Oct 12, 2010

Our upcoming concert at Rutgers, NJ on 29 Oct 2010

Our concert on 29th October in Rutgers University will be in a format different from the usual carnatic concert format. We will be presenting an eclectic selection of songs of various saints and composers from the kirtanas of Tyagaraja and Purandaradasa, Tamil Viruthams to the bhajans of Meera, Tulsidas and Kabir and Marathi abhangs.

In a typical carnatic music concert spanning three hours, starting with a varnam, two to three major compositions with detailed alapana, nerval and swaram are presented. To rasikas who are relatively new to the Kutcheri experience, sitting through the entire concert may be a little difficult. We have had people frequently come up to us and ask us to come up with a concert format that would be a kind of bridge that would help people get familiar with our music, while retaining the sanctity and values of this great system.

This concert is an effort to reach out to people from a wider spectrum, and to give them a taste of classical music. The so-called “thukkadas” which generally appear at the end of a carnatic concert will be woven into the concert from the beginning itself. For the classical music lovers, there is going to be a jugalbandi piece - a Hindustani/Carnatic exploration of a raga which is common to both systems- with all the manodharma aspects like Alapana, Neraval and kalpana swaram.

This concert is also going to be a relatively new experience for us, as we have not sung classical Hindustani music much on stage. Much of our knowledge of Hindustani music is through listening- we grew up in Bombay listening to greats such as Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Smt Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Mallikarjun Mansoor, Gangubai Hangal….An unforgettable experience is a concert that happened in the early hours of the morning and the artiste was the great Mallikarjun Mansoor. Our father actually made us stand and listen so that we wouldn’t fall asleep during the concert! We also learnt briefly from the veteran Hindustani vocalist Pandit K.G.Ginde.

We will be accompanied for this concert on the violin by Sri.H.N.Bhaskar, Delhi Sri Sairam on mridangam and Sri Sai Shyam on tabla.

Jan 27, 2010

Ranjani's thoughts on Dec Season 2009

As I take a breather after the hectic season, many things are in my mind, both the mundane and the special. Mundane as in the usual warm up before the concert, child care logistics, and other matters which come up in the course of running a household without the help of Krishnan, my husband who was in most part of December in London on official work.

What makes the life very interesting and meaningful are the special moments when you give your best and everything clicks to make the moment so memorable. These moments stay with you for a lifetime.

After a very long gap of two years, we performed a violin Duet concert for Brahma Gana Sabha due to a very bad throat infection. We were to sing on the 16th, but all the medication and salt water gargling could not cure the sore throat. We called the secretary up ,told him about our inability to sing and asked him to fix up someone else in our stead. But the secretary explained that he would not want to look for a suitable replacement in two days time and requested us to play violin instead. We were quite hesitant, as we were honestly out of practice and were not sure if we could play to our satisfaction. But surprises of surprises!! All those years of practice and passionate involvement stood us in good stead. I felt very comfortable with the violin as if I have played on it almost everyday. Gayatri said that she felt the same way too.We were very happy with the performance that day, our accompanying artistes Manoj on the mridangam and Guruprasad on the Ghatam did a fantastic job. I could feel my late Guru T.S. Krishnaswamy smiling and blessing us! Maybe, everything - even throat infections happens for the good!

Each of our concerts this season was special in different ways. The Narada gana sabha sound system I heard has been upgraded and we felt the difference right away and enjoyed singing there. Krishna Gana Sabha also has a very good ambience and acoustics, we discovered what a beauty the ragam Sarasangi was in that concert. It is quite surprising that there are not many compositions in this wonderful raga save a couple.

Music Academy as always was very special for us. We sang the three raga Ragam Tanam Pallavi based on the Durga Lakshmi Saraswati theme. Singing RTP is such a pleasure, it gives the artiste the freedom to handle it the way he or she wishes. Gayatri was as usual excellent in shifting from one raga to the other in quick succession and bringing out the essence of each of the ragas in the first phrase itself. We also were awarded The Best Concert in the senior category and all this has made our season 2009 a special one.

The only regret this season was that I could not listen to many concerts, especially the concerts of Parasala Ponnamma, Nedanuri Krishnamurthy, R.K.Srikanthan to name a very few, I hope to make it up the coming season.