Akshay Suresh (student of Sri.Shivkumar Bhat)
Ankita Turlapati (student of Smt.Kasthuri Shivakumar)
Diya Vinodh (student of Smt.Kasthuri Shivakumar)
Mahathi Shankarram (student of Sri Paduka Academy)
Manya Sriram (student of Sri Paduka Academy)
Rohit Seshadri & Sanjay Chandrasekar Mrudangam duet (students of Sri.Ravindrabharathy Sridharan)
Samyuktha Natesan (student of Smt. Akila Iyer & Sri. R Suryaprakash)
Vaibhav Prakash (student of Sri. Vijay Siva)
Shravya Srinath (student of Smt Sandhya Srinath)
Tejas Bharadwaj (student of Sri BV Raghavendra Rao)
Urmika Balaji (student of Vid. A Kanyakumari)
Veena Krishnan (student of Smt Sandhya Srinath)
Akshay Suresh (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayan)
Avinash Anand (student of Sri Arjun Ganesh)
Kishore Lakshmanan (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayan)
Rishi Kodungallur (student of Sri Ravindrabharathy Sridharan)
Sriram Subramanian (student of Sri Tiruchur Narendran & Sri Gopi Lakshminarayan)
Umesh Gopi (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayan)
Varchas Bharadwaj (student of Sri Trivandrum Balaji)
Thank you for tuning into our event Sunday in support of our performing students. We introduced Diya Vinodh (vocal) and Sanjay Chandrasekar (vocal+mru) and rest of the returning talents gave their best, binding those who tuned in, to stay on till the end.
We are extremely grateful to Vidwan Sri Delhi P Sunder Rajan sir for agreeing to be our featured guru by sharing his thoughts, with a lot of valuable pointers for our young learners, on topics of Concert Planning and RagamThanamPallavi.
We are very thankful to our volunteers who help CCC run smoothly each month, and special thanks to our video team who put in numerous hours editing files for presenting at these virtual events.
Here are the pics from the event (courtesy of the parents and Shesh (our photo team volunteer). You’re welcome to add your pics if you remembered to take any while watching our event.
If you missed watching our event live, a recording is available on our YouTube channel. Please subscribe to our CCC YouTube channel so you won’t miss another event and do save July 12th Sunday (2-5pm) for our next (virtual) event.
Until then stay safe and be well!
Carnatic Chamber Concerts – June 2020 Event
Authored By: Anirudh Ramadurai, Shreya Virunchipuram, Pranav Satyadeep, Mahathi Shankarram, Prahlad Saravanapriyan, Urmika Balaji, and Adithya Narayanan
Commencing the virtual event was a vocal performance by Diya Vinodh, accompanied by Veena Krishnan on the violin and Rishi Kodungallur on the mridangam. Diya sang a very soothing rendition of the Vasanthabhairavi varnam “Ni Dhayai Puriguvaai,” composed by Shri. Neyveli Santhanagopalan. Then, she followed it with Smt. Ambujam Krishna’s composition, “Mariyemi Kavalenu,” in the ragam Kannada. Veena provided excellent and melodious violin support, and Rishi synced very well throughout the whole recital to support Diya. Overall, the first presentation of the program was enjoyable and delightful.
Subsequent to Diya was a vocal performance by Ankita Turlapati in the ten-minute slot, accompanied by Kishore Lakshmanan on the mridangam and Shravya Srinath on the violin. Ankita began a moving, steady rendition of the krithi “parAkEla nannu paripAlimpa” in the ragam Kedaragowlai, set to 1 Kalai Adi Thalam, and composed by the esteemed member of the Trinity, Shyama Shastri. In the process, the ensuing phrases were fully drenched with bhavam, there was a firm emphasis on proper diction, and cogent connections in between. Simultaneously, the mridangist tailored his playing accordingly, and the violinist adeptly shadowed the vocalist, translating to the exuberant sketch of Kalyani presented, and although succinct, highlighted all its integral, thematic features. Similarly, the following krithi, “amma rAvamma” in the ragam Kalyani, set to Misra Chapu, and composed by Thyagaraja, exhibited many of the same attributes, with pleasing intricacies, nadai variations, and the mridangist/violinist matching the enthusiasm of the vocalist. All in all, owing to the accompanists’ contribution through their nuanced playing, and the many subtleties/embellishments presented by the vocalist, it enhanced the quality level and produced a laudable performance.
Following Ankita Turlapati was a Mridangam Duet Laya Vinyasam by Rohit Seshadri and Sanjay Chandrasekar. They took the Pallavi of the song “Koti Nadhulu Dhanushkotilo,” in the 8th melakarta raga Hanumatodi, composed by Saint Shri. Thyagaraja, with an Adhi thalam ¾ eddam eduppu. Then they played a thani consisting of many exciting abhiprayams and patterns in chatusra nadai. This exquisite laya vinyasam was the first of its kind among CCC students and was coordinated and synchronized very well, especially during the koraippu, mora, and korvai.
Next was a vocal performance by Akshay Suresh, accompanying himself on the mridangam. Akshay began with a bright and melodious alapana in the ragam Madhyamavathi, a janyam of the 22nd melakartha, Kharaharapriya. He followed up to sing, Paalinchu Kamakshi, a gem of a krithi by Shyama Shastri set to Adi talam. In this krithi, Shyama Shastri seeks Goddess Kamakshi’s grace. Akshay’s soulful rendition of the krithi was followed by kalpanaswarams in both keezh kalam and mel kalam on the anucharanam line ‘Kantha magu peru pondithivi’. The kalpana swarams brought out the bhavam of the ragam, ending with a samam-to-samam korvai. Akshay’s crisp and nimble mridangam accompaniment complemented and enhanced this performance.
Following Akshay’s rendition in Madhyamavathi was a herculean performance by Manya Sriram on the vocal and Sriram Subramanian on the mridangam. Manya began with a convincing, nostalgic Thodi. The raga essay explored a changing mood as every phrase rendered was with fluidity and ease, combined with Manya’s well-cultured and energetic voice. Analytically, the raga approach, on the whole, was experimental and incredibly fresh to the ear. Following her dynamic alapana was her rendition of Saint Tyagaraja’s illustrious Koluvamaregada, set to Retta Kala Adi Thalam. Manya took to handling this magnum opus, especially the intricate, voice-testing gamakams and modulations, with complete mastery. For manodharmam, Manya sang neraval and kalpana swarams on the line “vEkuvajAmuna velayucu tambUra jEkoni guNamula jeluvonda bADacu.” The niraval rounds, though simple, were elegant and well-scoped. In particular, the mEl-kAla rounds exchanged with herself were with such coherency that not a single breath was in the middle. The kalpanaswarams that succeeded was the zenith of this performance. Beginning with traditional aspects of the Thodi raga, Manya sang a few rounds of kizh kAlam swaram, with several kanakkus cleverly embedded in them. Following this were the mEl-kAla rounds, which launched off from rapid-fire sarvalaghu swarams to elaborate, well-built-up kanakku ideas and abiprayams. Throughout the performance, Sriram accompanied Manya with a high kala pramanam and precision level, especially regarding how well he contributed to the overall ambiance of her rendition and the song itself. Towards the end, he played a short but applaudable mohra-korvai that was well-executed. Overall, Manya and Sriram gave an excellent presentation of Saint Tyagaraja’s magnum opus!
Next was the first part of the very special ‘Feature-a-Guru’ segment. This month’s featured Guru was Vidwan Delhi Sri P. Sunder Rajan, a very senior and renowned carnatic vocalist and violinist from India. Sri Sunder Rajan began with a beautiful slokam in the ragam Shanmukhapriya, from the famous Narayaneeyam, seeking the grace of Lord Guruvayurappan to protect us all during these difficult times. Sri Sunder Rajan Sir’s first topic was ‘Concert Planning’, where he shared his thoughts on planning a concert. The current concert structure where we begin with a varnam, singing a sub-main, main, Pallavi, etc., was passed on to us from the great musician Shri. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar. Shri Sunder Rajan Sir’s key points touched upon covering both Kalpita Sangita and Manodharma Sangita in our concerts. He highlighted that the notes in the ragams bring about different moods and it is therefore important to choose krithis with contrasting notes to bring out the variety in the concert. Another takeaway was the approach to regular practice, where Shri Sunder Rajan suggested to not practice for a concert, but that our practice should make us able to perform at any time. Shri Sundar Rajan Sir also emphasized the importance of proportion in the items rendered. For example, a longer krithi would have more elaborate ragam and swaram versus a short krithi which may need a short alapana and very few rounds of swaram. Ultimately, Shri Sundar Rajan Sir emphasized that the importance of melody in the rendition is what the students should strive for. We sincerely thank Shri Sundar Rajan Sir for taking his time to share his wisdom with us.
Next was a bright performance by Samyuktha Natesan supported by Avinash Anand on the mridangam. Samyuktha started off with an impassioned and classic raga alapana in the ragam Kharaharapriya. Her akaaram phrases were a beautiful touch to the euphonious phrases of the alapana. She also sang many bhavam filled phrases which provided the perfect balance. This brought out the beauty and flair of Kharaharapriya as well its many shades and emotions. The team then performed the kriti, Appan Avadaritha, a composition of Sri. Papanasam Sivan in adi thaalam. She then chose to sing niraval in the charanam line “trilOka mangaLakara ” in two speeds displaying great skill with her rapid and prompt exchanges with herself. Many niravals she rendered were in the tanam style, which were very strongly supported by Avinash on the mridangam, highlighting and further enhancing the gait of the niravals. She then chose to sing kalpana swarams in one speed. Her swarams were very enjoyable and pleasing to the ears, incorporating lots of beautiful and creative sarvalaghus along with some kanakku abhiprayams. Many of these swarams reflected the unique flair of Sri Papanasam Sivan’s style of rendering Kharaharapriya, mirroring the elegance and liveliness of the krithi. Avinash followed these swarams very intently and provided apt and enrapturing accompaniment. He concluded the slot with a brief but captivating mora-korvai. This team was a pleasure to listen to and watch, especially during the manodharmam aspects!
Following Samyuktha was a 20 minute vocal performance by Vaibhav Prakash, accompanied on violin by Urmika Balaji and on mridangam by Umesh Gopi. Vaibhav commenced with an elaborate, well thought out alapana in Bhairavi, one of the “Big 7” Ghana ragams. He elaborated on all of the dominant phrases, dishing out oodles of gripping, gamakam-rich phrases. Urmika delivered an equally astounding ragam, which was also packed with tuneful, canonical phrases. Next, the team presented the krithi, “Ikka Nannu Brovakunna”, in Bhairavi ragam, set to Desh Adhi thalam, composed by Pallavi Sesha Iyer. The krithi was carried out in a brisk kaala pramaanam, but each sangati was rendered precisely nevertheless. Umesh’s percussive support enhanced the driving tempo and built-in rhythm of the song. Vaibhav chose the pallavi line for swarams, which starts 6 after samam. He began with kizh kaalam swarams, followed by mel kaalam swarams, incorporating kanakku makutams and a variety of rhythmic sarvalaghu patterns. Urmika closely followed him, duly executing unique sarvalaghu patterns and kanakkus. Vaibhav sang a koraippu landing on samam, and after a few riveting exchanges with Urmika, the team wrapped up with a samam-to-edam korvai. To conclude the performance, Umesh played a quick mohra-korvai. Overall, Vaibhav, Urmika and Umesh provided the audience with a captivating aural experience that was a fitting and fantastic addition to the June CCC lineup.
Once again, ensued the second portion of the “Feature-a-Guru” segment by the eminent, highly regarded violinist and vocalist Vidwan Sri. Delhi P Sunder Rajan Sir, concerning a brief, yet highly meaningful overview of certain elements composing Ragam-Thanam-Pallavis, and suggestions to practice at that stage. Initially, he mentioned that the piece’s structure begins with a suitably elaborated ragam, and having creativity embedded, which is the hallmark of Carnatic Music — encompassing the entire RTP itself, with it being the pinnacle of creativity. He cited an example for this, with either composing the pallavi entirely, presenting a well-established pallavi, or modifying the lyrics alone. Regarding the tanam, he emphasized how essential it was to learn countless varnams, and practice them as akkarams, as he showed in the Mohanam varnam, to increase tanam proficiency/sustain neraval, hence the title “tana varnam.” Continuing, he highlighted the pallavi, defining it as a selected line, with the “special” underlying rhythmic improvisation, where diverse structures are explored, leading to possibilities abounding in both layam/thalam. Then, he delved into understanding a pallavi, and listed the components of its structure — centered around a thalam, such as Adi Thalam, with multiple variations, and varied nadais/gathis, including Thisram, in either kizh kalam/mel kalam, Chatushra Tishram, Khandam, etc. Similarly, the sequence of a pallavi’s lyrics was demonstrated, with the singing of “Priye, Geetha Priye, Sangeetha Priye, Sada Shanmukha,” in the ragam Dhenuka, set to Khanda Jathi Ata Thalam, for how simplistic it can be. Analytically, he repeatedly reinforced the idea that understanding a pallavi with keen observation is a valuable skill, especially for violin/mridangam artists, requiring enough alertness to digest an RTP on the stage itself. From that, he proceeded to dissect the structure of a pallavi he composed on the spot (“Sada Ninnaye Nambinen, Shanmukha Muruga Guha Unnaye Nambinen,” ordered in reverse), explaining that pallavis should be comprehended in terms of their jati/sollu pattern, and their karvais, crisply outlining the pallavi’s two main sections, the parvathanga/drithianga, with the middling padakalpa, and vishranthis as karvais, denoting “silent pauses.” In this, he notes that the diversity in pallavi types, like the famed “Parimala Ranga Pathe,” rendered in Kamboji, as only neraval is possible; there aren’t any nadai changes, or other aspects present. Additionally, he illustrates how an idea, or innovative concept can be integrated into the Pallavi, as he chooses 1 kalai Thisra Nadai Adi Thalam, and with the 24 total aksharas, or counts, in 1 full avaritanam, separates it into logical, pleasing combinations of (4)(5)(3), equalling 12, including the arudhi, or landing point, and with its inverse sequence of (4)(5)(4), finishing 1 after, forms a yati — the progression of a rhythmic arrangement in a specific manner. To conclude, he reiterated the importance of grasping, thus deciphering the pallavi’s lyrics and its corresponding sequence, aiding in intuitively singing the pallavi through internalizing lyrics/jathis instead of numbers. For condensing such an expansive topic into something that is so easily assimilated by all the audience members, we are truly grateful and profusely thank you for dedicating your time/efforts in materializing this intriguing “Feature-a-Guru” segment for CCC, earnestly hoping for many more to follow!
The concluding segment was a vocal concert by Mahathi Shankarram, accompanied by Tejas Bharadwaj on the violin, and Varchas Bharadwaj on the mridangam. Mahathi began with an alapana in the ragam of Varali. The delivery of the ragam was very mature and consisted of several vibrant variations, which were equally replicated by Tejas. Tejas also presented an alapana with similar facets, while he also included some of his own variations. Mahathi proceeded to singing Seshachala Nayakam, composition of Shri Mutthuswami Dikshitar, set to rupaka thalam. She rendered the sangathis with depth and bhavam, which were ably supported by Tejas and Varchas. She sang a few rounds of kizh kalam and mel kalam neraval on the line Aravinda Patra Nayanam. Despite the difficulty of the yedam (two aksharams before samam), the team delivered the neraval effortlessly, maintaining sahityam placement correctly in both kizh and mel kalam. She also sang swarams on the same line, which consisted of several complex kanakku and poruttham patterns, in which she also confidently presented a mel-kala thishram kanakku. Tejas and Varchas maintained a very close following of all of these patterns. Varchas then played a short and concise mohra korvai to conclude the performance. Overall, the concert was very wholesome in all aspects, ragam, krithi, neraval, and swaram.