Song of Surrender

Saturday, 28 October 2017

T.S. Sankaran

28.10.1930 - 9.4.2015
Birthdays & Anniversaries

T.S. Sankaran was the son of flute vidwan T.N. Sambasiva Iyer from whom he imbibed music and flute playing at a very tende  age. The family hailed from the village of Sathanur in the musically and culturally rich Kaveri delta. Family folklore dating back a couple generations speaks of associations with the illustrious 19th century son of Sathanur, musician Panchanada Iyer, a disciple of Muthuswami Dikshitar.


Later on, “Sankaran sir” (as he was to all who knew him) was a loving and dedicated disciple as well as perhaps the closest confidante of the legendary Mali. “Mali sir” was a native of Tiruvidaimarudur, a mere stone’s throw from Sathanur. In a conversation with the poet Vali, published in the Tamil weekly Kumudam sometime in the 1960s, Mali hailed Sankaran as an Ekalavya who perfectly imbibed his style without any direct instruction. That said, Sankaran was no carbon copy of his guru. He was an original musical thinker and the innovator of a unique flute playing style. He certainly took the best elements of the Mali style, added his personal touches and perhaps combined it with other elements reminiscent of the great nagaswara vidwan T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai whom Sankaran held in the highest esteem. What he evolved was an exquisite gayaki style. When playing kritis, it was marked by great poise and control, the kalapramanam steady, precise and unhurried, the sahitya clearly articulated by an optimal blend of blowing, tonguing and fingering. His raga alapanas combined the core gamakas with long, perfectly sruti aligned karvais and interspersed by rapid fire nagaswaram-like brigas. Sankaran’s use of blow modulation for expressivity is unique among Carnatic flautists who depend mostly on fingering techniques for this purpose. Furthermore, he used head movement effectively for precise enunciation of certain gamakas and as part of his overall expression. While his “viral adi” or fingered staccato was of the strong Mali school variety, he also used true tuthukaaram or tonguing for clear cut articulation of swaraprastara. Mention must also be made of the beautiful Mali school cross fingering techniques that lent so much character and weight to spuritams. Sankaran’s posture was perfectly erect and he held his flute in a most graceful and elegant way. His gentle swaying and eye movements communicated the bhava of the music wonderfully to the fellow musicians on stage and to the listeners in front of him. 


To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 369

Hema Rajagopalan

28.10.1950
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Hema Rajagopalan is a senior Bharatanatyam dancer, teacher and choreographer ba Hema Rajagopalan  sed in Chicago, IL, U.S.A. She is the founder and artistic director of  Natya Dance Theatre, a professional touring company and school that has specialised in Bharatanatyam for more than 40 years.  She has performed as a soloist at prestigious venues throughout the world, receiving critical acclaim. As a choreographer she has created numerous short works and over thirty major productions. Her gurus are some of the foremost figures in Bharatanatyam—natyacharya K.N. Dandayudhapani Pillai and abhinaya guru Kalanidhi Narayanan.
Among the many prestigious awards that Hema has received are an Emmy Award for the PBS production of World Stage Chicago; seven National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Awards (the highest number ever received by any U.S. choreographer); and, in India, the Vishwa Kala Bharati Award for artistic excellence from Bharat Kalachar. In 2004, she received the Nritya Seva Mani award from Bhairavi, a prominent organisation based in Cleveland, Ohio. Hema is the first US-based dancer to receive this award. Also in 2004, she was the first choreographer working in an Indian tradition to be selected among leading Chicago choreographers by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum to create new work.
Scores of students trained under her have established themselves as performers, teachers and choreographers. Her teaching accolades include the Master Teacher Award from the Asian American Heritage Council and the Master Teacher Award from the City of Chicago. She has served as a dance panelist with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and other state arts agencies. Hema has been appointed by the Canadian government to assess Bharatanatyam dance training programmes. She conducts workshops and master classes at several colleges and universities, and is an adjunct faculty member at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.

Friday, 27 October 2017

KattumannarKoil Muthukumara Pillai

27.10.1874
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Kattumannar Koil Muthukumara Pillai. A name that still glows in the  annals of Bharatanatyam  of Indian dance, some 143   years after his birth and 57 years after his death.


He was an unusual phenomenon. A product of   unique blend of deep spirituality and instinctive love for the dance. The spiritual side of his personality lent a luminous glow to his art.

He was the only dance master of the old tradition who had a career as a performer also. Notably, he dressed up and danced as a girl, a woman.

He survived a dark period when the dance, then known as Sadir, was looked down upon by society and virtually driven out of existence. But he did more than that; he served as a guardian of the true greatness of tradition and succeeded in propagating it far and wide through his teaching.

He was a great teacher with a missionary zeal, deep dedication and a stern sense of discipline. 

M.K. Saroja, Rukmini Devi, Mrinalini Sarabhai, Muthuswami Pillai, Kamala, Ram Gopal, Nala Najan, Janak Khendry...who distinguished themselves in dance...were all privileged to learn from him.

The world of dance, of Bharatanatyam, has ample reasons to remember him with gratitude. 


                                                      To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 108

Veteran costumer Aiyyelu passes away


Aiyyelu, probably the busiest and most sought after costume designer for classical dance,  passed away at midnight on 22 October 2017 in Chennai. He was 88. D for Devaraj (his father's name) and S for Sanjeevi (his name) Aiyyelu was famous for his creative designs and prolific costuming for dance. Over sixty years, his art and craft of  stitching 'dance dresses' have enhanced the persona of several front-ranking dancers including Vyjayantimala Bali, Alarmel Valli and several others.

In his passing away, the dance world has lost a veteran creative costume designer.

                                                        To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 168

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Record Bharatanatyam Marathon Relay

By Buzybee

'Nitya Akhanda Nrittam', 27 hours of continuous Bharatanatyam performance was organised on 23 and 24 September 2017 at Ganesa Natyalaya in New Delhi. The event was a record attempt for a non-stop Bharatanatyam marathon relay. On 24 September Ganesa Natyalaya (founder-president Saroja Vaidyanathan and Rama Vaidyanathan), was awarded the Record Breaking certificate by the Asia Book of Records and the India Book of Records for the longest (27 hours 30 minutes) Bharatanatayam Dance Marathon Relay.
  

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Madurai Mani Iyer

25.10.1912 - 8.6.1968
Birthdays & Anniversaries

His music was sweetness personified and his voice had a bell like tonal purity. The name of Madurai city has come down from Madhura, or ‘sweetness’, and ‘Mani’, an abbreviation of the name ‘Subramaniam’, means a ‘bell’, among other things. These two words sum up Madurai Mani Iyer so perfectly. Add the simplicity with which he presented his music and it was music as it ought to be sung, appealing to the cognoscenti and lay audiences alike. A man who asked nothing more of life than the ability to sing, Madurai Mani Iyer was an all-time great, an icon whose fan following continues to increase decades after his physical form left us. 

Born on 25th October 1912 at Madurai, Mani Iyer came from a well-known music family of the temple town. His father’s brother, Madurai Pushpavanam Iyer, was the reigning star of the early years of the last century. His premature death ended a potentially brilliant career. Mani’s father, Ramaswami Iyer, an employee of the District Court at Madurai, was highly respected for his knowledge in the theoretical aspects of music. His mother, Subbulakshmi Ammal, was a good singer. Mani Iyer was the only son among their four children. 

The musical atmosphere at home was encouraging and soon Mani learnt all his father could teach him. He was sent to Rajam Bhagavatar, a disciple of Ettayapuram Ramachandra Bhagavatar. The tutelage continued for two years, at the end of which Rajam Bhagavatar took employment at the Tyagaraja Vidyalaya, a music school founded by Harikesanallur L Muthiah Bhagavatar in Madurai. 

To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 294

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Competition in Talat Mahmood's songs


Sahar Zaman presents college singing competitions in memory of Talat Mahmood, entitled 'Talat Mahmood Today' from 11am to 2pm at Dyal Singh College, Lodhi Road, New Delhi.

A special series of singing competitions in the coming weeks will be organised by the team of "Talat Mahmood Today" at prominent Delhi University colleges and institutes in Delhi, starting from 28 October 2017. The students will be singing old ghazals and film songs of Talat Mahmood. This is an ongoing competition stretched across 3 months up to January 2018. These will be judged by well known artists from the music industry. The winners will have a chance to share stage in the grand finale celebrations during the three-day Jashn-e-Talat festival in February 2018. Talat Mahmood's birth anniversary falls in February.   

For more information on Talat Mahmood, visit : https://www.facebook.com/TalatMahmoodToday/

N. Pattabhi Raman

Birthdays & Anniversaries


24.10.1932 - 23.12.2002
Dr. N. Pattabhi Raman was founder-editor of Sruti, the prestigious English language monthly devoted exclusively to Indian performing arts. He was one of the pioneers who started the documentation of Carnatic music and musicians, dancers and dance gurus in a detailed, objective and interesting way in the pages of Sruti, which he launched on 16 October 1983.

Pattabhi Raman was also the Managing Trustee of The Sruti Foundation which published Sruti and undertook a number of activities aimed at promoting excellence, preserving traditions of value and encouraging innovation in Indian music and dance. As Director of the Special Projects Division of the Sruti Foundation, he organised several studies and documentation projects and seminars. He conceptualised and launched SAMUDRI--the Subbulakshmi-Sadasivam Music and Dance Resources Institute in 1999, and was its first Director-General.

Pattabhi Raman had M.A. & M.Litt degrees in Economics from the University of Madras and a Ph.D. in the same subject from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York. He had a wide-ranging career in the US, where he resided for 25 years, as a Government of India official, economic and business consultant, public relations executive, journalist, and an international civil servant. He served the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in New York during 1966-80 and was a senior official with the rank of Director when he resigned his position to return to India in 1980. He continued to serve the organisation as a senior consultant.

Prior to his sojourn in the U.S., Pattabhi Raman contributed articles on Indian music and dance, as well as on cinema and cricket, to Indian newspapers and magazines. While in the U.S., he reported for the Deccan Herald and wrote a cultural newsletter for the Illustrated Weekly of India.

As a speaker and Editor-in-Chief of Sruti, Pattabhi Raman was in demand to deliver keynote and valedictory addresses, as well as to chair sessions, at music and dance conferences and seminars in India and abroad.

Pattabhi Raman was honoured with several awards. To mention a few: Bharata Vimarsaka Bhooshana, from Shree Bharatalaya, Chennai (1995); the Media Award of the Music Forum, Mumbai (1997); the Raja Lakshmi Award from the Raja Lakshmi Foundation (1997); Kala Sevaka Ratna from Sri Ramakrishna Gana Sabha, Bangalore (1998); and the Madras Telugu Academy Award (2001).

Sruti Pattabhi Raman as he was better known, died on 23 December 2002. He was 70. He has left his imprint on arts journalism and the documentation of the Indian performing arts.

                                             To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 220 & 221

V.S. Muthuswami Pillai

Birthdays & Anniversaries
24.10.1921

Vaitheeswaran Koil Sethuraman Muthuswami Pillai, the first Bharatanatyam guru and the first person from Tamil soil to receive this honour, had indeed covered long distances in space and time to arrive at this point in the twilight of his life. It had been a life of waiting — waiting for the right guru, the right disciple, waiting to be understood, to be appreciated, to be honoured. With hope sometimes, with despair mostly, he had waited and persevered with unflinching faith in his own creative instinct. Ultimately when the honours came, they came not as single spies but in battalions.

His career had been a study in paradoxes. Moulded in tradition, he had a strikingly modern perspective in Bharatanatyam. Having taken up a profession he hated, he was uncompromising in its pursuit. Knowing to speak or understand only his mother tongue Tamil, he had nearly all his students from France. With them he had no communication problem whatever. Unsought by disciples of his native land, he was the one guru who appealed most to the Western mind. In some respects, he was way ahead of his time and in others sadly behind.

                                                  To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 319,320

Friday, 20 October 2017

Mangala Isai Competition

Chennai Fine Arts will conduct a Mangala Isai competition featuring Nagasvaram and Tavil on Saturday, 18th November 2017 at Sri Krishna Mandiram, 19/1 Canal Road, Kamarajar Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai. Students not graded by AIR and less than 25 years of age are eligible to participate.

Application forms and rules of the competition can be downloaded from www.chennaifinearts.com  Filled in applications should be submitted on or before 10th November at Chennai Fine Arts, 75/9 First Main Road, Gandhi Nagar, Adyar, Chennai - 600 020.

Applications received after the deadline will not be entertained. Three prizes will be awarded in each category. Winners of first prize will receive monthly scholarship for an year and the other two will be cash prizes which will be presented on the inaugural day of the annual music festival of Chennai Fine Arts on 21st DecemberFor further details contact Chennai Fine Arts at 8939664030. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Arvind Parikh

19.10.1927
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Arvind Parikh is a Hindustani classical musician and sitar player whose performing career has spanned over six decades. His association with such learned musicians as B. R. Deodhar, Latafat Hussain Khan, Amir Khan, Niyaz Ahmad-Faiyaz Ahmad Khan, D. T. Joshi, and Radhika Mohan Maitra  and vocalists helped him in his research work on different rare ragas and compositions. 

Arvind Parikh has performed at almost all the major music festivals in India and Europe, and has had concert tours in several parts of West Asia, the Far East and Australia.

Parikh has numerous students internationally including musicologist Deepak Raja, music director Tushar Bhatia, sitarists Rafat Khan Niyazi, Vinayak Chitter, Ramprapanna Bhattacharya, Abhik Mukherjee, Ganesh Mohan, and more. Parikh has documented many the precious compositions and ragas. "Sitar Guru",and "Bandish Parampara" published by Navras records UK are some of his works.


Parikh has worked as musicologist and teacher, and promoted initiatives aimed at increasing interest in Hindustani classical music n India and abroad. He was vice president of the International Music Council (UNESCO) during 1994-97 and is now co-ordinator for the Indian sub-continent. He is President of the Indian Musicological Society, and chairman of the Western India Chapter of ITC-Sangeet Research Academy. At his instance, music forums have been established in Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi. He spearheads an association of classical musicians, called the All India Musicians’ Group (AIMG) drawn from the Carnatic and Hindustani traditions (including Zakir Hussain, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Shivkumar Sharma, Chitravina N Ravikiran, and Rajan and Sajan Mishra), to create support in government, industry and the media for Indian classical music.



Parikh was awarded the Gaurav Puraskar for 1997-98 by the Gujarat State Sangeet Natak Academy. A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for Instrumental music (sitar) in 2003, he is a top grade artist and regular broadcaster of All India Radio.

Palladam Sanjeeva Rao

18.10.1882 - 11.7.1962
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Sanjeeva Rao was born on 18 October 1882, in Palladam in the Coimbatore district of the then Madras Presidency. He was the youngest of the three sons of Palladam Venko- bachar, an ardent devotee of Anjaneya, who had the reputation of possessing tantric powers that helped him cure severe illnesses. The father depended on donations to maintain himself and his family, but his reputation extended to the adjoining districts of Tiruchi and Salem also. It was this reputation apparently that paved the way for Sanjeeva Rao's career in music.

Flutist Palladam Sanjeeva Rao belonged to the era, if not the race, of giants who dominated Car- natic classical music for about three decades from the nineteen twenties. He was the uncrowned king of the flute-until a prodigy called T.R. Mahalingam came along and revolutionised the Carnatic flute. He did not quite lose his throne to the revolutionary, for he continued to be respected by his peers and supported by the Establishment but he was no longer quite the sovereign he was.

Sanjeeva Rao was a disciple and successor of Sarabha Sastri but, even in the early nineteen thirties, there were not many who had heard the blind bard of the bamboo often enough to confirm that, although Rao had inherited Sastri's flute, he had also acquired his style and his mastery of the instrument at the same level. Writting in Personalities In Present. Day Music, published in 1933, the late E. Krishna Iyer, connoisseur and critic and a force at the Madras Music Academy, could only say: "The echoes of that Orpheus of India (Sarabha Sastri) are said to be discernible in the present in Sanjeeva Rao ". There is no doubt, how- ever, that Sanjeeva Rao had attained enough proficiency to establish himself as a prominent player in the major league.

   To read full story, visit sruti.com and buy Sruti 67

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Bhaskarbuwa Bakhale

17.10.1869 - 8.4.1922
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Bhaskar Raghunath Bakhale  (also known as Bhaskarrao or Bhaskarbua or Bhaskarbuwa) was a Hindustani classical vocalist, a composer, and a teacher.

During 1883–1885, Bakhale performed as a child artist in the stage plays of Kirloskar Natak Mandali where Bhaurao Kolhatkar, Moroba Wagholikar, and Balakoba Natekar earned much fame as singers of folksy and light classical stage songs. After completing his training in classical music, Bakhale returned as a classical vocalist in year 1899 or so.[4] During 1897–1901, he served as a professor of music at a training college in Dharwad. Starting year 1901, he was based in Mumbai and Pune but performed throughout India and Nepal. He was given the honorary title "Deva Gandharva" (God Among Celestial Musicians).[7] His notebook lists dhrupads and dhamars learnt by him but he rarely performed those in public. His typical recital comprised khyal ragas and an assortment of dadratappathumribhajan, songs from Marathi stage plays, and traditional Marathi light classical forms. He also had a successful career as the music director of Kirloskar Natak Mandali and, afterwards, of Gandharva Natak Mandali.[8] Govindrao Tembe benefited from Bakhale's advisement in composing music for the stage play Sangeet Manapman (1911).

Bakhale was one of the first vocalists to receive traditional training from multiple gharana systems.[2] Since the turn of the 17th century, Hindustani classical music had become a stronghold of Muslim musicians and Balakrishnabuwa Ichalkaranjikar (1840–1926) was one of the few Hindu vocalists to earn fame at it in the 19th century.

Monday, 16 October 2017

G Vijayaraghavan

Musicians for Classical Dance

By Anjana Anand


G. Vijayaraghavan is one of those musicians who have not received the recognition their artistry deserves. A mridangam and khanjira artiste, nattuvanar, lyricist and composer all rolled into one, Vijayaraghavan is at home in both the Carnatic music and Bharatanatyam worlds. With over three decades of experience in playing for dance, he has honed his skills as a mridangist par excellence. Today, he is also a sought after composer of jatis and lyrics. His sensitive approach to literature and music can be seen in his unique style of accompaniment in a dance performance.  Asked if he wonders if true recognition has eluded him, G. Vijayaraghavan shrugs with a contented smile and replies,  ‘ The satisfaction I experience everytime I perform is my reward. In the two hours that I am on stage, I am immersed in the creative world of rhythm, music and dance. Can an artiste want anything more?’

Who and what were the major influences in your childhood?


I was exposed to music and literature from a young age. My father played the violin, though not professionally. He was a Sanskrit pundit whose passion was to compose slokas in Sanskrit when he was not in his office. His last work was composing the Ramayana in 80 lines. I hope to publish all his works sometime in the future.

Please tell us about your mridangam training.


From a young age, my fingers were constantly drumming on any surface I could find. I started learning the mridangam at the age of six from Madurai T. Srinivasan. After his transfer to Hyderabad, I came under the guidance of Kumbakonam T.V Balu.  Turaiyur Rajagopla Sarma presided over my arangetram in 1980 at the Sai Baba temple. I accompanied Vijay Siva in my first concert. 

I was very clear in my mind that I wanted to be a mridanga vidwan. I even refused an evening college seat because it meant that I could not perform in concerts. I held a clerical post at the KFI school (1985-87) , but I soon realised that I needed the time and freedom to pursue music the way I wanted to. 

When did you enter the Bharatanatyam field?


In 1986, I received a call from Vyjayantimala to play for her performance. I had absolutely no experience in playing for dance, but thanks to her guidance, I learnt the skills needed to adapt to playing for Bharatanatyam.  I had only ten days to train for the performance and we had marathon sessions from morning to night. I played exclusively for Vyjayantimala from 1986 to 1991.

Who were the other dancers who helped you in your initial entry into the field?


Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam was a tremendous influence in my early career. I started playing for her in 1991. My first performance abroad was with her in London. I played extensively for her for a decade. All the nuances and training I received for accompanying a Bharatanataym artiste, I owe to both these doyennes. What really inspired me to enjoy playing for dance was the freedom they gave me to explore my own creativity. I learnt a valuable lesson from both of them. True mentors not only instruct but allow you to express yourself so that the learning becomes internalized and allows you to stand confidently on your own two feet.

What were some of the challenges in the initial phase?


In cutcheris, the mridangist works fully with his own manodharma, responding to the music.  In Bharatanatyam there is an added track that we have to tune in to – the dancer’s feet! Vyjayantimala used to always remind me, “Just as a concert mridangist observes the vocalist’s mouth and plays, a dance mridangist must not take his eyes off the dancer’s feet.  We have to be aware of the music while simultaneously supporting the footwork of the dancer. For this, you need to know the adavu system and the modulation of sound needed for each adavu . In fact, I learnt dance for a short while just to understand this better. I learnt all the basic adavus and hastas.

The importance of silence was something inculcated in me from my mridangam training. My guru always said that you need not play continuously to show your vidwat. At times, letting the listener enjoy the sound of the singer merging with the sruti shows our musical maturity.

I apply this same principle to dance. Sometimes I let the music take over and at other times, I fill in a gap to give the moment the right effect. It all comes with experience.

Many who have worked with you or heard you play often comment that your style of playing the mridangam is very distinct. 

Yes, over the years, I have developed my own system of playing. It is a combination of techniques used in music concerts and while playing for dance.  While it is possible for a mridangist for dance to play for a cutcheri, it is not possible the other way around unless he is accustomed to playing for Bharatanatyam. I have played for many stalwarts like Kittappa Pillai and Seetarama Sarma. Kittappa Pillai’s jatis have their own stamp. The adavus and sollukattus are set in different patterns. Many times, the adavus are in a slower pace than the jatis. Similarly, Sarma Sir’s jatis have their own musical quality and cross rhythms in the adavu patterns. Exposure to all these styles of jathis gave me an understanding of composing for dance.

You have a passion for composing lyrics...

From a young age, I have been drawn to poetry. I am sure that my father’s interest in Sanskrit played a pivotal role. I used to recite the sahasranamam at the temple at a young age. I write in Tamil, Sanskrit and Manipravalam. My father used to guide me when I first started composing. In 1991, I started composing lyrics for dancers and released a book and CD Nritya Gaanaamrutham. I was fortunate to have Dr. Balamuralikrishna tune my compositions for a full margam which I composed later. Other musicians who have tuned my compositions include C.N Thiagarajan, Hariprasad and recently Rajkumar Bharathi. 

Looking back, I think my early exposure to Divya Prabandhams and research in Tiruppugazh influenced my style of writing. In fact, I composed a whole margam based on tiruppugazhs. I feel that the poetic value of the lyrics have to be very high. At the same time, for dance, they must have a dramatic and emotional quality. They must tell a story. When I write lyrics, I do not force the words. I write when the ideas come to me naturally and there is a creative flow.

Composing jatis


I started composing jatis many years ago. In 2013, I was asked to present a lecture/demonstration on ‘Rhythms and Vibrations’ at the Natya Kala Conference convened by Priyadarsini Govind.  I spoke about the technical aspects of composing jatis and presented a variety of jatis I had composed.

I used to play for our family friend, Vidya Bhavani Murthy (a student of K.J Sarasa) in 1988-89. I started composing then but it took years to fine-tune and develop my skills.  Over the years, many dancers have asked me to compose the rhythmic sections for their recordings. I found that I enjoyed composing jatis and continue to do so for many leading artistes.

What are some of the points to keep in mind while composing jatis?


Firstly, we must ensure that there is a proper structure to the jati, and secondly, use sollu kattus of the same ‘family’. The composer must also know the kala pramanam, ragam and mood of the item he is composing for. I do not believe in using the same jatis for multiple varnams. Each composition has its own feel and tempo. I like to try different things while composing. A trikala jati I have composed in one cycle is often performed by Priyadasini Govind.

Today, jati composition has evolved tremendously and many traditionalists frown upon some of these new experiments. Have you faced a similar situation?


I still follow a traditional pattern when composing. Some of the early nattuvunars  were a great influence when I started composing. At the same time, I do not hesitate to experiment when it suits the composition and situation I am composing for. I think when there is clarity about that, an effort to create something new only adds to the flow of creativity in any field.

For example, I have composed a ‘mantra jati’ using the Devi bija aksharas. Similiarly using the syllables Namasivaya. These days, many jatis are composed using mridangam sollu kattus. I personally feel that this is avoidable. Bharatanatyam has its own traditional sollus which are distinct. I feel it is important to preserve that tradition. These controversies will always arise. The responsibility to carry forward the beauty of tradition is with each artiste.

Who are some of the artistes you have performed with over the years?


I have accompanied Dr. Balamuralikrishna, Kunnakudi R. Vaidyanathan and Lalgudi Jayaraman to mention a few. I have worked with most senior Bharatanatyam artistes. Two memorable jugal bandi performances were those of Sanjukta Panigrahi and Birju Maharaj with  Dr. Padma Subrahmanyam. I was happy to do nattuvangam for a Bharatanatyam performance in cutcheri style curated by Umayalapuram Sivaraman, where he played the mridangam for Priyadarsini Govind. I have been playing for Hema Rajagopalan from Chicago since 1995. Over the years, I have played with the Chicago symphony orchestra and have collaborated with jazz musicians and modern dancers in Chicago.

What other instruments do you play?


I am a ‘B high’grade khanjira artiste at All India Radio. I have also done nattuvangam  for performances.

Some of the awards you have received?

I received the ‘Laya Kala Vipanchee’ award from Dr. Balamuralikrishna and the Dr. Sudharani Ragupathy Endowment from Narada Gana Sabha.

Sruti

Birthdays & Anniversaries


Sruti is an English language monthly magazine on the performing arts -- Indian music, dance, and theatre -- published from ChennaiIndia.
Sruti was founded in 1983 by Dr. N. Pattabhi Raman, who had returned to India from a career abroad, bringing with him a focus and skill for English writing and editing, as well as willingness to engage in sincere criticism and controversy. The magazine initially had financial difficulties, with Pattabhi Raman desiring to gain subscribers vice take out loans, and minimal support from corporations. The journal floundered somewhat following Pattabhi Raman's death in 2002, but as of 2003 it continued forward under staffers who rose to take over its leadership.[1] The magazine was acquired by the Sanmar Group in 2006, and has grown from strength to strength.[2]
Journalist S. Muthiah in 2011 referred to the publication as the country's leading journal on Indian Classical music and dance.