Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Carnatic Musicians
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Vmenon
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#1 Sanjay Subrahmanyan

Post by Vmenon » 20 Feb 2007, 11:49

Sanjay Subrahmanyam is one of those rare and complete performers whose concerts are the product of a lively and intelligent mind. His music has the high authority and purity of tradition and the creativity of an exceptionally gifted artist. His concerts, like those of the great musicians of the past, convey an air of freedom. They sang in the presence of an audience, but they sang for their music. The durability of their music lies partly in this strength of spirit that it embodies. Their joy in their music is a part of our enjoyment of it. Sanjay’s performances have this great attribute. He is visibly lost in his music, and takes us with him.

Today Sanjay sings with superb confidence. His repertoire is vast and varied, and he delights us with the unpredictability and newness of what he chooses to sing. The intensive and exhaustive elaboration of unconventional ragas, and those that are outside the major mainstream, is a unique feature of his concerts that brings out the best in him. His innovativeness is quite astounding, although he makes it seem so easy ! While maintaining the same high standard, no one concert of his is like another. He gives of his best each time. We hear in him a musician who has been learning continually, honing his craft and training his voice. He has the humility not to take his audience for granted and the discernment not to cater to any popular notion of music as primarily the outpouring of emotional or religious fervour.

The great artists of Carnatic music have always sought the infinite and taken us along with them in their quest and striving. The best among them today, like Sanjay, harmonize the wisdom and stabilizing influences of the past with their own artistic and intellectual creativity.

Sanjay's absence from the list of Vidwans and Vidushis on this website was, to say the least, conspicuous. Hopefully, this post will set off a string of responses about an artist who, otherwise is regularly and robustly covered.
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coolkarni
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#2

Post by coolkarni » 20 Feb 2007, 14:45

Sanjay's absence from the list of Vidwans and Vidushis on this website was, to say the least, conspicuous
Lots and lots of Concerts have been reviewed here on this website.

As far as this section goes, the absence is natural , given the fact that we are handicapped by not being able to use tracks to demonstrate a point.
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vijay
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#3

Post by vijay » 20 Feb 2007, 16:39

Menon sir, I am as ardent a fan of Sanjay as you seem to be and agree with most of your eloquent observations....but my understanding is that this thread is primarily meant for talking about, and listening to, vidwans who are either no longer with us, or no longer at their prime, or relatively unknown...happily, none of this applies to Sanjay which is probably why no one is in a hurry to start a thread on him...besides, as coolji points out, the fact that we are constrained from sharing his music.

That said, since the thread has been started, I do hope we get some interesting responses...
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mohan
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#4

Post by mohan » 20 Feb 2007, 17:21

vijay wrote:my understanding is that this thread is primarily meant for talking about, and listening to, vidwans who are either no longer with us, or no longer at their prime, or relatively unknown....
No I don't think that is the intent for these discussions. Any musician, past or present can certainly be discussed here. We just don't want recordings that may be subject to copyright posted. This is less likely to be an issue with musicians of yesteryear.

I would consider Sanjay as the leading male vocalist singing today. His vidwat is of the highest calibre, reportoire immense and is able to bring innovations in his concerts despite remaining within a strict classical framework.

As a person, Sanjay is very humble abouthis music, sticks to his principles and is quite willing to share his knowledge with others. Apart from music he is an avid fan of Indian cricket and Euro-style board gaming. His board game blog is at http://sanjaysub.wordpress.com/ and he also writes about cricket occasionally at http://i3j3cricket.wordpress.com/ Unfortunately, since the demise of sangeetham dot com we don't see his music articles anymore.
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rshankar
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#5

Post by rshankar » 20 Feb 2007, 17:56

I think Sanjay gets a lot of forum space in the kutcheri review section. We can only 'talk' about contemporary musicians, but can't really 'hear' them...that is the point Kji is making.
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coolkarni
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#6

Post by coolkarni » 20 Feb 2007, 18:55

Ravi
I was only trying to defend against an opinion that suggested that this website ignores a great artist , while the rest of the world covers him regularly and robustly.

Frankly this website does not aim to project anybody or a group of artists.Barring some threads like the Review section , most discussions are of the Volley and Smash mode.Someone tosses up an idea and the rest run under it to find ways of responding to it.
This is more in the nature of a tradition that has been built up over a period of time.
Now what do I do with this amazing video clip of a Todi alapana ?
Someone , please tell me fast before I put it back from where it came from..

:P:cool:
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vijay
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#7

Post by vijay » 20 Feb 2007, 19:23

Mohan thanks for ridding me of my mistaken impressions and for the blog links - passion for Board Games - like snakes and ladders you mean?! I had better check it out....
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chalanata
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#8

Post by chalanata » 20 Feb 2007, 20:04

i've actually participated in a discussion in the forum about sanjay's documentary; it is quite untrue that no dicussions were there about him.
sanjay in my opinion has to check the quality of his voice. the sanjay which i heard a few years is not the same as the one that we are hearing as of now. this i think is something relating to his weight and he has to keep a check on the same. his lung power seems to be affected because of the weight.
regarding posts in the forum a few members seem to enjoy only discussing literature without any adulteration of CM and many times it gives an impression that we are in a literary forum.
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rshankar
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#9

Post by rshankar » 20 Feb 2007, 20:04

Kji,
Put it back where it came from...:)
We do not want copyright police haunting us!
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rasam
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#10

Post by rasam » 21 Feb 2007, 07:24

One thing about Sanjay that I admire is that recently (past year or so) he has started singing ata thala varnams in different ragams. Nothing sets up a concert than to begin with a grand ata thala varnam.
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mohan
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#11

Post by mohan » 21 Feb 2007, 07:30

chalanata wrote:sanjay in my opinion has to check the quality of his voice. the sanjay which i heard a few years is not the same as the one that we are hearing as of now. this i think is something relating to his weight and he has to keep a check on the same. his lung power seems to be affected because of the weight.
The last time I heard Sanjay perform live (in August 06), his voice seemed better than it ever was and his lung capacity immense. In one stage of his Bhairavi alapana he held a single note for very long period (nadaswaram style) which sent the audience in raptures. He had also reduced his weight considerably.
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meena
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#12

Post by meena » 21 Feb 2007, 10:31

deleted
Last edited by meena on 27 Dec 2007, 03:36, edited 1 time in total.
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mohanam
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#13

Post by mohanam » 21 Feb 2007, 10:58

chalanata,

If over-weight and lung power were strongly corelated, Pavorotti, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Talat Mahmood, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, MLV, S. Janaki, Chitra, SPB, et al would not quite be the musicians they are/were. There are many other examples too. In general, I think it is much better to back opinions with either science or fact or observation.
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mohan
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#14

Post by mohan » 21 Feb 2007, 11:23

Meena - thanks for the link - was interesting to watch!
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Sam Swaminathan
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#15

Post by Sam Swaminathan » 21 Feb 2007, 13:29

My family and I have had the previlege of hosting Sri Sanjay with Nagai Murali in my house in Aug 06. Having observed him from close quarters, I can confidently say that Sanjay is a very interesting person, with very wide knowledge on many subjects in various areas, not restricted to music, has excellent taste in food and above all, has complete control over his body with rigerous exercises and controlled habits. He is a great artist with absolutely immense potential to greater heights. It was a pleasure to have spent a week with him enjoying his sense of humour along with some splendid music. My best wishes to him....Sam
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vijay
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#16

Post by vijay » 21 Feb 2007, 17:10

Thanks for the link Meena! Nice interview!

He certainly has slimmed down in the last couple of years - before that he was threatening to become a "gundu mama" - but now, in that interview, he actually looks like someone in his twenties...however, I vote for bringing the moustache back - it gives him a certain larger-than-life aura...

Excellent taste in food, huh - at least I have something in common with him!

I also agree with Mohan that his voice has gained a lot of strength in the last couple of years. When he started the Pantuvarali varnam at Rani Seethai Hall this season, I was overwhelmed by its sheer power...
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chalanata
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#17

Post by chalanata » 21 Feb 2007, 19:13

voice becomes resonant on greater control of breath. breath is pressured when weight increases. i do not want to comment about play back singers. their music is with intermittant gaps of interludes and the songs are well rehersed and sustituted with a repeated rendtion whereever there are flaws. the gasps are filtered and removed with the help of technology. sruti usually moves to lower octaves upon aging and increase in weight.
SPB was always singing in a psudo voice for very long years. the HM singers were managing with the accompaniments like a loud harmonium. even in such cases you can observe the difficulty faced by fat artisits. for example nasrat fateh ali khan.
it is my firm conviction that nadha is contributed by breath and not the voice. in other words it is not the blow of air but a regulated and calculated release of breath. pranayama helps for this to a great extent. this finding is not by me- it is by patanjali.
even today the first thing nadhaswaram learners do is to practice pranayama. this is how TNR and karukurichi could play in both directions of resonance and reverse resonance and which gave us wonderful music. the same could not be repeated by TNR in the later years because of various reasons. if you can listen to his concert in the inagural ceremony of annamalai university you can easily make out this.
sanjay is a great and passionate artist. i do not undermine his capabilities. but ultimately i've to tell what is conveyed by my ears a very sensitive scientific monitor i possess since i came in to being in this world!
Last edited by chalanata on 21 Feb 2007, 19:18, edited 1 time in total.
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rshankar
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#18

Post by rshankar » 21 Feb 2007, 21:51

mohanam wrote:chalanata,

If over-weight and lung power were strongly corelated, Pavorotti, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Talat Mahmood, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, MLV, S. Janaki, Chitra, SPB, et al would not quite be the musicians they are/were. There are many other examples too. In general, I think it is much better to back opinions with either science or fact or observation.
Mohanam,
On behalf of chalanata, let me quote science - for the sake of space I am just quoting excerpts from one article that deals with the impact of obesity on lung capacity which we can stipulate is a very strong determinant of lung power....
This is from the abstract of an article published in the journal Chest in Sept of 2006:
BACKGROUND: Obesity is a major health issue in North America, and the trend is for obesity to be a more important medical issue in the future. Since obesity can cause respiratory symptoms, many obese people are referred for pulmonary function tests (PFTs). It is well known that obesity causes decreases in lung volumes, but there has never been a large study showing the correlation between body mass index (BMI) and the various lung volumes. DESIGN: We collected PFT results from 373 patients sent for lung function testing who had 'normal' values for airway function but a wide range of BMIs. SETTING: The PFTs were done in two accredited outpatient laboratories. RESULTS: There were significant linear relationships between BMI and vital capacity and total lung capacity. CONCLUSIONS: We showed that BMI has significant effects on all of the lung volumes, and the greatest effects were on FRC and ERV, which occurred at BMI values < 30 kg/m2.
There is also data that in individuals with asthma, even small increases in weight impact the airway reactivity adversely in a major way. And remember, unlike the rest of the world, for Asians (including Indians, excepting Polynesians) the BMI cutoffs for defining overweight and obesity are lower: 22-27 OW, 27+ obese.

And if I had to re-state your point
If over-weight and lung power were strongly corelated, Pavorotti, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Talat Mahmood, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, MLV, S. Janaki, Chitra, SPB, et al would not quite be the musicians they are/were.
, I would say: Imaging how much better they'd be/they'd have been if they were not overweight/obese.

And it makes perfect anatomical and physiological sense - weight gain, especially in the abdomen, causes major restrictions in the excursions of the diaphragm...

Ravi
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coolkarni
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#19

Post by coolkarni » 21 Feb 2007, 22:19

thank you , Ravi MD.
:)
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coolkarni
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#20

Post by coolkarni » 22 Feb 2007, 14:04

correlation between body mass index (BMI) and the various lung volumes
Some more corelation between Lung Volumes and BMI

http://www.badongo.com/vid/299385

:D


On a serious (and Sad) note, Nusrath passed away at the ripe young age of 48.
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rajeshnat
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#21

Post by rajeshnat » 22 Feb 2007, 14:30

Ravi,
More than BMI, whether you are apple shaped or pear shaped also matters right . I guess in CM too, it is better to be pear shaped .

chalanAta,
I did not get on resonance vs reverse resonance in your post. Throw more light please?
even today the first thing nadhaswaram learners do is to practice pranayama. this is how TNR and karukurichi could play in both directions of resonance and reverse resonance and which gave us wonderful music.
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rshankar
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#22

Post by rshankar » 22 Feb 2007, 19:37

Rajesh,
If we watch BMI, the pear/apple/pineapple/whatever issue will take care of itself. Health care advocates in India have been so heavily focussed on the issue of malnutrition, that the concept of maintenance of appropriate weight for the ones who are not malnourished is something that has been ignored. And society in general seems to operate on the mistaken belief that since undernutrition is seen in poverty, gaining weight inappropriately is a sign of affluence!
Indians and other Asians have several genetic disadvantages: At lower BMI levels we have higher waist circumferences (more apple-like - but unfortunately, this one doesn't keep the doc away! :( ), higher body fat content (the main reason for the revised criteria to define obesity in Asians), a higher risk for developing diabetes etc., compared to other racial/ethnic groups. In addition, if results from a large trial are to be believed, we also have higher levels of cardiovascular risk as well. You would think that all performing artists would pay greater attention to their SarIram, given that it undoubtedly impacts stamina and SArIram....
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jayaram
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#23

Post by jayaram » 22 Feb 2007, 19:58

One of the occupational hazards of a career in CM (or in music generally) is that the artistes tend to sit and practice (and perform) for long periods of time. Add to this their intake of large amounts of sugared coffee/tea and keeping irregular timings for food, and the tendency to acquire the various ailments that Ravi outlines, can be more pronounced.

I feel artistes should go for long walks (at least 1 hour) every day and maintain healthy food habits. (This applies to all of us, of course!) When the Manakkals were here, Sriram and I went on a long walk along the Thames, while discussing music and other topics - that was a wonderful experience! Exercise, water, fruits - three key ingredients for healthy life!
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chalanata
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#24

Post by chalanata » 22 Feb 2007, 20:16

rajeshnat,
the breath consists of an intake, holding and release. in case of resonance the well regulated release results in exceptional quality of sound. in reverse resonance a small part of the intake just at the moment of holding is released to give an effect as if the intake actually results in the note. i may sound very absurd and am not able to explain my listening experience any further. but i've observed this in TNR (early years without the bari nayanam) and in karukurichi's play very distinctly and a little bit in MPN brothers. thiruvizha jayashankar was also dispalying quite a bit of this.
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shishya
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#25

Post by shishya » 22 Feb 2007, 21:33

This discussion sure makes one wonder about the saying " It ain't over till the fat lady sings." As a practicing musician, I have personally felt the benefit of exercise and diet control. Keeping weight in check does give better breath control and lung capacity. Also, I have always found singing on a full stomach to be very exhaustive ever since I was a kid. I would never eat anyghing at least 1 hour prior to a concert.
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