Song of Surrender

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

MS Centenary celebrations in Mangalore

M.S. Subbulakshmi's birth centenary was celebrated on 16 September by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mangalore and the Mani Krishnaswami Academy, at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mangalore. Capt. Ganesh Karnik, honorary president of the working committee of the Mani Academy, inaugurated the programme by lighting the lamp.

P. Nityananda Rao, Secretary of the Mani Academy, welcomed and proposed the vote of thanks. Prof. G.R. Rai, Nagaveni S. Shetty, Harikrishna Punarooru, Pradip Kumar Kalkura, Nagesh A. Bappanadu, Geetha Saralaya, Chandrashekhar K. Shetty, P. Anand Rao, and Trichy K.R. Kumar, were present on the occasion.

Priyanka K.P., Shreya Kolathaya, Gowrish and Gowtham, Sreshtalakshmi, Ananya, Sushamendra, Shrisha, Deeksha, Krithi Kamath, Sadgun Ithal, Dhanashree, and Muralidhar G. Shenoy were the musicians who performed during the event.

Veteran Bhimachar honoured

Veteran morsing vidwan L. Bhimachar was honoured with the prestigious T. Chowdiah National Award on 14 September at the Ravindra Kalakshetra, Bengaluru. The 85-year old instrumentalist is among the seniormost morsing exponents in the country.

The award instituted by the Government of Karnataka, consists of a cash prize of rupees five lakhs. It was presented to Bhimachar by Siddaramiah, Chief Minister of Karnataka, and Umashree, Minister for Culture, Karnataka.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Dhwani-BKF Fest–Music for a cause

By Samudri

The Bangalore Kidney Foundation conducts the Dhwani-BKF music festival every year as a tribute to the memory of Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur. The doyen of Hindustani music was treated for kidney ailment at the Foundation’s hospital in Bengaluru. The Dhwani-BKF music festival will be held on 12 and 13 September at the JSS Auditorium in Jayanagar, Bengaluru. This is the 12th successive year. Every year the Foundation confers the “Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur Award” on a senior musician who is also a music teacher. The award consists of a purse of one lakh rupees, a shawl, citation and a bronze bust of Mallikarjun Mansur.

This year the Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur Award will be presented to Mumbai-based senior vocalist and teacher Jayshree Patnekar. Previous awardees include Rajsekhar Mansur, Biswajit Roy Chowdhury, Vasundhara Komkali, D.K. Datar, Dattatreya Sadashiv Garud, Dhondutai Kulkarni, R.K. Bijapure, Ulhas Kashalkar, Ashwini Bhide, and Lalith J. Rao.

Apart from a performance by the awardee Jayshree Patnekar, eminent musicians like Malini Rajurkar and Kaivalyakumar Gurav will also be featured in the festival. Starting this year the Foundation has decided to encourage young, talented musicians who have the potential of blossoming into full-fledged artists. Two slots of 1-½ hours each will be provided to such "Artistes of the Future”. The up-and-coming musicians performing this year are Sameer Rao (flute) and Priya Purushothaman (vocal).

The Bangalore Kidney Foundation is a renowned charitable institution doing pioneering work in making dialysis affordable and accessible to poor patients. Since it was established in 1979, the Foundation has assisted thousands of poor patients afflicted with chronic kidney disease.

The Dhwani-BKF music festival is known as "Music for a Cause", since the proceeds of this two-day event are used to fund the Foundation’s free dialysis programme.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

K. P Ramesh Babu

Musicians in classical dance

By Anjana Anand

K. P. Ramesh Babu is a sought after mridhangist in the Bharatanatyam field. His virtuosity in a variety of percussion instruments and musical sensitivity has made him an asset to the Bharatanatyam field. With over two decades of performing experience, Ramesh Babu in an artiste who straddles the kucheri and Natyam world with ease. 

How did you start your career in the arts?

I grew up in Calicut and my guru was my father, K. PBhaskar Das. I continued my training with Puthukode S. Krishnan. From a young age, I was exposed to Bharatanatyam as my father used to play for Natyam. My mother is a Bharatanatyam and MohiniAttam artiste and she helped me understand the nuances of Natyam. Krishnan sir suggested that I come to Chennai to further my training with KaraikudiR. Mani.

Were you always interested in playing for Natyam?

As I was exposed to playing for Bharatanatyam from a young age, I did not feel that I had to make a choice between being a kucheri artiste or an accompanist for Natyam. It seemed natural to do both. I went to AdyarLakshman for a few months to further my understanding onplaying for BharataNatyam. Today I am mainly amridhangist for Bharatanatyam but I play for kucheris when the opportunity arises. I am presently an ‘A’ grade artiste with All India Radio.

Where did you start your career as amridhangam artiste?

My main exposure in this field was through BharataKalanjali. The Dhananjayans were a big support in my career. The Sathyalingams from Singapore were the first to invite me abroad for shows. Since then, I have been travelling abroad, mainly to the US every summer for arangetrams and nattuvangam workshops.

Have you trained in any other art form?

I trained in Carnatic music for a short time in Calicut. I was exposed to music from a young age so I used to sing without formaltraining. For a very short time, I went to O.S Arun after our tour to the US for a production called Abhyasa.

What is the specific training required for playing for Natyam?

It has more to do with understanding what is needed for rhythmic support for the dance form. The fingering is basically the same. However when playing for Bharatanatyam, we have to know what has been composed by the dancer and play within that framework. The manodharma is limited to working within the set choreography. In a kucheri, we plan what to present without any other boundaries. The extent of creativity is left to us.

As an accompanist for Bharatanatyam, we have to understand the adavu system fully. Only then can we enhance the footwork and rhythmic intricacies. For that we need to be prepared to work with the dancer.

Today mridhangists have taken over the traditional role of nattuvangists who composed jathis earlier. How has that changed the style of jathi composition?

The advantage that traditional nattuvangists had was that they had a sound background in music, tala and natyam. They composed jathi-s to suit the dance with chollu-s which were traditionally associated with natyam. This made the Bharatanatyam jathis distinct from other percussionchollu-s.

As mridhangists we have to play the same role. In my opinion we should ensure that we use traditional chollu-s while composing,with the dance in mind. It should be conducive for the dancer’s footwork. I find many jathi-s today do not fulfil these criteria. Not all mridhangamkanakku will suit the Bharatanatyam style of dance. If I compose a jathi which is non - traditional or intricate, I always advice the dancer on which adavu will be suitable for the composition. In short, I believe that even an accomplished mridhangist must have enough experience playing for natyam before attempting to compose jathi-s.

What are the kinds of compositions which you have composed for Bharatanatyam?

I composed a NandhiChollu for Dhananjayan sir’s student’s arangetram in MisraJhampatala. It is an opening item. I composed another one for Sheejith Krishna in Khandatriputatala. Besides this, I have composed Mallari-s. I composed one in Nagasvarali raga although Mallari-s are traditionally done in GambeeraNattai. I have also composed Pushpanjali-s andTillana-s.

A suggestion

At present only TTD is organising music and dance concerts every evening from 6 to 7.30 pm which are telecast live on SVBC   -- their exclusive channel. This programme is called Nadaneerajanam. Of course TTD has the resources and can afford to do so,  but one must appreciate their will to do it.

To my knowledge, no temple in Tamil Nadu has its own TV channel.  As the Chief Minister is a patron and lover of fine arts, the Tamil Nadu Government could perhaps start with two or three temples like Srirangam, Madurai and Palani,  and arrange to telecast live the programmes over Jaya TV in the absence of exclusive channels.  

R. Ranganathan
Bangalore