Gayathri Venkataraghavan @ Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha, Chennai

Venue: Kasturi Srinivasan Hall, Music Academy, Chennai

Date: 13 May 2007

Organizer: Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha (4 Hour Concert)

Vocal: Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan

Violin: Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam

Mrudangam: Vid. Neyveli Narayanan

Ghatam: Vid. S.Karthick

Tambura: Vid. Vijayalakshmi

List of songs:

1) sarasijanAbhA (varnam) – kAmbOji – kanDa aTa – swAti tiruNAL (O)

2) varavallabha ramaNa – hamsadhwani – Adi – g.n. bAlasubramaNiam (OS)

3) vandE vAsudEvam – shrI – kanDa cApu – annamAcArya (OS)

4) ennagAnu rAma bhajana – pantuvarALi – rUpakam – bhadrAchala rAmdAs (ANST)

5) nannu brOcutaku – rItigauLa – tisra Ekam (tisra gati) – mysore sadAsiva rAo (A)

6) ennEramum – dEvagAndhAri – Adi – gOpAlakrishna bhArati

7) mAkElarA – ravichandrikA – Adi – thyAgarAja (S)

8 ) mAra jananIm AshrayE – nATakapriyA – Adi – n.c.krishnamAcAryulu (AS)

9) shrI mAtrubhUtam – kannaDa – misra chApu – muthuswAmi dIkshitar

10) mAyammA yani nE – Ahiri – Adi – syAma sAstri

11) mOhana rAmA – mOhanam – Adi – thyAgarAja (ANST)

12) mAnasa sanchararE – sAmA – Adi – sadAsiva brahmendra

13) rAgam tAnam pallavi – bhairavi – tisra tripuTa (4 kaLai & 2 kaLai)

pallavi wordings: “nIrajAkshi kAmAkshI, nikhila lOka janani niranjani”

kalpanA swarams in bhairavi, bahudAri, hindOLam, kEdAram, ranjani

14) ranjani mrudu pankaja lOcani – rAgamAlikA – Adi – tAnjOre shankara iyer

15) akhiyAn hari darshan kI pyAsi – behAg – catusra Eka – sUrdAs

16) bhAvayAmi gOpAla bAlam – yamunA kalyANi – kanDa cApu – annamAcArya

17) nAda vindu (tiruppugazh) – chenchuruTTi – Adi – aruNagirinAthar

18) nI nAma rUpa mulaku (mangaLam) – saurAshTram – Adi – thyAgarAja

19) swasti prajAbhyah paripAlayantAm (slOkam) – madyamAvati

(Key: O=raga outline, A=raga alapana, N=neraval, S=kalpana swaram, T=taniavartanam)

It is not often that one comes across a concert where every single artist on stage contributes their best and lifts the concert to great heights. Today’s was one such performance. If I were to choose one word to describe this concert, it would be “satisfying”. Every minute of the 4 hr 20 min performance was worth listening to.

Vid. Gayathri Venkataraghavan started her concert in her usual style by chanting “Om” thrice using the notes G3, R2 and S. Vid. Neyveli Narayanan and Vid. S. Karthick got into the act rightaway and played very well for the varnam. Their maturity and expertise was evident from the way they played for the songs. That they had significant concert experience backing them was very much visible from the way they played effortlessly and intelligently for all the kritis. “varavallabha ramaNA” saw the use of some very good bhrigAs by Vid. Gayathri. “vandE vAsudEvam“, one of my personal favorites from among the songs Smt. M.S. Subbulakshmi has sung was rendered next. When MS amma renders the song, Vid. Radha Viswanathan sings one octave higher for some of the lines. A similar, pleasing effect was produced with Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam playing one octave higher for the first few lines. I especially liked the way Vid. Gayathri sang the phrase “aravinda nAbham” from the first caraNam, the first time.

nannu brOcutaku“, “mOhana rAmA” & “akhiyAn hari darshan kI pyAsI” were especially rendered well. Vid. Gayathri worked magic with rItigauLa as she always does. She announced that the rItigauLa composition had been notated by Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam’s guru, the great maestro Vid. R.K. Srikantan.

Bhairavi alapana was done in 4 stages by both the vocalist and the violinst and lasted about 18 minutes. Both Vid. Gayathri and Vid. Charulatha Ramanujam executed their respective alapana portions very well. The excellent tAnam itself lasted about 10 minutes with Sri Neyveli Narayanan and Sri S. Karthick also joining in the party here. Both the raga alapana and tAnam got lot of applause from the audience. If I remember correctly, the pallavi was sung in trikAlam in both 4 kaLai as well as 2 kaLai versions of tisra tripuTa.

The pallavi line “nIrajAkshi kAmAkshI, nikhila lOka janani niranjani” was structured as follows:

  • 1 Avartanam of tisra tripuTa 4 kaLai = 7×4 beats = 28 beats
  • B = beat
  • starts 2 beats after samam

nI (2B) ra (1B) jA (2B) kshi (2B) kA (1.5B) mA (1.5B) kshI (+ gap = 3B) ni (1B) khi (1B) la (1B) lO (2B) ka (1B) ja (1B) na (1B) ni (2B) ni (1B) ran (2B) ja (1B) ni (1B)

I have always had a liking for taniavartanams played by Sri Neyveli Narayanan. There was all the more reason for me to be happy today with Sri S. Karthick, one of my favorite ghatam artists, joining him. Two taniavartanams were played, one for “ennagAnu rAma bhajana” in rUpaka tALam and the other for “mOhana rAmA” in Adi tALam. The first one (in rUpaka tALam) comprised the catusra and tisra naDais and kanDa kuraippu. The second one (in Adi tALam) comprised the catusra and tisra naDais and misra kuraippu.

Here is kOrvai of the day … this one was played by Sri S. Karthick for Adi tALam:

tha dhi ;  ki Ta ; tha ka ; dhi na;

tha dhi, ki Ta; tha ka, dhi na;

tha dhi, ki Ta, tha ka, dhi na,

tha dhi ki Ta, tha ka dhi na,

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (2 beats)

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (within 1.5 beats)

tha dhi ki Ta  tha ka dhi na (double speed – within 1 beat)

tha dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom ,

(tha, dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom – 2 times) ,

tha; dhi, tha dhi ki Na thom – 3 times

Total aksharam count = 128

A kOrvai a day keeps math tuitions away  🙂

The team got an extended standing ovation from the audience when the concert ended. Truly well deserved I must say !!

Author: Ramkumar R

Leadership Coach. Musician. Educator.

8 thoughts

  1. Nice review,Ram.You are right about the Pallavi.And oh! Ranjani Mrudu Pankaja is by Thanjavur Sankara Iyer, not GNB,I see!The violinist seems very promising.Wonder why she doesn’t play more often.

  2. The violinist is a regular accompanist for Smt. R. Vedavalli. She lives in Bangalore, which is probably one of the reasons why we don’t see her much in Chennai. She can be regularly seen in the Bangalore concert circuit.

  3. Ram, Great review.

    Very interesting.. Just the other day we were discussing Ennaganu and here comes one more..

    Must be a very long concert with 2 detailed krithis and an RTP.

    Charulatha Ramanujam is regular in Bangalore circuit and she plays really well. That way we often get to see the same violinists here for most of the concerts ( Charulatha , Mysore Srikanth, HK Venkatram …)

  4. Jayan,

    I think we must discuss songs that we want to hear live more often 😉

    The concert was for 4 hrs 20 mins

    You are correct about the Bangalore violinists. Though I haven’t heard Vid. Mysore Srikanth in Bangalore (all concerts of his I have attended have been in Chennai), the other two have been regulars in the top slots.

  5. Aparna,

    rItigauLa was divine. But don’t worry …… I am sure you will be able to catch up with rItigauLa in one of her concerts in the coming months.

  6. On Ritigowlai I was wondering if she was going to sing “Janani Ninuvina”, it being Mother’s day!

    On Bangalore artists, it seems to be that the quality of percussion artists in Bangalore is quite exceptional, esp. Ghatam. Unfortunately they don’t seem to visit Chennai even for the once a year season appearance.

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