Category Archives: Miscellania

All my music related posts

writing for the Chicken Soup series…

When a friend suggested that I write for the title Chicken soup for the Soul:Indian Teachers soul, I didn’t realize it would be a walk down memory lane. If I’m able to sing today on stage or otherwise, its the tireless effort and time put in by all my music teachers at every stage in my training. Each teacher taught me something valuable that was not confined to music alone and these lessons broadened my horizons in ways that I never dreamt of.
When my story for the title, Chicken Soup for the Indian Soul:Celebrating Brothers and Sisters was accepted the first person I called was my brother. After all the piece was about him. He wasn’t sure what it was that I’d written about him and I could see that his curiosity was burning the phone line! My brother continues to play an important role in my life even today and my daughters have only now come to realize that despite the fights and the misunderstandings siblings are blessings that need to be cherished and nurtured.

Rooted in classicism – Vijay Siva @gayana samaj

Vijay Siva’s concert for SRLKM at Gayana Samaj, Bangalore was a classic  marked by clear diction, good patantharam  (training), and a judicious selection of kritis of different composers.

Here is the list of songs that was presented at the concert –

1. Karikala – Saveri – Dikshithar

2. Orajoopu joo – Kannada Gowla – Tyagaraja (neraval at the line “dheena raksha..” was a good choice”

3. Guruvina – Pantuvarali – Purandara dasa (raga alapana and swaras rendered)

4. Brovavamma – Manji – Shyama Shastry

5. Ramakatha – Madhyamavati – Tyagaraja (Here was the classic neraval Baama mani at the anupallavi with swara)

6. Seethamma – Vasantha – Tyagaraja

7. RTP – Kambodhi – “Kancha padam thanjam yena Anjal yedhu Nencham adhu Senchadai panchanadha” in Misra nadai Rupaka talam. The RTP ended in a ragamalika with Bowli, Amirkalyani, Kathana koothuhalam

8. Somasundareshwaram – Shuddha Vasantham – Dikshithar

9. Divyaprabandham (ragamalika)

10.  Harivasarala – Sindhubhairavi – Purandara dasa

11. Tirupugazh – Purvikalyani

Charulatha Ramanujam on the violin was phenomenal. Neyveli Narayanan on the mridangam and Amrit on the kanjira gave a neat thani avarthanam.

Inaugural concert SRLKM– Bombay Jaishree @Gayana Samaj 31/1/10

The spring festival of music by Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira began today at the Bangalore Gayana Samaja with a scintillating concert by Bombay Jaishree. Here is the concert list –

1. Jaya Jaya Swamin – Nattai – Narayana Teerth

2. Tulasamma – Devagandhari – Tyagaraja

3. Bhuvaneshwariya – Mohana Kalyani – Muthiah Bhagavathar

4. Dhaarini Telusu – Shuddha Saveri – Tyagaraja

5. Shankari Neeve – Begada – Subbarayar Shastri

6. Emi chesithe – Thodi – Tyagaraja

7. RTP – Kaapi & Behag ending in a ragamalika Hindolam, Vaasanthi, Hamsanandi and Yaman

8. Tarangam

9 Tillana – Desh – Lalgudi Jayaraman

The first item in Nattai was a brisk opener with kalpana swaras for the pallavi. Tulasamma in Devagandhari created a meditative ambience. An outstanding alapana in Mohana Kalyani followed by Bhuvaneshwariya was an instant hit with the crowd, swaras sung for the pallavi. This was followed by a quick rendition of Dhaarini Telusu and then she began Begada. There’s the standard Begada sung by musicians, with predictable sangatis/sancharas. But here she came up with some unusual patterns handling them with great finesse. H.N.Bhasker was a stalwart accompanist and supported her at every point throughout the concert. In the Begada piece, neraval was at the usual line in the charanam (“kanakadri sadhana dheena”) but surprisingly she took up kalpana swaras for the pallavi. A novel approach (and welcome). Emi chesithe nemi, Tyagaraja’s piece in Thodi set to Misra Chapu was an unusual choice and beautifully rendered with swaras for the pallavi (no neraval). The thani avarathanam by Patri Satish Kumar (m) and Anirudh Atreya (k) was energetic and brilliant.. The RTP in Kaapi and Behag set to Tisra Triputa (nada pallavi) showed trademarks of a Bombay Jaishree concert – effortlessly switching ragas at any point with great ease both at taanam, swarams and ending in a ragamalika, elevating the concert to higher level. The audience was in a trance. Last year when I heard Jaishree at the same festival I thought nothing could top the Saama-Sivarajani RTP in that concert. But I was wrong!

Jungle Trail

This article originally appeared in the Metro Plus edition of the Hindu

There’s a nip in the air as the jeep winds its way up the hill. A herd of Sambar stands in the middle of the road. Our driver brings the jeep to a halt. The largest of the deer stares hard at us.

It almost seems as if he’s debating whether to let us pass. It’s an uncanny feeling as we lock gazes. Without warning, he turns his head and leads his companions into a thicket of bushes. As the driver sets our jeep in motion, I realise that my toes are tingling from the encounter.

I am at Biligiri Rangaswamy (BR) Hills with my family. The two-hour drive from Mysore saw us climb almost 3,000 feet above sea level. The bustle of the city is a distant memory. It’s a silent world but for the occasional rustle in the dense underbrush of the deciduous forests that surround us.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

CDs have been released!

I am delighted to announce the release of my latest project in the form of two CDs.

Saranagathi – Kulashekara Alwar’s Perumal Thirumozhi
A compilation of 30 select verses from Perumal Tirumozhi of the Divya Prabandham. The music is in the form of a ragamalika (30 different ragas) and has an introduction by Shri Velukkudi Krishnan. The music has been composed by Shri Ashok Subramanium (San Jose, USA) and Chitra is accompanied by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin) and C.Cheluvaraju (mridangam).

Anjaneya Arathi
The universal appeal of Anjaneya or Hanuman is captured in this Audio CD which presents the work of several composers, in multiple languages. Seven songs on Anjaneya have been rendered in a concert format. Chitra is accompanied by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin) and C.Cheluvaraju (mridangam).http://bit.ly/L5yyx

Carnatic CD releases:Chitra Srikrishna

My latest CD releases are now available in the market. Here are the details.

Saranagathi – Kulashekara Alwar’s Perumal Thirumozhi
A compilation of 30 select verses from Perumal Tirumozhi of the Divya Prabandham. The music is in the form of a ragamalika (30 different ragas) and has an introduction by Shri Velukkudi Krishnan. The music has been composed by Shri Ashok Subramanium (San Jose, USA) and I’m accompanied by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin) and C.Cheluvaraju (mridangam).

Anjaneya Arathi
The universal appeal of Anjaneya or Hanuman is captured in this Audio CD which presents the work of several composers, in multiple languages. Seven songs on Anjaneya have been rendered in a concert format. Charulatha Ramanujam (violin) and C.Cheluvaraju (mridangam) have accompanied me for this recording.

Pricing & Availablity
Both CDs have been produced by Swathi Soft Solutions, Chennai (http://www.kalakendra.com) and are priced at Rs. 150/ each.

The CDs can be bought at Kalakendra’s online store http://bit.ly/L5yyx and paid for in Rupees (Rs. 150) or US dollars ($3.25 each)

They will also be available in Chennai at Shankara Hall, Alwarpet and other music outlets and Bangalore at Calypso, Jayanagar, Malleswaram and Landmark and Music World.

Kindly forward this information to other rasikas who may be interested in classical music and the Divyaprabandham. You can follow me on twitter  (www.twitter.com/chitrasri) or on my blog site.

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Music festival – NMKRV Jayanagar Bangalore

Every spring Shri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira, one of the premier sabhas of the city, organizes a music festival at the NMKRV festival in Jayanagar for a week. Some of the top artistes of Carnatic music perform to a packed audience. This week the inaugural concert was kick-started with a vocal concert by the popular duo, Ranjani-Gayatri. A brief introductory speech by the organizer and artiste, and the concert began with none of the fanfare or fuss normally seen on inaugural concerts. Some of my friends had stayed home fearing that the concert would start late with long drawn out speeches!
Ranjani-Gayatri’s concert was a neat presentation. Beginning with Kalyani varnam (vanajakshi)and a brisk Sarasiruha (Nattai – Swati Tirunal), a scintillating Durbar alapana by Ranjani (Ramabhi rama – Tyagaraja), and the evergreen favourite Tiruvadi charanam (Kambodhi – Gopalakrishnan Bharti) were the highlights. Their manodharma reached great heights with the kambodhi alapana and the neraval “‘adutthu vandha ennai thaLLalaagadhu hara hara endru sonnaalum podhaadho”. The thani avarthanam by percussionists Cheluvaraju (mridangam) and Sukanya Ramgopal (ghatam) was a class act and got a deservedly rousing ovation. RTP was in Shubhapantuvarali. I left as soon as the pallavi began, strains of Shubhapantuvarali echoing in my head. The crowd was overflowing and the aisles were blocked.
The second day had Sanjay Subramanium present a lively concert with several emotive pieces such as Raga sudharasa (Andholika), Ariyaaro (Mukhari – Arunachala Kavi), Evvare Ramayya (Gangeyabhooshani) and a rarely heard Tyagaraja kriti Sive pahimam in Kalyani. During the raga alapana he sang a few phrases omitting some notes thereby sounding a bit different (all within the boundaries of the scale). The RTP in Kirvani was outstanding and took the concert to commendable heights. The violinist Nagai Muralidharan complemented Sanjay’s energetic style throughout the concert. The percussionists Neyveli Venkatesh and Trichy Murali gave a spirited thani. I did feel that their mic volume was slightly high. Perhaps the fact that I was right in front of the stage made a difference.
The third day saw one of Bangalore’s finest, Neela Ramgopal take the stage at the same venue. Beginning with Ritigowla varnam, the fast paced Samayamide in Kedaram (Patnam Subramanium Iyer) had the audience tapping their feet. The chittaswarams were very lively. Mami’s brisk rendition of the kriti and neatly executed kalpana swaras set the tempo for the concert. A beautiful alapana of Abheri followed and reminded me of Musiri and his contemporaries (another era). One hardly gets to hear Abheri in today’s concerts. Gangeyabhooshani alapana was a pleasant surprise. Vivaadhi ragas are rarely heard in concerts today, especially raga alapana. This was followed by a Purandaradasa kriti. For the main piece, she took up Mamava karunamaya (Shanmukhapriya – Swati Tirunal).
A note about the concerts themselves. They begin on time. The acoustics are wonderful. If people are unable to find a seat, and there are empty rows in the front for VIPs, the organizers open the side doors upfront after the concert is well underway and allow the latecomers to sit down. Little things go a long way. Kudos to the organizers for making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for carnatic rasikas in Bangalore’s southern belt.