Song of Surrender

Friday, 24 November 2017

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Bhajan Sopori

                                                                Birthdays & Anniversaries


Monday, 20 November 2017

Uma Sharma

Birthdays & Anniversaries


Ram Gopal

20.11.1912 - 12.10.2003
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Bissano Ram Gopal was born in Bangalore on 20th November 1912, to a Burmese mother and Rajput father. His year of birth remains a mystery because when Ram was 60, he joked he was 40 (and looked it too!) and when he died at 90 plus he felt he was only 70! But two or three of his contemporaries like Guru U.S. Krishna Rao and dance partners like Mrinalini Sarabhai and M.K. Saroja are good references to arrive at a precise year of birth which turns out to be 1912. Guru U.S. Krishna Rao knows for a fact that Ram was 40 days older than him and Guru Rao was born on December 31st 1912, so Ram was born on 20th November 1912. When M.K. Saroja was five years old Ram was 24 and she was born in 1931. As he was born on 20th or 'Bees' in Hindi, he was named Bissano, as a term of endearment, by his beautiful Burmese mother from whom he got those chiselled features with high cheek-bones and shapely eyes. His robust Rajput father gave his body the finest of manly "cuts" and rippling muscles. Thus, Nature had itself conspired and inspired forces to sculpt a beautiful body and a beautiful face to go with what he was meant to do— dance!

To say Ram was a born dancer is stating the obvious. There was no dance in his family circle, although Ram was artistic from his childhood. Although his family house— The Torquay Castle— in Benson Town, was a lavish affair with tennis courts and swimming pool, befitting the status of his rich barrister father, Ram spent more time with musicians and artists. His friendship with U.S. Krishna Rao, who once ended up playing the mridanga for Ram when he had to dance impromptu at a tea party hosted by the then Yuvaraja of Mysore, established a lifelong relationship with dance. Ram was lucky to find a royal patron and a loyal friend.   

Ram went through the grind and learnt from two venerable guru-s of Bharatanatyam: Guru Muthukumara Pillai of Kattumannarkoil and Guru Meenakshisundaram Pillai. Bharatanatyam is not the only form he learnt or mastered, as has been erroneously stated in some writings. He learnt Kathakali from Guru Kunju Kurup under Vallathol Narayana Menon's supervision when he set up the Kerala Kalamandalam and he learnt Kathak from Guru Jailal and later Guru Sohanlal. 

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 187 , 230 , 233

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Nandini Ramani

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

Priyambada Mohanty Hejmadi

                                                             Birthdays & Anniversaries

Friday, 17 November 2017

Imrat Khan

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Ileana Citaristi

                                                             Birthdays & Anniversaries

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

K. V. Narayanaswamy

Birthdays & Anniversaries

15.11.1923 - 1.4.2002

KV Narayanaswamy (1923-2002)

(Tribute by Sruti editor and others on 5 November 2017)

V Navaneet Krishnan's vocal concert on 4 November 2017

The late Sangita Kalanidhi KV Narayanaswami was and continues to be a role model for young vocalists in Carnatic music, for the sheer purity of his voice, his exquisite sruti suddham, and his mastery of raga and tala. The most complete and best known of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar’s disciples, KVN had the extraordinary ability to move his listeners with the emotional appeal of his chaste rendering of a wide repertoire of songs by a whole range of composers across languages.

It was said of his music that he became “immersed in his music, thoroughly forgetting himself and thereby providing a divine experience for the listener.” His career as a performing musician was in two parts, his strong vibrant vocalisation in the first phase being replaced after a major illness by an altogether mellower, softer style of singing, still based as much on complex, precise swara singing as nuanced rendering of alapana and niraval. His delivery of kritis was impeccable, too.

KV Narayanaswamy was born in the village of Chandrasekharapuram in Palakkad district in a family of considerable musical ancestry on an auspicious Friday, 16 November 1923. He was the second child of Kollengode Viswanathayyar, an accomplished violinist, and Muthulakshmi Ammal.

KVN started learning varnams and kirtanams under his father and grandfather at the age of five, joined school at Palakkad and studied there until the fifth form. He then continued his studies at Coimbatore. Around the age of twelve, he became attracted to theatre and cinema, playing the part of young Kannappan in the movie Kannappa Nayanar, a box office disaster that put an end to the lad’s acting ambitions.

KVN continued music lessons under Palghat Mani Iyer, C.S. Krishna Iyer, and Papa Venkataramayya. He was particularly fortunate in the interest Mani Iyer took in his progress. KVN’s mastery of the laya aspects of music in his adult years owed a great deal to this solid foundation. Not only was Mani Iyer a genius in the art of mridangam he was an accomplished vocalist as well. He taught KVN many songs, accompanying the boy on the mridangam during his practice sessions. What a marvellous preparation for a future as a concert musician!

When KVN started performing on stage, Mani Iyer accompanied him often, but an equally significant contribution by him was to introduce the young vocalist to Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, whose principal disciple KVN was to become in the years that followed. To the end of his life, KVN treasured the years he spent in gurukulavasam with Ariyakudi.

KVN made his bow at the annual Tyagaraja aradhana festival at Tiruvaiyaru in 1940. He learnt a great deal by keenly observing Ariyakudi’s stage performances. Each concert was a learning experience for him.

In 1946, a short while after KVN joined Ariyakudi, he was drawn to the freedom struggle inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s leadership and left his guru for the ashram at Wardha, Maharashtra, but fortunately for Carnatic music, the inmates there persuaded him to return to music and Ariyakudi.

In 1947, he made his debut at the Madras Music Academy during its annual December season. The quality of his music that day impressed one and all into accepting him as a worthy successor to Ramanuja Iyengar.

Joining the Music College of Madras in 1962, KVN taught there for the next twenty years, before retiring as professor of music. He also taught and performed in the USA, where he first went to Wesleyan University in 1965 and later, in 1984, to San Diego University. He was the first Indian to be awarded a Fulbright scholarship for music.

Losing his wife Annapoornam in 1963, KVN later married Padma, his student at the Music College. After his retirement from the Music College, KVN took on a number of students whom he taught at home in a modern form of gurukulavasam. Many of them are carrying on the musical values he imparted with great affection.

L. Muthiah Bhagavatar

Birthdays & Anniversaries

15.11.1877 - 30.6.1945
Harikesanallur L. Muthiah Bhagavatar was something of a Superman in Carnatic music. His life is very difficult to condense into a short account for there were so many remarkable achievements in it. He overcame adverse circumstances to become a musician. He began his professional career as a vocalist who had also specialized in playing the mridanga and the gottuvadyam. He later switched to Harikatha and it was in that field that he acquired great fame. He was the moving spirit behind great music festivals in two locations in Madras Presidency for many years. He was a catalyst in the success of a series of pathbreaking music conferences in Tanjavur for two years. Somewhere in between he created new raga-s, imported several from Hindustani music and composed many songs in many forms such as kriti-s, varnam-s and tillana-s.

He founded a music school, was the Principal of two respected educational institutions and played a key role in bringing Swati Tirunal's works to the forefront of the concert arena. He wrote a major treatise on music which earned him the distinction of being the first musician to get a doctorate (and a genuine one at that). He moved with kings and commoners with equal ease all of whom loved him for his wit, his magnificent personality and his erudition. He earned enormous amounts and spent them on a luxurious lifestyle. He was also supremely generous, giving large amounts to causes that took his fancy. In short he was truly magnificent and his life was one exciting roller coaster journey. There was never a dull moment.

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 242

Friday, 10 November 2017

R. K. Venkatarama Sastry

Birthdays & Anniversaries

There is a school of thought that to be a great Carnatic musician, you need to be blessed with the serendipity of being born on the banks of the Kaveri in a pious family leading an austere lifestyle in the vicinity of a temple. A staple of vadu mangai and buttermilk and pazhaiyathu, or their Karnataka equivalent if you happened to wet your feet in the river closer to its origins, would help too, not to mention a strict regimen of sandhyavandanam three times a day.

By all accounts, musician, Harikatha artist, playwright and Sanskrit and Kannada scholar Rudrapatnam Krishna Sastry, who married singer Sannakka, daughter of vainika-violinist Bettadapura Narayanaswamy, in the early years of the 20th century, enjoyed just such a concatenation of circumstances. His first son, Rudrapatnam Krishna Venkatarama Sastry, was born on November 10th 1907 at Rudrapatnam, a stone’s throw from the waters of the sacred river. Venkatarama Sastry — whose birth centenary celebrations begin from 11th November 2007 with a music festival in Chennai — showed early signs of musical talent which his father nourished by exposing him to the best available training with distinguished guru-s.

(This Sanketi family from the Hassan district of Karnataka went on to produce some nine more musicians at last count. For a detailed account, see the R.K. Srikantan profile in Sruti 134, November 1995). After spending more than a decade learning violin from Veena Subbanna and Mysore T. Chowdiah, he moved to Madras in 1936, to join All India Radio when it was formed. 

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 278

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Parlandu Award 2017

Parlandu Award and Parivadini Series

By Samudri

Parivadini continues its webcast services through its Youtube channel, with a focus on up and coming talent and unrecognised artists.Some 18 concerts have been webcast every  month.

Parivadini's annual Fernandes (Parlandu) Award of Excellence is being conferred on Paramasivam, a tavil maker from Tanjavur. The earlier awardees have been  Selvam (mridangam maker, 2013), Varadan (mridangam maker, 2014), Raju (veena maker, 2015) and UVK Ramesh (ghatam maker, 2016))

The schedule of the annual Parivadini concert series: Parivadini Series 2017

Venue: Raga Sudha Hall

30 Nov

04.00 PM   Thirumylai Karthikeyan and  Chitoor Devarajulu - Nagaswaram
                     Mangalam M.K.Aasan &  Adayar G.Silambarasan

06.15 PM    Aishwarya Vidya Raghunath - Vocal
                     Kalpana Venkat - Violin
                     R.Sankaranarayanan - Mridangam
                     Sunil Kumar - Khanjira

1 Dec

04.00 PM   Heramba &  Hemantha - Flute
                     Apoorva Krishna - Violin
                     N.C.Bharadwaj - Mridangam
                     Harihara Sarma - Khanjira

06.15 PM    R.Parthasarathi - Veena
                     J.Vaidhyanathan - Mridangam
                     Dr. S.Karthick - Ghatam

2 Dec

10.00 AM   Vijaykrishnan - Veena
                     Thanjavur Kumar - Mridangam

04.00 PM   Ramana Balachandhran &  R.Raghul - Veena/Violin Duet
                     Sumesh Narayanan - Mridangam
                     S.Krishna - Ghatam

6.15 PM      Kunnakudi Balamuralikrishna - Vocal
                    Akkarai Subhalakshmi - Violin
                    L.Subramanian and  Akshay Anand - Double Mridangam

3 Dec
10.00 AM   Parlandu Award of Excellence 2017 presented to Mr. Paramasivam (Tavil Maker)

10.30 AM   Thanjavur Govindarajan - Lec dem on "The majestic Thavil"

5.00 PM Madurai TNS Krishna -  B.U.Ganeshprasad -  Vijay Natesan and  Sree Sundarkumar (4 hour concert)

For contributions:
Parivadini Charitable Trust,
Union Bank of India
Account Number: 579902120000916
branch: Kolathur, Chennai,
IFSC Code: UBIN0557994

Donations to Parivadini are exempt under Section 80 G

C R Vyas

 Birthdays & Anniversaries 

9.11.1924 - 10.1.2002

Chitresh Das

9.11.1944 - 4.1.2015
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Chitresh Das is a pioneer in introducing Kathak to the United States of America. His dream is to break through cultural barriers and ensure the continuation of the Kathak tradition at its highest artistic level.

His mission began in 1970 when he received a Whitney Fellowship through the University of Maryland to teach Kathak even while he was studying Modern dance. A year later, he was invited by sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan to establish a Kathak dance programme at the renowned Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. While there, Chitresh Das created three major dance-dramas in the Kathak idiom, with over 40 musicians and dancers participating— the first venture of the kind in the Indo-American performing arts scene.

Das founded his own dance company and school called Chhandam in the San Francisco Bay Area, in 1980. It now has additional branches in Boston and Toronto.

Trained from age nine Mishra, Chitresh was schooled in both major Kathak traditions and absorbed each in his artistry: the graceful and sensual elements of the Lucknow school, as well as the dynamic and powerful rhythms and movements of the Jaipur school. His performing career was launched in India when he was invited by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar to perform at the Rimpa Festival in Varanasi.

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 224

R. Vedavalli


Read Sangita Kalanidhi R Vedavalli's profile in Sruti issue 254.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Vedantam Prahlada Sarma

Birthdays & Anniversaries


P L Deshpande

8.11.1919 - 12.6.2000
Birthdays & Anniversaries

Purushottam Laxman Deshpande was born on 8 November 1919 in Bombay to Laxman and Lakshmibai Deshpande of the Gaud Saraswat Brahmin community. Pu La did his schooling in Bombay, went to Fergusson College, Pune, for undergraduate studies and did an M.A. from Willingdon College, Sangli.

P.L. Deshpande, popularly known by his Marathi initials ‘Pu La’, strode the cultural firmament of Maharashtra like a colossus for over four decades. He was a multifaceted genius – illustrious Marathi writer, film and stage actor, singer, harmonium player, music composer and director, and an orator. He was also a noted philanthropist.

The Department of Posts issued a commemorative stamp in honour of P.L. Deshpande on 16 June 2002, his second death anniversary. The multicoloured stamp in the denomination of Rs. 4, has perf. 13.5, and was printed on Matt Chrome paper by photo offset process at Calcutta Security Printers.

The stamp has a portrait of Deshpande, and in the background is a picture of him in the role of Sant Tukaram in his play Tuka Mhane Ata. The cancellation, in the shape of a pen and a tambura, represents his writings and music. On the First Day Cover are pictures of some of his roles on the stage (see below).

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 345

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Sulochana Brahaspati

                                                           Birthdays & Anniversaries


N. Channakeshaviah

                                                          Birthdays & Anniversaries

Sunanda Patnaik

                                                            Birthdays & Anniversaries


Monday, 6 November 2017

R. N. Tharanathan

Birthdays & Anniversaries

V. Subrahmaniam

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Subrahmaniam was born on 6 November 1934 to Meenakshi and S. Vaidyanatha Iyer in the Princely State of Tiruvananthapuram. The immediate family saw great promise in the child, when he identified ragas and picked up songs naturally without any formal training. His musical career formally began in 1951 at the age of 17 (somewhat late compared to the rush of today’s young prodigies), under the tutelage of Prof. Sankara Iyer from the Swati Tirunal Music Academy. Despite the late start, he soon went on to give his maiden performance in 1953, such was his confidence and performance skill. His real break came in 1956 when he came under the wing of the doyen and ace teacher, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, with whom he was closely associated for the next 50 years until Semmangudi passed away.

Subrahmaniam remained deeply devoted to his guru learning innumerable kritis and honing his music from years of association and absorption. By his own admission, he learnt many a subtle nuance and phrase while giving vocal support to his guru which he did for four decades. He held his guru’s pathantaram to be sacrosanct, never altering a single note from the way Semmangudi taught him. He gave vent to his creativity while exploring ragas, singing niraval and swara sancharas and won much applause during Semmangudi’s concerts when the guru as was his wont with his students, allowed him manodharma interludes. Subrahmaniam’s raga delineations were filled with bhava while never losing sight of the inherent grammar. He often remarked that music should be so as to touch the heart, not just an intellectual exercise.

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 374

T. R. Mahalingam

6.11.1926 - 31.5.1986
Birthdays & Anniversaries

In 1937, after listening to T.R. Mahalingam for the first time, Mysore Vasudevachar is reported to have observed : "We all go in search of tala, but [Mahalingam] is like Lord Krishna the tala goes in search of him." Even as a child Mahalingam astounded everyone with his superb sense of rhythm and the intricate permutations and combinations of the beat of music that imparted an exciting pulse to the melody he wrought out of the simple bamboo.

Pudukottai Dakshinamurthi Pillai and Palghat Mani Iyer were the incarnations of tala who, to use the great Karnataka composer's figure of speech, went in search of Mahalingam.

Asked once why he was willing to play with Mahalingam who couldn't be depended upon to fulfil his concert engagements, Mani Iyer had retorted with a rhetorical question : "Who else is there who can provide me work for my mind and hands in such a glorious manner?"

Mahalingam and Mani Iyer were made for each other. Their combination clicked most perfectly. Child prodigies and masters of laya both, they rode together the waves of musical creativity with the precision as well as the excitement of champion surfers.

As far as the public knew, his death was sudden and most unexpected. And most tragic.

To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 24 - 24-s

T. Brinda

Birthdays & Anniversaries

Balram Pathak

Birthdays & Anniversaries
5.11.1926 - 15.2.1996

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Antarkatha--a novel approach to story telling

By S. Sivaramakrishnan

It could well be christened 'Oliyum Oviyamum' (Pitch and Picture would be a rough translation). The story or glory of Krishna titled 'Muddukrishna'  through select songs was rendered by Sriram Parasuram, Nisha Rajagopalan and K. Gayatri to the majestic strokes on a canvas by the genius-artist Keshav, famous for his political cartoons in The Hindu. The venue was the refurbished R.R. Sabha in Mylapore, Chennai, a potential hotspot during the December Season.

By the time the trio completed their rendition of a nice collection of kritis on Lord Krishna, Keshav  completed his painting--a  magnificent maroon-hued portrait of his 'ishtadevata' Gopalakrishna. The focus of the audience was perhaps more on the renowned artist working with his pencils and brushes on the canvas. A Tiruppavai, some famous kritis of Dikshitar and Tyagaraja, and a thumri, provided quite a different aural canvas. This was the second episode of a novel three-day series featuring music and visual art organised by Charsur Foundation 20-22 October 2017.

The first day was a celebration of Purandaradasa (Purandara gurum vande) anchored by R.K. Shriramkumar telling the story, with vocal support by Amritha Murali and Ramakrishnan Murthy. Illustration of the saint on canvas was by Subhiksha Rangarajan who is also a Carnatic viocalist.

The final day had Jayanthi Kumaresh (veena) presenting a Story in Concert--mystery of the missing veena--with K.U. Jayachandra Rao and Pramath Kiran and Vidhya Anand. The artist working on the canvas was Neernalli Ganapathy. As bad luck would have it I could not attend the last day's event.

It was indeed entertainment of a different kind . On the whole, the concept was received well by the rasikas.