, Trichy Harikumar and Vaikkom Gopalakrishnan besides Yesudoss - get a huge round of applause. Then there is silence.
The music takes over.
Around the musicians' platform are dozens of students of music at the college that is also run on this campus.
After the first song Yesudoss turns to them and then to the audience. "We have a wealth of music or forefathers have given us. We must know how to make use of it."
Every song is acknowledged with a huge round of applause. The audio levels are a tad high and the music resounds a bit harshly, but the rasikas soak in it. They have a warm applause for Mahadeva Sharma, in top form this evening.
Yesudoss is in an expansive mood. He reassures his mridangist after stopping midway in a  song as the sruti misbehaves. He explains a raga to the audience. He nods at a rasika who is anxious to make a request early in the recital.
And when he glides into the far end of the recital the requests come thick from all corners. A song on Sri Ayyappa. One on Jesus. Another on Sabarimala. One on Muruga.
And 'Alaipayuthey'. The fans are delirious. They stand up and applaud.
It is 10.15.
"He will not end..he will go on," says a fan behind us.
Yesudoss does. And at 10.25 folds his hands.
"I will sing the other requests next year," he says.
The audience stands to applaud. Others rush out to catch the star leave the chamber at the rear.
It has been raining steady this Sunday evening. Outside and inside.

It has been a long time since we felt the spirit of Yesudoss' fans.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Lec-dem on 'sangatis' / some notes made at the Academy

The panel discussion on ‘Sangatis in Trinity’s compositions' at the Academy was headed by guru P. S. Narayanaswamy and the participants were Suguna Varadachari, A. Kanyakumari, Ritha Rajan, R.S. Jayalakshmi and Charumathi Ramachandran.
Here are some points jotted at this lec-dem - made by the participants -

- Saint Thyagaraja’s krithis had more sangathis. Dikshithar and Shyma Sastri used less number of sangathis.

- The original krithis should have had only a few sangathis depending on the bhava, mood and the situation. A song where the composer is pleading with God should have one or two plain sangatis to enhance the depth and clarity.

- Saint Thyagaraja, while composing extempore, would have given only few sangatis. His disciples later while notating would have added many more. Thyagaraja has in few krithis, has given the entire arohana/ avarohana in one sangati itself.

- Sangatis also depend on the scope of the raga. For example - yadukulakambodi  can have only limited sangatis. Aahiri and ganda cannot have sangatis.

- Some sangatis will suit the sahithya and some will depend on the style of singing of the vaggeyakara.

- T V Gopalakrishnan observed that 'performance is an art.  Saint Thyagaraja has composed many songs and also operas. Why would we assume that he would not have put sangatis while composing them. A performer can sing the same sangati in 4 different ways. Guru T. M. Thyagarajan was an expert in that . . .A performer is an artiste and he per she can have the liberty to innovate and employ sangatis according to his manodharma."


- Report by V. Vasantha.

Plan for 2015 Thyagaraja Aradhana

The annual Thyagaraja Aradhana will be held from January 6 to 10, 2015 at the saint-composer's samadhi in Thiruvaiyaru, near Thanjavur. The gosti singing of the composer's famed pancharatna kritis will be on Jan.10, 9 a.m. onwards.

From day one, teams of artistes offer their musical tribute on a  stage opposite the samadhi - the short concerts run from 6 am to midnight.

Make your plans now!

Canteen Art

The canteen run by Mount Catering at Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha's venue has a nice feature. The painted portraits of all the top ranking Carnatic music artistes. This is a nice effort and pleasing to the eye of the diner.

- Reported by C. S. Baskar