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Thread: Musicians,events,anecdotes and tid-bits

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    Musicians,events,anecdotes and tid-bits

    We are opening this new topic to bring all posts about musicians,events,anecdotes and other tid-bits, so that all of them can be found under one thread.
    Please do not open new topics that do not lead to any serious discussions.
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    " I think there is a world market for may be five computers". IBM Chairman Thomas Watson in 1943.

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    Maharajapuram Santhanam (humour)

    Maharajapuram Santhanam was in a concert in one of the American Universities. In the middle of the concert, the airconditioning went off and he was sweating. The organizers brought a fan and put it next to the stage with wind blowing on his face. The vocalist looked at it and quipped: 'ivvaLavu fans irukkumbodhu indha fan edharkku? ' (When there are so many fans here, why do I need this fan?) The audience burst into laughter.
    In the same concert somebody made a request after he started 'mangaLam'. He looked at the chit and said: ' innoru tharam mangaLam paadittaal pochu.' He finished mangaLam, sang the song requested and sang mangaLam again.
    " I think there is a world market for may be five computers". IBM Chairman Thomas Watson in 1943.

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    T.S.Parthasarathy(scholar)

    T.S.Parthasarathy, scholar in music and dance, passed away recently.

    http://www.carnatica.net/special/tsp-obit-oct2006.htm

    http://www.thehindu.com/fr/2006/10/2...2000130300.htm


    His book on Thyagaraja (lyrics with meaning) is probably the best I have seen. He also gives a glossary of Telugu words in the book.
    Those interested in Thyagaraja's compositions this book is a must.
    " I think there is a world market for may be five computers". IBM Chairman Thomas Watson in 1943.

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    once Prince Rama Varma was performing at Hague. The next day, the news papers carried his picture and a write up on his performance. A dutch paper also did the same. A few days later, he met a friend, who knew Ducth and asked him to translate the contents, it said-the musician sang well. so are the accompnying artistes. But i do not know why the main artiste gestures to the accomapnying ones saying your are wrong'- every time?
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    i am costly

    Whenever Dr. Balamurali, visits trivandrum, we meet. i was introduced to him by Prince Rama Varma, a disciple of Balamurali. We chat for an hour or so. This incident happened two years ago. i rang him at 8 am. he recognized my voice and said...oh it is you...then i asked:Are u free? pat came the reply: no iam very costly!
    both of us burst into laughter, and we met at 10 am and had nice chat. he narrates stories very well, especially those connected with Birbal and Tennali raman
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    p unni krishnan(musician)

    Unnikrishnan P:

    If you had asked UNNIKRISHNAN, carnatic musician, cum paly back singer, what he wants to become two decades ago, he would have said “I want to become a cricketer.”

    He did play seriously participated in the senior division league, with krishnamachari sreekant, and robin singh. Bur destiny had something different in store for him. Today he has craved a niche in the realm of carnatic music.

    My mother dr. Harini, is a good vocalist, but not a performer. She wanted me to become a musician. But my first love was cricket. I practiced it out of compulsion. In course of time I developed a keen interest and was gradually imbibed into the world of classical music.

    My mother taught me the basics, and then I was trained by V L Seshadri before I joined DR, S RAMANADAN. My debut performance was at palakkad, my native place. Then I learnt under Calcutta Krishnamurthi, Savithri satyamurthi, and P S Narayanaswami. I was trained by T Brinda also.

    I TOOK MUSIC SERIOUSLY only at the age of 25. If I had pursued cricket, I would perhaps, have made a mark in the field. I have no regrets now. In sports, you will get only a short span. If you don’t make it you will be nowhere. Music is not like that.” He explained. “Now time has changed and a concert hardly lasts for 21/2 hours imposing pressure on musicians. That is why most of the singers skip ragam thanam pallavi” he added.

    Ennavale adi ennavale (kaadalan) fetched him the national award. His other numbers include adisayam and hairabba, in jeans.

    “If I focus more on film songs, it would affect my performance as a classical musician. Singing for films is easy and effortless. But you will have to set time to do your daily practice. A performer should listen to more music. I am not for a compromise. I would like to be known as a classical musician first” he said.
    (INDIAN EXPRESS, JANUARY, 2004)

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    RUDRAPATNAM BROTHERS(musicians)


    RUDRAPATNAM BROTHERS:

    Rudrapatnam is a small hamlet near Kaveri. Although small, it has produced a number of musicians. R N THYAGARAJAN AND DR. R N THARANADAN represent the third generation of musicians from this place.

    Their grand father R K Krishnasastri was not only a musician, but a Harikatha exponent, play Wright and Sanskrit scholar. “Our father R K Narayana swami, and his brothers, R K Ramamkrishanan and R K Sreekantan, are popular musicians. Our father is a disciple of Mussiri Subramania Iyer and Satri uncle was the disciple of the legendary Mysore t Chowdiah. They initiated into music besides veda adyayana” said DR.Tharanadan, deputy director of CFTRI Mysore.

    He completed her Ph. D, in chemistry, went to GERMANY FOR HIGHER STUDIES, while Thygarajan joined AIR, and recently retired as the deputy director of BANGALORE DOORDARSHAN. They have been singing together for the past four decades.
    “FINDING a mutually convenient time was tough. So we accepted concerts on weekends only. According to them co-ordination is very important. Our voice blends very well. We belong to the same school of padaantharam. We rehearse together, and express our caliber during ragalapana and swara prasthanam” they say.

    The ancestors of these musicians were migrants from chenkottai. Then they moved to kozhikkode. Even now the family is known as the KALIKOTTAI (CALICUT).
    THE Brothers possessed a chaste classical style and demonstrated excellence, in rendering compositions while they perform together at the Navarathri Mandapam. They are traditionalist to the core. They have the touch of Alathur style and are considered as harbingers of the RAMANAD KRISHNAN WAY OF GENERATING FLASHES IN THE CONCERT.

    They include less renderd ragas, like nayaki, malavi, hamsa vinodini, poornachandrika. It was needamangalam krishanmoorthi, who taught us compositions of oothukad. When we performed at the US, dancer Kamala Laxman, expressed her desire to choreograph a few compositions.

    The duo is invited as external examiners, by the SINGAPORE FINE ARTS SOCIETY. They have conducted many lec-dems. We do not believe in fusion. It is in fact confusion. They can be considered as a surviving strategy. WE owe to our mother and wives for managing the family. The concert albums have been brought out by Saraswathi Project Armsterdam-the Netherlands and CMANA NEW YORK.
    (This article of mine was published in the week end express of the new Indian express dt, 20-11-04.)

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    venugopal thakil (thavil artist)

    Tread along the narrow Judge Sankaranarayanan road near Pazhavangadi. Sweet notes of thavil greet your ears as Venugopal’s dexterous fingers against the broad surface of thavil in swift rhythm. The delicate, subtle, fine waves of the tala ascend to a crescendo leaving its trills suspended for a while. “I have been playing thavil since six decades. Still I practice for a few hours a day” said Venugopal with a gentle smile.

    “The instrument is awfully heavy. I cannot carry it on my shoulder any more. So I accept only concerts where one can sit and play” he admits.
    Venugopal belongs to a family of musicians based at Nanchinadu.
    Born in Kumarakoil, he went to Eraniyal to learn thavil under Kaintha Pillai Swamy and had advanced training under Tiruchendur Nainar Swami, a great master.

    Being a pupil of Nainar Swamy had many advantages. Nagaswaram and clarinet players preferred well disciplined accompanists, which they found in all the disciples of Nainar Swamy. Thus I too enjoyed all the privileges and chances poured in. I could accompany pioneer artistes like, Kanyakumari Sudalayandi Kambar, Tiruchendur Chinna Subbaiah, Pathamadai Raja, A K C Natarajan [clarinet], Nagerkoil Ganesa Kambar, Thiruvizha Jayasankar, Kandiyoor Sivasankaran, Chengannur Sivasankara Panicker and Oachira Sivadas. My brother Kottar Ramachandra Bhagavathar is the disciple of Dr. Balamurali Krishna.
    It was around three decades ago that I came to this place, when I was short listed for the post of percussionist at the Sree Padmanabha Temple. Violin maestro Chalakkudi Narayana Swami was the judge. There were seven contestants. We are asked to accompany the nagaswaram artiste” he paused for a while and continued: “Here I must tell you something. The seven principal
    talas give rise to 35 varieties on account of the pancha jathi bhedas and each in turn gives rise to five kinds on account of pancha gati bhedas. Thus all together there are 175 talas. The one which was rendered did not figure in the list. The songs rendered were the varnams in Sankarabharanam and Kambhodi set to a tala unknown to us. We have not heard it before. In the initial round we could not maintain the balance of the music. We were puzzled. I could play close to the tala and was appointed as the thavil artiste. We have not named the tala so far. Once Namagiri Pettai Krishnan the legendary nagaswaram artiste happened to hear this tala and wondered. After the performance he approached us and learned it. No were in India you can find this combination remarked Namagiri Pettai.”

    Venugopal under went training to the codified pattern of music at the temple.

    Thavil are made in Thajavoor. Traditional leather straps are now being replaced by stainless steel ones which add weight to the instrument.
    “When the body Sree Chithira Tirunal was taken to the funeral pyre, we paid our last honors to the great man by rendering Mukhari, a raga which can evoke Karuna rasa” reminisced Venugopal.


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    vikku vinayak ram(artist-ghatam)

    Vikku Vinayak Ram
    T R Harihara Sarma was a musician with a vision. It was his wish to make his children great artistes of international repute. He trained them in the hard way and thus we have the Grammy Award Winner ghatom maestro Vikku Vinayak Ram.

    Popularly known as Vikku, (a name christened by none other than the legendary singer MS SUBBALEKSHMI) HE WITH HIS CHILDREN AND NEPHEWS have founded an orchestra troupe called SAPTHAAKSHARA, to handle seven different instruments namely Mrudangam, gahatom, ganjira, morsing, gethy, and konnakkol all complimented by vocal music. The maestro was in the city to perform percussion ensemble with his troupe.

    To really feel the aural impression, the upa thaala vaadya are capable of creating one has to experience the alliteration of tone coupled with intelligent sequence of instruments and the clean neat and polished way of presentation.

    Vikku believes that,the Blessings of Kanchi Kamakodi Peedathipathi, and the Midas touch of MS made him what he is today.

    “I am only a medium. It is HIS bliss that brought this poor clay pot into the lime light” said Vikku. “My father used to lock the room and order us practice intensively. It was my father who brought the concept of SAPTHA LAYA AKSHARANGAL–the seven syllables used in the south Indian carnatic percussion system” he informed.

    “My first love is always ghatom. But my father asked me to learn ganjira. He was running a mrudangam school, and there was none to play ganjira. He could not force other students to learn it. So I was chosen. I have accompanied, GNB, Mussiri, Chembai, Ariyakkudi, and Semmangudi.

    “It was Semmangudi who introduced me to MS. I accompanied her three decades with the retirement of Rama Iyer. On the UN Day, MS performed before the General Assembly in New York. I accompanied her. It was my first foreign tour. It was more like a family trip. MS and Sadasivam were more particular about our comfort. They were like parents to me. They affectionately called me Vikku. Later, when JOHN MC LAUGHLIN asked to shorten my name, I could not think of any other than Vikku” he explained.
    “I played a fusion concert with John, L Sankar, and Zakkir Hussein. Ghatom which was considered as a Upa thaala vaadya, received a higher status. Since then I have accompanied PT. SHIVKUMAR SHARMA, PT.HARIPRASAD CHOURASYA, PT. JASRAJ AND USTAD AMJAD ALI KHAN.Once popular drummers were invited to create, a music album titled Planet Drum. I and Zakkir represented India. That bagged the Grammy Award.” he said.

    Kanchi Periyavar, predicted a good fortune for ghatom. I was very proud of Maana madurai ghatom and believed that none can surpass its quality. I expressed it to the Swamigal. He laughed. I could not understand. Later, after a concert, in GERMANY, WHEN WE MISSED A FLIGHT, a guitarist took him to a musical instrument shop. I was bewildered when I saw a ghatom there. The elated shop owner, presented me with that unique ghatom, that was made by fusing two halves. In the US, I had to accompany mandolin wizard, U.SREENIVAS. I was forced to use this ghatom, as my instrument developed a crack. The German one was a perfect match, for mandolin. Again another lady from Athens presented me another ghatom. Then I realized the meaning of Swamigals gesture” he remembered.

    SAPTHAAKSHARA won NUESCO Award 2000 and Vikku is the first ghatom artiste to receive Central Sangeetha NATAKA Akademi Award. The team has visited LONDON, SEYCHELLES, MAURITIUS, SOUTH AFRICA, ZAMBIA, KENYA AND LESOTHO.

    Vikku’s eldest son, SELVAGANESH HAS ACCOMAPNIED THE LEGENDARY MUSICIANS LIKE MS, MLV, LALGUDI, BALAMURALI, ZAKKIR HUSSIEN, AMJAD ALI KAHN, SHIVA KUMAR SHARMA and PT. JASRAJ. He has performed fusion with John Mc Laughin. His albums are popular.

    Uma Sankar, another son of Vikku, has done many fusion concerts and has contributed for film as well. He ahs worked with ARR, FOR THE ALBUM “DESH KA SALAM.”
    Uma Mahesh, third son of Vikku, is the disciple of Radha Viswanathan. (this interview was done two years back-for the indian express)

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    gayatri venkatraghavan(vocalist)

    Gayathri Venkataraghavan enthralled the audience at the Swati Sangeetha Archana 2006 last Sunday. This leading young vocalist from Chennai says that she never took music seriously in the beginning, attended the music classes casually and accompanied her mother as a listener to all concerts out of compulsion. My father made me sing at the sanctum sanctorum of the temples whenever we visit one. “I reached this level because of my parents only. They would have realized my potential” remembers Gayathri with gratitude.
    “In the 90 s I started winning competitions, and gradually I took music seriously” laughs Gayathri. Of course recognition and encouragements are always effective. In 1993 she is wedded to an ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Venkatraghavan working for the Aravind hospital and Sankara Netralaya at Madurai and Thirunelveli. Thus when she took music seriously she was out of Chennai- a place believed to be the nerve center of carnatic music- for six long years. In 2000 she returned to her home town and there was no looking back since then.

    Gayathri had her initial lessons in music from Rajalekshmi and then from Padma Veeraraghavan a disciple of K.V. Narayana Swami. “It really changed my outlook. I was more exposed to the KVN style known for its bhava. His rendition of the ulsavaprabhandam of Maharaja Swati Thirunal is very popular. Then A. Sunderesan a senior vocalist from Madurai taught me music. He is an authority as far as the works of Syama Sastri are concerned. Sunderesn represents Althur bani of music. As part of my scholarship I was trained under the tutelage of V.Subramanian .There I had the opportunity to learn the Semmangudi bani. Still I learn under Sunderesan” she said.

    But learning under masters who follow different schools of music never posed any problem for Gayathri. She says: I am trying my best to bring the bhava that is KVN’s style .Bhkati is essential to bring the bhava. When I sing I communicate with the Almighty. I want the listeners to be a part of it .Sunderesan is a traditionalist. I wanted my kriti rendering to be strong. Padanthara suddham is highly valued. Each composer had composed each song under different moods. My guru always wanted to realize the mood of the composer while rendering. Then we will be able to convey what the composer had in his mind. My rendition of the raga and its approach has changed dramatically after my training under Sunderesan. My guru would compare the raga with a devatha and music is embellishing the deity with the swaras”

    Regarding the accompaniments she said it is an unknown web in a concert. When we start we are different individuals and as the concert progresses it blends beautifully. There should be a general feeling that the success of the concert depends on the team effort. If the violinist could bring out the raga bahava beautifully it sparks off additional inspiration. Akkarai Subbalekshmi a teenager who accompanied Gayathri on violin is also a well known vocalist who is in great demand, these days. B. Ganapathiraman and N.Guruprasad, accompanied her on mrudangam and ghatom respectively.

    Gayathri has several times staged thematic concerts, which is gaining popularity these days. In India she has performed in all major sabhas in Chennai and other big cities. She had the opportunity to perform at Shanmukanada sabha on the birth day of MS before her demise. Last year she participated at the Cleveland festival and performed at Toronto and Canada. “I am really honored to sing at Kuthira Malika” she said (587 words)
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