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June 2017 - By Adithya Narayanan, Anirudh Ramadurai, Hiranya Sundar, Lavanya Sundar, Srishiva Manikantan, Vasudha Iyer

Authored by Lavanya Sundar:
Manya Sriram - The three-hour event started off with a bang as fifth-grader Manya Sriram teased out a sugary but not frivolous Bahudari alapana, caressingly gentle in the madhya sthayi yet marked with power in the upper octaves. The violin return did an excellent job of showcasing not only the more delicate nuances but also displaying the strong phrases in the very contrast that makes the raga so appealing. As we had all mentally prepped for the ever-popular “Brova Bharama,” it came as a pleasant surprise when Manya opted for a touching rendition of “Sadananda Thandavam,” an elegant but playful piece by Achyutha Dasar (*). Her diction was immaculate. She finished off the gorgeous song with a few energetic kalpana swaras at the pallavi starting at samam. The mridangam accompaniment suited the melodious lilt of the singing. All in all, it was a satisfying beginning to a beautiful exhibition of Carnatic culture. 
 
(*) He is probably not a well-known composer. I dug around a little bit and got this biography of the saint-composer.
 
Authored by Adithya Narayanan:
Kaanav Tirumala - Next was a performance by Kaanav Tirumala on the vocal, Urmika Balaji on the violin, and Umesh Gopi on the mridangam. He performed Seethama Mayamma, in the ragam Vasantha and thalam Roopakam. In fact, Kaanav also sang many sangathis spiced up with gamakams. Urmika, the violinist, also did a great job of exactly repeating what he sings. Umesh was also a great, steady support on the mridangam throughout the course of the song. After the song, Kaanav followed it up with a few kalpana swaras. He started with first speed, but then moved on to second speed, and in the process, made the swaras more challenging. As usual, Urmika handled the complexity with the ease of a composed performer. To add to this, Umesh played a mesmerizing thalam pattern at the end. The challenging part involved an intriguing repeat of “Tha Di Ki Na Thom,” but each of the times, the values of each nadai were changed by a few kaarvais. It was an enjoyable performance.
 
Authored by Vasudha Iyer:
Harini Venkatesh - Harini Venkatesh’s beautiful performance of “Sri Satyanarayanam”, a Subhapanthuvarali krithi composed by Muthuswami Dhikshathar was a great addition to the June 2017 CCC. She was accompanied on the violin by Vittal Thirumalai, and on the mridangam by Shrikrishna Shivakumar. Harini’s alapana was dulcet, and every gamaka and pattern was refined, and well-executed. When the krithi started, her resonant voice left audience members astonished, and wanting more. Both accompanists gave a strong, unwavering support, in addition to Vittal’s melodious alapana and Shrikrishna’s engaging beat, not to mention his fascinating eco-friendly mridangam. Her kalpana swaras were sung in the charanam, on “matsyakUrma varAhAdi”; they were fun, jumpy, and almost whimsical, but enjoyable to the full extent. Overall, Harini’s performance was an entertaining show that was loved by all.
 
Authored by Srishiva Manikantan:
Vaishnavi Thirumalai - Vaishnavi’s vocal performance was accompanied by Vandana Chari on violin and Rajeev Devanath on mrudhangam. Vaishnavi rendered a classical composition of Sri Sadaashiva Brumhendrar, Bhajare Gopalam in Hindolam, Janyam of 20th mela Natabhairavi. She rendered the soulful and enchanting raga Hindolam with full of bhavam and well-rounded gamakas. The ease with which she moved from the higher to the lower stayis showcased her vocal prowess and virtuosity. Vandana, the violinist brought out the equal bhavam and melody of ragam on the violin. Rajeev accompanied with full of confidence and involvement. His accompaniment complemented the vocalist.
 
Authored by Srishiva Manikantan:
Yogitha Balasubramanian - Yogitha’s violin performance was accompanied by Avinash on mrudhangam. Yogitha started alapana on refreshing raga Charukesi, 26th mela, building the edifice step by step, bringing out the essence. The raga was followed by the most popular krithi of Saint Thyagara, ‘Adamodi Galathe.’ The krithi was played with full of rhythms and melodies followed by brilliant kalpana swaras appeared in alluring phrases augmenting raga bhava. The clarity of notes bowed out was laudable. Persussionist, Avinash did an outstanding job complementing the violinist. Tani played by Aviash was noted for the resonant tone of the mrudhangam.
 
Authored by Vasudha Iyer:
Mahathi Shankarram - Many great performances were given at the June 2017 CCC; one of them was Mahathi Shankarram’s. She gave a compelling show, singing “Entha Nerchina Entha Juchina”, a Thyagaraja krithi in raga Suddha Dhanyasi. Accompanied by Gowri Datta on the violin and Shreyas Garimella on the mridangam, the team gave a strong performance, packed with talent and hard work. Mahathi’s alapana was short, structured, and sweet, as was Gowri’s. As the krithi began, one could tell that her voice was able to accomplish each gamaka, sangathi, and nuance with ease. Shreyas gave confident support and Gowri portrayed technique and flair, despite feeling much under the weather at the time. Harini’s swaras on the pallavi utilised patterns as a way to charm the audience, creating interest in all. In the end, the performance was remembered as fascinating, and appealing to anyone who happened to hear.
 
Authored by Anirudh Ramadurai:
Hiranya Sundar and Lavanya Sundar - It was a great afternoon of listening to young Carnatic musicians at Carnatic Chamber Concerts’ monthly event, this past Sunday. The musical twins, the Sundar sisters, Hiranya and Lavanya, were slotted for a Veena duet performance and what a show it was! Hiranya and Lavanya began with a rAga alapana of the Ghana rAgam, VarALi, and they both played with great coordination, one taking over from where the other left off and covering the scale of the ragam and enthralling the audience with their music, strong fingering and deft movement on the divine instrument. The sisters then played a Ghana Panchaka Thanam, a rhythm based improvisation consisting of ragAs, NAta, GowLa, Arabhi, Sri and then went on to further highlight VarALi. Once they had their audience in musical captivity, the young vainikas proceeded to one of Sri. Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s popular composition, mAmava mEEnAkshi, set to Misra Chaapu thalam. This time, they exhibited their prowess in layam, by playing the pallavi line, madhuravANi varALi vENi in chathusra tisram. They also demonstrated their creativity in melody and rhythm by playing the neraval in slow and fast kAlam and kalpanaswarams in mel and kizha kAlam thisram at the charanam line, shyAmE shankari. The duo were ably accompanied on the mridangam by Akshay Aravindan who highlighted the nuances in the rhythmic structure of Dikshitar’s composition, while following the lead performers’ rhythmic expositions and presented a short, yet energetic thani at the end. In all, the trio rocked the stage and left the audience wanting for more! 
 
Authored by Hiranya Sundar:
Geetha Shankar - The concert ended with an epic grand finale, as singer Geetha Shankar sang a melodious pallavi in ragam Shankarabharanam, dedicated to Father’s day(in case you don't already know, her father's name is Veda Shankar). She started with a lilting and relaxing Shankarabharanam alapana, followed by a ragamalika thanam, spanning  Shankarabharanam, Poorvikalyani, and Kharaharapriya (the favorite ragas of the accompanists’ fathers). She then proceeded to sing the pallavi: appAda malar taruvAi appa … sAma vEda shankaranE set to khanDa jAti triputa tAlam, initially in tisra gati, later switching gati (nadai). She also included swarams in Mohanam, in honor of Mohan Uncle, a founding father of CCC. She concluded the three hour event with a fast paced mangalam, first starting in chathurasra tishram and then ending the mangalam in normal chathurashram.