Saturday, 30 June 2018


Sruti July 2018
A recent illness has proved to be almost a boon as an informal support group has rallied around with music and stories about musicians old and new and generally proved to be very therapeutic. Many friends shared their favourite music with me and luckily much of it was to my liking though a clear favourite was  old recordings of Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and  M.S. Subbulakshmi, especially one recording in which there is a veena in the background by MS herself. Listening to the Bhairavi swarajati by them both and Semmangudi’s Kharaharapriya alapana (followed by Chakkani raja) was a memorable experience while I was still in the hospital and it was the only time I shed tears since I fell ill because the music was so cathartic. I marvelled at the nooks and crevices of ragas that Semmangudi could explore with such feeling, though struggling with his recalcitrant voice and effortlessly repeating his trademark sarvalaghu patterns in swaraprastara.
Some of the stories I heard had to do with Semmangudi himself and one was about his famed wit and candour even on public occasions. This is about an award he had received while replying to felicitations on stage when he apparently said: “They have announced an award but where is the money? And where is the interest?” to the amusement of all present.
Another story was about a young musician who was visiting him, and he asked her: “You have many concerts these days; I am sure you must be paid very well. How much do they pay you?” And she said “No Mama, we accept all kinds of concert engagements, sometimes we even do free concerts. Pat came Semmangudi’s reply: “I don’t believe you”!
Once M.S. Subbulakshmi had asked him if he had heard the Divine Unison CD in which they had sung together, and the violin and mridangam were added later. She told him, “It sounds very good”.  To which he replied, “Poovodu serndu naarum manakkum. Nee poo naan naaru!” (You are the flower and I the string, gaining fragrance from the flower).
Another story I heard had to do with Karaikudi Sambasiva Iyer who, impressed by a young child’s musical prowess, gifted her a  “baby” veena. This story was told by my wife to Srikumar his great grandson who has promised to bring his veena and play for us. I look forward to that as we don’t get to listen to veena music these days.
A wonderful experience was the song a well known musician sang over the phone for me; I will treasure it for the rest of my life.
Despite warnings from the doctors that I might strain myself too much by  talking to visitors, I welcome them all the time. Talking to them at home is a real tonic and I know now that music can be a therapy, though I dread to think what could have happened if I had listened to some bad music. In fact one of my friends to whom classical music is anathema said that my illness might have been caused by listening to too much Carnatic music. Touche!
My recent experience suggests that good music can strike a deep emotional chord, if not heal, especially heard from close quarters.

Pudukottai Dakshinamurthy Pillai

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

30.6.1878 - 1936

Friday, 29 June 2018

Tyagaraja Aradhana in Paris

The Paris Tyagaraja Aradhana was organised by Carnatic Conservatory of Paris (founded by Bhavana Pradyumna) at the S.R.C.M Centre on 20 May 2018. The aradhana began with the lighting of the lamp and singing of Pillari Geetegalu and the kriti Guruleka yatuvanti. The group rendition of the Pancharatna kritis was led by Padma Malini Raghunandan, Bhavana Pradyumna and Srividya Badri Narayan with Venkata Krishnan on the mridangam. The musical structure and meaning of the kritis were explained in French. CCP students also sang kritis of Tyagaraja and Purandaradasa. As the event also focussed on ‘Guru-sishya’, the Carnatic Conservatory of Paris honoured gurus Malavika and Padma Malini Raghunandan.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Bal Gandharva

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries
26.6.1888 - 15.7.1967
                                      To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 177,344,346

Gauhar Jan

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries

26.6.1873 - 17.1.1930

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Omkarnath Thakur

                                                             Birthdays & Anniversaries
24.6.1897 - 29.12.1967
                                To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 152,157,191,287

Guru Gopinath

                                                             Birthdays & Anniversaries

24.6.1908 - 9.10.1987
                                              To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 276

Friday, 22 June 2018

Chittoor Subramania Pillai

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

                             To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 167,168,169,296

Alangudi Ramachandran

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

                                             To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 344

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Krishnaveni Lakshmanan

                                                                Birthdays & Anniversaries
20.6.1942 - 29.8.2004
                                            To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 6, 211, 241

Mushtaq Ali Khan

                                                                  Birthdays & Anniversaries
20.6.1911 - 21.7.1989

Monday, 18 June 2018

A Kanan

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries
18.6.1920 - 12.9.2004
                                         To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 140

Saturday, 16 June 2018

ABHAI awards 2018

On the occasion of its 30th anniversary, ABHAI -- Association of Bharatanatyam Artistes of India, honoured several senior artists on 1 May at an elegant function organised at Vani Mahal in Chennai. The invocation was rendered by dancer and musician Ananthasree. This was followed by a group dance choreographed by dancer Binesh Mahadevan and presented by 30 dancers to signify ABHAI's 30th anniversary.

The prestigious Natya Kalanidhi awards were presented to veteran dance gurus Sudharani Raghupathy and Padma Subrahmanyam (in absentia). Senior Bharatanatyam dancers and teachers Jayanthi Subramaniam and J. Suryanarayana Murthy received the Nritya Perunjothi and Narthaka Nipuna awards respectively. The Gandharva Nipuna award was presented toveena vidwan Mudicondan S.N. Ramesh. The awards were given away by chief guest Sangita Kalanidhi Umayalpuram  K. Sivaraman.

The award ceremony was followed by a group presentation in Bharatanatyam of a varnam learnt during the summer workshop conducted by senior dancer-guru Sathyanarayana Raju in 2017.

Kamala Narayan

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
                                                   To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 45-46,48,288

Friday, 15 June 2018

Sikkil Kunjumani

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries

                                                  To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 13,314

C Saraswati Bai

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
15.6.1892 - 1974
                                               To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 262,263

Zia Fariduddin Dagar

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
15.6.1932 - 8.5.2013
                                          To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 345,347

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Sarada Hoffman

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
                                          To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 293,294

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Palghat Mani Iyer

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
12.6.1912 - 30.5.1981
                                           To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 270,271,272

Monday, 11 June 2018

Guru C.V. Chandrasekhar receives Utsav Nritya Ratna title

The title of Utsav Nritya Ratna was conferred on Bharatanatyam guru Prof. C.V. Chandrasekhar by chief guest Deborah David, Vice Consul General, U.S. Consulate, Chennai, on the occasion of the International Dance Day celebrations organised by Utsav on 29 April 2018 organised at the Nalli Gana Vihar of Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. Utsav Music was founded in 1999 by Churchill Pandian to take classical arts to the people and to draw in the younger generation. The award function was followed by an interesting presentation of Bharatanatyam (Priyadarsini Govind), Kuchipudi (Bhavana Reddy), and Kathak (Sanjukta Sinha).

Kanak Rele

                                                             Birthdays & Anniversaries
                                   To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 351,382

T V Gopalakrishnan

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

                                  To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 117,363

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Indira P P Bora

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

                                          To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 99-100

M S Gopalakrishnan

                                                                Birthdays & Anniversaries
10.6.1931 - 3.1.2013
                                      To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 342

Friday, 8 June 2018

Ganesa Natyalaya honours the Dhananjayans

Natyacharyas Shanta and V.P. Dhananjayan were honoured with the title and award Shreshta Kalaa Pracharak by Saroja Vaidyanathan’s Ganesha Natyalaya, New Delhi on 9 April 2018. The award function was held in the Delhi Tamizh Sangam auditorium, R.K. Puram, and the award was presented by Governor of Goa Mridula Sinha.

H R Keshavamurthy

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

8.6.1920 - 22.7.2006

V Kamalakara Rao

                                                              Birthdays & Anniversaries

                                   To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 57-58

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Ghatam Karthick

                                                                Birthdays & Anniversaries

Carnatic music tradition of Sri Lanka

Amshan Kumar             Thedchanamoorthy
Renowned documentary film maker Amshan Kumar gave a talk entitled ‘Carnatic Music Tradition of Sri Lanka’ followed by the screening of his documentary on tavil vidwan Yazhpanam Thedchanamoorthy on 5 May 2018 at Arkay Convention Centre under the auspices of Tamil Heritage Trust. The Trust offers monthly programmes celebrating the Tamil heritage besides conducting regular tours and site visits of historical and archaelogical interest.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Neyveli Santhanagopalan

                                                               Birthdays & Anniversaries
                                        To read full story, visit and buy Sruti 391,392

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

SKGS Chithirai Nataka Vizha Awards

At the 26th Chithirai Nataka Vizha organised by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in Chennai, chief guest mridanga maestro  Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman conferred the title 'Nataka Choodamani' on S.B. Khanthan, and presented the  'Poornam New Theatres' Rolling Trophy for the best drama troupe to Vivek Shankar's Prayatna  and the 'Iyakunar Sigaram K.Balachander Award for Excellence in Theatre' to S.N. Parvathi. Also in the picture are Vivek Shankar, Crazy Mohan, Kathadi Ramamurthy, Nalli Kuppuswami Chetti (President, SKGS, Saashwathi Prabhu and R. Venkateswaran, Joint Secretary, SKGS).