Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

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#1 Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018
Lecdem : Done by Lalitharam whose name is ramachandran , also the founder of parivadhini
Support : Vishnuramprasad
Occassion : MMI Rasikas Association Meet
Duration : 3 hours
Hall : Gokhale Sastri Hall , Karpagambal Nagar , Luz, Mylapore

MMI Rasikas Association was formed few years back and there is a group of dedicated rasikas , at times few vidwans and vidushis along with few known organizers have taken part in group hearing sessions of MMI . This was held usually in PS high school , mylapore. I know for sure that Venu Sundar Sir (chiiti sundarrajan's son), vishnuramprasad and the newest mmi rasika wonder Gokul Balasubramaniam(madurai mani iyer website main karanakartha) who is not even half the age of Venu sundar are all part of the core mmi rasikas association. They hear extremely high quality records of mmi and possibly contextually discuss that concert . The venue for these meets was ps high school.

While Venu Sundar and Gokul and few more took care of logistics , the presentation of MMI was done by Lalitharam and was given great back end support by another exemplary rasika Vishnuramprasad . Both Lalitharam and Vishnuramprasad can rival each other in terms of knowhow as a rasika .They both have genuine love for CM , i mean really 100% genunine love for CM and they did a stellar job. You can kind of imagine that Lalitharam was doing the 95% presentation with MC work done by Vishnu . The vote of thanks was done by mahavidwan TV Sankaranarayanan .Shri TVS along with KS Kalidas(disciple of immortal Pazhani subramania pillai) did hear the whole presentation.

This writeup is long , rather very long , I am breaking the context in the flow of presentation . Whereever i feel like adding my comments will add with italics my thoughts as rajeshnat thoughts .

Personally in the last few years of mmi meetup ,rajeshnat was in double mind whether to hear his numero #1 favourite ganakaladhara or else just pass that day and hear some live concert. I did not attend even one presentation of MMI association till this one. Any case i wanted to hear Lalitharam Ramachandran's presentation of MMI after he gave a stellar account about his #1 GNB a month back.

Introduction by Vishnuramprasad with two singers singing few songs- Part 1
#1. VishnuRamPrasad has learnt music and if I recall right even mrudangam from Kumbakonam rajappa iyer. Yesterday I came to know that Lalitharam has also learnt music from J Venkataraman . Both of them indeed have a lot of stature and yogidhai to comment on any carnatic musician . Vishnu wanted to begin the presentation by dedicating few artists to render few renditions of MMI

#1A. The first artist a young girl in half saree sang a wonderful mA ramanan in hindOlam . THe young budding artist(hopefully) was Himaja Samraj. I have heard her elder sister sahana samraj . Himaja Samraj is related to nagaswara vidwan sembanarkoil SRD Vaidhyanathan(I think she is grand daughter) rajeshnat knew sembanarkoil vaidhyanathan trained Aruna Sairam and Sanjay subrahmanyan , but only yesterday i recollected again that MMI was also the guru of Sembanarkoil vaidhyanathan .Himaja sang a wonderful hindOlam with mA ramanan , the janaranjakam with depth was all set.

#1B. Vishnu then invited the swetharanyam sisters who have learnt from tiruvenkadu jayaraman who was the disciple of MMI.The sisters were introduced and Vishnu said they will render popular numbers of MMI. They rendered two numbers ganarasamudan in Begada by papanasam sivan and the other sahAsra karamandithE in vachaspathi by HMB. The sisters gave a good shraddhai to MMI

Introduction Of MMI lecdem by Lalitharam - Part 2
#2A.Lalitharam never believes in going with too much of introduction . He started exceptionally well. He said he and Vishnu are in the process of collecting materials to write a biography of MMI . rajeshnat hopes it happens soon , there is way toomuch to talk about MMI. Lalitharam style is to be extremely organized in sequence , kind of Poochi-Ariyakudi typecast there something that many musicians like GNB, SSI and MMI all used to adore. Lalitharam said he wants to run this presentation not just to present but more to correct mistakes if any. There was no false modesty there , he was genuine in saying that.

#2B. The first recording strike happened where Lalitharam really went to an early 78 rpm recording of MMI. That was a 78 rpm recording and mmi sang a lovely alapana before kAna kann kOdi in kAmBodhi. Lalitharam said for MMI there is nothing like konjam soodu pidikkinam like feeling . rajeshnat feels not just soodu pidikkanum i have not seen soodu irangAdha musician (MMI takes zero time to set and never sags)

Early years of MMI - Part 3
#3A. MMI had a bunch of gurus . MMI has not learnt from Madurai Pushpavanam (his chittappa) as mmI was a toddler . MMI started learning from Rajam bhagavathar . incidentally both Madurai Pushpavanam and rajam bhagavathar used to learn from the same guru ettayapuram ramachandra bhagavathar.

#3B. MMI then came under tutelage of Harikesanallur mutthiah bhagavathar . Bulk of his trump card swaraprasthana magic he also learnt from mazhaverandhal subbarama bhagavathar. Rajeshnat would like to take help from anyone to see the photo of mazhaverandal subbarama bhagavathar.Rajeshnat is making an assumption that recording of mazhaverandhal subbarama bhagavathar was and is not available. Once Madurai GS Mani told in some context that MMI and mazhavarendar subbarama bhagavathar swara patterns were fairly similiar.

#3C. Many krithis especially Thyagaraja was picked up by MMI from Madurai nagaswami bhagavathar. MMI took special liking for Maharajapuram vishwanatha iyer and also with TN Rajarathinam pillai . In his early days MMI used to hear lot of TNR concert.

#3D. MMI learnt bulk of Dikshitar krithis from TL Venkatarama Iyer.
Last edited by rajeshnat on 21 Jun 2018, 07:51, edited 4 times in total.

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#2 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Meteoric rise of MMI - Part 4
#4A. MMI made his debut concert in Alakottai near sivaganga . MMI certainly did not have problems in his early years in getting opportunities . His chittappa Madurai Pushpavanam legacy gave him enough concerts , mmi himself has remarked that he only had to concentrate on singing well in kutcheri than rather hunting for opportunities in early years.

#4B. IN 1927 Music conference mmi got a chance to sing in a concert . In addition in 1929 , MMI had his first madras concert arrranged by KV Krishnaswamy Iyer. rajeshnat recollects vaguely that one of the core office bearer of present day Music Academy KV krishna prasad is son of late KV krishna swamy Iyer.

#4C. MMI had two setbacks iin 1929.His dad died and his voice had problems . He went from 4 and 1/2 kattai to 1 and 1/2 kattai . rajeshnat recollects one AIR recording when mmi says the same.

#4D. MMI sings from early days few approva ragas . Lalitharam played the clipping of saraswati with anurAgamulE krithi. THe superstar MMI showed some early day recording of his sarvalaghu swaras in saraswati

#4E. MMI developed in his early years a close contact with papanasam sivan .He had taken sivan songs just like that and this was not any thing to do with pro and anti thamizh isai camp which came bit later after mmi sang fwe papanasam sivan songs. In 1942 + few years period MMI moved to mayavaram , fearing Bomb drops in madras . In those years in mayavaram , MMI along with Tiruvalangadu sundaresa Iyer with Pazhani subramania pillai sang very high count of thenga moodi temple concerts in mayavaram belt.

#4F. MMI was bit an unusual star. Initially Pamaran accepted and then pandithar accepted (from mass rasikas to learned rasikas acceptance). THe most known award ganakaladhara award was given and in that function both SSI and MVI attended . rajeshnat recollects vaguely that this award ganakaladhara was given by rasikas of Tanjavur in 1943 and not mayavaram adheenam mutt

#4G. The Mani Mantapam in Trichy is actually not any place . That place was actually a choultry that MMI stayed prior to few concerts in trichy and only thiruvalangadu sundaresa iyer called that as mani mantapam.

#4H. MMI was a true gandhian . He started wearing only kathar clothing .He took the help of chitti sundararajan and composed the famous shanmughapriya pallavi on gandhiji. Lalitharam played the scintillating pallavi neraval line in shanmughapriya . The pallavi line is Mahatma mani mozhi nadappOm, mAperum thalaivan gandhi

#4I. MMI got the Sangeetha kalandhi award in 1959. and also close to that year he also got President's award. GNB has gone on record and said that when MMI sings you wont have any available hotel food anywhere in the vicinity of the venue. MMI was extremely rasika friendly he has even taken listeners request towards the end and sang nagumOmu and chakkani raja.

#4J. Lalitharam told he being a GNB intense rasika got introduced significantly and accepted MMI big time when he heard MMI singing the manasu nilpa . The lovely abhogi krithi with swara kalpana dash was played by Lalitharam. rajeshnat had goosebumps that too hearing MMI with Pazhani subamania pillai

#4K. Two mahavidwans have told lalitharam about the early influence of MMI. One is the near mmi supernova TRS mama who told TRS got extremely motivated when he heard MMI for the first time , particularly swarakalpana. The present mahavidwan TNS who was bit into namasankeerthanam in early days also got captivated by MMI swaras

MMI - Deeper Look at his music - Part 5
#5A. MMI music was a free flowing music and it was anthakanam spontaneous music. He was more an artist who practiced Freedom From the known. His music was constant exploration . There was suspense from both MMI and also with rasikas when they heard . There can be repetition when you write or notate at times , when MMI sings you as a rasika donot feel the repetition.

#5B. MMI was like a puddhu kavithai. He did not chain himself with grammar and did not get shackled with grammar. His lakshanam grammar was only a path. MMI had utmost respect for listeners and he dissolved the hearts of listeners with his music.

MMI - Voice - Part 6
#6A. MMI's music is both sweet and cute. He has utmost fidelity to shruthi . At times we still dont know which is mmi voice and which is shruthi . It perfectly blends. His voice was uniformly fresh, had unique intonation and there was no gimmicks and it was only music.

MMI - Alapana - Part 7
#7A. MMI alapana is deceptively simple . His voice was a combo of veena and Nadaswaram. The mmi-nadaswaram touch had the element of unpredictabiltiy and mmi-veena touch had the short phrases.

#7B. MMI alapana was crisp and clear. Lalitharam played the clippping of vachaspathi alapana of mmi . The recording of ravichandrika was also played ,There was plenty of flat notes employed in ravichandrika.

#7C. When MMI sings he takes plenty of inspiration from also coartists . The famous kalyani alapana where LGJ gives inspiration to mmi,rather both were mutually admiring and taking the kalyani alapana forward was also played . rajeshnat wants to add for the sake of completeness that he heard or read somewhere there was occassion in MMI career where LGJ style of playing longer returns did have some consternation but later they both patched up. Then Lalitharam also mentioned that mmi had no airs in taking other compositions made famous by contemporary vocalists. He mentioned sarasasamadhana (kapi narayani) and Vasudevayani (kalyani) was gnb numbers that came into mmi world . rajeshnat thinks while MMI ruled more in listeners heart with sarasasamadhana but feels in vasudevayani GNB ruled more in listeners heart
Last edited by rajeshnat on 21 Jun 2018, 13:21, edited 3 times in total.

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#3 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

MMI - Krithis - Part 8
The next 4 sections where lalitharam discussing MMI krithis, neravals,swaras and RTP were simply superb . Certainly I also had a special privilege of few private prompts where Vishnuramprasad gave a little more context , will add that too. Kind of 90% info from lalitharam and the 10% private topping of Vishnu was spectacular on ganakaladhara

#8A. MMI preferred all madhyamakala krithis in general. In order to demonstrate sruti suddham , lalitharam was creative in picking up angarakam krithi of MD in ragam shurutti . He played 2 clips of angarakam one from MMI and other from KVN. Lalitharam did not say that much after the clips . rajeshnat felt the gold medallist of shruthi is MMI and bronze medallist of shruthi was KVN . Atleast to rajeshnat MS amma finishes as silver medallist. May be santhanam comes very close to KVN. Nice snippets of Angarakam, The angarakam sangathis of KVN vs angarakam sangathis of MMI was demonstrated to showcase MMI focussing intensely on shruthi suddham.

#8B. MMI certainly had wide repertoire . He gave an example of the song velai vElum vinai theerum?? in shanmughapriya is so rare . rajeshnat is not sure if he captured the song right . MMI despite having wide repertoire restricted most of his concerts only to listeners choice . rajeshnat felt that era of repeating listeners choices is kind of gone for ever with the advent of more internet and artists getting slowly caged in for repetition, atleast mmi enjoyed that

#8C. MMI borrowed lot of numbers which were initially sung by his contemporary established vidwans . Examples given was GNB with his sarsamukhi (gowdamalhar), sarasa sama dhana(kapinarayani) and vasudevayani (kalyani) which were all initially made popular by gnb.

#8D. The clipping of HarikAmbOdhi of Papansam sivan krithi on Subramania bharathi was played . THe krithi was PAmAlai ini unDo with that lovely neraval thamizhnadu tava payanai . Vishnu adds to me that was MSG with PMI accompanying MMI.

MMI - Neraval - Part 9

#9A. MMI did kind of broke rules in neraval singing . THe rules were broken by not singing the neraval line in full which would have conveyed more meaning . Lalitharam felt despite suggestion from few that he broke the rules , but certainly that did not affect music

#9B. Lalitharam played todi for neraval . THe first clipping was almost the whole neraval and was extremely enjoyable . Vishnu tells me in private that apart from LGJ which i recognized he tells me that it was 26 year old UKS who accompanied MMI and LGJ in bombay concert . What a spectacular neraval with mostly just two phrases tambura chekkuni in koluvamaragatha in todi. Lalitharam gave few pointers of how neraval was extremely rich and phrases like tambura chekkuni was extremely suggestive of tambura and shruthi . rajeshnat strongly feels music has to rich higher planes of intense shruthi and layam and as long as you hit that zing all other rules like full meaning etc are all academic dogmas. Also the quality of accompanist in this case young UKS especially his left toppi was just way too good with LGJ

#9C. Lalitharam felt he took far more time and he decided to skip the next todi kalinil silambu konja neraval. THe audience gheroed and did not allow MMI taaye yashoda neraval to be skipped . The immortal Pazhani taps with LGJ shuthi suddham here and there with grahabedham like intonations of MMI neraval in kalinil silambu was played . rajeshnat feels next time if lalitharam does a lecdem he can just bringin only itavu (kapinarayani) and chaluvu (charukesi), for mmi one word will do for neraval, one of the top two reason to keep MMI as #1 for ever

MMI - Swaras - Part 9
Is there any thing for rajeshnat to write about swaras of MMI,still will write

#10A. This is where the intense musical acumen of Vishnu and Lalitharam came into foreground. Lalitharam said mmi swaras can be described with the phrase "vandadaum varAdhathu". That means the manodharmam is vey spot on with MMI. Two long clippings were played . The first was bhairavi swaras in manasu (koluvaiunnadE) where the manodharma swarakalpana was layered with Palakkad Mani Iyer .That was one typecast where MMI and PMI was accompanied by LGJ . rajeshnat could hear PMI singing with his mrudangam few patterns like ri ga mA sa ri ga Ri in bhairavi. The seond clipping was the same manasu swaras in bhairavi completely different from the first . That was MMI with Mayavaram govindaraja pillai with CS Murugabhoopathy and Palakkad sundaram . The taps of CSM was heavenly and MMI gave completely different sarvalaghu swaroopam of bhairavi .rajeshnat slowly is understanding from many concerts how many vocalist work backwards with mrudangam artist patterns and that kind of planning is key for every concert . MMI is just from another world when he contrasts PMI and CSM or PSP

#10B. MMI swarakalpana had no upper limits without any boredom. There is no kalapramAna votttam in swaras in general and there are few occasions he has done just to give better aesthetics rajeshnat feels it would have been nice if there was a clipping shown to illustrate unusual kalapramana vottam

#10C.MMI swaras had immense clarity of musical thoughts. MMI takes very effortlessly different eduppus and talas . Once in some interview MMI has told that he sings swaras for manikkam vairam and does not sing ga ma pa ma ga.

MMI - RTP - Part 10
10A. MMI has usually taken more ghana raga rtps. He has also attempted RTP in ragas like lathangi , keeravani and simmhendramadhyamam which was quite novel those days

10B. A short RTP clipping of melakartha 22 was played. The king of melody showed his class in kharaharapriya, the clipping was 1960 Thamizh isai sangam with mayavaram govinda raja pillai and heavenly Pazhani subramania pillai . THe pallavi line was mAl maruganE muruganE shanmughanE . THe ragamaliga swaras were in hamsadhwani and kAnadA , kAnadA swaras were sung as though it was a sukhi evarO krithis with so many rounds . rajeshnat feels this aspect of singing suddenly ragamaliga swara of one raga in this case KAnadA as though a main krithi swaras was attached instead of one go of swara ragamaliga kalpana in RTP . It is certainly an artistic liberty that only MMI could take. I am not sure if any musician of today who has near MMI swara delivery can take this kind of artistic liberty. Again what matters is MMI showcased his strength in plenty and those kAnadA were truly gA gA experience

10C. MMI sang lot of swaras with raga alaapana phrases and did not sound contrived at all
Last edited by rajeshnat on 21 Jun 2018, 07:47, edited 1 time in total.

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#4 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Post Pallavi Thukkadas - Part 11
11A. MMI took even liberty of singing swaras in mohanam version of thirruppugazh. That was played by lalitharam. Vishnu helps me by telling the mrudangam artist was coimbatore ramaswamy .It was no brainer for me to identify the wonderful Lalgudi Jayaraman who gave great mohanam returns in thirruppugazh.

11B. THe kandan karunai was played with Pazhani subramania pillai playing mrudangam. Lalitharam told to the audience that this play of PSP made him so motivated to write a biography of PSP

11C. The last or but last concert of MMI was played as the closing number . The English NOte and Veyuru tholi pangan was played . I forget now if he played the recording

Disciples of MMI - Part 12
12. vembu Iyer , TVS , Tiruvenkadu Jayaraman, S Rajam, SAK Durga, Sembanarkovil SRD Vaidyanathan, Savithri Ganesan.

Vote of Thanksby TVS - Part 13
13A. Shri TV Sankaranarayanan who stayed end to end along with KS kalidas thanked the shraddhai of Lalitharam. He added about his kudumba bhagyam and he was very overwhelmed with the occassion . He said his manasu was romba thripthi (extremely satisfied). Vishnu honoured TVS and indeed it was very satifying

RajeshNat feels like adding just few more points- Part 14
#14A. The energy and exuberance of Lalitharam with able support of Vishnuramprasad with MMI lecdem was as much as a LGJ-PSP combo there . Just may be Lalitharam could have rationed a bit in alapana and may be he could have added few sections like say 14B

#14B. rajeshnat wants to add one point - Fast swarakalpana detailed Filler krithis

MMI created a magic with fast fillers between submain and main . when compared to others in his era even to today majority of musicians are not able to sing fast fillers . I am talking about all the below points getting together

They are
1. Singing Fast Song with swaras ranging from upper madhyamakAlam or preferably dhuritha kAlam AND

2. Patterns of Swaras are longer preferably with one cadooble pattern not taking too much violin return (Only TRS does more than MMI) AND

3.Flashes of patterns which are so onspot and has got minimal or zero repetition when sung again AND

4.Most importantly sruthi suddham with sarvalaghu taking precedence than rather kanakku

In the last 40 + years few musicians are getting into the zone (in present genre may be there are not more than 5 as most of them donot even try to sing faster and longer swaras, they are all suggestive and never elaborate ), MMI showed his stamp there it is just way too great when compared to any competition.

Lalitharam could have chosen a sarasa sama dhana, Ka vA vA,orajupu, manavyalakinchara etal - Those were truly heavenly and this aspect of Fast swarakalpana detailed fillers were entirely his unique USP.

Here is two illustrations of MMI on point 14B-Fast detailed swarakalpana sarvalaghu filler in AndOlika and Kannadagowlai

All said this was truly outstanding lecdem presentation by Lalitharam and vishnuramprasad for 3 + hours.

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#5 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Made few corrections in point 3A(early guru of MMI) and also 8A (angarakam reference) as I erroneously wrote few points

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#6 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by thanjavooran »

Excellent! A complete coverage of the event with minute details as usual.
With wishes,
21 06 2018

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#7 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by kvchellappa »

All read, it is truly an outstanding 'Summing Up', i do not know for how long, I did not notice.

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#8 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Made two more corrections . 4F- ganakaladhara title was given by Tanjavur rasikas and 4H-kandan karunai was written by guhan and not chitti sundararajan

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#10 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by rajeshnat »

Lalitharam ramachandran
With GNB and MMI Lecdem done, Looking forward for third LecDem - I Love SSI. That completes rajeshnat carnatic vocal trinity

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#11 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by arasi »

MMI took our breath away when we listened to him in concerts once (lucky us).
This thread does the same today. Look at the rasanA and sangIta sEvA rolled into one (Akka Sakti) in Lalitharam...
Vishnuprasad whose love for MMI's music we all know, VEnu Sundar (son of an important literary figure in modern tamizh literature who was a dear friend of MMI), Sri TVS himself joining in...Above all, the smiles which emanate from all their faces--which no doubt were wrought by the magic of MMI :)
Rajesh, no picture of yours. I bet the signature slight scowl of yours would have absconded you on this special occasion. You are truly a parama rasikA. Thanks for sharing, in such a big way..:)
Last edited by arasi on 22 Jun 2018, 07:30, edited 2 times in total.

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#12 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by HarishankarK »

Excellent effort by the presenters and also rajeshnat for documenting in so detailed.
But it would have been really great if some new information on Sri MMI would have been shared - most of the info discussed/presented is already known to general followers of Carnatic music - don't you think? We all know about his amazing swaraprastharas and that he always started with vara kritis etc etc - I am guaranteeing that the MMI page under Vidwans and Vidushis in this would give more deeper infor/anecdotes on Sri MMI

I would love to have known more about who MMI was as a person, his likes dislikes, stories from his child-boy-hood, how he practised his music what was his daily regime, did he ever tune any songs etc., how was his camaraderie with other artistes of his times - I'm sure Sri TVS, if asked could give answers to all this etc., etc., All this would have been more insightful.
Not to take away any credit for the presenters or organisers of this much needed event.

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#13 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by Sivaramakrishnan »

I missed the MMI event as I was at the MDR lecdem at Ragasudha (very close to Karpagambal Nagar).
A communication gap took away the minimum possibility of my being at the MMI presentation at least from 7-8 pm.

I join the band of rasikas to request Lalitharam to repeat the presentation in Chennai.
Organisers may kindly ensure that such overlaps do not occur for special events. This is not a difficult task.

Thanks rajesh for the detailed report.

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#14 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by nsridhar22 »

Great information presented on MMI and even greater is the effort of Rajeshnat for such a detailed description which makes us as if we are listening to the LecDem.

I second the opinion of one more LecDem on SSI by Lalitharam to complete the Trinity.

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#15 Re: Madurai Mani Iyer Lecdem by [email protected] Sastri Hall on June 17th,2018

Post by gardabha_gana »

Recording please?

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