My Chennai Diary - Day-2, Part -1.

Vinod, one of my closest friends and colleague at Oracle (also an ardent rasika of Carnatic Music and good singer of old Hindi film songs and Ghazals) landed at Chennai in the morning. We had planned to attend a few good concerts when he was around. We had already finalized on attending Dr. R. Vedavalli's early morning concert at The Music Academy. One of the foremost disciples of late Pallavi exponent Sangita KalAnidhi Mudikondan Venkatrama Iyer, Sangita KalAnidhi R. Vedavalli is a member of the old guard of Carnatic Music. She has trained under Smt. T.Muktamma too. She is a veteran teacher and an equally proficient performing artiste. I like her unhurried,majestic style of singing. Her Ragam Tanam Pallavis are a treat to listen.

1.) Arrived at the venue a little late and missed her Dhanyasi Varnam. Spotted plenty of stalwarts at the concert today - Sangita KalAnidhi T.K.Govinda Rao, Sangita KalAnidhi M. Chandrashekar, MallAdi brothers and Vidushi Neela Ramgopal.

2.) Heard a wonderful alapanai of Kannada as we entered the auditorium. She was accompanied by Charulata Ramanujam on the violin, Neyvelli Narayanan on the Mridangam and Sukanya Ramgopal on the Ghatam. She went on to sing Saketa Niketana by St. Thyagaraja. She has lowered the Kattai(pitch) at which she used to sing earlier but her voice is as powerful.

3.) Vachaspati - Ennadu nee kripaGalgu - Patnam Subramaniam Iyer.

4.) Mukhari - Every time I hear this raga, I remember my grandma's singing the same. People associate this raga with sadness but I remember an interview with R. Vedavalli in which she sang KAru BAru. In this song, Saint Thyagaraja addressing Lord Rama says "Has there been anybody who has reigned over Ayodhya like you, protecting the subjects, exercising supreme authority and securing the happiness and prosperity of one and all." She added that when one listens to this song, one feels elated as that is the Bhava (feeling) the saint has conveyed while extolling Lord Rama's virtues as a King. Her rendition of this song at today's concert was no exception. Also need to mention that Charulata played an excellent alapanai in Mukhari. While listening to Neyvelli Narayanan, one realized that he has perfected the art of Mridangam accompaniment. He is presently a disciple of Vidwan Umayalpuram Shri K. Sivaraman and is the recipient of ‘Best Mridangam Player’ (1995, 1997, 1998) by The Music Academy.

5.) Thodi - Manodharma Sangitam (creative singing) at its very best. Vedavalli's Thodis are always well rendered. And the first recording I had purchased of hers was an RTP in Todi (with an exquisite Tanam in the Ghana Panchaka Raga). She sang Dikshitar's "DakshAyani Abhayambike" the last but one song in his set of AbhayambA Vibhakti Kritis. Fabulous Tani avartanam by Narayanan and Sukanya.

While going through the Souvenir, I realized The Music Academy hands over a list of songs and the artistes need to select some from the list provided. Good practice in a way as listeners can gain better knowledge but spoils the fun of identifying rAgAs as they are being sung.

6.) RTP Kirvani - Striking alapanai and Tanam. Khanda Nadai Triputa Talam.
Pallavi - Shri RAmA AbhirAmA Pari PAhi Sita Sameta.
Ragamaika swarams in Vasanta, Sama and Bihag

7.) Viruttam in KedaraGowlai, Saveri, VarAli and Sindhu Bhairavi

8.) Mangalam

After the concert I jumped on to the stage to meet her; I sought her blessings, told her that I have been a die-hard rasika of hers for 15 years and procured her autograph on a booklet of her achievements (had obtained this when I bought a set of 5 CDs by HMV Sa Re Ga Ma as part of their Golden legends). Ought to preserve this safely.

This is a must have concert and a gentleman named Sridharan Sankaran has uploaded the same at : Summarizing, this is one of the best concerts I listened to this season.

(To continue.)


vasudevan said…
you have forgotten to mention THE EXCELLENT support given by her sishya Mrs Sumitra Vasudev. I also attended the concert. Mukari was excellent and i immediately recollected the recording of Musiri of the same song in MUKARI
Coming back to Mrs Sumitra i have also attended her concert two days earlirer and it was superb and very authentic of Vedavalli mami's pani

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