The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Miscellaneous topics on Carnatic music
Ramasubramanian M.K
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#26 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by Ramasubramanian M.K » 20 Apr 2017, 23:46

Hi folks attending the Festival: How about posting some Comfort Inn Chatter--aradhanai akkapor--like the Good old. Vikatan Days Gossip( ARASI may remember!!!).
This year I was planning an in-person "old tales" session but could not make it. I need. that "fix" Could some provide the same?
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arasi
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#27 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 21 Apr 2017, 00:19

Thanks Ramesh (MKR) for appealing to the rasikAs in attendance at Cleveland. I do know they are busy listening to and watching the programs. Couldn't they share at least a bit with us at the end of the day of what they had savored? :)

And Meenaakshi, where are your weekend pics? We look forward to them as eagerly as we did as kids to the colorful dIpAvali malars!
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meenaakshi
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#28 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by meenaakshi » 21 Apr 2017, 02:42

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arasi
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#29 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 21 Apr 2017, 04:06

Thank you. Keep them coming :)
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Nick H
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#30 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by Nick H » 21 Apr 2017, 17:23

Everybody is there!

No wonder I've been finding less traffic in Chennai :D

Meenakshi: make sure that someone points the camera at you sometimes!
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kvchellappa
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#31 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by kvchellappa » 21 Apr 2017, 18:42

Very enjoyable programme from the students of Smt. Suguna Varadachary. They sang in unison. Sri Sundaram’s words of praise were deserved.
What is a rare kriti? Is it something not sung often? I have heard all before except palaranjani. (I keep ticking whatever I have heard. That is how I know. That may may not make it rare because I have to refer even to the ‘unrare’ krithis to find out!)
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arasi
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#32 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 21 Apr 2017, 19:22

Still, there were a number of kritis (so far in my listening), which were new to me (because they are not sung often?). Then there are the ones very familiar to me which are new to others. Goes to show how rich the CM treasury is...
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sridhar
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#33 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by sridhar » 21 Apr 2017, 20:35

here are some pics I snapped with my phone
https://goo.gl/photos/159PVtVKJkspNTbb9
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rshankar
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#34 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by rshankar » 21 Apr 2017, 22:06

Beautiful pictures, Meenakshi and Sridhar!
Like Arasi says, hopefully, the photographers will be photographed!
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arasi
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#35 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 21 Apr 2017, 22:21

Sridhar,
Such good pictures! Spring in blossom too in the campus! Thanks...

Ravi,
It was Nick who asked for her pic...
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Nick H
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#36 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by Nick H » 21 Apr 2017, 22:32

There has to be a way to use that organ... Even if only as the biggest sruti box evaaaar :lol:
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arasi
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#37 Re:The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 21 Apr 2017, 22:56

You still can't beat me at that, can you? Or, Ravi at that? :)
Seriously, his posts are valuable, with all the beautiful translations of lyrics he contributes.
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rshankar
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#38 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by rshankar » 21 Apr 2017, 23:13

Very funny!!
Apologies, Nick!
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shankarabharanam
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#39 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by shankarabharanam » 22 Apr 2017, 20:02

I was a looking forward to this mega festival in USA since I came to the US almost six yeara ago. However personal commitments ensured I missed it year after year. Even without attending the event my only issue was the number of the events they try to accommodate within ten days. I have the same crib about the Chennai December music festival where certain performances don't see any audience.

So this year I planned and kept my fingers crossed since it included a nine hour drive with a four year old. As everyone rushes to the Panchartnam weekend since it coincides with the easter weekend, reached the venue very early at 7AM in the morning when the Nadaswaram sound was echoing the hall. I could see the buzz with parents eagerly waiting to see their kids ascent the stage with seasoned vidwans.

I never expect a unison when Pancharatnam is sung unless rehearsed . And as expected the vidwans on the dias kept looking to their left and right for leads until a point when couple of them just closed their eye and started singing without bothering what is happening around them. Since I was also clicking pics, so actually could see some of them not really singing. I know I will get brickbats for this, but may be Mr Sundaram can call a restricted number of artist from India than invite them and just have a paid vacation. I saw so many volunteers working hard so that this festival runs successfully that I wish the visiting artists does justice at least during the Pancharatnam rendition.

The next event was one of the most popular one, the epic choir with Neyveli Sir. I sounded really good when the kids sang those tamil songs. I appreciate the effort of the gurus. But may the number of kids in this was little way too much. I know every parent wants their kid to be on stage in this festival but kids as small as six (seriously). In other rooms there were events simultaneously being conducted where talents like Kruthi Bhat were performing. I could just sneak in when she was singing a soulful Sahana and wondered why such beautiful concert was sidelined. These kids put in their heart and soul to perform in these concerts and when you don't see crowd to appreciate them, it is disheartening.

So when the enthusiastic parents walked away after the Neyveli choir, the auditorium was half full for Jayanth's concert. Don't forget it was lunch time too :). So I sneaked out during the last portion of the Choir to grab something in the restaurant that is opposite the CSU campus. Given the crowd I didn't even want to venture to the place where they were the aradhana volunteers had cooked food. I was happy to feed my hungry boy his Tachi mammu with curry in the restaurant :).

Jayanth played a beautiful Poorvi Kalyani and Dikshitar's Chaturdasa Ragamalika. They were already running behind schedule now and Sundaram sir asked him to wrap up the concert. The next big ticket event was in the schedule and the rasikas had put big towels to reserve seats. The hall was overflowing for Smt Sudha Ragunathan. For the time she got she did justice by singing her trademark kanakku swarams in the charanam for the Hari Kamboji Krithi Rama Nannu Brovara followed by Kaligyunte in Keeravani. Her Raga Alapana was good but I think her catch was the neraval. She build it up beautifully. Again a short tani due to paucity of time followed by soulful Bhavayami and Chinna Chiru Kiliye. By the time artist sets the mood it is already 20 mins and then you don't have much time. With a race to accompany all the artist (which includes many sabhas), they reduce the time duration of the concert. Instead if they are give quality time, even rasikas will get to hear a full fledged concert. As expected there was a standing ovation and Sundaram sir lauded the artist for raising the bar everytime she performs. She was applauded for supporting SEVA by wearing an Ikkat saree weaved by women weavers who were rehabilitated by the org.

It was already a long day as far as my four year old was concerned and since the weather was awesome, he was desperate to go out and play and no longer was he ready to stay in and put talam. In any case given the number of awardees, I wasn't to keen to hear the speeches. So took a break and came in during the last segment of the award ceremony when violinist Shri VVS was speaking and heaping praises on the aradhana committee. As usual claimed that this was better than the one held at Thiruvaiyyaru,though i beg to differ :).

RaGa's was a ticketed concert and the auditorium was full, except people weren't sitting on the floor as they did for Sudha or Neyveli (free events). They sang textbook phrases in Thodi followed by not so frequently heard Ninnu Vina Sukhamu. To me the pick of the day was their three raga RTP in sarawati, lalitha and durga. Ranjani sang Lalitha very well and I wanted to freeze the concert there. I really didn't want to hear anything more. There are few times in a concert when you reach that zone. I applaud the sisters for singing it so well. There was thunderous applause and whistling all around :).

By the time my day ended it was already 10.30 in the night with almost 14 hours at the CSU campus. The next day I couldn't stay back post lunch since had to drive back 9 hours as husband had to head back to work. In the morning heard carnatic symphony which to me wasn't really appealing except the opera sining by Sruthi Rajasekhar. She has a really powerful voice.

Papanasam Ashok Ramani's event was well conducted. Kids sang songs composed by Shri Papanasam Sivan and Smt Rukmani Ramani. They sang Ma Ramanan, Shri Parthasarathi, Maravene and other popular songs. Again thumbs to their gurus for training them. I just hope even if ten percent of the kids take singing seriously due to such events, it would be an achievement.

Though I stayed back for AS since my kid and husband were still at the hotel, I had to wait for them to come and pick me up. The less said, the better about her music. She made a young girl sit through an entire concert of hers just to give her a chance to sing for two mins. Seriously ;).

I applaud the aradhana committee for taking efforts to promote carnatic music on the banks of river Cuyahoga but not all events are really worth it. I don't understand why musicians have to camp at Comfort inn for almost ten days to perform one event and get chance to perform repeatedly. Some local kids who performed well weren't even visible to the crowd. Rasikas mostly attended big ticket events. Then the ideal thing would be to organize a five day festival and call few Indian artists and not invite the same set year after year. I heard there were many dance dramas the following days. Not many were there to attend the events that happened from monday. Of course the festive atmosphere was welcoming and kids got photo ops with senior vidwans.

Pics clicked at the event:

https://goo.gl/photos/eySD2GpPJZ5nnEHz9

https://goo.gl/photos/ZA3447P5FeApV8Wn9
https://goo.gl/photos/xnXQSNZb2KnUBUoDA
Last edited by shankarabharanam on 22 Apr 2017, 21:07, edited 2 times in total.
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kvchellappa
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#40 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by kvchellappa » 22 Apr 2017, 20:47

Good report.
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shankarank
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#41 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by shankarank » 23 Apr 2017, 01:58

shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
I never expect a unison when Pancharatnam is sung unless rehearsed . And as expected the vidwans on the dias kept looking to their left and right for leads until a point when couple of them just closed their eye and started singing without bothering what is happening around them. Since I was also clicking pics, so actually could see some of them not really singing.
You yourself answered the question you are raising - you can get plenty of kids to rehearse and render it neatly. Even Shri Karaikudi Mani once lamented the same during his Sruti-laya fusion @ Jaya TV early 2000(s) - that kids trained by Sulochana Pattabhiraman sang pancharatnam so nicely in a DD show and he took a dig at what is happening in Thiruvaiyaru.

But it is better to let senior musicians render this in one sense. You won't see the seasoned gait in anybody else - and due to that also - sometimes they may hold back and not sing or they may be uncomfortable if things are not synchronized , tAla is not coordinated to their liking - so many reasons!

In the snippet that transmitted in an FB page I observed Sri R.K Padmanabha not doing tAlam in sync with the singing - distracting Sri Bhakatvatsalam for Duduku gala.

May be they should get a conductor like Kunnakudi ;)

The thing to enjoy in a pancharatnam rendition is the gait and also the mridangam sollus , and other accompanying percussions.
shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
I know I will get brickbats for this, but may be Mr Sundaram can call a restricted number of artist from India than invite them and just have a paid vacation.
This should be left to the wisdom of the organizers. In Mylapore they can have any sense of proportion they want as the artistes are all living around there and only fight traffic to get to their events. But this is once an year event.

So somebody like you who gets to the back bench and leaves whenever you want - should at least develop more deeper insight into this than the shallow "I need to listen to my artiste and concert just like some Chennai concert" (ghetto shall i call it ) mentality!

It is great to see that the MA organizers Sri Murali and the scholar Sri Pappu Venugopal Rao are making an appearance. Hope they start some serious discussions about the state of our music - absorbing the live sense how it is being received - both positive and negative aspects. We need intellectuals heavily engaged - need of the hour!
shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
But may the number of kids in this was little way too much. I know every parent wants their kid to be on stage in this festival but kids as small as six (seriously).
This is engagement still at a poor man's level and there will be gives and takes! We need to grow beyond this and have scholars implanted into academia in a serious sense to have different kind of results. This is all informal personal effort through the private gurudom! It should be appreciated on its own merits!
shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
In other rooms there were events simultaneously being conducted where talents like Kruthi Bhat were performing. I could just sneak in when she was singing a soulful Sahana and wondered why such beautiful concert was sidelined. These kids put in their heart and soul to perform in these concerts and when you don't see crowd to appreciate them, it is disheartening.
You cannot conclude that she is being sidelined. The answer to this is in your own statement :
I don't understand why musicians have to camp at Comfort inn for almost ten days to perform one event and get chance to perform repeatedly
There will be at least some among that holidayers that may lend their ears to part of her concert and that is the blessing she will receive. I am not going to the level of "she can sing to fulfil the homage to tyAgaraja - the divine plane". But forget the audience - she has two (human - well more than human - they may be sAdhakas) rasikas on stage the violinist and the mridangist. Especially the Mridangist - as we can take it for granted the melodic part - we think music is all that and it is running on tala rails! A musician who cannot elicit subtlety and expression from a Mridangist is not a carnatic musician and certainly not paying homage to tyAgaraja. That is a truth no body else will tell you.
shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
So when the enthusiastic parents walked away after the Neyveli choir, the auditorium was half full for Jayanth's concert. Don't forget it was lunch time too :). So I sneaked out during the last portion of the Choir to grab something in the restaurant that is opposite the CSU campus. Given the crowd I didn't even want to venture to the place where they were the aradhana volunteers had cooked food. I was happy to feed my hungry boy his Tachi mammu with curry in the restaurant :).
I appreciate the fact that you had a 4 year old with you and still came to the Aradhana even though he may not be participating. But you cannot look at the queue and not see the fact that Anna Dhanam ( even if a fee is being charged - still a kOtIswaran cannot get an Indian meal unless they drive away 20 minutes so I stick to that term in that situation) is being performed and you cannot see this with Indian eyes. You are looking at them like service providers and lacking efficiency. May be they could improve and have a separate queue for those with kids like Airlines do. Well most of the audience there are with kids.

shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
In any case given the number of awardees, I wasn't to keen to hear the speeches.
I know many speeches contain cliches and platitudes. But that is the style of Indian speaking we cannot get away from. Amidst that there may be an insight or two - that may be food for your thinking - given that you make so many comments!
shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
So took a break and came in during the last segment of the award ceremony when violinist Shri VVS was speaking and heaping praises on the aradhana committee. As usual claimed that this was better than the one held at Thiruvaiyyaru,though i beg to differ :).
He should not have compared the two - each one is done in different circumstances. But the Thiruvaiyaru site itself writes a history like : before they had this singing Aradhana it was only a simple affair - somebody in tyAgaraja's lineage doing a ritual ( not sure for a person who took sanyas - what that could be) - downplaying the importance of somebody expressing gratitude in his remembrance. When people have lost respect for samskaras and sanskriti we need to be worried. But I think unintentionally everybody is paying homage - their personal motives of coming to the Aradhana apart - and all the conflicting behavior exempted!

shankarabharanam wrote:
22 Apr 2017, 20:02
Papanasam Ashok Ramani's event was well conducted. Kids sang songs composed by Shri Papanasam Sivan and Smt Rukmani Ramani. They sang Ma Ramanan, Shri Parthasarathi, Maravene and other popular songs. Again thumbs to their gurus for training them. I just hope even if ten percent of the kids take singing seriously due to such events, it would be an achievement.
It is already an achievement that the kids jaw bones are moving to tyAgarajas viSranti packaged by tamizh tyagaraja! The kids whether they take to music or not will be impacted by it and will one day connect with this music in their life! They may also take this into various other forms that we may not even be able to fathom!
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arasi
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#42 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 23 Apr 2017, 02:57

Sankarabharanam,
Good to see your post after quite sometime. So, you and your husband did make it to the festival and in the company of your four year old as well. Kudos to all! The packed schedule is overwhelming even for adults, let alone kids. Then again, we stop and think how much zeal goes into it, and for every ounce of it--trouble and toil. This, year after year! Yes, a few things can change--to make this incomparable phenomenon even better in the coming years...

One suggestion to you and others who do not have to go out of the house to work: do watch the streaming. You will get the whole spectrum of things happening there and then with the On Demand streaming later!

The work which will go on in India (may be from next month) will not stop until the big wave of the ArAdhanA is upon our shores next year!

Shankarank,
A great post from you--and I understand every word of it as well :)
Last edited by arasi on 23 Apr 2017, 03:34, edited 1 time in total.
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thanjavooran
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#43 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by thanjavooran » 23 Apr 2017, 03:13

Folks attending the festival. Good morning to you all. Great report. Keep the discussion alive.
With wishes
Thanjavooran
23 04 2017
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meenaakshi
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#44 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by meenaakshi » 24 Apr 2017, 04:16

I have added a few more shots.
Nick, there are a few pictures of mine ;)

https://goo.gl/photos/ztuZP3DCJHwXdpac7
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arasi
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#45 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 24 Apr 2017, 08:09

Wow! Thanks :)

Nick,
There she is, and how tired she looks :( Rest up, girl!
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thanjavooran
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#46 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by thanjavooran » 24 Apr 2017, 08:21

Thanks for the link
Thanjavooran
24 04 2017
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arasi
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#47 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 26 Apr 2017, 09:02

The Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana Festival of the year ended on Sunday. Yesterday felt strange, not viewing/hearing any more of it. This annual happening brings about a listening mode unlike any other. A bit like the Chennai season, but different for those of us who watch the streaming from home. I knew my being occupied with other things meant less hours with the festival. Strangely enough, may be because this has become a looked-forward to tradition, I ended up watching a bit more than I thought I would.

There's an urgency in getting things done before and in between programs I mean to watch. My life is different during the two weeks. Well, it will start all over again next March :)

Watching, and at times, even being able to listen to the streaming is exciting, energizing. It's not the same as being right there of course, but we do appreciate it, for it's the next best thing.

Thanks to the icarnatic team whose volunteering spirit makes this happen year after year. On top of working long hours, they channel the subscription the viewers pay to the the Aradhana.

Hoping to share bits of my experience in short posts. Last night I typed a long post and it was lost in space :(
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Sivaramakrishnan
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#48 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by Sivaramakrishnan » 26 Apr 2017, 10:27

Thanks for the nice pics Meenaakshi and others for the wonderful reports.
Chennaiites must be able to relate to the happenings easily!
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Nick H
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#49 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by Nick H » 26 Apr 2017, 12:18

arasi wrote:
26 Apr 2017, 09:02
The Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana Festival of the year ended on Sunday. ... ... ...
I was thinking everybody would come back now, but I had forgotten. Was talking to some artists yesterday, who said oh no, everybody will go on tour now. And they agreed that, for some of them it is a vital part of their income for the year.

Wishing them happy journeys and successful concerts!

But somehow, it is nice when everybody is at home :D
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arasi
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#50 Re: The Cleveland Aradhana Festival 2017

Post by arasi » 26 Apr 2017, 19:21

But Nick, we are at home having them here, and we are at home too, when we make it to the season every year :)

Seriously, for those who don't, it's a very good thing. Take for instance those like Maduraimini who do not visit India for years on end. Live concerts are cherished by them.
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