Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

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Sachi_R
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#1 Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Welcome to a delightful session with Vidushi ARUNA Sairam. She is doing the session in Bombay with a very interested Hindustani audience, organised by Pandit Arvind Parikh. (Held on 20 Sep. 2019).

Whenever I see a very successful Carnatic communicator, my interest is aroused. I want to understand their musical development and attitudes. This is therefore a great session, and lasts some 150 minutes.

ARUNA-Ji has some superb accompaniment from J.Vaidyanathan and R.Madhavan. VAIDYANATHAN is simply OUTSTANDING.

In their concession to their diffidence in conversing with ARUNA-Ji, the Baithak organisers have engaged Sri, Ganesh Kumar as an interlocutor. I am generally allergic to such intermediaries, as they obstruct the flow and offer unwanted elucidation. Well.

I found AS to be a brilliant communicator. Her command of verbal expression is impeccable. She is deferential, modest, confident and a great ambassador of CM.

She speaks about how her mother, her other gurus, shaped her music. She explains how from chants to prayers to bhajans to non-stop classes, her life was a great immersion. I did not know T.Brinda spent months on end in their house. T.Balasaraswati, Ameer Khan, Mahalingam, Voleti - there were frequent visitors. She has also learnt Veena from Sri, K.S. Narayanaswamy.

AS confesses how all her devices and artistic sensibilities took some time to come together, and how she found her “zone” only after many years, after singing to sparse audiences in Chennai. She struck upon what type of music works for her and her audiences best. The rest as they say is history.

The usual “we don’t understand!” type of Hindustani questions are handled with respect and without conceit. She discusses how she developed her freedom of expression- “I learnt to fly”- after training with an American voice culture expert in Germany,

ARUNA-Ji sings a few snippets extremely beautifully:
1. Tirtha Vitthala
2. Durga chant from Bengal
3. Snatches from her collaboration with an Italian singer
4. How she discovered a wonderful way to begin Kurai Ondrum with a viruttam made up of Kulashekara poetry.
5. Vaishnav Janato she learnt from a minstrel in Rajkot.

Someone suggests she has invented Viruttam. AS dismisses that notion, says how Viruttam and Shloka have a great tradition in CM. She illustrates how she improved her Viruttam over time.

Someone asks about Gamaka. She illustrates with Mohana, Kalyani, and Shankarabharana deftly.

Watch it, Listen to it. We have a great ambassador for CM in Smt. ARUNA Sairam.

🙏
Image

If you click on the image shown above, you will be taken to YouTube.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 29 Sep 2019, 08:19, edited 1 time in total.

arasi
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#2 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by arasi »

Sachi,
Who better to write about this event than you!
I saw part of the program, and was not surprised by Aruna Sairam's presentation. As you say, she's a brilliant communicator. I was struck by her skills about twenty years ago in Bengaluru. She and a medieval musician from Europe (Belgian?) presented a program of both kinds of music (CM and MM) which was calming, sonorous and satisfying. She sang a Kalyani too, if I recollect correctly. It all blended so well--a far cry from what much of fusion music has become (con-fusion music).
Ah, her communicative skills were so evident even then. As they say, she has so much sarakku (goods) to draw from. She may seem flashy to some, but the shine comes from years of riAz , exposure and her sheer love for music. She is extremely bright too.
Thanks for bringing this baiTak, you hi-tech! Hope this event will stay on You Tube! AS's grace can erase traces of snobbery which often can be found in such events--may be not in this one.
Yes, JV is something special. From young singers to veterans, he enhances their singing. A fine player...

rajeshnat
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#3 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by rajeshnat »

is baithak a name of festival or organizer. is that a hindi word what is baithak

Sachi_R
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#4 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Baithak is a Hindi word for a "sit down session to interact" with a musician. It is not a concert. But musicians play or sing during these sessions. This recording is a great example of a Baithak.
Arvind Parikh is a famous Sitar exponent with a large number of students and friends. He has been conducting this Baithak for some years now. All the programmes are recorded and archived on YouTube.
This is listed as the 38th Baithak. Each session is a different Baithak.
Last edited by Sachi_R on 29 Sep 2019, 09:49, edited 1 time in total.

arasi
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#5 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by arasi »

Rajesh,
You know that baiTna is to sit. A sitting, a session with, I take it to be.

arasi
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#6 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by arasi »

Ah, both my words made sense then, Sachi. Our posts crossed :).

dhanurasi
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#7 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by dhanurasi »

Aruna Sairam presented a lovely lecture on Bhajana Sampradayam in the Music Academy's Annual Conference last December that she presided over. Indeed a great communicator. JV was there too supporting her.

Sachi_R
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#8 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Indeed? Would there be a link please?

sreebeecane
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#9 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by sreebeecane »

arasi wrote: 29 Sep 2019, 00:57 ...As they say, she has so much sarakku (goods) to draw from. She may seem flashy to some, but the shine comes from years of riAz , exposure and her sheer love for music. She is extremely bright too....
The current Aruna Sairam is a totally different version of Aruna Sairam that several of the old-timers have heard. I am not old or lucky enough to have heard the previous avatar of Aruna Sairam. After all, she is Brinda's student. :)

Here is a totally out-of-the-world suraTi by the old Aruna Sairam. As arasi maami rightly said, she is indeed extremely bright and has the mettle and hardwork to back that brightness.

EDIT: Here is the album.

Sachi_R
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#10 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Sreebeecane,
As you can imagine, I have heard all such comments from several people over many years.

I would only urge the rasikas to watch this programme with a freshness of outlook that it deserves.

What comes through here is the personality of a musician who has intelligently worked at and accomplished her journey to do her best as a musician and to feel good about it. In other words she has arrived.

sreebeecane
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#11 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by sreebeecane »

Sachi_R wrote: 30 Sep 2019, 07:53 What comes through here is the personality of a musician who has intelligently worked at and accomplished her journey to do her best as a musician and to feel good about it. In other words she has arrived.
Sir, I do agree with you. I saw the video before commenting and I think it was a very well articulated view of her music and her thought. She is a very intelligent musician and to reach the level she has reached, there is absolutely no doubt that it requires a lot of thought, reflection and effort!

It just happens to be the case that her early days (from whatever I have heard of her recordings!) appealed to my musical sensibilities. It might very well be the case that she feels that she has arrived right now. I think she arrived long ago by the stellar display of her suraTi that I linked.

I just prefer the ’konTegaaDu’ Aruna Sairam to the ‘Vishamakara Kannan’ Aruna Sairam. Then again, I’m just a lay rasika and what do I know? :)

Sachi_R
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#12 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

I just prefer the ’konTegaaDu’ Aruna Sairam to the ‘Vishamakara Kannan’ Aruna Sairam.
Sure sir, why not! I also have my preferences!
I find it often difficult to relate to what is "popular" music🙂

ajaysimha
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#13 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by ajaysimha »

a very nice program to watch!
it was a recapitulation to her fans who would have followed her interview with shruthi magazine.

yes the demonstrations were very appropriately chosen!
her viriboni varnam (she sang only poorvangam) had the total depth.


great articulation of content, @Rsachi ji.
the link to bhajana sampradayam v/s carnatic music is available on Aruna sairam's facebook page.

only a short clipping is posted comparing todaya mangala(bhajana sampradayam) v/s pancharathna krithis(carnatic music)

Sachi_R
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#14 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Thanks, Ajay!

shankarank
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#15 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by shankarank »

sreebeecane wrote: 30 Sep 2019, 09:44 I just prefer the ’konTegaaDu’ ... I’m just a lay rasika and what do I know? :)
People walked out in droves - sorry - did not show up in droves for konTEgaaDu when it was sung by horse's mouths - in what was considered the most knowledgeable era of carnatic music, with most knowledgeable analytical audience!

A person from that era , who was a rasika, trained a bit on music also , happens to be a man , somewhat rare to find musically trained man from that era, once talked about Ariyakudi's music thus:

"He starts and keeps singing keeps going one after another, ( I am translating the expression in tamizh : pADinDe poyiNDE irrupAr) and by the end of the concert would have sung some 25 songs!" :lol: .

This was around the close of the 20th millenium , that this conversation happened. I can only say one thing. My grandfather's generation had good housewives who took care of lot of stuff. It worked for them! Likewise Ariyakudi had giants like Pazhani and PMI with them - it happened for them! Avalukku naDantatu!

ARI misunderstood!

This man must have enjoyed it then, but later fed with MCC/Presidency MA/BA stuff about GNB, has indeed changed his impression I suppose!

Dr BMK's observation is the correct one in musical terms of what really happened:

https://youtu.be/SMHfTMnT7vg?t=908

Speed music! In time dimension! And then clarity!

Rest of the stuff as I said is MA/BA stuff!

Now new proclamations are being made how brigha can destroy voice and how brigha based singers should setup an early retirement scheme!

And how slow rendering is soaked in purism and soulfulness ;)

I know, I know, impressions can change :lol:

rshankar
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#16 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by rshankar »

Sachi_R wrote: 28 Sep 2019, 21:37Whenever I see a very successful Carnatic communicator, my interest is aroused. I want to understand their musical development and attitudes. This is therefore a great session, and lasts some 150 minutes.
Agree that she's a superb communicator. The flow of the program was perfect.
I found AS to be a brilliant communicator. Her command of verbal expression is impeccable. She is deferential, modest, confident and a great ambassador of CM.
I am trying to understand what she meant by her statement that she introduced abhang singing as part of the tukkaDa section of a concert - there are at least two abhangas I know that Smt. MSS used to render in her concerts way, way before Smt. Aruna did - sundar tE dhyAn, and bArE pANDurangA. Did anyone understand her statement??
In their concession to their diffidence in conversing with ARUNA-Ji, the Baithak organisers have engaged Sri, Ganesh Kumar as an interlocutor. I am generally allergic to such intermediaries, as they obstruct the flow and offer unwanted elucidation. Well.
That 'Well' of yours was quite eloquently pregnant with all that you left unsaid! ;) I agree wholeheartedly. I have a question for the experts - Sri Ganesh at one point says that Carnatic musicians use their throat voice mainly, and Smt AS was the first to use a 'more powerful' voice - whatever that means. But based on the discussions in the 'Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists' and 'Losing voice?' threads, there are many, many musicians who use their chest voice and transition seamlessly to head voice as the note demands. So, what was he talking about?

CRama
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#17 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by CRama »

When MS sang those abhangs, the South Indian audience were not exposed to shouting vithala vithala in a concert. They heard the song with full devotion and immersed in the sangeetha and sahithya bhavam. After the onslaught of abhangs by the present day abhang specialists, they involve the audience who join with them in shouting vithala vithala. That is the difference these people have made to abhangs. MLV also sang a couple of abhangs but without shouting vithala vithala.

HarishankarK
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#18 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by HarishankarK »

No artistes are shouting vittala vittala during Abhangs in carnatic concerts

HarishankarK
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#19 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by HarishankarK »

The way MS and MLV sang Abhnags was more like a carnatic bhajan and not like the real way maratha singers sing abhang.(I am not saying here that they sang badly).
Real traditional abhang sing does have vittala vittala and slight neravals for 2-3 avarthanams and akaaraas and also raga changes for some lines briefly during the rendiition. MS and MLV didnt sing like that.
AS and Ra Ga sing a little more closer to real abhanga singers.
Maybe that is what AS is saying that she introduced real form of abhang singing in thukkada section in carnatic concerts.

MLV sang abhangs so well - especially the in between akaarams and alaaps she did v brief in her bhimplas and S. Bhairavi abhangs were top class. MLV everything always top class. But still AS and Ra Ga sing closer to real abhangs.
It cannot be denied that audiences have been introduced more to abhangs big time by AS only. She sings them v. tellingly and also in every concert and her repertoire is not like 1-2 abhangs.
Real abhangs are more foot tapping style than MS and MLV versions- AS sings like that

Sachi_R
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#20 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

It is true voice culture and nAbhi-hRt-kaNTha singing was a calamity for many years in CM with the advent of mics and a very speech-like singing. But nowadays, most leading artistes recognise the need for voice culture and singing from the navel. Not just men like Abhishek, RKM and of course TMK, even some women singers can sing with that depth. So Sri. Ganesh was making a tenuous point.

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#21 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Pratyaksham Bala »

shouting vithala vithala
'Chanting' would be appropriate !!

sureshvv
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#22 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by sureshvv »

Think CRama has described it accurately :D

rajeshnat
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#23 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by rajeshnat »

CRama wrote: 03 Oct 2019, 09:57 When MS sang those abhangs, the South Indian audience were not exposed to shouting vithala vithala in a concert. They heard the song with full devotion and immersed in the sangeetha and sahithya bhavam. After the onslaught of abhangs by the present day abhang specialists, they involve the audience who join with them in shouting vithala vithala. That is the difference these people have made to abhangs. MLV also sang a couple of abhangs but without shouting vithala vithala.
Just an extension of CRama thought. The below thought is bit more deep in me

I think CM Is CM only when Mrudangam is allowed to champion with its core mrudhu sound and intrinsic layam . CM is not rAdhA kalyanam mahOTsavam . The time when mrudangam artist starts playing like tabla/dholak CM is dead . Unfortunately A Bang hastens and morphs the mrudangam to functionally behave like dholak/tabla. Yes it helps many uninitated to connect as it is bit easy to clap along with the singer.

An abhang is fine , i have enjoyed few like one megh malhar one that rAgA sisters have sung . But if the abhang tail is eating the head then it is a strict NO. I recently heard vidushi Aruna interview in coimbatore she has great choice of words when she replies , she has great assertion in voice but tail is certainly eating the head. Baithak which i came to know only when i asked sachi is helping her to continue with her longer tail concerts.

shankarank
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#24 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by shankarank »

Pratyaksham Bala wrote: 03 Oct 2019, 14:10
shouting vithala vithala
'Chanting' would be appropriate !!
From tiruviLayDal movie: ninRa poruL asaiyavum, asaiyum poruL nirkavum seyda oru dEvagAnattai kattal engirai! :lol:
A music that makes the immobile move and the mobile still is being called shouting - what? :lol:

Well, well , well - overall when the HM interlocutors out there expressed their misgivings about declining analytical quality of Northern audiences, while they think that southerners are analytical, they forgot one thing. HM at it's core still retains it's nawabdhari, rajuputana baggage, may be the citadels of patronage were not under direct British rule.

CM has however left the samasthana (Mysore, Travancore, eTTayapuram and Ramnad) baggage very early , being patronized by grass roots people, albeit servants of the empire. Even as musicians keep tom-toming the Pallavi core, Pallavi has been reduced to a kriti like rendition almost. The temple divine court now provided a different context. Most importantly CM received a metrical bonus ( technically the chandas) from kritis and kirtanams.

HM lacks that as north indians simply lost their language! (mozhiyai izhanda inam!). And HM is stuck in it's own court premises! Has slowly become a museum piece! It could be caricatured as the Taj Mehel and the Sitar!

Even though there may be connoisseurs in CM, there is a Shastra guiding them somewhat , even if they don't recognize it. The general listener who provides for the popularity of musicians is not a connoisseur!

HM has to continuously look for connoisseurs, while CM does not!

Now that makes me understand what is indeed the contribution of ARI. Prior to that even the temple courtyards were dog-eats-dog world for tavil/nadasvara vidvans we know - how one can defeat the other! That is the samasthana baggage I am talking about. Their migration to rendering kritis is a welcome one even for them!

Sachi_R
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#25 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Dear Shankarank,
Your post reminds me of a trip to Krishna Rajendra Market at 4 AM to buy flowers like lotuses, Champak, best in class Mallika etc. There is a huge rush of sellers and buyers. When one is lucky, one manages to get the best flowers, fresh, fragrant, fervently ready for pooja. Your post contains many such gems, but the effort to extract them is equal to the K R Market experience!

Here is a lovely picture of flowers from there in their place!
Image

rshankar
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#26 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by rshankar »

Some more questions and comments on the बैठक:
1) What does Smt. Aruna mean when she says South Indian languages have more consonants? More than? Hindi? SaMskRtam?
2) Didn't people sing viruttams and SlOkas instead of a rAga outline in the pre-RTP section of the concert even before Smt. Aruna says she did?

I really think that a musician of her stature and vidvat could have chosen another kRti to demonstrate vivAdi rAgas and not one with disputed authorship (gAnamUrtE).

shankarank
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#27 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by shankarank »

Sachi_R wrote: 04 Oct 2019, 09:05 Here is a lovely picture of flowers from there in their place!
Thanks. You caricature of my post ( if it was indeed meant to be one) looks much better than mine :lol:

Sachi_R
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#28 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

No no caricature sir! I really liked many lines in your post.

arunsri
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#29 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by arunsri »

That 'Well' of yours was quite eloquently pregnant with all that you left unsaid! ;) I agree wholeheartedly. I have a question for the experts - Sri Ganesh at one point says that Carnatic musicians use their throat voice mainly, and Smt AS was the first to use a 'more powerful' voice - whatever that means. But based on the discussions in the 'Voice Range of Carnatic Vocalists' and 'Losing voice?' threads, there are many, many musicians who use their chest voice and transition seamlessly to head voice as the note demands. So, what was he talking about?
[/quote]

Many people by virtue of being at the right place and time and with the right 'connections' end up becoming 'knowledgeable' intellectuals. This is true in every aspect of life - academia and more so in fine arts where each one has his / her own taste.
Many institutions which have had glorious pasts - both as an institution as well as a seat of learning have suffered serious loss in credibility and are currently running PURELY on their past glory. This is entirely due to wrong people being at the helm of affairs by virtue of what I have said in the first line. An individual's greatness in one field DOES NOT necessarily imply greatness in an other field. Having people with pedestrian music knowledge at the helm of affairs or as teachers or administrators, or in panel discussions where one expects serious and thought provoking discussions - is something that should be shunned upon. But what organisers, have, unfortunately, is the name or the tag that so and so has served here and there... etc etc.. and by virtue of that is called for other programme as a Guest of Honour or Moderator, and the cycle continues.

Knowledgeable rasikas may do well to ignore the background noise provided by such people.

The statements above is a fact - you can take several organisations (both Govt organisations and Sabhas) or accreditation bodies which have lost credibility due to the very shallow TOP level

arunsri
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#30 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by arunsri »

Can someone clarify what she is trying to convey at around 37:00? and the whole thing related to bhairavi. IMHO it is pure nonsense. The third s n d is complete darbAri kAnaDa phrase. Just because no one questions these kind of statements, and few 'intellectuals' applaud these things, does not mean what anyone says is right. I posted a comment on the YouTube page, but removed it. RASIKAS is a forum where it can be put.

Ganesh Kumar says that most compositions are in Sanskrit.. I am sure he is wrong. Greatest number (%) are in Telugu, good number in Tamil and Sanskrit and then other languages. Someone can provide a rough statistic on the typical numbers (%) of compositions in different languages.

HarishankarK
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#31 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by HarishankarK »

That S N D is Bhairavi only but slightly the S hits the mark
But it's not Darbari
In carnatic music we can see n many alapanais in the begining some phrases which can sound like multiple ragas - some musicians start alapana with a exactly telling phrase whereas some create suspense for few seconds before establishing the phrase which completely clearly identifies the raga.
Last week I was listening to a Bhairavi alaaapanai and there was 100% a karaharapriya phrase that came in between of alapanai
Bilahari and Kamboji as well can have some rare overlapping phrases

I would also think that Telugu, Tamizh and Kannadda have more compositions than Sanskrit. Somewhere I read Purandara dasar composed 400k plus songs. Clearly he is the winnner then
Tyagarajar did 24000 krithis mostly Telugu.
Arunagirinathar 16000 Tiruppugazhs
These are all definitely higher than any composers Sanskrit compositions (mainly diksitar a nd Swati tirunal)

Sachi_R
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#32 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

Arunsri,
I know you to be a very intellectually gifted rasika and CM exponent, sir. Nothing to contest what you have said.

I have found Bhairavi to be a chameleon type of raga. I have found an astonishing range of interpretations. Balamurali's Bhairavi (a key part of the famous movie Hamsageete) is very different from say MDR's.

Sachi_R
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#33 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

About the percentage of Carnatic music songs in vogue, the right yardstick would be what is presented on the stage and radio these days. Since most musicians present a few Tamil songs nowadays, I would guess the descending order would be Telugu/Tamil, Sanskrit, Kannada/Hindi/Marathi/Bengali/etc. Malayalam and Manipravalam are tucked in my Sanskrit word.

shankarank
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#34 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by shankarank »

As if musicians mastered a lot of compositions!! Only some like Sanjay try. ARI as per estimates has emoted 1500 Plus. There are still countless Sri tyAgarAja's not being sung! And there were musicians in golden era who did not know more than 50 - 100 - their polished rendering what mattered!

Sachi_R
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#35 Re: Baithak with SK Vidushi ARUNA Sairam

Post by Sachi_R »

I would be cautious in pushing musicians to learn lots of songs. I know for a fact that many songs are learnt on the fly and read off iPads. Unless the song is digested and becomes the singer's own expression, it remains a lip service.

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