Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sweet memories of a 'Spark'

Happy New Year!

I grew up at the Railway Quarters, Madurai where we have a ‘Sidhdhi Vinayagar’ Temple inside our colony.

It was Navarathri of 1978. I was very upset on one of those days.

During that Navarathri, my uncle was visiting us. He was a very close friend of the (late) Sheik Chinna Moulana Sahib and is a concert freak. We went to this Temple along with my parents. Little did I realize that I was going to attend a concert. I was so upset that my favorite playtime had been snatched away.

Incidentally, this Sidhdhi Vinayagar Tmple has been the ‘arangetram’ stage for many stalwarts we know of, such as Nadaswaram vidwan-brothers MPN Sethuraman, MPN Ponnuswamy, Madurai Somu to name a few.

Walking to the Temple, I learnt from my uncle that the concert was by T.N.Seshagopalan. I was still upset, and pretended to be a good boy. Suddenly, for reasons unknown, I was so fascinated by one Kirthana he sang…

“Hālāsya nāthaṃ smarāmi kōlāhala mīnākṣī samētam” in Raga Darbar. Truly complicated debut indeed for a young lad such as me, who had no such prior exposure!!! After I clapped at the completion of the Krithi, I felt different wondering whether there is perhaps something more to delve into… This spark had already set me into a music lover. I then asked several questions of my uncle. My music appreciation journey started thus…I started learning from my mother (many of us know how it goes while learning from parents) and later from one of the disciples of Sri.A.S.Panchapakesa Iyer (who wrote music books).

For the very next season, I had even skipped homework to attend these concerts. MPN brothers were regular performers at this Temple. By virtue of being a Railway Divisional Headquarters, the IRTS officers made no mistake in expanding the activities of this Temple. Other frequent performers prominent at this Temple were Chittibabu, Sudha Raghunathan, AKC Natarajan, Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, Dr.M.Balamurali, Valayapatti, Haridwaramangalam Shanmugasundaram, Mali, Ramani.......

I started enjoying…


Links and Connections

With howling winds and frigid temperatures, I feel like I am living in an Arctic tundra or in a Siberain gulag. Then I listen to music (thanks to Chennai music season), and I feel that I am transported to tropical paradises of Bora Bora and Tahiti! - Such is the power of music. Even though I am not well versed in music and cannot appreciate the subtle nuances, I am grateful I can appreciate music at all and that appreciation fills me with happiness. Here are some of the links where you can listen to the current music season.

Markashi Mahotsavam (Jaya TV broadcat)

Vishnu, a student of RPI and Albany Medical College gave a concert in Boston. He has uploaded his concerts here - Fall 2009 AASAI Benefit Concert

Dr. Nalini, one of Pallavi's board members and an accomplished vocalist, is giving concerts in Pune and Delhi (places in India where Ghazal experts gather and exhange notes).

Mrs. Vidya Subramnian, accomplished musician, music teacher and a student of Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman, gave a fine concert during the Vaikunta Ekadesi Celebrations in Hindu Temple in Albany - She sang quite a few songs from Tiruppavai. In case you missed hearing that concert, Vidya has a website where you can hear her singing - Link to Thiruppavai Songs
(Towards the end of the page you will see the renditions)

Students of Smt Kiranavali (She gave a concert in Oct 2004 in Pallavi - Saint Purandaradasa Day COncert) giving a concert for Sruti, Philadelphia - singing three of Shyama Sastry's swarajathi.

Kamakshi - Yadukulakambhoji - Part 1

Kamakshi - Yadukulakambhoji - Part 2

Rave himagiri - Todi

Kamakshi - Bhairavi - Part 1

Kamakshi - Bhairavi - Part 2

At this year's Navaratri festival in Wesleyan, there is again a fine rendition of one of Kamalamba Navaavarna kritis - Kamalamba Samraksatu
Embedded video

If you want to listen to behind the scenes of the Madras Music season (what is the current, who is better TMK or Sanjay or is it fusion or confusion or which sabha canteen is best and to read the opinions of well informed rasikas), please take a look at

We miss our Music Guru Sri P.N. Krishnamurthy who passed away earlier this year. If you want to write about him, please express your feelings in (You have to register to write - but registration is fairly straightforward)

Happy Listening

Moorthy (Mukkai S. Krishnamoorthy)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

We are the bees! Where is the honey?

I would like to start the blog with the following.

I had written this in 2006 as President's message in the brochure for Pallavi's tenth year celebrations.

Dear Music Lover and Patron,

It is said “you are judged by the company you keep”. It is indeed a matter of great honor and immense pleasure to be associated with the Pallavi community and partake in its activities and growth. On the grand celebration of the tenth anniversary I congratulate each one of you because I believe that your untiring support has nourished Pallavi’s growth, which we all cherish today. From a small group of about five people, Pallavi has had a phenomenal healthy growth. I have been very fortunate to work with Prof.M.Raghavachari who is our founder President, the past President Prof.M.Krishnamoorthy, my Guru Shri. P.N.Krishnamurthy and many others. The rich experience, vision and guidance of the founding members coupled with the energy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurship of the newer members has, beyond doubt, been the key factors of success in these ten years.
Over these years it has been increasingly difficult to bring quality artistes to the Capital District, especially after September 11th, 2001. Nevertheless, Pallavi has not been deterred by any such factors nor has compromised on quality. Going the extra mile, innovative ideas have been introduced in planning the concerts. The tenth year especially has seen a great amount of variety – Nadaswaram, Thyagaraja Vaibhavam with slide show, Bharatanatyam, Leading Hindustani concerts, Programs for kids, Composers Day, etc.
Attributed to the extensive brain-storming we do at our board meetings, we have been very successful in managing finance. We, sure, have had times when it has been very hard to break-even. But, we face it with the conviction that you are there for us. We all need to look beyond the obvious in increasing our membership base. There may be so many people out there who are willing and waiting to participate in a big way. Therefore, on this grand occasion, I appeal to you to pass the word around and encourage new people to come forward, become members and reap the benefits. I also appeal to you that we are constantly in need of physical help for various purposes. Therefore we need a large number of volunteers to come forward. From the bottom of my heart, I deeply thank Prof. M.Raghavachari and Prof.M.Krishnamoorthy for this invaluable opportunity and guidance. I also thank the esteemed members of the Pallavi Board and all of members and music lovers who have stood with us through thick and thin.

Remember! We all are bees and Pallavi is our beehive. Let us work together and gather honey.

Well; in our case we only sing and not sting!

Thiyagarajan Subramanian
President, Pallavi of the Capital District.