Aanandaa, Mudrika Foundation’s Music and Dance Festival

11, 12, 13 November 2005, Ambedkar Bhavan, Bangalore

The festival presented by Minal Prabhu’s Mudrika Foundation was truly a joyous experience for music and dance lovers.

November 11: The inaugural violin concert by the trio Prof. V. V. Subrahmanyam, V. V. Ravi and V. V. S. Murari was noteworthy.

November 12: The second day began with an Odissi solo recital by Sangeetha Rajan, the Mumbai-based dancer, a disciple of Guru Devu Basu. She showcased delicate and beautiful nuances bringing out the essence of the Odissi style of dancing.

Next to enthrall the audience was Krishnaanandam, a dance-drama in the Bharatanatyam style, conceived and choreographed by Minal Prabhu. It celebrates the essence of the navarasas through the incidents of Krishna’s life.

Krishna, the chieftain of the Yadavas, is described as being adorned with the essence of the nine rasas – Shringara, Hasya, Veera, Karuna, Bhayanaka, Raudra, Bibhatsa, Adhbutha and Shanta. Krishnaanandam depicts the episodes in Krishna’s life that best capture the mood of the various rasas.

The highlights were the perfect blend of nritya and the dramatic element, the vocal music of Balasubramanya Sharma, and the rhythm sequences of Gurumurthy.

November 13: The Bharatanatyam recital by Priyadarshini Govind, the Chennai-based dancer was the highlight of this festival. One of the finest Bharatanatyam dancers of our country, she is very energetic, a synonym of perfection, with commendable abhinaya and is a very creative artist. She presented a scintillating Navaragamalika Varna, “Swamiye alai thodi va”, following it with a Devaranama Jagadhodharana. She concluded with a Tani Avartanam and a shloka in praise of Lord Muruga.

The audience was spellbound by her performance. This was followed by a Carnatic vocal music concert by Vid. T. M. Krishna.

Mudrika Foundation has made a good debut in conducting a music and dance festival. Drishti’s best wishes to the foundation for making it an annual event that all of us can look forward to.

Muthuswamy Dikshithar Music Festival, conducted by Vijaya College of Music and the Narayanaswamy Bhagavathar Memorial Trust

7-13 November 2005, Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Bangalore

For one whole week, it was Muthuswamy Dikshithar all the way for music lovers.

For the festival, under the guidance of the college principal Prof. H. V. Krishnamurthy’s son, H. K. Venkatram, who is also a renowned violinist, Nagaraj Mandya and other students of the college had put together multimedia presentations on various aspects of Muthuswamy Dikshithar’s life and his compositions. Filled with visually captivating images, appropriate audio and impressive video clippings, the presentations attracted a large number of people and brought Muthuswamy Dikshithar closer to the audience.

Everyday, after the multimedia presentation, there was a concert by senior artists such as Dr. R. K. Srikantan, Dr. N. Ramani, T. V. Shankaranarayanan, Madurai T. N. Seshagopalan, R. K. Padmanabha, and T. S. Sathyavathy. All the artists chose only the compositions of Dikshithar; they also presented some of his rarely heard kritis.

A CD and cassette of a violin-flute-veena instrumental recording of Dikshithar kritis only were released by the college under its Vaggeyakara series. The recording features H. K. Venkatram (violin), G. Ravikiran (flute), A. Ashwin (veena), Srimushnam Raja Rao (mridangam), and Dayanand Mohithe (ghatam).

The last day of the festival began with a group ensemble of more than 100 disciples of R. K. Padmanabha presenting Dikshithar kritis in a Ghoshti Gayana. This was followed by a lecture demonstration on Thiruvarur kritis of Dikshithar by R. Vedavalli and her disciple Sumathi Krishnan.

Dr. R. K. Srikantan, Prof. H. V. Krishnamurthy, R. Vedavalli, Dr. V. V. Srivatsa, and R. K. Padmanabha were felicitated with the ‘Sangeetha Seva Award 2005’ for their contributions in popularizing Muthuswamy Dikshithar and his works. The programme concluded with an instrumental recital.

Amrut Mahotsav, Valedictory function of Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya

5 November 2005, Town Hall, Bangalore

Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya, pioneers of Hindustani music education in Bangalore recently celebrated its anniversary with an evening of music and dance. The Vidyalaya founded way back in 1930, by Acharya Pandit Govind Vithal Bhave and Vidushi Lakshmi G. Bhave, in furtherance of the wishes of their mentor Pandit Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, and, now being run by Ubhaya Gain Vidushi Shyamala G. Bhave, had been celebrating its Amruth Mahotsav through the year with music festivals, workshops, lec-dems, documentation and other academic projects aimed at the enrichment of the cultural scenario of Karnataka. It may recalled here that His Excellency the President of India, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam had inaugurated the year-long Platinum Jubilee Celebration at a grand 3-day music festival organized in November 2004. The Vidyalaya also instituted an annual award entitled ‘Govind Lakshmi Puraskar’ to be conferred on eminent artists and scholars in recognition of their valued contribution to Indian culture.

The valedictory function was presided over by His Excellency the Governor of Karnataka, Sri T. N. Chaturvedi. Dr. Shantaveera Mahaswamy of Sri Kolada Mutt, Bangalore, Chief Post Master General of Karnataka, Ms. Meera Dana and Vidya Vachaspati Sri Shankar Abhyankar of Pune were the guests of honour. This year’s ‘Govind Lakshmi Puraskar’ awards were conferred on Dr. S. P. Balasubrahmanyam, popular playback singer and Dr. Dayanand S. Rao, Sanskrit scholar and exponent of Vedanta. On this occasion, a special cover commemorating the Amruth Mahotsav of the Vidyalaya was released by the Postal Department. A series of eight CDs containing Hindustani classical ragas rendered by Shyamala G. Bhave was also released by Lahari Recording Co. Bangalore.

The cultural events included a musical invocation by the children’s troupe of the Vidyalaya and Nada Abhivandane, a musical salutation to the founders of the Vidyalaya by all the disciples. Then followed Nav Taraanaa, choral rendition of Taraanaas newly composed by Guru Shyamala Bhave and rendered by the senior disciples. Dr. S. P. Balasubrahmanyam enthralled the audience with his devotional numbers, including the famous “Shankaraa, Naada Shareera Para” from the popular movie, Shankarabharanam.

The event concluded with a 50-minute music/dance feature Bhakti Nrutyaamrutha directed by Guru Shyamala Bhave. There was a synthesis of five classical dance forms – Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Kathak and Kathakali. Well-known dance artists Praveen Kumar, Veena Murthy Vijay, Sharmila Mukherjee, Murarari Sharan Gupta and Probal Gupta danced to the pre-recorded compositions of Guru Shyamala Bhave, rendered by herself and her disciples, Vageesha Bhat and Ganesh Desai.

It was very exhilarating to see the venerable old Town Hall, given a face-lift for the event, jam-packed, with the audience watching the grand event in appreciation and admiration of the services of Saraswati Sangeet Vidyalaya and Guru Shyamala G. Bhave.

Music Festival, Suswaralaya College of Music celebrates its 6th anniversary

3 to 6 November 2005, Sri Rama Lalitha Kala Mandira, Banashankari, Bangalore

Three CDs were released on the inaugural day of this occasion: Shree Krishnamrutham, a CD featuring flautist Vidwan N. Rajkamal, The Pilgrimage featuring vocal-duets by the Bangalore Brothers, M. B. Hariharan and S.Ashok and Divine.

The title Swaralayashrungara was conferred on musician L. Bhimachar. The festival featured music concerts by O. S. Thyagarajan – vocal, Suma Sudhindra – veena, Padma Sandilyan – vocal, an instrument ensemble by students of Suswaralaya and vocal by Kanakaswamy.

There was also a lecture demonstration on ‘Applications of Laya in Concerts’ by Srimushnam V. Raja Rao on November 4.

A study circle on ‘Rare Compositions on Saint Thyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshithar’ was also conducted by Carnatic vocalist P. S. Narayanaswamy from November 4 to 7, 2005.

The festival was a grand success owing to the gracious presence of great musicians, students and connoisseurs on all the days.

Hampi Utsav-2005, 11th edition

3-5 November 2005, Hampi, Karnataka

The world-famous festival was officially opened by garlanding the statue of Goddess Bhuvaneswari in the Virupaksha temple.

Foreigners, tourists from all over India and locals gathered to witness the many artists of national and international repute who participated in this year’s utsav.

The main mantap was erected in front of the Basava Mantap and it was aptly named Chamarasa. The cultural and literary programmes were conducted on all the platforms simultaneously: Bellary Raghava Vedike at the Virupaksha temple premises, Kanaka Vedike at Kaddirampur, Gangadevi Vedike and various other platforms. The constructions and design of these platforms were the responsibility of the art designer Srinivas G Kappanna. The rocks of Hampi were adorned with special lighting.

The sound and light show held near the elephant stables took people back to the heritage and glory of the erstwhile Vijaynagar empire.

The folk art of Karnataka was very well presented.

Padmashree Ranjana Gohar, Maya Rao’s dance troupe, S. P. Balasubramanyam and Yashwant Halibandi, P. Ajay Chakravarthy, Suma Vijay, Vasundhara Konkali, Sangeeta Kulkarni, Sridevi Unni, Shailesh Bhagavath, Arathi Ankalikar, Mandolin U. Srinivas, Geeta Jawadekar, and Bhalekhan are some of the artists who performed this year.

Note: Year after year, most of the performing artists from Bangalore are the same. May we remind the government (the Department of Kannada and Culture) that there are a number of other good artists in Bangalore who also deserve to be a part of this festival.

Krishnanjali, a cultural evening conducted by Bangalore Doordarshan and ISKCON

30 October 2005, Open Air Auditorium, ISKCON, Bangalore

In just 3 hours, from 8 to 11 p.m., the audience was treated to a staggering range of cultural programmes, from Hindustani music and Carnatic music to light music and classical dance. Full marks to Doordarshan, and Ms. Sharada, the program manager, for managing such a show so efficiently, ensuring a smooth changeover in the programmes.

“We want to take Doordarshan, as close as possible to people, reaching out to a larger audience. We organise events in association with other organisations and we have already conducted many such programmes,”  says Mr. Chandramouli, Deputy Director, Doordarshan.

The evening featured on-the-spot painting B. K. S. Varma, jugalbandi on flute and sitar by T. R. Srinath and Jayanth Kumar Das respectively, a panchaveena recital by Geeta Ramanand, Revathi Murthy, Yogavandana, H. S. Ramesh and Gopal, and classical music by Archana Udupa, Vidyabhushana, M. S. Sheela, Ravindra Soragavi, Shanta Jayatheertha and Puttur Narasimha Nayak.

Two story lines, Krishna Tulabhara and Narakasuravadha, were presented in six styles of Indian classical dance forms: Bharatanatyam by Aishwarya Nityananda, Kuchipudi by Shama Sanjay, Mohiniattam by Veena Nair, Odissi by Sharmila Mukherji, and Kathakali by Prabul.

Seminar on Pallavi

30 October 2005, Bangalore Gayana Samaj, Bangalore

Raga Taana Pallavi (RTP) is the crown jewel of the creative aspect of Carnatic classical music. It is a test of a musician’s grasp over rhythm and melody and has limitless possibilities for elaboration. In light of this, a recent session conducted at Bangalore Gayana Samaja provided a bird’s eye view of some of the various types of more intricate pallavis, which are not often presented on the concert platform.

This programme was jointly conducted by the B. V. K. Shastry Memorial Trust, Bangalore Gayana Samaja and Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, in memory of one of the greatest fine arts scholars of Karnataka, B. V. K. Shastry. This programme was inaugurated by Dr. S. A. K. Durga, noted musicologist.

Dr. R. K. Srikantan, who was presiding over the function, delivered the keynote address on the basic concepts of the pallavi form. Meticulous and well-prepared as ever, his address was scholarly, while being lucid enough to be understood by a beginner.

This was followed by a demonstration of the various forms of taana by Ganakalabhushana Vidwan R. K. Padmanabha. The beauty of taana lies in its innate rhythm and musical syllables, which provide a bridge between the free flow of the raga and the rigid structure of the pallavi. The highlight of the demo was the Gaja Taana, sung in a slow tempo, in lower octave, giving a feeling of grandeur.

The first pallavi demonstrated was by A. R. Kannan, veteran musician from Chennai, who presented two Chouka Kala Pallavis, one of them in the rare Raga Namanarayani, which borders on Kamavardhini, with just one note in variance. He presented the various mathematical aspects with ease, but the demonstration would have been more successful if the aspect presented had been explained first.

Following this was a demonstration of Six Kale Pallavi, a rarity on the concert stage, by the very competent Vidushi R. A. Ramamani. After a brief explanation, she launched into the pallavi with consummate ease. Trikala, Anuloma and Pratiloma were all neatly presented. She concluded with a short kalpana swara rendition. Overall, it was an extremely well-presented capsule of the numerous possibilities in a pallavi.

D. Shashikala is another senior vocalist, who has received guidance from one of the renowned pallavi experts, Chandrasingh. The topic of her demonstration was Ashtottara Shata Tala Pallavi. The Ashtottara Shata Talas are a series of 108 talas which were in vogue in the years prior to the advent of Haridasas. They are much more complicated to reckon with and require a firm grasp on laya. The two pallavis she sang were testimony to her deep knowledge and understanding of the subject.

The final demonstration was of the Avadhana Pallavi by Manasi Prasad. Avadhana Pallavi involves rendering the pallavi while keeping count of different talas in each hand. It requires high levels of concentration and practice. Manasi began with a relatively simple pallavi in chaturashra triputa and khanda jhampe talas. Later on, she presented a tri-nadai pallavi, and finally a pallavi that involved mishra nadai in the right hand, and thrisra nadai in the left. She exhorted the students in the audience to try out Avadhana Pallavi, so as to improve their multi-tasking abilities both in music and other areas of life.

While many in the audience felt that there were too many demonstrations, leading to paucity of time for each artiste, nevertheless, it was a useful and interesting programme and a fitting tribute to that great man, B. V. K. Shastry.

Arudra Festival-2005, Ponnambalam Academy Trust’s Annual Dance Festival

29 and 30 October 2005, Subhash Bhavan, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Bangalore

Hosted as a homage to Rukmini Devi Arundale, this year’s festival featured Parivar Parampara, a Bharatanatyam dance feature by Ranjani Ganeshan Ramesh, Malavika Avinash and Baby Daksha Ramesh, a Kathak performance by Suma Vijay, Bharathi and Tushar Bhat (disciples of Guru Maya Rao), a jugalbandhi of Odissi and Bharatanatyam by Vani Madhav (Odissi) and Suhasini Krishnamurthy (Bharatanatyam), and a Bharatanatyam recital by P. Praveen Kumar and his group.

Raga Bhairavi, the Raga Darpana talk series of Ananya and Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan

15 October 2005, Ananya Sabhangana, Malleswaram, Bangalore

The ragas covered previously in this series include SaveriReetigowla, Durbar and Mayamalavagowla.

Conducted by Vidwan R. K. Srikantan, the session covered: a brief history of the raga, its evolution, references in musical texts; the present day raga swaroopa; famous compositions, their significance in the development of the raga and the scope for manodharma.

Geetha Putthalli, Ananya’s Dasara Cultural Fest

7 to 9 October 2005, Ananya Sabhangana, Malleswaram, Bangalore

An effort to keep alive the traditional way of celebrating Dasara, Ananya’s Geetha Putthalii, combined the display of traditional dolls with talks by experts on cultural aspects and the rendering of devi kritis. The displayed beautiful dolls made by Manorama took old-timers for a walk down the memory lane.

The festival opened with a talk by Dr. U. R. Ananthamurthy on the festivals of India. After this, the young disciples of M. S. Sheela rendered krithis on Goddess Lakshmi. The next day, there was a talk by Dr. P. S. Geetha on the cultural and social relevance of Dasara, followed by a rendition of kritis on Goddess Parvathi by the disciples of R. K. Padmanabha. On the final day, Dr. B. N. Sumithra Bai spoke on the religio-mythical background of Dasara, which was followed by the release of a cassette on Devi Kritis by Vimala Ranagachar. The celebrations concluded with a rendition of kritis on Goddess Saraswathi by the disciplees of R. S. Ramakanth.

An added attraction in the festival was ‘bombe baagina’ – miniature goodies given to all the visitors in the traditional way!

Shanthala Arts Academy’s Annual Dasara Cultural Mela

4-12 October 2005, Sri Raja Rajeshwari School premises, Yeshwanthpur, Bangalore

The festival featured vocal music by Vidyabhushana, Akshatha Kisore, Chintalapalli Ramesh, Yakshagana by Karnataka Kala Darshini and troupe, percussion ensemble by Raagalaya troupe besides bhajans and devotional music.

Workshp by Angela Beoti, presented by STEM Dance Kampni

28 October 2005, Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography, Malleshwaram, Bangalore

Angela Boeti was in Bangalore for a workshop on ‘Total Body Integration according to Laban/Bartenieff’. Angela Boeti is a dancer, educationalist and therapist from Germany.

She is trained in dance, sports and motion pedagogy and is currently working as a performer, film-maker and dance educationalist. She heads the department of education in dance pedagogy of the regional music academy of Berlin. She has organized workshops in many countries throughout the world. She has started learning Bharatanatyam in Germany.

A talk by Angela Boeti was held after the workshop on 11 October 2005. Students of Madhu Natraj moved to the music as instructed by Angela for the demonstration. She spoke about the ‘Methodology of Teaching’. She said that the content of movement includes force, space, time and flow. A student should be taught how to use the space around him and the energy within him to explore the various possible movements.

Nrithyollasa-2005, Natyantharanga’s dance festival for young aspiring talent

9 and 11 August 2005 at Nayana, J.C. Road, Bangalore

The following budding Bharatanatyam artists from across the state performed: from Bangalore – Veena Basavarajaiah and Nivedhitha Muralidharan, disciples of Guru Subha Dhananjay; Namitha B. Rao, disciple of Guru Sundari Santhanam; Lavanya Vijaykumar, disciple of Guru Revathi Narasimhan; from Tumkur – Sushma Bharadwaj, Anitha R. Shekar, Apoorva Desai, Swathi D. Bargur, disciples of Guru Bala Vishwanath Kethar; from Mangalore – Amrith Raj and Nayana Kumari, disciples of Guru Jayalakshmi Alva.

Nritya Sangam – It happened in Pune

2 July 2005, Tilak Smarak Mandir, Pune

Nritya Sangam was a very well-blended jugalbandi between the two very distinct forms Bharatanatyam, performed by Parimal Phadke, and Kathak, performed by Shambhavi Vaze. Various tales were told with two distinct styles of dance – though Nritya Sangam is about the difference in styles, the sychronization was of a very high order, enthralling the audience.