Review the latest concerts you have listened to.
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Post by CRama »

The impact of COVID 19 and the resultant lock down period commencing from March 22 has been a period of heavy stress and anxiety for the people across the globe as the pandemic has brought the entire world to a stand still with millions affected by the virus and lakhs succumbed to its onslaught. The stress of confinement within the house has been multiplied by the disturbing news flashing across media- both visual and social. Under these testing times, many organisations have come forward to provide music to the depressed Sangeetha rasikas of the world using the social media.

Mani Krishnaswamy Academy of Music, Mangalore used the face book platform for hosting a whopping 100 on line music concerts of one hour duration by talented musicians with only sruti accompaniment. The concerts by Chitravina Ravikiran, Aditya Madhavan, Amrita Murali, Vivek Muzhikulam, Palghat Ramprasad, Kruthi Bhatt, Vignesh Easwar, N.J.Nandini, Malavika, Sunil Gargyan, Aditya Prakash, Sai Vignesh, Hemantha and Heramba- Flute, etc conformed to high standards, had good viewership and received appreciable feedback from the viewers. Many other organisations are also doing this. Aiswarya and Soundarya, great grand daughters of Bharat Rathna M.S.Subblakshmi already presented nine concerts in the fb platform which appealed to a large number of viewers for the dedication, perfection and unison in presentation. Madurai Sivaganesh had two concerts.

The face book concerts have been appreciated by a large section of music lovers as is evident from the feedback received during the webcasts. But it gives me great happiness when I see that many of the Upcoming musicians featured in my season review in the Sruti magazine - March 2020 issue are continuing their journey with the face book concerts. For instance Vivek Moozhikkulam had six fb concerts and Srivatsan had three. I am giving below the extract of my review of upcoming musicians which was published with the title THE YOUNG BRIGADE.

When we chance upon promising young carnatic singers during the season, it provides an ineffable joy to the rasikas for they are our hopes to carry forward this glorious tradition. I am now introducing a few such up and coming vidwans and vidushis who impressed me a lot during this music season. S.Srivatsan up and coming vidwan and the winner of this year Sangeeta Mudhra award from Mudhra is a disciple of Vidwan A.S.Murali and his concert in Mudhra demonstrated his abundant potential, hard work and dedication. His voice had range, azhutham and modulation. His alapanas of Durbar, Varali, Kambodi and Shanmugapriya negotiating the characteristic phrases of the ragam vouch for his manodharmam and sadhana. The main kriti of the day Sree Raghuvaraprameya with its multi swara sahithya charanams were presented in a well disciplined manner in two speeds. The ragam tanam Pallavi in Shanmugapriya set to Khanda Triputa talam showed his laya prowess as well. The post tani pieces consisting of compositions of Bharatiyar, Arunagirinathar, Sadasiva Brahmendra etc were received by the audience with much fervour. Definitely a vidwan to watch for. He was accompanied by Usha Rajagopalan on the violin who gave all fillip to the vocalist while M.S.Varadan on the Mridangam and Sivaramakrishnan on the Ghatam embellished the concert significantly. Srivatsan is a musician to watch out for in the future.

Spoorthi Rao is a young girl from Bangalore who had impressed the Chennai rasikas with her music soaked in melody, endowed with confidence, sruti sudham, manodharmam, repertoire and stage presence. Spoorthi was the title winner of Airtel Super Singer Season four and is presently learning from Ranjani Gayathri duo. Spoorthi commenced her recital for Brahma Gana sabha on 28 Dec with Ganarasamudan- composition of Papanasam Sivan in Begada. The alapanas of Lathangi (Pirava Varam tarum) and Kharaharapriya (Pakalanilabadi) received good response from the audience for her imagination, unfailing raga bhavam, long akara passages and brighas with precision. Her voice could negotiate the tara sthayi sancharas with ease and quite comfortable in the mandra sthayi too. Till a few years back, she was not familiar with Tamil and now her pronunciation is faultless. Pakalanilabadi was sung with clarity in the cascade of sangatis and the kalpana swaras had laya challenges and porutham which had much finesse in them. Spoorthi concluded the concert with the evergreen Jagadodharana. Nandika is an upcoming violinist (who also pairs with her sister Deepika as vocal duo) who is enriching the concerts of many a young vocalists. Her raga alapanas had vidwat and manodharmam and swara returns were most appropriate. Puttur NIkshit – a Bangalore based up coming mridangist embellished the concert with his deft strokes.

The child prodigy Rahul Vellal presented a full fledged Carnatic concert for two and half hours under the banner of Madhuradhwani on the morning of 28 Dec The first thing that got my attention was his imposing confidence at this young age. He is the disciple of Kalavati Avadhoot, a respectable Guru in Bangalore and is mentored by Kuldip pai who has promoted him through his videos in you tube. Despite a working day, the hall was packed to the full. Vellal did not disappoint the rasikas. Starting the concert with the Bahudari varnam of Lalgudi, he went on to explore the characteristic beauty of ragams Shanmugapriya (Sidhi vinayakam), Latangi (Venkataramana) and Kambodi (Evarimata). The alapana of Kambodi in madhya sthayi and tara sthayi had many aha moments with the right proportion of plain notes, gamakams and dazzling brighas. The kritis were rendered in the authentic patantharam and in an unhurried kalapramanam without loss of the ravai jati sangatis. The neraval in two speeds on the lines Alarmel mangai manala was so imaginative defying his age. The swaras were intelligently crafted and sung with poise, verve and gusto, never making it a messy affair. Other kritis like Vandanamu (Sahana), ugabhoga in Charukesi and the dasarpada Samanyavalla sri hariyaseva were rendered with much feel. Senior accompanists H.N.Bhaskar, Patri Satish Kumar and B.S.Purushothaman supported the concert admirably. Rahul is too young. He should not be given over exposure. There is a risk of the voice break in adolescence. He will occupy a steady place in Carnatic music after that.

Another up and coming vidwan who presented a very impressive performance in Arkay Conention Centre on 18 Dec is Vivek Muzhikulam from Cochin who is presently learning from C.R.Vaidyanathan a senior disciple of P.S.Narayanaswamy. Vivek has won the M.S.Subbalakshmi Fellowship in 2014 and A Grade artiste in AIR. Vivek is endowed with a pleasant voice capable of negotiating three octaves with ease, patanthara sudham and flowing manodharmam. Starting the concert with Guruleka in Gowrimanohari, following it up a sedate alapana of Natakurinji for the vara kriti Budham Asrayami which was presented in an unhurried tempo, his detailed alapanas of Hemavati (Sree kantimatim) and Thodi (Kaddanuvariki) were much relishing for the voice throw and imaginative sancharams. The concluding piece Paripalaya paripalaya in Reetigowla was rendered in a leisurely tempo bringing memoirs of Maestro M.D.Ramanathan who is synonymous with this song. Tirucherai Karthik embellished the concert with his imaginative alapanas on the violin and Burra Sriram supported on the Mridangam.

Archana and Samanvi -teenage prodigies from South Kanara district who had their early lessons from late Dr. Ranjani Hebbar and presently groomed by Chitravina Ravikiran are showing good potentials for maturing into consummate duos. They are not biological sisters, but disciples of same Guru. Their concert for Kartik Fine Arts held in the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Mini Hall on 24 Dec was well planned and packaged for the enjoyment of the good crowd that gathered there. Starting their concert with a varnam composed by Chitravina Ravikiran in the ragam Karnataka devagandhari, their alapanas of Natakurinji (Mamavasada varade), Mukhari (Kheenamai tiruga) and Sarasangi (Rasika mahothama Krishna-Othucaud composition) were much impressive for their manodharmam, voice felicity, multitude of sangatis, coordination and authenticity. Sarasangi was well defined- avoiding any ambiguity with Charukesi. The kritis were presented adhering to the authentic patantharam and the swaras culminated in a complex korvai executed with precision. S.P.Ananthapadmanabha on the violin enriched the concert with his melodious playing on the violin while Karthik supported on the Mridangam.

It is gratifying to note that many aspiring musicians who participated in reality shows are pursuing a career in music very seriously by getting trained under great Gurus and putting in necessary hardwork and practice. R.P.Shravan – runner up in Airtel Super Singer in 2011 and recipient of Yuva Kala Bharathy award in 2016 belongs to this breed of young musicians who are pursuing a career in Carnatic music. Shravan got his early training in music from Padma Chandilyan and Sreemushnam Raja Rao and continuing advanced learning with Delhi Sunderrajan. In his concert for Madhuradhwani, his raga alapanas of Vasantha (Seetamma Mayamma) and Sankarabharanam (Etudanilachihe) had imagination, voice modulation and mix of brighas and plain notes and his voice could traverse the octaves with consummate ease. The kritis rendition had poise and nice diction and the swaras at Na tarama telisi for the main song were electric with laya complexities. A brisk Thodi varnam, Kanchadalayadakshi and Marivere in Latangi induced gusto in the start of the concert. Up and coming Violinist Chinmayi -daughter and disciple of violinist C.N.Srinivasamurthy supported well with her bowing soaked in melody and admirable manodharmam and Kiran pai made an impact with his Mridangam support.

Young vocalist Kruthi Bhatt from Texas initiated into this art by her mother Rajarajeswari Bhat had the privilege of learning from violin vidwan Vittal Ramamurthy (her uncle), Lalgudi Jayaraman and Prof. T.R.Subramaniam and presently undergoing advanced training under Neyveli Santhanagaopalan and Dr. Sowmya. Kruthi is a recipient of numerous awards in India as well as the United States including the Carnatic Music Idol USA Season 3 of Jaya TV. Endowed with a mellifluous voice that can traverse octaves with ease, her learning under great Gurus and the sadhana keeps her in good stead for the career in music. Kruthi impressed a whole lot of listeners in Chennai during this season in many venues. She commenced her after noon concert for Indian Fine Arts Society with a rimpressive with unfailing sruti sudham, gamaka sudham and measured brighas and unfailing akara sangatis. The energetic exposition of the alapana with brisk sancharas in three octaves had a majestic quality in it. A tillana in the ragam Vasanthi brought the curtains down. Madan Mohan n the violin and Vighnesh Venkatraman on the Mridangam provided commendable support on Violin and Mridangam respectively.

The music season gives us opportunity to listen to many gifted artistes which we could have missed all along. Revathy Kumar is one such musician who gave an impressive recital in the mid morning slot in the Music Academy on 17 Dec. Revathy was a disciple of late Sulochana Pattabhiraman and still continuing with her son P.Vasanthkumar. Besides managing a corporate career, She is an accomplished dancer too and giving nattuvangam and vocal support for the danseuse Shobana. Her recital is marked by adherence to tradition, good manodharmam and a pleasing voice. Her Sreeranjani (Brochevarevare) and Bhairavi (Bhavadeeyakatha- one of the navavidha bhakthi kritis of Swati Tirunal) were marked by abundant vidwath, well rounded gamakams and plenty of akara sangatis. The neraval on the lines Padmanabha jagadeesa murare for the main kriti and the cascade of kalpana swarams invited many ahas from the audience. A vidushi deserving encouragement of sabhanayakas and rasikas.

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Post by Sivaramakrishnan »

Excellent overview of music during lockdown, CRama!
The artists featured owe a lot to your painstaking efforts to listen and comment.

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Post by thanjavooran »

Excellent write-up. Quite interesting to enjoy your views during this house arrest.
With wishes,
30 05 2020

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Post by cienu »

Thank you Sri CRama for that elaborate coverage of live concerts on Social Media during the last 2 months of Lockdown. Indeed it has been a totally new experience for artists to sing with just Tambura Sruti. There have however been a number of instrumental concerts too & amongst them an excellent Veena duet concert by our own members & eminent artists Sri Jeyaraaj & Smt Jaysri for Mani Krishnaswami Academy on 3rd May & also a wonderful concert by Sri Ramana Balachandran for Durga Jasraj on May 19th. All these concerts are available to be viewed even after the concert is over and so for those who miss the live program, they can always catch up later.

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