Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

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Sindhuja
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#1 Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 23 Oct 2017, 07:42

Violin: S. Varadarajan
Mridangam: B. Venkatesh

List:
1. Pallandu pallandu: Nattai, Adi; S at pallavi
2. Tulasidala - Mayamalavagowla, Rupakam; N at sarasiruha
3. Nee madi challaga - Anandabhairavi, Adi; R, S at pallavi
4. Sami mayura giri vadivela - Khamas, Adi; S at pallavi
5. Akshayalinga vibho - Shankarabharanam, M. Chapu; N, S at badari
6. Ullam urugi urugi - Kanakangi, Adi
7. RTP - Sahana, Khanda Triputa, Pallavi: ini enna pEchchirukkudhE pOm pOm ellOrkkum nagai pAchchudhu swaras in Sahana, Hindolam, Sushama, Maand, Kaapi, followed by remaining stanzas of the krithi ini enna (Sahana)
8. Sholkam in Bhageshri followed by Gopala bhakti(?) gopika ramana - Bhageshri, Adi
9. Ramakrishnanu manege bandanu - Tilang, M. Chapu
10. Petra thaaithanai magan marandaalum - Viruttham followed by Idhuvo thillai chidambaram in Sindhubhairavi, Adi
11. Pavamana - Sourashtram, Adi

As I entered, the hall was bursting with energy from Sanjay's fast-paced, power-packed pallandu pallandu. What really struck me right off the bat was the impeccable sound. I've attended several concerts at the same venue but for some reason the sound seemed extraordinary yesterday. Mridangam sounded just fantastic, and so did violin. And Sanjay's voice was also in great form. He belted out some crackling swaras at pallandu pallandu. The opening was so grand, it was sure to get everyone in the audience hooked. He then moved on to Tulasidala, which was equally good. Again, the high energy neraval was very gripping. That was followed by an exceedingly beautiful ragam in Anandabhairavi. It had been a while since I'd heard a chaste Anandabhairavi and I loved his delineation of the ragam. With Sanjay, a concert is really a performance. It's as visual as it's aural. Time and again he would have these expressions and gestures that seemed to gleefully say "Yes! I did it!" I couldn't help notice a lot of that during this ragam. Varadarajan's return was equally beautiful, as always. The krithi was new to me - it was a beautiful one and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I particularly liked the chittaswaram in which there's a line that goes pa dha2 ni pa... dha1 ma pa ga ma - I enjoyed the interplay of the two dha's there. The kalpana swarams were nicely done and included a few rounds of the complete avarohanam sung very plainly - I really liked that. The next piece was again an unfamiliar one to me. He sang a quick sketch of Khamas, followed by the krithi, and finished with swarams. He sang multiple nadais at the word "sharavana bhava guru" in the pallavi which was interesting. Then came Shankarabharanam. Oh my. So, so beautiful. In between he did something interesting anchoring on the ma, and going from lower to higher ma. It was very brief but it felt like a fleeting Yamuna Kalyani for a few seconds. Varadarajan did the same too - and very gracefully. The majestic krithi was rendered to utmost perfection. Neraval and swaram in two speeds beautifully complemented the krithi for the most part. The one avarthanam kizh kalam swaras at the beginning were particularly pleasing. During the korappu - at ga - as he was alternating between stopping at the high and low ga's, he sang a phrase in the high notes and made it seem like he was going to end on the high ga, but then made a quick slide from the tara ri to the madhya ga - the same exercise when replicated by Varadarajan on the violin was quite funky (in a nice way) and got instant applause. The thani was captivating. The sound/ nadam of the instrument was amazing throughout, and that made the thani even more enjoyable. He played some nice, long theermanams ending in "ba-da-ri" and topped it off with a riveting korvai. The RTP that followed was again very good. Sahana is a favorite and for the most part I loved his handling of it. The ragamalika swara section was relatively "blah" - in that it seemed to be more of an applause-generating exercise. One of the ragas was "Sushama" (wouldn't have known if he hadn't announced it) - s r2 m1 p d1 s, same way back. I personally don't see much a point in creating "ragas" like this by putting a bunch of notes together, but it was alright for a small portion of an RTP, I guess. The Maand was nice - he used the first line of Lalgudi's thillana as a hook and kept coming back to it. 80% of what he sang sounded like the older Maand with a relatively heavier emphasis on pa, but in the end he sang more of Mishra Maand. (He tripped for a moment and sang "ga(3) ri(3) ga(3)" and then corrected it to "ga(3) ga(2) ga(3)" - which defines the "mishraness" of Mishra Maand - he then sang a long phrase with the two variants of all the notes. He wrapped up the RTP by completing the krithi in ellam. (Again new to me.) The Bhageshri was very nice - I really like the ragam and I liked his rendition too. It was yet another new song for me and I was surprised that for a minor song in the "thukkada" section, it had a chittaswaram - and a very nice one at that. In the line "ksheera navaneeta chora" Sanjay sang some lovely Hindustani flourises. The last two pieces were fine; not much to say there.

Now onto the inevitable: (according to me) the terribly unfortunate Sanjay-isms. In all seriousness I would really like to get into his head and see what goes on there when he gets on stage. As always the concert was FULL of ru-ru-ru and gu-gu-gu and pau-pau-pau. (In case you didn't get them, they were supposedly ri-ri-ri, ga-ga-ga, pa-pa-pa). I think they sound terrible. Why? Why does he do these things? During kalpana swaram in Anandabhairavi, bizarrely, while singing phrases around pa, he ended one phrase with "O" in place of pa. What was he thinking? May be it was a reference to the "O" of O Jagadamba? We'll never know. There are also these "pisurals" that he does - these really superficial, top-of-the-throat, "scratchy" brigas. You'd think that one does it to cover up for not being able to deliver deep throated, nabhi-originating brigas. But no. Sanjay does those too, and very well. Why these random, breezy-but-not-so-breezy "brigas"? The Khamas piece was full of such things. In the Shankarabharanam ragam, there were 1-2 minutes in between when he sang pure AAkaaram - no Okaram or Ukaram or any other sounds or contortions of the mouth - and those couple of minutes were pure bliss. Why couldn't he just sing like that throughout? The swaras in Shankarabharanam were going so well and then the inevitable happened - towards the end there was this sudden burst of random, raw, incoherent, ridiculous, super fast swaras. It was as though he was possessed by something. Similarly the Sahana ragam had been progressing so organically, so beautifully, but in the end he sang some fast, rhythmic swara-like/ tanam-like phrases that I couldn't comprehend. Really, I'm genuinely curious as to where these things come from and why he does them. Is he as popular as he is, despite these things, or because of them? I'm inclined to say it's the former, but I'm not so sure. I wonder if I'm among the minority here.

Anyway! Overall, it was a fantastic concert. The mridangam was top-notch and so was the violin. It was a wholesome package and an extremely memorable experience. Sanjay's concerts always teach you many lessons: in stamina (he'd sung 3.5 hours and at the end he seemed like he could go on for another 3.5); in combining pure, raw energies with subtler, creative energies, in completely captivating the audience; in single-minded focus; and in really inspiring your accompanists on stage - mridangist and violist were visibly enjoying playing with him and seemed to really feed off his energy. Waiting for his next one!

PS: Work hasn't allowed me to post here a lot in the last several months. It's good to be back!
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#2 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by kvchellappa » 23 Oct 2017, 08:45

It's good to us more. Thanks.
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#3 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by rajeshnat » 23 Oct 2017, 09:44

sindhuja
Nice to hear from you and also a review from simala . Liked your flow of conscious thoughts . Keep them coming. I guess you may have attended in the past Abhishek Raghuram in simala but possibly you did not write is my best guess.
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#4 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by rajeshnat » 23 Oct 2017, 09:52

Sindhuja wrote:
23 Oct 2017, 07:42
3. Nee madi challaga - Anandabhairavi, Adi; R, S at pallavi - Kavi Matrubhootayya
4. Sami mayura giri vadivela - Khamas, Adi; S at pallavi - kavi kunjara bharathi
..
6. Ullam urugi urugi - Kanakangi, Adi - suddhananda bharathi
Made additions by adding composer names to sindhuja list . I did not know about kanakangi and I just googled now . ON the sAmi mayura giri vadivela I have heard few musicians singing in nagaswarAli , possibly this krithi has two versions one in kamas and other in nagaswarali.
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#5 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by melam72 » 23 Oct 2017, 10:09

Sindhuja wrote:
23 Oct 2017, 07:42
Now onto the inevitable: (according to me) the terribly unfortunate Sanjay-isms. In all seriousness I would really like to get into his head and see what goes on there when he gets on stage. As always the concert was FULL of ru-ru-ru and gu-gu-gu and pau-pau-pau. (In case you didn't get them, they were supposedly ri-ri-ri, ga-ga-ga, pa-pa-pa). I think they sound terrible. Why? Why does he do these things? During kalpana swaram in Anandabhairavi, bizarrely, while singing phrases around pa, he ended one phrase with "O" in place of pa. What was he thinking? May be it was a reference to the "O" of O Jagadamba? We'll never know. There are also these "pisurals" that he does - these really superficial, top-of-the-throat, "scratchy" brigas. You'd think that one does it to cover up for not being able to deliver deep throated, nabhi-originating brigas. But no. Sanjay does those too, and very well. Why these random, breezy-but-not-so-breezy "brigas"? The Khamas piece was full of such things. In the Shankarabharanam ragam, there were 1-2 minutes in between when he sang pure AAkaaram - no Okaram or Ukaram or any other sounds or contortions of the mouth - and those couple of minutes were pure bliss. Why couldn't he just sing like that throughout? The swaras in Shankarabharanam were going so well and then the inevitable happened - towards the end there was this sudden burst of random, raw, incoherent, ridiculous, super fast swaras. It was as though he was possessed by something. Similarly the Sahana ragam had been progressing so organically, so beautifully, but in the end he sang some fast, rhythmic swara-like/ tanam-like phrases that I couldn't comprehend. Really, I'm genuinely curious as to where these things come from and why he does them. Is he as popular as he is, despite these things, or because of them? I'm inclined to say it's the former, but I'm not so sure. I wonder if I'm among the minority here.
Sinduja - I cannot see you, and I do not know who you are, but please, put a sweet in your mouth! This is exactly what I have been harping about during my tenure in this forum!
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#6 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 23 Oct 2017, 22:21

rajeshnat wrote:
23 Oct 2017, 09:44
sindhuja
Nice to hear from you and also a review from simala . Liked your flow of conscious thoughts . Keep them coming. I guess you may have attended in the past Abhishek Raghuram in simala but possibly you did not write is my best guess.
rajeshnat - I didn't attend Abhishek's concert. And thanks for the composer details - I forgot to add them.
melam72 wrote:
23 Oct 2017, 10:09
Sinduja - I cannot see you, and I do not know who you are, but please, put a sweet in your mouth! This is exactly what I have been harping about during my tenure in this forum!
Thanks - good to know I'm not alone.
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#7 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by arasi » 24 Oct 2017, 00:11

Sinduhuja,
Glad to have you back:) Here's a sweet something from me for calling it a fantastic concert ;)
For noticing all the umpteen fine points in the concert and sharing them with us. For your endless appreciation of the salient features of the performance and its effect on the audience.

You also made your gripes come through;) --which was capitalized by our gripes master :)
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#8 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 24 Oct 2017, 01:24

Thanks arasi :)
It was fantastic if I compartmentalize my brain and weed out the Sanjayisms - I'm slowly learning to do that more and more effectively :)
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#9 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sreeni Rajarao » 24 Oct 2017, 06:28

Thanks for the review!

9. Ramakrishnanu manege bandanu - Tilang, M. Chapu

- should be Ramakrishnaru manege bandaru, a composition of Purandara Dasaru.
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arasi
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#10 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by arasi » 24 Oct 2017, 08:09

Sreeni,
Yes, I forgot to mention that, which I have, in the other concert thread. rAmakrishna obbanE bandilla, ibbaru bandaru :) It wasn't Ramakrishna alone who came. It was both of them, rAmA and krishnA! And they came twice too, to both CA venues!
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#11 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 24 Oct 2017, 09:57

Thanks Sreeni and arasi. You used to be able to edit posts here - not any more? I wanted to make the correction in the list but unable to edit. Anyways - noted!
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#12 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by ram1999 » 24 Oct 2017, 13:25

arasi wrote:
24 Oct 2017, 00:11
Sinduhuja,
Glad to have you back:) Here's a sweet something from me for calling it a fantastic concert ;)
For noticing all the umpteen fine points in the concert and sharing them with us. For your endless appreciation of the salient features of the performance and its effect on the audience.

You also made your gripes come through;) --which was capitalized by our gripes master :)
It is better to call a spade a spade than being overtly diplomatic and trying to be too good to say everything is fantastic.
I am not sure what is the need to refer a critique as a gripes master here :oops: :oops:
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#13 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by rshankar » 24 Oct 2017, 15:51

ram1999 wrote:
24 Oct 2017, 13:25
I am not sure what is the need to refer a critique as a gripes master here
A critic can certainly be a master of gripes....but a critique?????? :oops: :oops:
And to answer your question, a critique can certainly be full of gripes, or (sour) grapes, as the case usually is: purely personal opinions couched in the guise of espousing universal truths. Just as you point out, if being overly diplomatic is unbalanced, so is being overly vitriolic. A personal opinion, honestly expressed, is always welcome - but a personal opinion expressed as the gold-standard truth is another matter altogether.
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#14 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 26 Oct 2017, 02:55

ram1999 wrote:
24 Oct 2017, 13:25
It is better to call a spade a spade than being overtly diplomatic and trying to be too good to say everything is fantastic.
I am not sure what is the need to refer a critique as a gripes master here :oops: :oops:
For the record I happen to genuinely think the concert was fantastic. My "gripes" are more like those whole bunch of annoying Elakkaas in an otherwise delicious payasam - to be clear, as opposed to an overall bad-tasting payasam. Now there are some people who like the Elakkaas too, if you catch my drift. I'm not one of them, but will always be curious as to how/ why they like them.
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#15 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by kvchellappa » 13 Nov 2017, 14:17

We listen to an artist when we feel attracted and he sustains the interest. We are not looking for god even in CM. An artist is a total package; he comes with his idosyncrasies and mannerisms. Sanjay said in an interview that he would not stop experimenting. If his music is what it is today, it is because of his urge to delve deep into it. Nature has produced man after millions of trials and error. A human being performing an art like CM cannot be expected to cater to the fancy of one and all, esp. those who have no sense for music, appreciation and a total view. There is an audience that laps up whatever he does. We cannot brand them. That is neither fair nor decent. What is it overall? Does the music keep us engaged? Was it light or folksy? Was the carnatic grammar violated? Certainly there can be comments on what was jarring like Sindhuja has done, but not making derogatory comments on the artist and the audience from 'I-know-it-all and you-are-an-ignoramus' attitude. That sort of comment is not calling a spade a spade.
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#16 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by sureshvv » 13 Nov 2017, 20:32

Sindhuja wrote:
26 Oct 2017, 02:55
My "gripes" are more like those whole bunch of annoying Elakkaas in an otherwise delicious payasam
To me it sounds more like you are complaining about these people who add this horrible brown decoction to wonderful thick milk :D
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#17 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by arasi » 13 Nov 2017, 20:51

Lo and behold, spades they are of CM!
Cultivators of it, they certainly are not--
They dig and dig--to find what? not treasures--
In the blast of their analysis, the results are
A heap of dust to blow around and obscure--

Meanwhile, even simple folks get music's rasAnubhava...
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#18 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by arasi » 13 Nov 2017, 20:55

Sureshvv,
CM and coffee for sure, but Sindhuja had drushTip poTTu in mind, I think. 'Cast off that evil eye gesture' for the music she enjoyed listening to so much!
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#19 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by rshankar » 13 Nov 2017, 23:14

sureshvv wrote:
13 Nov 2017, 20:32
To me it sounds more like you are complaining about these people who add this horrible brown decoction to wonderful thick milk :D
As someone who depends upon several cups of coffee a day to keep me awake, prevent diabetes, and hopefully, Alzheimer disease eventually, I have to take a page out of Sri Sanjay's book (or pallavi) and say 'veN pAl enbAr, kaRum decoction enbAr, kApiyin arumai aRiyAdavar' :lol:
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#20 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by sureshvv » 13 Nov 2017, 23:28

May be another pallavi is in order, "aakaaramey paadu enbaar, tup tup in mahimai ariyaadavar" :)
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#21 : Sanjay Subraumanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by arasi » 14 Nov 2017, 01:14

akAramum ikAramum AgAraminRip pala maNi pADinAlum,
varAhArvathArar kURum Tup TuppO, adu eduvAnAlum--
vaRAdum, kELAdum iruppavar adai kuRai kURuvadum EnO?

KaniyirukkakkAi kavarndiDavO?

Even if one sings akArams and ikArams for hours on end, without AhAram (food), and when they don't even come to listen--it is, as VaLLuvar says: when there is ripened fruit, they steal unpalatable green ones...:(
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#22 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 14 Nov 2017, 13:25

Decoction + milk is certainly not what I was going for. While you can't separate the liquids once mixed, you can always remove the Elakkas from the payasam. Sanjay's quirks are like the latter - easily removable, not entirely stirred in :)
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#23 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by rshankar » 14 Nov 2017, 18:42

Sindhuja wrote:
14 Nov 2017, 13:25
easily removable, not entirely stirred in :)
So, you're also a fan of 'shaken, not stirred', type of drinks, I take it.... :D
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#24 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/21/2017

Post by mmani » 21 Nov 2017, 05:01

Just a minor nit (on the subject line):

This concert date must read October 21.

-mani
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#25 Re: Sanjay Subrahmanyam @ SIMA, Los Angeles, 10/22/2017

Post by Sindhuja » 21 Nov 2017, 15:04

Thanks, yes it was on the 21st. I'm not able to edit the post now...
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