Anirudh Ramakrishnan (student of Smt.Kasthuri Shivakumar)
Anisha Saripalli (student of Smt.Misha Rajaram)
Deisha Adhisesh veena solo (student of Sri.Srikanth Chary)
Rathika Balaji (student of Sri Chandrasekharan Kalyanaraman)
Rohit Vakkalagadda(student of Sri Paduka Academy)
Sahithya Srinivasan(student of Smt.Kasthuri Shivakumar)
Satvik Balakrishnan violin solo (student of Sri.Ajay Narasimha)
Shivani Swaminathan(student of Smt.Kasthuri Shivakumar)
Shreya Nair ManojKumar(student of Smt.Savita Rao)
Siddarth Karthik(student of SriShivakumar Bhat)
Sriram Venkatesh(student of Sri Paduka Academy)
Sumanth Ganapathi Basavapatna flute solo (student of Smt.Sandhya Srinath)
Trishank Kavin Basker(student of Sri Ashok Subramaniam)
Vaishnavi Ravinutala(student of Smt.Savita Rao)
Vishnu Iyer(student of Sri Shivakumar Bhat)
Anirudh Ramadurai (veena) (student of Sri. Srikanth Chary)
Aparna Ganapathi Basavapatna(student of Smt Sandhya Srinath)
Mythri Sekar (student of Sri Saravanapriyan Sriraman)
Prahlad Saravanapriyan (student of Sri Saravanapriyan Sriraman)
Sripradha Manikantan (veena) (student of Sri Mudikondan Ramesh)
Tejas Bharadwaj (student of Sri B V Raghavendra Rao)
Thejeswini Sai (student of Sri Saravanapriyan Sriraman)
Urmika Balaji (student of Vid A Kanyakumari)
Aaroh Rag(student of Sri Ravindrabharathy Sridharan)
Akshay Suresh (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayanan)
Ambika Ramadurai (student of Sri Srinath Bala)
Kishore Lakshmanan (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayanan)
Lalit Kovvuri (student of Sri Ramesh Srinivasan)
Raghav Iyer (student of Sri Natarajan Srinivasan)
Rohit Seshadri(student of Sri Ravindrabharathy Sridharan)
Srihari Srinivasan (student of Sri Trivandrum Balaji)
Sumanth Mahalingam(student of Sri Ravindrabharathy Sridharan)
Thryambak Ganapathy (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayanan)
Umesh Gopi (student of Sri Gopi Lakshminarayanan)
Varchas Bharadwaj(student of Sri Trivandrum Balaji)
That was one outstanding and memorable event Sunday and those who attended will attest to that. I had my own doubts regarding various aspects of this event given that it’s our second event this month, at a smaller venue, with all new intro performers but with God’s grace, it turned out to be an amazing event.
Each of our performers wonderfully used the opportunity by presenting their very best and it was so captivating from the beginning till the end. There was true fresh virgin music with so much variety which kept our audience spell bound and garnered appreciation from our knowledgeable audience at the end. Congratulations to each of the 35 performers (largest in our ten+ years of CCC history) who made it very special for themselves as well as those who attended. Please await the photos, video excerpts and write-ups which will supplement all that I’ve tried to explain above.
We took the opportunity & time during performer transitions to introduce and acknowledge the help of our core team volunteers as well. We thank them again sincerely for helping out month after month which make the events run smoothly. They’ve helped me complete 2 events in 4 weeks now with one more to go this year in less than two weeks.
With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s only appropriate that we acknowledge and thank ALL OUR RESIDENT GURUS for their presence at our events, support with preparing their students for their CCC performance, supporting our initiatives by generously offering their time and blessing all who perform in CCC always! THANK YOU!
Please save December 8th Sunday from 2-5 pm for our last event of the year at our usual Sai Mandir venue. Attendance at this event will also be counted so if you’ve been lacking, one last opportunity to catch up on it by attending this last one. Like I announced, we’ve received a lot of applications for the first half of 2020 and anyone who may have missed 3 or 4 events this year may not get an opportunity to perform in 2020.
Wishing you and your families a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Carnatic Chamber Concerts – 24th November 2019 CCC Event
Authored By: Anirudh Ramadurai, Shreya Virunchipuram, Pranav Satyadeep, Mahathi Shankarram, Prahlad Saravanapriyan, Urmika Balaji, and Adithya Narayanan
On November 24th, 2019, at the Warm Springs Community Center was yet another monthly event hosted by Carnatic Chamber Concerts. This event, in particular, was an exceptional event, given that all of the main performers were first-time performers in this organization. Each of them presented a variety of composition forms, such as swarajathis, tana/pada/daru varnams, krithis, keerthanams, thirupugazhs, thiruppavais, thevarams, bhajans in several languages composed by a variety of composers! In addition to all the main performers being first-timers, this is the first time in the CCC’s history of ten plus years that rasikas got the opportunity to attend a second CCC event in the same month and enjoy the performances of a record number of thirty-five students from all over the San Francisco Bay Area.
The November 2019 Special CCC Event commenced with a brilliant performance by Sriram Venkatesh on the vocals, Thejeswini Sai Swaminathan on the violin and Rohit Seshadri on the mridangam. Sriram briskly started with a popular Tana Varnam (a varnam with lyrics for the Pallavi, Anupallavi, and Charanam and only swarams for the rest of the sections), Saraguna Nannela, in the ragam Madhyamavathi, set to Adi thalam, composed by Tiruvottiyur Tyagayya. This was followed by Papanasam Sivan’s famous krithi, Gajavadana, in the ragam Sriranjani set to Adi thalam. While Sriram’s rendition of both songs and Thejeswini’s melodious accompaniment was soothing to the ears of the audience, Rohit provided apt support and kept the rhythm of both pieces throughout the performance.
Following Sriram was a vocal performance by Rathika Balaji, accompanied by her sister, Urmika Balaji, on the violin and Raghav Iyer on the mridangam. The kriti presented by the team was a composition of Harikeshanallur Sri Mutthaiya Bhagavathar, Vijayambike, in the ragam Vijayanagari, a janyam of the ragam Dharmavathi, set to Adi Thalam. The combination of Rathika’s sweet voice and Urmika’s silken violin made for a delightful and soothing performance. Raghav was involved in his support and highlighted the gait of the composition well.
After Rathika Balaji’s vocal performance was Sathvik Balakrishnan’s violin solo in an intro 5 min slot accompanied by Raghav Iyer on the mridangam. Sathvik briskly started with a popular song in the 15th melakarta Mayamalavagowlai, ‘Thulasi Dhalamulache,’ (kriti category) set to Rupaka Thalam, composed by Sri Saint Thyagaraja. Raghav’s synced beats made the recital very pleasing to hear. After completing his soothing rendition of the song, the mridangist, Raghav, played a reasonably complex mora and korvai to end the recital. Sathvik had an excellent experience performing before his guru Sri Ajay Narasimha for the first time.
Next was a vocal performance by Anisha Saripalli, accompanied by Sripradha Manikantan on the Veena and Sumanth Mahalingam on the mridangam. Anisha began with a slow and structured alapana in the Raga Bhairavi with many traditional phrases in this ragam. Sripradha’s melodious and leisurely alapana on the Veena nicely complemented Anisha’s rendition of the ragam. Anisha then took up one of Saint Tyagaraja’s Lalgudi Pancharatnam krithis, ‘Lalithe Sri Pravruddhe’ in ragam Bhairavi, set to Adi Thalam. It is said that Saint Tyagaraja composed this krithi on Goddess Pravriddha Shrimati (Goddess Parvathi) enshrined in the Saptharisheeswara temple in Lalgudi, during his visit to Lalgudi. Anisha beautifully sang the intricate sangathis in this krithi, thoroughly supported by Sripradha’s wholehearted accompaniment on the Veena and Sumanth’s energetic support on the mridangam.
Following Anisha was a vocal performance by Shreya Nair Manoj Kumar, accompanied by Sripradha Manikantan on the Veena and Sumanth Mahalingam on the mridangam. Shreya rendered Shri Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s krithi ‘Kanchadalayatakshi Kamakshi,’ in her lovely voice. This krithi on goddess Kamakshi is in ragam Kamalamanohari, a janyam of the 27th melakarta Sarasangi, and set to Adi Thalam. Shreya’s brisk paced rendition was ably supported by Sripradha’s soothing veena accompaniment and Sumanth’s enthusiastic mridangam accompaniment, making it a delightful performance much enjoyed by all.
The next slot was a vocal performance by Rohit Vakkalagadda, with Anirudh Ramadurai on the Veena, and Ambika Ramadurai on the mridangam. Rohit started with a short but aptly presented alapana in Keeravani. He highlighted some of the key phrases in Keeravani, which aptly set the mood. Anirudh responded with an equally concise alapana, while also including other subtle variations. Following this, Rohit presented a Thevaram, “Vaananai Madhi Soodiya,” in Misra Chapu. A thevaram is a devotional song in praise of Lord Shiva. Both Anirudh and Ambika provided strong support for Rohit. After presenting the Thevaram, Anirudh set the mood for Rohit’s next song with a succinct alapana in Bageshri. Rohit sang the thirupugazh “Yeru Mayil Yeri,” in khanda chappu, in both mel and kizh kalam. While also maintaining kalapramanam, he also rendered the song with excellent diction. Both Anirudh and Ambika followed with unquestionable ease.
Shortly after Rohit’s stellar performance came Vishnu Iyer’s vocal presentation, in which Mythri Sekar ably supported him on the violin, and Thryambak Ganapathy on the mridangam. To begin with, Vishnu immediately launched into the tana varnam “Sri Raja Mathangi” set to the beautiful, yet enrapturing ragam Suddha Dhanyasi, in Rettai Kalai Adi Talam. In this case, the tana varnam is a composition which is suitable for singing performances and is capable of enhancing all the characteristic features of the raga, as demonstrated by Vishnu. Calm and composed, his polished rendering of the Pallavi and Anupallavi in both kizh kalam and mel kalam brought out all the defining nuances of the raga, contributing to piquing the interest of the listeners. Similarly, his brisk-paced and melodious singing of the Charanam and Chittai Swarams in mel kalam is a testament to his dynamic energy, which further intensified the already vigorous performance while making it even more engaging. For making this possible, it wouldn’t have been done without Mythri, who was a constant presence on the violin, but skillfully shadowed Vishnu to provide more depth and scope to the concert. Even more, for additional embellishment, Thryambak showed his experience in accompanying, as he was able to blend his playing seamlessly to flow with the vocalist, and topped it off with a succinct mora and korvai, an apt ending to a successful performance.
When Vishnu’s well-delivered concert concluded, Siddharth Karthik, accosted by Mythri Sekar on the violin and Kishore Lakshmanan on the mridangam, shifted the focus with yet another composition change: a thiruppavai. Composed by Andal in praise of Lord Krishna, and alluding to his daily actions, it contains thirty pasurams, with each of them holding a total of eight stanzas, and they are all punctuated by complete devotion. In the same way, Siddharth’s rendering of the 22nd pasuram “Angan Manyalathu,” in the ragam Yaman Kalyani, set to Misra Chapu Thalam, expounds about how Andal is trying to rouse Krishna and elaborates on his various physical characteristics. Aside from that, Siddharth, with his crisp, melodious voice, was able to adeptly showcase all the typical features of the ragam, while bringing out the beauty of the lyrics, in an enthralling manner. Henceforth, after the short mridangam theermanam by Kishore, Siddharth transitioned to the second part of the performance, where he presented the 23rd pasuram “Māri Malai Muzhaiñjil,” sung in the ragam Yamuna Kalyani, but still in Misra Chapu. In this, he fluidly switched into Madhyama Shruti, and again, the intricate verse pleads for Krishna to majestically ascend the throne from his Yoga Nidra so that all the Gopikās can enjoy his dignified bearing. Coupled with that, the lyrical prose was evident, as Siddharth precisely unveiled all the details of the ragam, which magnified the allure of the song even more. As pillars of support, Mythri and Kishore were able to make the performance more complete, with Mythri’s playing echoing all the vocal phrases sung by Siddharth, while never straying away from the essence of the ragams. Likewise, Kishore also provided ample assistance with his keen mridangam accompaniment, further supplementing the vocalist’s renditions without any obstruction, and implemented compact, but suiting, theermanams.
Following Siddarth was a 5-minute slot performed by Sahithya Srinivasan, accompanied by Mythri Sekar on Violin and Kishore Lakshmanan on Mridangam. Sahithya commenced with the Thirupugazh,” Umbartharu Thenu Mani,” in Hamsadhwani Ragam, set to a unique thalam – Sanda Thalam. This thalam has a total of 16 aksharams and is broken up into two khandam (five) beats, followed by three beats in Chatusram. Sahithya presented this composition with elegance and ease, rendered in both kizh kalam and mel kalam. She then sang “Perava Vara,” a beautiful Ragamalika set to Misra Jhampa Talam. This composition covered seven ragas, starting with Hindolam and ending with Surutti. The support provided by both Mythri and Kishore pleasantly complemented Sahithya’s voice. Overall, the performance was a success, and we are all looking forward to hearing more from the team in the future.
The next slot was a vocal performance by Trishank Kavin Basker, with Tejas Bharadwaj on the violin, and Aaroh Rag on the mridangam. Trishank began with a short alapana in Kamas, leading into a virutham, “Amba Shambhavi.” Even with the limited time, he gave a very detailed description, consisting of various signature phrases in Kamas. Trishank then presented a popular daru varnam, “Mathe Malayadwaja,” in Adi Thalam. A daru varnam is a varnam that is composed for dance, consisting of various jathi patterns in the mukthayi swaram. Trishank sang the mukthayi swaram, along with its corresponding jathis and sahityam, with a perfect sense of layam. Tejas and Aaroh’s keen accompaniment contributed to the wholesome listening experience of the concert.
Following Trishank Kavin Basker’s vocal performance was Sumanth Ganapathi Basavapatna’s 10 min flute solo. His sister Aparna Ganapathi Basavapatna accompanied Sumanth on the violin and Lalit Kovvuri on the mridangam. Sumanth commenced with a compact and serene raga alapana in the ragam Bhairavi, which included its quintessential phrases. Aparna responded equally well during her turn. Sumanth then presented ‘Odi Barayya,’ (Devaranama category), set to Adi Thalam, composed by Sri. Purandara Dasa. Sumanth sang the first line of the Pallavi before switching on to his flute. After finishing his rendering of the song, he played swarams at the Pallavi. He played many “porutha” patterns, to which Aparna answered aptly, and Lalit’s playing blended very well with the song. Then, Sumanth played a “porutha korvai.” After that, Lalit played an outstanding mora and korvai, which concluded the fantastic performance.
Sumanth’s melodious flute solo was followed by a mesmerizing veena solo by Deisha Adhishesh and her accompanist Srihari Srinivasan on the mridangam. Deisha played the 26th pasuram of Andal’s Tiruppavai, Maale Manivanna, in the ragam Kunthalavarali set to Adi Thalam. In this pasuram, Andal writes, “Oh Lord, who showers His mercy on bhaktas, who has the hue of a sapphire, which floated on a baby banyan leaf during Pralayam you had requested us to indicate the items that are required to make our Marghazhi vow. Please provide us with a conch like the one that you have which is as white as milk and when blown shakes all the worlds, giant size drums, members who can sing your praise, sacred and decorative lamps, banners and flags and a canopy and bless us with your grace.” After the pasuram, Srihari started off the second piece with a lilting prelude to a soothing bhajan, “Prema Mudita”, played eloquently by Deisha in the ragam Mohanam, set to Tisra Jathi Adi Thalam, A bhajan (meaning reverence or sharing) refers to any devotional song with a religious theme or spiritual ideas. Throughout Deisha’s performance, Srihari highlighted the gait of both compositions with his dynamic accompaniment on the mridangam.
Ensuing Deisha’s performance was a vocal slot by Vaishnavi Ravinutala accompanied by brothers Tejas Bharadwaj on violin and Varchas Bharadwaj on mridangam. She started with a harmonious and brief alapana in the ragam Kamboji, incorporating the most essential phrases of the ragam. Tejas followed with his sketch of the ragam, playing mellifluous and soothing phrases. The team performed the kriti, “Thiruvadi charanam,” a composition of Sri Gopalakrishana Bharathi, in Adi Thalam. Vaishnavi chose the line “aduthu vantdha” to render swarams at in two speeds. She sang some poruttha swarams as well as simple kanakkus following saravalaghus. Tejas provided skilled responses that were in accordance with the swarams sung by Vaishnavi. Varchas proved apt support on the mridangam and emphasized the rhythm of the Kalpana Swarams and kriti well.
Next in the line up was a 10-minute slot by Anirudh Ramakrishnan, accompanied by Prahlad Saravanapriyan on Violin and Umesh Gopi on Mridangam. Anirudh began with a soulful rendition of the Bhairavi Swarajati, “Nee Arulaye Thaye,” set to 2 Kalai Adi Thalam – one of Sri K. Ponniah Pillai’s gems. Anirudh’s well-cultured voice was able to carve out each and every characteristic gamakam of the song, filling the atmosphere with raw, unfiltered Bhairavi. The team presented each chittaiswaram and sahithyam with ease and confidence. Next, Anirudh sang the song, “Raase Hari Miha,” a beautiful Ashtapadi in the ragam Shudh Saarang, set to Adi Thalam. This composition was composed by Jayadeva. An Ashtapadi refers to any one of the Sanskrit Hymns of the Geeta Govinda, describe the beauty of Krishna and his bond with the Gopis. The piece was laden with various gamakams, which were brought out beautifully by the team. Prahlad’s violin accompaniment took extra care to highlight the beautiful and unique sanchaarams of the ragam, and Umesh’s mridangam accompaniment was well-synchronized and befitting to the piece. Anirudh did an excellent job with his first performance under the auspices of CCC, and we are all eagerly awaiting to hear him again soon.
With the conclusion of Anirudh’s uplifting performance, Shivani Swaminathan ascended the stage, featuring Prahalad Saravanapriyan on the violin, and Akshay Suresh on the mridangam. Instantaneously, Shivani presented the exquisite thevaram “MaDayil valai” in the ragam Kamboji, set to Rupaka Thalam, and accentuated by the numerous sangathis, it was a pleasurable, yet constructive experience. Further elaborating on this, every iota of each phrase was brimming with the ragam Kamboji. As the emphasis on the raga-bhava increased, more and more of the lyrical complexities were divulged. As termed by ThiruGnanaSambandar, the composer of this masterpiece, every word is in praise of Shiva, and all the qualities he embodies as well. Additionally, Shivani performed another thevaram, “Nalaṅgoḷ Kāḻi Nyana-Sambandan,” and it was in the same ragam and thalam as the previous piece, yet every bit as meticulous as the last one. In this time span, she included many varying brigās that served not only to show the distinctive features of Kamboji but also to bolster the song, infusing a sense of thrill in the listeners. Then, to bring this exhilarating presentation to a close, Shivani finished with the exhilarating Niroshta Thillana, composed by the illustrious T. N. Seshagopalan, set to Adi Thalam. Within this ebullient composition, Shivani highlighted many of the key phrases that define Niroshta, while infusing frequent deliberation, contributing to the raga’s prominent presence. Even more, with her transitioning of the pace from kizh kalam to mel kalam, and vice versa, and the clarity in pronouncing the jathi patterns, it led to a substantial increase in the quality of the performance. Prahalad, the violinist, played a significant role with his scintillating interjections between the vocalist, which was especially evident in the Thillana, where he replicated each and every line sung. As a result, this only added more feeling to the concert, while making it all the more engrossing. Moreover, Akshay, by filling a pivotal role in this performance, was able to maintain the kalapramanam of the concert consistently and played phrases that coherently overlapped with the multiple sangathis of the singer. Most importantly, he merged one part of the presentation to another using logical theermanams, making the concert complete.
Thus, with the culmination of the finale performance, it proved that throughout the event, with the appearance of every new singer, there would always be a novel, thematic presentation, serving to educate music students as well as engaging all the listeners. Ultimately, it resulted in one of the most dynamic, vibrant events ever directed by CCC, thereby providing an atmosphere suitable for all rasikās of music. To make this goal a reality,sincere thanks to the performers, who put in the hard work necessary for rendering a composition, their parents’ dedication to make these performances happen, despite all their challenges/struggles, the gurus’ persistent, sincere efforts to equip their students for this platform, barring any difficulties along the way, and last but not least, the coordinators and associated volunteers of CCC who prepare the setting of the venue, provide the transitions from performer to performer, and overall, wholeheartedly commit themselves to their responsibilities for making this event a success.
Thank you for the opportunity and the kind review. As a first-timer I was expecting this experience to be rather nerve-racking but when the performances started I didn’t feel very nervous. While this is true I did feel relieved after my performance was over.
I enjoyed accompanying in CCC for the first time! I learned to keep the microphones closer to my mridangam so I would be more audible. Also, I learned to incorporate more theermanams into my playing, to sound less monotonous and bring out the singer more. On stage I was slightly nervous but not as much as I usually am while performing vocal. This was probably because I was not directly facing the audience or because I was not the main performer.
Thank you so much CCC and Padma Aunty for giving me this opportunity to perform. As I was the first performer, I was getting a little nervous sitting up in the stage for a long time while everything was being set up. However, once I started singing, my nervousness went away, and I became calm and composed. The accompanists really helped me by giving great support both in Sruthi and Layam. I was actually very sick the day before and only recovered on Sunday morning. I was worried about coughing while I was singing, but the magic of the event helped me to not cough even once. Thank you so much for hosting me.
Thank you very much Padma Aunty! I really enjoyed performing on stage in CCC, and the experience was quite thrilling. Here’s a very funny incident that happened as I was practicing Bhairavi Aalapana with Sandhya Ma’m. I was playing my Aalapana, and I ended up playing that itself for 15 minutes. I didn’t know, so I had this huge grin on my face when I finished. Sandhya Aunty said, “Do you want to play this for a long concert?” I thought she was actually happy with me, and said yes quite happily. And then the bombshell dropped. “Good then”, she said, “Keep all of this for then. Now redo the whole thing.” I have never been more let down in my life! It’s funny now, not so much then. Anyway, playing in CCC was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done! Thank you so much for everything!
Even though this wasn’t my first time accompanying at CCC, it was the first time accompanying my brother at CCC and it was really unique! I’m very thankful and grateful for this opportunity and I would also like to thank all the elders and advanced students at CCC who inspire us month after month. A family concert is a special thing and I really enjoyed accompanying my brother Sumanth! This way, I could collaborate more with him and the performance quality was also better. Thank you for hosting both of us!