Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

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#1 Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by rajeshnat »

Trichy Sankaran-Lecdem @Mudhra On Jan 05th,2016
Lecture Demonstration on Laya Anubhava by Mahavidwan Trichy Sankaran Sir

Series : by Mudhra sabha with the tag name Anubhav
Day/Duration : Tuesday/ 2 hours
Concert Type/Crowd : Free - 75 peak
Sabha/Hall : Mudhra/RKM School

The topic is laya anubhava and the presenting artist was vidwan Trichy Sankaran . Certainly the person interested me to pass many of the concerts and to a great extent it was a well spent evening . I am typing this post more in line with my own comprehension and the subject is certainly abstract for me to capture everything . What ever I have put in brackets and blue color are my impressions or questions that just popped in me when that was discussed

Introduction :
(I think as a rasika each of us associate to like a personality depending on one's own likes/dislikes. For me sankaran sir is a personality where i felt his play was maintaining a strong flow and to me there is integrity with no no nonsense approach in whatever he plays . That is his personality in art . But when he speaks how that would be , I(rajesh) had no clue till i went to his lecdem.)

Sankaran Sir started giving a fairly circuitous introduction . I was lost as for the first 15 to 20 minutes he was reading from a A4 print out paper -sheet after sheet . When he had to read from the paper ,the microphone also was bit away and that also took a bit of attention away from me .

Sankaran sir started his introduction saying that many many years before one leading vidwan asked him what is there to speak about layam . He also told two great vidwans his own guru PSP and PMI hardly spoke about music . He read from the paper that layam pervades the whole universe . He said life begins with rhythmn and made a passing mention that arithmetic and layam needs a deeper level of understanding and at times you need a yogic mind.He made a quote from an ancient seer Japa KOti gunam dhyanam . Dhyana koti is layam .

This segment of introduction that too he reading from the print out was a definite disconnect for me . THen he kept the papers and atlast started talking without any reference ,other than few video clippings that was shown by a Macintosh assisted sishya in a projector.

Art of Accompaniment :
From here onwards it was interesting .

Sankaran said the art of accompaniment is aesthetics relation of drumming to tala and also drumming to melody. He used two key words time keeping and time marking . He said every musician has to follow always the time and that is timekeeping .Time marking is to follow at discrere intervals . He made an interesting definition of layam as layam is time duration between two counts of the taalam . Then his first demonstration started . (I felt bit ahaa ahaa from there.)

Sankaran played aadhi taalam and explained symmetry and then played a chApu taalam and explained asymmetry (i think it was mishra chaapu). He gradually moved to illustrate the speed of 1 : 2 : 4 or what we call as trikaalam. In these explanations he also did a lot of vocal solkattu -( I would be lying if i say that i understood the solkattu.)

Then he used the term kalaa kaala laya where kalaa is splitting of time and kaala is the time interval . He particularly said the art of accompaniment is to wait and absorb the kalapramaanam of the vocalist and then joining the play .Then he made an interesting comment that it is not a good idea to play any big korvais in between parts of the song .

(I am not very sure if he has done the aspect of waiting to absorb the kaalapramanam has beeen done by him every time - quite frankly he or many great mridangists perhaps barring PMI have not done this regularly is rajesh's humble opinion)

Then his famous play of dinamani vamsa by SSI with his accompaniment was played . How melody was ingrained with rhythm in dinamani vamsa is what i felt and Sankaran sir said the same .

This segment was to me the most lucid , educative with the right dose of lec and dem. He played 4 types of sollu . The meetu sollu which is played with valanthalai liberally using both the black and white portions of mrudangam right . The the next was Uruttu Sollu where he played only in the black circle spot . Then he demonstrated the arai chaapu and lastly the full chaapu.

Then he amazingly demonstrated the left and right balance - (O gosh how important is that and I certainly loved that the most)I wish he went more to demonstrate this . Then he talked briefly about his pazhani and pudukottai school which is known for madhyamakALa meetu sollu .He also said that gumukis are prominent from his guru psp and said tabla players generally play only sollus and not learn any korvais. He played few gumkhis with his toppi . He made a statement that it is very very important to build your play with sollus and developing sollus only adds more beauty. He also said that as a principle I go with lot of sollus and go with one mohra and korvais and I dont encourage to play lot of korvais during songs . I think he also said his tani also goes with one Big Mohra and 3 times repeated korvais and he prefers not to play more than one korvai.

(For me sollus are like batsmen playing shots in the V.The reason i like sankaran playing is because of he concentrating on more sollus is what i was thinking then. From now onwards I will watch all the bangars if they are overdoing korvais.)

Sankaran sir then talked about how to vary different sollus in different kAlapramaanam . i missed a demonstration there. He made a passing mention about rendungattan kalapramanam in hechariga ra rA in yk kambodhi . HE also added it was so difficult to play for low pitch and slow tempo and initially MDR style was a bit of enimical to mrudangam play- but as years rolled by I enjoyed playing a lot with MDR.

There was a clipping that was played for KVN accompaniment in evari kai . The clip was damn short and he moved on .
Last edited by rajeshnat on 06 Jan 2016, 18:49, edited 2 times in total.

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#2 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by rajeshnat »

Nadais Mohras Korvais and Koraippus
He explained different nadais and called nadai as the pulse .He played the basic chatushram and tisram and explained his school is known for nadai variation. His school changes subtlely the nadais and explained bit of keezh kala tisram. Mohras are typically played in the gaps of pallavi anupallavi and charanam and subtlely told that mohras and korvais are ending patterns . Then jokingly said you all are generally eagar to know when the tani ends and talked about the aspect of playing one big mohra and then three korvais in tani and he demonstrated that and how vocalist joins . IN korvais he explained the 6 yatis and talked there is a poorvangam uttarangam and also madhyAngam . I did not get madhyangam as he did not explain it. Then he said korvais can be played in same tempo or it can be played in trikaalam. Made a passing mention of two prominent schools namaly pudukottai and tanjore .TS belongs to pudukottai school.He also said koraippu is a quick exchange between two percussionists who try to align together.

Then he played mishra jampai swara koraippu of his for alathur brothers . It was dazzling play though i am not a fan of Alathur brothers but i enjoyed sankaran sir play.Then the best clipping in my opinion was played . Sankaran and his guru pazhani subramania pillai jointly played for another mishra jampai sankeerna koriaipppu - it was a special AIR recording, there was distinct play between PSP and TS and it was audible and fantastic(PSP is my all time favourite mrudangam player) .

Sankaran - Contemporary contribution:
This segment was biographical contribution of him from the time he went to toronto and started collaborating with other musicians. The first clip was a 2004 clip of sankaran sir playing with the drummer Steve smith. Then a trio combo of TS -Harishankar and Zakir Hussain in 2000 was played . A wooden xylophone marimba with a group named nexus was played where he brilliantly accompanied them to the krithi telisirama .Then an accompaniment of mrudangam saxophone and keyboard was played . (Not everything interested me - but it always showed sankaran sir's brilliance- in the steve smith he was playing with such speed where his left was in his mrudangam toppi and the right he was playing in a different vertical instrument . Gosh it was dazzling display.)

Questions and Answers:
I am not recollecting all questions , i am only putting few that I am able to recollect

Q1. Is there any effort to notate the solkattu as phonetics of solkattu is generally altered with what is being said vs what is being played . This was asked by Mudhra bhaskar?
Answer : I have made effort for notating solkattu to preserve it , we have to continue doing it and i feel more has to be done.

Q2: Should we notate the same solkattu differently for kanjira and mrudangam?
Answer : TS said yes it is different for kanjira and mrudangam . He said solkattu is usually notated differently than what is played for three reasons namely aesthetic , euphonics and fluency when the solkattu is rendered. I was wondering this written notation was a good thing when the first question was answered but with second answer - i was thinking it is not that really worth to try as inconsistencies are bound to surely happen.

Q3: When kanjira or ghatam is played along with mrudangam do you play consciously different patterns during tani to suit the volume/tone of the upapakkavadhyam??
Answer: i play without any distinction- the answer is no.

Then few more questions were asked and answered . I am unable to recollect .
TS ended that for you all to excel with layam u should study IAS . IAS stands for Involvement , Anticipation and Superior Selection of Patterns

I saw sriram parasuram , young mrudangam artist tirucherai kaushik rajagopal , TKB Haribabu (keyboard sathyas dad)and there were not many performing musicians apart from mudhra and radha bhaskar . That is unfortunate.

If there are mistakes in anything that is written it is all mine- i briefly wrote it mostly with my memory and very few points that i jotted with paper .If any one like semmu86 ,mahavishnu ,erode, mannarkoil balaji and ramkumar etal feel like correcting please go ahead .Let there be no conceptual mistakes atleast.

The tiger roared for me after 20 minutes .The first 20 minutes of the lecdem was modelled as a paper tiger.

Overall a very good to excellent lecdem for nearly 2 hours.

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#3 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by Sivaramakrishnan »

What a review rajesh! Warrants leisurely reading. Someone should bring this to the notice of shri Sankaran.

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#4 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by semmu86 »

Thanks Rajesh. Again a miss, thanks to travel. In fact there was a similar lec-dem by TS @ the same place organized by Mudhra some 3-4 seasons back and the flow of topics you have mentioned looks pretty much similar to what he presented that day too. (Including the dhinamaNi vamsA audio clip).

I hope Mudhra would have recorded this and would webcast the same.

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#5 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by rajeshnat »

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#6 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by rajeshnat »

The review that I wrote 5 years back is a spectacular lecdem by the brilliant Trichy Sankaran. Right now in Paalam TV the radio streaming is available on May 17th,2020. Go to paalamtv ,there is a box for listening to paalam radio , there you can forward it is third program or so. Dont miss this mahavidwan Trichy Sankaran sir lecdem with his contextual play(Mostly english with thamizh thrown in at discrete spots).

Nick H
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#7 Re: Trichy [email protected] On Jan 05th,2016

Post by Nick H »

rajeshnat wrote:
17 May 2020, 17:16
The review that I wrote 5 years back is a spectacular lecdem by the brilliant Trichy Sankaran. Right now in Paalam TV the radio streaming is available on May 17th,2020. ... ... ...
I am very happy that I chanced to see this post, and was able to immediately tune in to the lech-dem. Thank you!

As a one-time mridangam student with less knowledge of the vocalists and other main artists back then, I would frequently go to a concert because of the mridangist. These days, whilst having my favourites of course, I don't do that, with one exception: Trichy Sankaran. He puts perfection into every stroke, every single contact of finger and instrument. And he combines them in a way that is superbly musical and engaging.

It is a pity that the internet-radio version is obviously cut, compared to the live experience which you reviewed. I wish that they had left nothing out. But then, I'm a fan, so I suppose I would :D

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