Friday, 30 November 2012

Senior vidwans club . .

This was like an old boys club evening get-together. But you wouldn't want to blame it on them.
When a group of the senior most vidwans meet and half of them are guests on stage, you would expect the event to be less formal and easy going.

This is what happened at the launch of a music fest that percussionist Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam that opened this evening at Arkay Centre in Luz.

T N Krishnan always has anecdotes to share, now in his grandfatherly style though he needs some prompting. He shared a few and then let the formal get informal as the vidwans prompted and joked.

It was an evening to honour R Krishnaswamy, a senior sabha promoter who directs Narada Gana Sabha, a sabha which first started with events on the YMIA campus in Luz, not far from this evening's venue, a sabha which purchased land in an area in south Madras which was fields and scrub in Alwarpet and built the premises that it is today.

Good to watch was the pre-event concert - by Bhakatavatsalam's sishyas. They looked cute in their veshtis.

Going over  to Arkay also allowed me to slip into the Bombay Halwa House for a snack; their samosas are good. So are their chapatis and sabji. And the sweets. Drop in here is you are at Arkay for the season's concerts. And share your experience too!

Saturday opening

Two music and dance fests start on Saturday.

A mela of Bharat Kalachar where the focus is on seniors and the young.  And the formal of Kartik Fine Arts.

If you are at these events, click some great sidelight pictures and blog/ mail them.

Tech and the season . . .

More and more artistes are using social media and Internet applications to promote their events this season. Which is good.

Four dancers presenting the 'Na Maargam' dance production have created a simple visual promo and posted it on YouTube.

Some young vocalists are creating the buzz on FaceBook.

But others stick to the basics on a personal computer. A Kartik Fine Arts sabha team member says their schedule design was delayed because the operator went on leave for a day.

One wishes we could coax all sabhas to file their season schedules into a common application that could go live in October.

Anyway, if you are aware of artistes using great apps this season, share the story here!

A fest hosted by Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam

Percussionist Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam launches his version of the season fest this evening. And it runs for 5 days. From Nov.30 to Dec.4.

All the top line artistes are featured here. And there are awards for some senior artistes and one to R Krishnaswamy, secretary, Narada Gana Sabha.

The concerts are open to all. At Arkay Convention Centre, Luz. Opposite Viveks store.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Illustrations and doodles

We must say ' thank you' to Dr. R Chandrasekaran, a resident of Raja Annamalaipuram in our city.

This emeritus professor at  Dr MGR Medical University also reaches out to this neighbourhood. He publishes a Health Guide, sometimes a Music & Heath Guide. With its list of local clinics, doctors and useful contacts besides articles and snippets and Vikatan style cartoons and jokes, the books are valued.

We located some colourful illustrations in these books and one such is what you see on the header of this blog.

It is also the image on the cover of the KutcheriBuzz Music Guide for Season 2012.

What do you think of this image? Share your comment.

We know of at least one man who doodles furiously at the sabhas. Do you?
This blog also accepts great doodles and pictures. Carry your pencils and smartphones to the kutcheris.

Rotary hosts Parallel Music Fest

There is this Rotary Club with its own little signature for the 'season;.
It hosts a music series featuring the less abled.

This has been happening for some years now.
Today, its invite was on our table.

Rotary Club of Madras Coromandel, along with some campus clubs will host the Parallel Fest on Dec.3 at the mini hall at Music Academy.

This is a special occasion for guru P P Ramakrishnan, vocalist, violinist, musician and musicologist of the old school who is now based in Chennai. The Club will decorate him.

Present will be Sangita Kalanidhi-designate Trichur V Ramachandran. Also, PPR's contemporary, T N Krishnan.  Dr Gayatri Sankaran will present a vocal concert.

Open to all. Drop in. 4.50 pm onwards.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Dance tribute to Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy

Krithika Subramaniam, dancer and architect is experiencing a wave of emotions.
From her Mylapore base, she is overseeing the final touches to a dance production titled
- Na Maargam - Knot the Path.

She says this is a tribute to her guru - Prof. Sudharani Raghupathy on completing 65 years in the field of classical dance.

The production is based on her guru's choreography, her son KSR Anirudha's creative inputs including the soundscape and features 4 dancers - Krithika, Priya Murle, and Prabha and Priya Dixit, ( seen above) all sishyas of this guru who lives on Luz Church Road, Alwarpet.

There are 2 shows - a premiere on Dec.5 at The Music Academy and on Dec.19 at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Here is a promo on YouTube -

How about a December Season launch?

This is an idea that has done the rounds now and then.
But little attention is paid to it. At least, the enthusiasm to it is minimal.

One suggestion is that the Federation of Sabhas in Chennai could host it.
Another is that the state must play this role.

Perhaps, a snappy, grand event at a unique venue. A guest list that includes artistes, managers, sponsors, business honchos and others from the arts and film community. Also, reps of foreign missions here. And a nice buffet of 'tiffin'.

The Season has generated interest all on its own. It has never been seen as a key event with great tourism potential.

So when the city is hosting what is perhaps a unique, great music fest of the kind not seen in the world, many residents and tourists are ignorant of it.

What does it take for one corporate which funds a sabha and one creative team to do the simplest - design and pin posters and circulate small booklets on the December Season.

Anybody to take it from here?

3 events. With Anil's grand piano

Pianist Anil Srinivasan finishes a concert in Singapore with Sikkil Gurucharan and a very talented Singaporean and shares the experience online.
We catch him here.

The sabha schedules that feature him mention about the piano.
Yes, it will be the grand piano that he will play, he confirms.

Anil's offer is called 'Festival Of Parallels'.

He says this fest is an effort to bring in different worldviews in music to the already vibrant December festival.

The Dec. 9 act has Navin Iyer, Vedanth Bharadwaj and Anusha Pradeep and Aditya Srinivasan (Tabla).

He then plays with violinist G J R Krishnan. And has one concert with veena artiste Jayanthi Kumaresh.

Here is his note, of explanation - Every performance consists of a format that will comprise narrative (Anil Srinivasan), explanations (all artists) as well as performances of classical repertoire from different streams. In the event with Lalgudi G J R Krishnan, American classical music and the music of Lalgudi Jayaraman are compared, contrasted and performed together.

In the event with Jayanthi Kumaresh, the music of Bach and Muthuswamy Dikshitar are similarly performed. In the opening event – the Hindustani, Carnatic and Western classical streams are explored in equal measure.

Details are at

Monday, 26 November 2012

In-demand guest; Gopalkrishna Gandhi

The man in demand to star at inaugurations or finales in Chennai?
Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Chairman of Kalakshetra and former governor of West Bengal who now resides in south Chennai.

An invite from Sruthi Laya Kendra, run by mridangam guru Karaikudi Mani just landed on our table at KutcheriBuzz. The Kendra presents a two-day music fest on Dec.8 and 9 at Asthiga Samajam, Alwarpet.

Gandhi is the chief guest. If there is one good reason why he is in demand is because he prepares his speech, packs it with anecdotes, peppers it with some poetic lines and winds up on time.

Guru Mani charges Rs.30 at the gate and all for a cause. Collections go to fund a aged, senior artiste. If you want to make a donation, you are welcome.

By the way, guru Mani's collaboration with the Australian Art Orchestra for The Hindu's November Festival which just got over here was probably the best in that genre. Mani had Suresh, Balasai and U P Raju by his side.

Natya Sastra in a Nutshell: talk on Dec.1. Sign in.

Dr Pappu Venugopala Rao speaks on “Natya Sastra in a Nutshell” on Saturday, December 1, 2012. This is a South India Heritage Programme and the 172nd event
The talk will be from 9.30 a.m to 11 a.m.
The venue : The TAG Centre, 69, T.T.K. Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018 ( opposite Sankara Hall, where all the sales happen!).

Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao, 64, is a scholar, poet, musicologist, Sanskritist and dance expert. He has three masters degrees in literature (Telugu, English, Sanskrit) two doctorates and a gold medal in business management
He is the author of some 20 books. He has hosted lots of workshops on Natya Sastra in India and abroad.

Phone TAG: 2467 2741 / 2742 to sign in your attendance.
Expect more such talks from TAG during the season

Aruna Sairam at BVB; fringe notes

Reported by V. Vasantha. Photo by R Saravanan

Vocalist Aruna Sairam was to perform at the 6.45 pm slot at BVB on Nov.24. This was her first for the 'season'.

People started occupying the seats 4.30 pm onwards  At 5, pandit Janardan Mitta started his sitar concert.   The hall was almost full by then and the gates were closed.

At 6, there was a steady outflow of people to the washrooms.  The gatekeeper stopped them from going out saying the seat and re-entry were not guaranteed. But some took the risk. But this was indeed a tricky situation.

By 6.50 people settled down for Aruna, but the curtain got stuck and the artistes on the stage could be seen only partly. The mridangam and ghatam artistes started a gentle  thani to amuse the rasikas  while Aruna hummed a Kalyani note which she later handled as the main raga.  Once the curtain was fixed, the concert ran to a packed audience.

These free concerts can pose issues, especially when seniors contribute to the audience strength.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Jayanthi Kumaresh concert; BVB

Malini Shankar blogged this from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Nov.23

Jayanti Kumaresh started her recital with Siva Siva in Pantuvarali. Many artistes seem to drift away from the usual varnam and Ganesa stuti !

Jayanti’s next song was Tillai Sabhaptikku making me wonder if the day had anything to do with Lord Shiva or was this to do with the proximity to Kapaleeswara Temple.

Hemalatha's daughter: sharing the stage

V. Vasantha’s report on Nov.22 from Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

At the Mambalam Sisters’ concert today, there was a little girl sitting behind the duo and keenly observing the proceedings.   She is Krishnapriya, daughter of Hemalatha, the violinist. She is learning both vocal and violin from her mother.

Krishnapriya told us later that she is a 5th standard student studying in Jaigopal Garodia, West Mambalam.

This was the first occasion when she shared the stage with her mother and aunts. She knew all the songs they sang and  was applying the thalam (misra chapu) when the thani was going on.
The picture was taken when the mom-daughter duo were coming out after the kutcheri.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Silks, panchangam calendars and Bombay rassa puri!

Kanchipuram silks and Ramraj veshtis. They line the people who make a festival's opening evening colourful. This is the case at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's first evening in Mylapore.

It is also an occasion to connect with some people.

Communications expert V S Ramana introduces us to the exhibition of panchangam calendars on the first floor of BVB. The show also displays the late S Rajam's works of art. Ramana is with L&T and the show and the art works on display have been funded by L&T.

K R Ramaswamy, the man who makes the BVB run is happy the launch has gone off well. A rasika with him wonders why only samosas and tea is being sold at a corner. He was looking for a canteen!
"When I get the best tiffin outside BVB why put up a canteen!" exclaims Ramaswamy.

Outside, the illuminated BVB building stands out in the dark November night. The Met man has promised a second spell of rains this monsoon season but the clouds haven't arrived; a drizzle is all we receive.

I keep my place at Karpagambal Mess and order for onion uthappam. The steward tempts us with Bombay rassa puri!

A board here provides a schedule of the deepam fest at Thiruvannamalai. Just days earlier the Soorasamharam spectacle had been staged on the mada veedhis here!

December Season in November! Why not?

December 1 used to be the launch date of the famed December Season. Informally and to coincide with the inauguration of the festival of Kartik Fine Arts, a Mylapore-based sabha.

Not any more. December Season now rolls from November and for obvious reasons!

We are headed on November 21 evening to the Sri Kapali Temple zone, Mylapore. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is to launch its fest. I am hungry as I leave office in Alwarpet and give the go-by for the corner Juice Shop ( a huge hangout in this part of town) for tiffin at Karpagambal Mess. I have to give that up too - there isn't much time.

BVB always gets a full house on opening evening. Makes for a warm inauguration.

Vocalist Ashok Ramani is at my side in Row 4. As the awards are given to Aruna Sairam and Ganesh-Kumaresh, violinists he rewinds to the time, over a decade ago when he was given a cash prize of Rs.10,000 with the Isai Peroli title by Kartik Fine Arts.

Today, the rewards are better.

This evening's top awards, donated by Preetha and Vijaykumar Reddy in remembrance of Obul Reddy and Gnanambal included one lakh rupees in cash.

Preetha Reddy, guest at the event said it very nicely. That she and her husband were embarrassed when their names were mentioned as donors. She said they were just a channel and that honouring artistes was a part of giving.