This is not exactly a concert review. I am an ardent fan of carnatic music. Though I am not a performing artist and I really am no scholar in Carnatic music, I am a dedicated listener, and I revere and appreciate good music and melody. And so, I thought I should share my experience regarding a concert I attended recently. So here goes..
By God’s grace, I was really fortunate to attend the carnatic music workshop and concert by the Carnatica Brothers(Shri KN Shashikiran and Shri P.Ganesh) at the Ekta Arts Center in Irvine, California on the 31st August 2008. They were accompanied by Shiva Ramamurthy on the violin and Nirmal Narayan on the mridangam.
One of the most beautiful and amazing concerts I have ever attended!!
Right before the event, I got a chance to attend the workshop which was conducted by the Carnatica Brothers. It was divided into junior and senior so that people could choose based on their level of knowledge and interest and benefit from the workshop.
I went for the junior workshop which was given by Shri KN Shashikiran. It was on voice and vocal chords training, how to sing full throated etc... We had a couple of exercises to do as well. It was really nice. One and a half hours of singing!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. At the end of the workshop, we were taught a very nice song (Shambho Gangadhara.. Chandrashekara) composed by Gopalakrishna Bharati in Ishamanohari ragam. It was a wonderful experience!! There were a lot of children at the workshop. I must admit...... Shri KN Shashikiran is really good with kids... I really loved the workshop!!!!
The senior workshop was on manodharma singing, where the alapanai, kalpana swarams and neraval techniques were explained. This was conducted by Shri P. Ganesh.
Right after the workshop, we all were treated with a delightful vocal concert by Ramya and Sandhya (disciples of Shri K.N.Shashikiran).
The concert began with Gajananayutham Ganeshwaran in Chakravaham by Ramya and Sandhya who are currently disciples of Shri KN Shashikiran. They are so very young!! Effortless singing!! And the coordination between the artists was great, it was a treat to the ears!! This was followed by Maaramanan in Hindolam. I really liked it very much!!
Below is the list of songs that was sung by Ramya and Sandhya:
-- Gajananayutham Ganeshwaran in Chakravaham
-- Maaramanan in Hindolam
-- Vande Sadha padmanabham in navarasakannada
-- nyanamu sagaradha in poorvikalyani
-- naneke badavanu in behag
-- shivaranjani thillana
-- ksheerabdhi kanyakaku in kurinji for mangalam
Shiva Ramamurthy on the violin and Niram Narayan on the mridangam provided good support throughout. On the whole it was an awesome presentation, with no slow dull moment. I must say that the high quality performance by these young artists is quite an experience to the spectators. It does assure the fact that the future of Carnatic music is bright and strong in their hands.
Right after the student recitals by Ramya and Sandhya, the Carnatica brothers took over and scintillated the audience with their brilliant performance. I have absolutely no words to describe the feeling of ecstasy I had when I listened to them.
They started off with a varnam in kanada raagam followed by Shri Uthukkaadu Venkatasubayyar’s Shri Vigna Rajam Bhaje in Gambheeranattai raagam. The next was Tyagaraja’s Rama Bhakti Saamraajyam in Shuddha Bangala raagam. It was rendered so beautifully and for me, the perfect word to describe this was ‘divine’. I must say that the swara singing was as delightful as ever. This rendition had me transported to another world!!
I just had my eyes glued on to the stage throughout the concert.. The genuine enthusiasm, with which the artists, including the violinist and the mridangam player performed, was mind blowing!! There was complete enjoyment on their faces and they radiated so much energy!! It was really awesome to watch them so involved in their singing!!
The Carnatica Brothers went on to render Pahimam Shree Rajarajeshwari in janaranjini. This has always been one of my favorites and I really enjoyed it to the core.
I must admit that there was no drop in energy levels for the artists as well as for the spectators. I was amazed at the fact that all these songs in a row did not leave even a note of strain on the singers and they went on to render Muthuswamy Dhikshitar’s Akhilandeshwari in Dwajavanti Raagam with as much zest as in the beginning!
Kudos to the violinist and the mrudangam player!! They matched the vocalists so well! They were an excellent support throughout the concert and kept the audience and musicians well motivated!
Personally, the violin is one of my favorite instruments (I do not know how to play it though ) and many a time at the concert I found it so heart rending … I don’t know what you call it.. soul stirring? Yes, that was exactly what I felt when Shiva Ramamurthy played the violin.....
Nirmal Narayan on the mrudangam was awesome! He had high energy and the rapport he shared with the musicians was excellent!
The next song that followed was something that really took my breath away that day.. Ragam Tanam Pallavi in guhamanohari! Forgive me if I am wrong about the ragam for this one, but all I know is I was completely caught off guard by this rendition and I can’t really express myself in words what I felt then. The rhythmic rendering of the notes and the improvisations were just beyond words!! I was totally in awe!! Shri KN Shashikiran left no unexplored territories in the raga. I was in a trance by then! Sigh!! I am unable to put in the technicalities here, but all I can say is it was just too good to be true!!
What followed was the Tanam Ragamalika in Neelambari and Sahana by P.Ganesh which was a treat to the ears!! The composition was so delightful with different ragas and the flow of music was excellent, very smooth and melodious and the transition from one raga to another was too much!! Well.. I could just go on and on..
Before the concert wound up with the mangalam, the Carnatica Brothers sang Govardhana giridhara in darbari kannada. It was so lovely and peaceful listening to this song.....
One of the most amazing facts was that there wasn’t any kind of a break during the entire concert. I just did not bother to budge from where I was sitting throughout the concert... It started at 4:15pm and was done by 8 (which was really disappointing. Honestly, I really wasn’t looking forward to the ending of the concert ).. The concert was so.. what do I say.. mesmerizing!!!! It was such a wonderful experience… The performers left the auditorium with applause ringing in their ears.. It was one great high energy .. power packed concert!
I am really grateful to the organizers, Geeta Ramdas and Sudha Ravi, for having the Carnatica brothers and the other musicians in Irvine. I am really looking forward to attend more concerts!!
Like I mentioned before, I am no scholar in carnatic music and this was the first time I attended a live carnatic music concert. There might be a lot of mistakes regarding the technical details of a song in this write up. I did not write down anything about the songs and the raagams and talams when I attended the concert(Next time I will..
). The best part was that, the Carnatica Brothers made sure they mentioned the name, composer, ragam and talam of the song before they started singing. So whatever lyrics, composers and ragams I could remember and recollect (used google for help as well..
), I have written it out here.
I am still in a trance... The ecstatic feeling I have is like too much.. I really haven’t gotten out of that stage yet. Some of those songs and the music is still playing in my mind.. The song I learned from the workshop, Shambo Gangadhara is still on my lips.. The memories of the concert are still fresh........