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Carnatic Chamber Concerts May 2018 Event Summary

Written By: Srishiva Manikantan, Anirudh Ramadurai, and Shreya Virunchipuram


In Carnatic music world, many siblings have performed together, and have become very successful musicians. Were these classical music siblings just brilliant, or was there something about their home life that cultivated their success? Whatever the cause may be, it is indisputable that music is a wonderful way to provide families with quality time spent together. Following this tradition, many siblings of the Bay area showcased their talents in May CCC event as a reward to their Moms on a Mother’s day! Most of the vocal performers were either accompanied by their sibling on the violin or mridangam or the accompanying instrumentalists happened to be siblings. Sibling-concerts made May CCC a memorable Mother’s day event!

Manasi Ganti (Vocal):

Manasi Ganti started the program with her vocal performance that was accompanied by Alaap Rag on the violin and Rishi Kodungallur on the mridangam. Manasi chose to sing a very famous euphonious kriti, “Devi Neeye Thunai” composed by Sri Papanasam Sivan in Keeravani, 21st melakartha raga set to Adi talam. Manasi showcased her bold and strong voice throughout the rendition of kriti and manodharma as well. Her Keeravani swarms on pallavi, “Devi” had a variety of nice sarvalaghu patterns combining various sancharas of the raga. She started off with madhyama kala swarms for couple of rounds and then moved on to few rounds of mel kala swarams followed by an edam-to-edam korvai. Alaap’s accompaniment on the violin gave a strong support to the vocalist as he helped to bring out more subtle nuances during krithi rendition. His responses to the swarms were excellent. Percussionist Rishi did an awesome job by keeping up the lively tone of Keeravani with his dynamic and synchronized support.

Anika Sundararajan (Vocal):

Anika Sundararajan’s vocal performance was accompanied by Prahlad Saravanapriyan on the violin and Arush Gopal on the mridangam. Anika rendered a classical composition of Saint Thyagaraja, “Gnaana mosaga rada” in Poorvi kalyani, 53rd mela, Gamanashrama janyam set to Roopakam. Anika commenced with a raga alapana showcasing her very good voice range and command over raga with popular sancharas. Prahlad’s response on the violin was neat and demonstrated his familiarity with the raga. Anika chose to sing swarms on charanam, “Paramatmudu”. She started with 1st kalam swarms for couple of rounds and then moved on to 2nd kalam for few rounds. Her swarams began with simple sarvalaghu patterns followed by kanakku patterns like 3, 3+5 swarams. Prahlad’s support was equally dulcet as he demonstrated every nuance of the raga and matched the patterns in the swarams. Arush’s accompaniment was kinetic and outstanding, and helped to elevate the overall performance.

Vaishnavi Tirumalai (Vocal):

Vaishnavi Tirumalai’s vocal performance was accompanied by her brother Pranav Tirumalai on the mridangam and Shreya Virunchipuram on the violin. Vaishnavi chose to sing one of the finest compositions of Saint Thyagaraja, “Manasuloni Marmamulu” in Sudha Hindolam (aka Varamu), 22nd melakartha, Karaharapriya janyam set to Adi talam. Vaishnavi rendered the krithi flawlessly in her mellifluous voice that bestowed an awesome feast to the audiences’ ears. She brought out the raaga bhavam by rendering sangathis filled with all nuances required for the raaga. She continued with kalpana swarams on pallavi, “Manasuloni” with very nice sarva laghu patterns involving kanakku based swarams. The violinist, Shreya equally demonstrated her skills by responding to every nuance of the raaga and swarams. Percussionist, Pranav did an amazing job of following the krithi and swarms well with full of energy and involvement. Both the accompanists elevated the performance with their wonderful support.

Nitika Pande (Vocal):

Next was a sweet performance by Nitika Pande, supported by her sister Sanika Pande on the keyboard, and Maanav Balan on the mridangam. They performed one of Sri Thyagaraja’s compositions,  “Vara Raga Laya” in Ragam Chenchukaamboji, set to adi thalam. Nitika charmed the audience with her mellifluous  voice. Sanika bolstered her sister with her melodious keyboard accompaniment while Maanav accompanied them enthusiastically.

Rajeev Devanath (Vocal):

Following Nitika’s performance was Rajeev Devanath, accompanied by Tanisha Srivatsa on the violin and Sachin Venkat on the mridangam. Rajeev began with a brief alapana in the ragam Panthuvarali, and then proceeded to Sundara Tara Deham, a composition of Saint Tyagaraja set to Adi Thalam. For manodharmam, Rajeev took up the challenge of doing neraval and kalpanaswarams at “rAgAdi samhAram rAghavam udAram.” He showcased the different phrases in the ragam and his understanding of the layam aspects through his manodharmam. Tanisha’s responses to Rajeev’s expositions were equally skilled, and Sachin’s accompaniment on the mridangam was on point, appropriately matching the mood of the krithi and its ragam.

Yogitha Balasubramanian (violin)

Next was a violin solo performance by Yogitha Balasubramanian, supported by Santhosh Ravindrabharathy on the mridangam. Yogitha started with a captivating alapanai in the ragam Vagadeeswari, the 34th melakarta. This alapanai included various fast and mellow phrases, showing the essence of the raagam. Yogitha then rendered “Paramatmudu Velige” in Vagadeeswari, a composition of St. Tyaagaraja in Adi Thalam. Her swarams beautifully rendered at the first line of the pallavi, “Paramatmudu Velige”. This included a mixture of sarvalaghu, porutham, and other kanakku patterns, not just in 2 speeds, but in lower-speed thisram as well. She concluded her swarams with a korvai, followed by a brief mora-korvai by Santhosh. Throughout the performance, Santhosh’s playing was very involved and enthusiastic, further-enhancing the song’s rhythm.

Sripradha Manikantan (Vocal):

Next, was a performance by Sripradha Manikantan, accompanied by her brother, Srishiva Manikantan on the violin and Shreyas Garimella on the mridangam. Sripradha started with a bright raga alapana highlighting different shades of Varali combined with a good range of lower and higher octaves. Srishiva’s response on the violin was excellent and demonstrated his knowledge and familiarity with the ragam. Sripradha rendered a beautiful composition of Sri Papanasam Sivan, “kA vA vA” in ragam Varali, set to Adi thalam. Her second-speed kalpanaswarams at the Pallavi line and an interesting segment of thisram leading into a nice koraippu and korvai in tisram were a joy to listen to.  Srishiva shadowed his sister on the violin and enhanced the entire presentation while Shreyas’ support on the mridangam was dynamic.

Samyuktha Natesan (Vocal):

Samyuktha Natesan was accompanied by the brothers, Tejas Bharadwaj on the violin and Varchas Bharadwaj on the mridangam. Samyuktha started with a crisp alapanai in the ragam Bhairavi, a janya of the 20th melam, Natabhairavi. She sang various phrases, bringing out the beauty in Bhairavi with her attractive voice. Tejas shadowed her on the violin, then played a  harmonious Alapanai of his own. They then performed a rare Bhairavi composition by Annaswamy Shastri, Sri Lalite, in Adi Thaalam. She sang her kalpana swarams at the first line of the anupallavi, Neelabja Dala. She sang a variety of sarvalaghu and kanakkus in thisram and chathusram in 2 speeds. Varchas supported them and followed them very closely. He then concluded with a short mora-korva.

Shrikanth Shivakumar (Vocal):

The finale of the event was a Ragam Thanam Pallavi segment presented by Shrikanth Shivakumar on the vocals. He was supported by Ananya Devanath on the veena and his brother, Shrikrishna Shivakumar on the mridangam. Shrikanth performed an excellent RTP with a dual ragam Pallavi composed by his guru, Sri. Neyveli Santhanagopalan in honor of both  Mother’s Day and upcoming Father’s Day.  Shrikanth started with an alapana in two ragams, Chandrajyothi and Suryakantham which was followed by a thanam in both the ragams. The significance of choosing the ragams as explained by him was that the Moon represents all moms and hence the choice of Chandrajyothi (moonlight) ragam and the Sun represents all dads and hence Suryakantham was chosen as the second ragam. Shrikanth skillfully switched between both the ragams with ease and Ananya was right there with him on the veena at every turn. Ananya also showed that she was equally capable of taking up the challenge of the dual ragam and awed the audience with her solos. Following the brisk and enjoyable thanam was the Pallavi, which was set to a complicated Thisra Jampai with nadai changes for every beat (6 beats with Thisram, Khandam, Misram, Sankeernam, Misra and Khanda Nadai for each beat)! The lyrics of the pallavi were based off of Tamil proverb, “Thaayir chirantha kovilum illai, Thanthai sol mikka manthiram illai,” a very appropriate choice of words to honor all moms and dads. Once he introduced the Pallavi and showcased it in all the three speeds, Shrikanth proceeded to perform neraval and kalpanaswarams. During the neraval, he and Ananya switched between the lines and the ragams with such ease and left the audience spellbound!  The succeeding swarams in both first and second speeds by Shrikanth were both indicative of his grasp on the layam aspects and many of swaram exchanges with the Ananya involved some complicated kanakku. Each of these swarams was well responded to by Ananya who showed that she is ready for such challenges! Throughout the performance, Shrikrishna provided a strong accompaniment on the mridangam. He showed maturity when kept the tempo, highlighted the layam details and enhanced the overall effect of the RTP.  On the whole, the trio presented a wholesome, rich and a very touching tribute to all the parents.


Overall, this month’s CCC reminded us how Carnatic Music and CCC have become an integral part of many of our families. What we witnessed this Mother’s day at CCC was a display of sibling care and support. In most of the performances of the day, siblings supported each other adeptly on stage. Performing with siblings brings about a wonderful chemistry among the performers, putting them at ease. Such opportunities not only showcase the talents from each household, but it also strengthens the familial bonding as it improves the quality time spent at home practicing and working together with the sibling. It was apparent that together these siblings brought joy to their parents and made the Mother’s Day extra special and momentous overall.