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Carnatic Chamber Concerts August 2018 Event Summary

Written By: Anirudh Ramadurai, Sripradha Manikantan, Pranav Satyadeep, Shreya Virunchipuram, and Srishiva Manikantan


Every CCC event has something unique to offer to the audience.  This month’s performers offered a variety of compositions including popular Ghana raga pieces, rarely heard krithis and interesting and educative presentations. Here is a summary of the August event as seen through the eyes of our team of young reviewers.

Deetshana Parthipan:

Deetshana Parthipan started off the program with Saint Thyagaraja’s eminent Pancharatnam “Endaro Mahanubhavulu” in raga Sree, an asampurna janyam of 22nd mela Karahapriya set to Adi talam. Deetshana rendered the krithi at a brisk pace in her bold voice keeping the audience engaged. Shreya Virunchipuram handled such a grand krithi at ease with an amazing clarity of notes on the violin keeping up the pace at which the krithi was rendered. Ashwat Subbaraman kept up the fast pace with his ebullient accompaniment on the mridangam throughout the performance.

Harshita Kuchibhotla:

Following Deetshana’s auspicious performance was a performance given by Harshita Kuchibhotla. Harshita Kuchibhotla on the vocal, accompanied by Tejas Bharadwaj on the violin and Sachin Venkat on the mridangam. Harshita begun with a classic composition of Sri Tacchur Singarachari, Ninnukori varnam in raga Vasantha, janyam of 17th melakartha raga, Suryakantam set to Adi talam. Harshita rendered the varnam melodiously in her promising voice. Tejas mirrored the varnam bringing out the emotion of raga Vasantha. Following the varnam, Harshita rendered a classical composition of  Thanjavur Sri Shankara Iyer, “Natajana palini” in raga Nalinakanthi, janyam of 27th melakartha Sarasangi set to Adi talam. Throughout the song, she demonstrated her voice modulation to bring out bhavam and charm of the raga. Sachin gave an energetic and rhythmic accompaniment on the mridangam. He played with confidence and concluded with an enjoyable teermanam.

Sahana Gopalan:

Following Harshita was a vocal performance by Sahana Gopalan, accompanied by Vishnu Srinivas on the violin and Umesh Gopi on the mridangam. Sahana began with "Maamayura" in raga Bilahari, a song on Lord Muruga, set to Adi Talam and composed by Mazhavai Chidambara Bharati. Bilahari is a janya raga of the 29th melakarta, Shankarabharanam. The beautiful composition allowed Sahana to sing energetically and showcase her vocal range and ability to sing brigas with ease. The rhythmic patterns in the composition were executed flawlessly by the trio. Sahana followed this composition with a brief alapana in raga Ranjani before starting "Ranjani Mrudu Pankaja Lochani," also known as "Ranjani Mala." The composition is set to Adi Talam and composed by Thanjavur Sankara Iyer. The ragas are Ranjani,  Sriranjani, Megha Ranjani, and Janaranjani. Sahana sang the song with bhavam and perfect adherence to layam. The raga transitions were handled seamlessly and captivatingly. Vishnu superbly shadowed Sahana throughout the duration of the performance, and Umesh provided scintillating accompaniment as well. Overall, it was a very enjoyable presentation.

Anirudh Ramadurai:

Next was an on-the-spot performance by Anirudh Ramadurai, Urmika Balaji, and Srikanth Sivakumar. Anirudh started with a rich alapana, highlighting the key sancharas of Thodi. The violinist, Urmika, responded, demonstrating her skill and comfort in playing the raagam. They then presented Enduku Dayaradura, a composition by Saint Thyagaraja, in Misra Chapu. Anirudh sang neraval and swaram at the anucharanam, “Thyagaraja vinutha”. This included 2 speeds of swaram with various patterns and sarvalaghu. Urmika responded brilliantly to every nuance of the nervous and swarams. Srikanth’s accompaniment on the mridangam was very supportive and enthusiastic throughout the whole performance. He then concluded with a brief mora-korvai.

Deeksha Venkateshwaran:

Following Anirudh was a vocal performance by Deeksha Venkateshwaran, accompanied by Tanisha Srivatsa on the violin and Vaibhav Prakash on the mridangam. Deeksha started with a melodious and bhavam filled alapana in the raga Malayamarutham. Deeksha demonstrated her expertise in akaarams and brigas in the alapana. Tanisha sweet response flowed effortlessly and showed the mood of the raga. Following this was a brisk rendition of "Karpaga Manohara" set to Adi Talam and composed by Papanasam Sivan. Following the krithi, Deeksha took up kalpanaswarams in the charanam line, “Unadadi Panindilen.” She sang kanakku and sarvalaghu swarams while maintaining the raga bhavam, a difficult challenge in this kind of raga. Tanisha's retorts to each swaram were unerring. Deeksha concluded with an edam to edam korvai. Throughout the performance, it was evident that Vaibhav had a complete understanding of the composition and kalpanaswarams, and his accompaniment greatly enhanced the segment.

Priyanka Balaji:

Following Deeksha was a lively vocal performance by Priyanka Balaji, accompanied by Srishiva Manikantan on the violin, and Shreyas Garimella on the mridangam. Priyanka began her slot with a bold alapana in the raga Abheri. Srishiva’s response was pleasing to listen to, and it captured the spirit of the raga. This was followed by Mysore Sri Vasudevacharya popular composition, Bhajare Re Manasa, in raga Abheri, in Adi thalam. Priyanka continued with kalpanaswarams at the first line of the Pallavi, Bhajare Maanasa. She sang many sarvalaghu patterns. Srishiva responded skillfully to the swarams. Shreyas’ mridangam playing was very involved throughout the performance, highlighting the gait of the song.

Aditi Anand:

Subsequent to Priyanka was a performance by Aditi Anand, accompanied by Prahlad Saravanapriyan on the violin and Rajeev Devanath on the mridangam. Aditi started her presentation with an alapana in the raga Begada.  Begada is a complex yet beautiful raga that is hard to present due to its vakra or zig-zagged arrangement of notes in the arohanam and the sampoorna or complete scale in the avarohanam. Aditi bravely traversed the scale elongating at appropriate notes and slowly building her essay of the raga.   Violinist Prahalad, on the other hand, gave a crisp, yet complete picture of the raga in a brief alapana. Aditi then proceeded to perform Saint Tyagaraja’s classic piece“Nadopasana”, set to rettakalai Adi Thalam. Prahlad was in perfect synchronization with Aditi throughout the rendition as he played and matched every phrase, highlighting the classicism of the composition.  Rajeev’s mridangam accompaniment was calm and well synchronized with both the vocalist and the violinist, making it a wholesome experience for the audience.

Aditya Satyadeep:

Aditya’s violin performance was accompanied by Pranav Tirumalai on mridangam. Aditya started with a soothing alapana in raga Poorvi Kalyani, janyam of 53rd melakarta Gamanashrama. His alapana was augmented with very traditional and interesting prayogams of the raga. The alapana was followed by a very famous composition of Sri Muthuswamy Dikshitar, “Meenakshi memudam” set to Adi talam. The krithi was played with full of melody weaving different shades of the raga and sangathis craftily. His fingers moved with felicity in any area of the instrument, giving the performance an elevation. He continued with kalpanaswaram in the anu-charanam, “madhumadamOdita hRdayE”. After playing a few rounds of keezh kala swarms, mEl kala swarms were played involving interesting sarvalaghu patterns with kanakku based swarams followed by a nice samam-to-samam korvai. Pranav’s accompaniment throughout the performance was very enthusiastic and energetic with high confidence and skill. Followed every kanakku pattern closely and concluded with a nice korvai. Both the performers demonstrated a nice stage presence that was well appreciated by the audience.

Archita Padmanabhan:

Following Adiya’s performance was a raga-Tanam-Pallavi by Archita Padmanaban on the vocal, Apurvaa Anand on the violin and Avinash Anand on the mridangam. Archita started off with an alapana in Khamas emphasizing each phrase with full bhavam and expression. She explored the raga fully with well-modulated voice bringing out the complex phrases of the raga. Apurvaa’s response on the violin was excellent and equally skillful as she matched every nuance with precision and melody. Following the alapana, Tanam was rendered with interesting rhythmic patterns and Apurvaa’s response to tanam was very enjoyable as she brought out the essence of raga Khamas that was a treat to the ears of the audience. Avinash has followed the tanam closely despite the challenge in following the rhythmic patterns involved in Tanam. His response was spontaneous and skillful. Following the Tanam, Archita rendered a beautiful Pallavi, “Vennai thinna chinnathanama, sukama, Slagyama?” composed by her guru Vishushi Sriranjani Santhanagopalan in raga Khamas, janyam of 28th melakartha Harikamboji set to a unique tala, Anga talam. The structure of the tala was very difficult to follow but Archita and the accompanists have handled it very easily. She started with madhyama kalam rendition of the Pallavi followed by niraval. After few rounds of 1st kalam niraval, she moved on to few rounds of 2nd kalam followed by well augmented ragamalika swarams. She began with few rounds of keezh kala and mEl swarms in Khamas followed by swarams in Todi, then Saama, followed by a beautiful Mandhari and back to Khamas. During every raga transition, the raga mudra was appended in Pallavi line making easier for the audience to match their raga guess. Avinash’s response on the mridangam was outstanding, especially with the unique Anga talam. He built an impressive rhythmic structure in his thani avarthanam with all the laya phrases falling into place. Overall, the RTP execution was handled very well by the team.

As stated earlier, the August event gave students valuable lessons to take home. From the Vasantha varnam to the Ghana ragas of Sri and Thodi, from the complex, yet lilting pieces in Begada and Abheri, and to the educative Ranjani mala and the astounding RTP,  this month’s performers quenched the thirst of the seekers of music with their presentations. We are thankful to CCC and its team of volunteers who continue to provide such a positive learning environment for all young musicians.