Every year Bangalore-based Swaramurthy V.N. Rao Memorial Trust conducts “Veeneyabedagu”, music festival in memory of Veena Seshanna. This time, it was held at Udupi, Karnataka from 18 to 20 November 2016, under the joint auspices of Sri Paryaya Pejawara Adhokshaja Mutt. The Veena Seshanna Memorial National Award was presented to D. Balakrishna by Sri Vishwesha Teertha Swamijee, and the Swaramurthy V.N. Rao Memorial National Award to Bombay Jayashri by Dr. Veerendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala. Each award carries a purse of one lakh rupees, a bust of Veena Seshanna and a shawl.
The festival was followed by five music concerts including the awardees D. Balakrishna (veena) and Bombay Jayashri (vocal). The other concerts featured N. Vijay Siva (vocal), Bangalore Brothers—Ashok and Hariharan (vocal) and Herambha and Hemantha (flute). A workshop was also held on the compositions of Veena Seshanna under the direction of R.N. Tyagarajan (one of the Rudrapatnam Brothers).
The Festival was held under the leadership of Prof. Mysore V. Subramanya, great grandson of Veena Seshanna, and Chairman and Managing Trustee of Swaramurthy V.N. Rao Memorial Trust.
The legacy of Ariyakudi
A tribute on his 50th death anniversary
On 23 January this year, on the 50th death anniversary of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Carnatica, in association with the Ariyakudi Legacy Centre, presented a musical homage under the overall theme Sri Ariyakudi: the Legacy Lives On at Arkay Convention Centre, Mylapore, Chennai. The programme was followed by two more commemorative events in quick succession at different venues.
The first programme was highlighted by a lecture by Alepey Venkatesan Ariyakudi's Tunesmithy on the wealth of compositions by Ariyakudi, with particular reference to the Tiruppavai, with songs from the repertoire rendered by Alepey Venkatesan'ss disciples Vaishnavi Anand and Shruti Jayaraman.
This was followed by a delightful lecture-cum-concert programme by senior vocalist S. Sowmya on Arunachala Kavi's Ramanatakam, with some excellent singing by young musicians Bharat Sundar, Aswath Narayanan, and Gayatri.
"In the fitness of things, this musical homage is to be paid by generations of singers, hailing from different schools of music, " said Venkatesan, stressing that the Ariyakudi influence on musicians went beyond his own disciples and followers of his bani.. It is with this idea that various singers have come together to participate.
On 27 January, Venkatesan gave a weighty yet enjoyable lecture on the Ariyakudi bani at the Sivagami Pethachi hall on Luz Church Road. "A Compendium on Ariyakudi" an illuminating DVD created and performed by Venkatesan was released by chief guest N. Gopalaswami, Chairman, Kalakshetra and received by guest of honour vidushi Sudha Ragunathan. The highlight of the evening was a concert in the Ariyakudi by by vidushis Ranjani and Gayatri.
The 50th anniversary event culminated in a concert of Ariyakudi's pallavis, presented by Venkatesan and star vocalist Abhishek Raghuram on 28 January at the Mylapore Fine Arts Auditorium, Mylapore, Chennai. The audience enjoyed an in-depth talk on Ariyakudi's pallavis by Venkatesan.
The whole tribute to Ariyakudi, fifty years after his demise, was conducted in a fittingf manner, with great warmth and attention to detail.
Veteran musicians honoured
Hamsadhwani, the well known sabha, conferred the ‘Sathguru Tyagaraja Hamsadhwani Award on Radha Viswanathan, daughter and disciple of M.S. Subbulakshmi, on 11 March 2017 at Chennai. N. Murali, President of the Music Academy presented the award to Radha.
Speaking on the occasion R. Sundar, secretary of the sabha, highlighted the contributions of Radha Viswanathan. V. Shrinivasan, son of Radha Viswanathan, in his acceptance speech on behalf of his mother, dedicated the award to M.S. Subbulakshmi and T. Sadasivam. The award ceremony was followed by a concert by S. Aishwarya (great granddaughter of MS and granddaughter of Radha) accompanied by M. Narmadha (violin), Kallidaikurichi Sivakumar (mridangam), Papanasam Sethuraman (khanjira) and H. Sivaramakrishnan (ghatam).
Chennai Fine Arts conferred the title Dig Vijaya Nada Vani and presented the Gotuvadyam Narayana Iyengar Award for excellence to veteran violinist T. Rukmini during the music season. The award comprising rupees one lakh, a gold medal and citation was presented by K. Vaidyanathan, Chief Editor of Dinamani and composer Spencer R. Venugopal who felicitated her. P.N. Muralidharan, founder, Chennai Fine Arts, is also in the picture.
Tabla maestro Hashmat Ali Khan passes away
The senior-most artist of the Ajrada gharana of tabla, Hashmat Ali Khan passed away in Delhi at the age of 85 on 22 April, 2017. He had received his training in the intricacies of tabla from his grandfather, Mohd. Shafi Khan. He was later groomed in the art by Niazu Khan, a noted representative of the Ajrada gharana.
His greatest contribution to music was the way he upheld and enriched the repertoire of the Ajrada gharana, specially the laggi sections that carried his unique signature. He had numerous students across the world and was known to be a taskmaster, yet a magnanimous guru.
The mantle of his musical legacy now rests upon his son and disciple, the eminent musician Akram Khan, and his grandsons.
Author: Shrinkhla Sahai
Remembering Fiddle Govindaraja Pillai
Chennai Fine Arts celebrated the 105th birth anniversary of renowned violin maestro Mayavaram Govindaraja Pillai on Friday, 12th May at Srinivasa Sastri hall in Luz. Earlier CFA had also celebrated his birth centenary in the year 2012, in which a short documentary on him was presented.
On the occasion yesterday, three students learning at the CFA Academy were presented the musical instrument Nagasvaram. These students are trained by Vidwan Kundrathur T. Venkatesan who is a faculty of CFA. The instruments were sponsored by the Mayavaram ‘Fiddle’ Govindaraja Pillai Trust founded by Shri. Shanmughanathan, son in-law of Govindaraja Pillai. Vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam presided over the function and presented the instruments. This initiative is to encourage the students to learn sincerely and achieve big. The function was followed by the violin duet concert of Dr M Lalitha and M Nandini. Beginning with Abhogi varnam in four speeds, the duo presented sarasiruhasana in Nattai (Puliyur Duraiswamy Iyer), Siddhiswaraya in Neelambari (Muthuswami Deekshitar), Paraloka in Mandhari and Nannu kanna thalli in Sindhu Kannada besides the main piece Etavunara in Kalyani (all three by Tyagaraja). KH Vineeth, Mrdangam and S Sunil Kumar, Kanjira were the accompanists. The concert which lasted two hours witnessed a full house audience.
(Left to right in the photo: S Nithyasree - Secretary, Chennai Fine Arts, PN Muralidharan - Founder, Chennai Fine Arts, Kundrathur T Venkatesan - Nagasvaram Faculty, Chennai Fine Arts, D Rajeswaran - student, S Kishore - student, vidwan Seshampatti Sivalingam, Shri. Shanmuganathan - Founder Mayavaram 'Fiddle' Govindaraja Pillai Trust, Mohana krishnan - student).
Author: P N Muralidharan
Gangadhar Pradhan Samman Award
Sruti’s senior contributors Leela Venkataraman and Dr. Sunil Kothari were honoured with the Guru Gangadhar Samman by the Orissa Dance Academy in February 2017 during the Dhauli-Kalinga Mahotsav in Odisha.
Launch of Vishwashanti Sangeet Kala Academy
Lata Mangeshkar, Chairperson of the Vishwashanti Sangeet Foundation, announced the opening of Vishwashanti Sangeet Kala Academy--envisioned as India’s biggest gurukul--in Pune. The Gurukul aims to provide a platform for aspiring Hindustani classical musicians from across the country to learn from the best of gurus.
The institute is the vision of Prof. Dr. Vishwanath Karad, founder of MIT Institutes, and Founder-President of the Vishwashanti Sangeet Foundation. The Gurukul--built over a vast area of 70,000 sq. feet--offers state of the art facilities along with the supervision and guidance of renowned gurus. The faculty boasts of eminent musicians like Dr. N Rajam, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ulhas Kashalkar, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Suresh Talwalkar, Shama Bhate, Yogesh Samsi and Devaki Pandit.
Speaking on the occasion, Lata Mangeshkar said she was happy that the Academy was adopting the Gurukul system, as the venerated guru-sishya parampara has been the pride of Indian culture for centuries and has been instrumental in producing some of the finest artists in Indian classical music, dance and many other forms in the country.
The admission procedure begins on 1st June 2017, and the application form is available on the website www.mitvsf.com. Learning is free, but students will have to pay the residential and mess charges after their enrolment.
Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar passes away
Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, veteran maestro of the Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani music, died in a Pune hospital on 30 July 2017. He was 78 and had been ailing for some time. Sayeeduddin Dagar is survived by his wife and two sons, Nafeesuddin and Aneesuddin (dhrupad exponents). Affectionately called Sayeed Bhai, he was the youngest of the famous ‘Dagar Bandhu’ and had dedicated his life to keeping the dhrupad tradition alive.
Madras Youth Choir in Washington
“Music has no language barriers. Its just music, you could listen to it and feel it” just about sums up our experience in the recently concluded Serenade 2017 international Choir Music Festival in Washington DC. For us at Madras Youth Choir, it has been a wonderful learning and enriching experience as we showcased Indian Choral Music to international audiences. Interacting with 18 choir groups from 14 countries helped in the appreciation of a wonderful array of voices together with their enthusiasm and beauty in singing.
The festival was a cultural exchange as we interacted with Choir groups from different parts of the world - Zimbabwe, Bulgaria, Chicago , Northern Ireland, Latvia, Shanghai, Mongolia, Spain , India to name a few. Every culture has its tradition of songs, sounds, rhythms and folk tunes. There were several workshops conducted by the various Groups explaining the nuances of their music. Ramakrishna from MYC conducted 4 workshops including two for children where we also taught them a melody song in Bengali, which was received very well. Concerts were held at prestigious venues throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Listening to a wonderful array of voices from around the world marked with enthusiasm and beauty in singing was an enjoyable experience.
Click here to read more http://srutimag.blogspot.in/2017/08/madras-youth-choir-in-washington.html
Author: P.C. Ramakrishna
Shanta Serbjeet Singh is no more
According to a PTI news report, Shanta Serbjeet Singh, veteran art critic and former vice chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi, passed away at New Delhi on 2 August. She was 81.
Shanta is survived by two sons, a daughter-in-law and a grandson.
Her cremation will be held at Lodhi Road crematorium at 12 noon today, 3 August.
Trivandrum Vaidyanathan passes away
I am heart-broken to know of the untimely and sudden demise of Trivandrum R. Vaidyanathan sir. He was the staff on duty at my very first radio broadcast at AIR. Such a gentle and genuine soul, with only good-will towards all. He was very keen to have me perform at several major venues in Kerala, and encouraged me always to carry the baton of the KVN bani. I cherish the long conversation we shared after my concert at Edapally Sangeetha Sadas this last April, where he clarified several of my doubts regarding some laya matters, including chaturashra tishram in pallavi singing. Long live his legacy through his disciples! My heartfelt condolences to his family and disciples.
Author: V Navaneet Krishnan
Harikatha Choodamani awards
Upanyasa, Vaideeka and Harikatha Choodamani awards were confered on Dr.NY.Sivaramakrishna Ghanapatigal, Dr.M.V.Ananthapadmanabhachariar and Smt.Girija Ramaswamy respectively by YCPA & SKGS Trust in the Holy Presence of Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal and Pujyasri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal during the 83rd Jayanthi Celebration of Pujyasri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal
A double celebration for Guru Kalyani Sharma
Mumbai based eminent Carnatic musician, Sangita Kala Acharya, Kalyani Sharma, was recently felicitated by her disciples and others, to mark two milestones in her life—her 80th birthday and 60 years of musical journey. The event ‘Guru Vandanam’ organised by her disciples in Mumbai, was inaugurated by four leading ladies in Carnatic music—Bhagavathi Mani, Alamelu Mani, Radha Namboodiri from Mumbai and R. Subbalakshmi from Thiruvananthapuram. It was a mixed fare comprising felicitation by her disciples, eminent musicians and reputed sangeeta sabhas, followed by a riveting documentary on her life, and group performances by her vocal, veena and violin disciples, titled Sangeeta Samarpanam.
Click here to read more http://srutimag.blogspot.in/2017/09/a-double-celebration-for-guru-kalyani.html
Author: Janaki Krishnamoorthy
Vainika Mudhra Award for R.S. Jayalakshmi at Veenotsav 2017
Veenotsav 2017, organised from 27-31 August under the aegis of Mudhra, was inaugurated by Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao, Secretary, Music Academy on 27 August at the Infosys Hall, Bazulla Road, Chennai. Two concerts of 90 minutes duration were held each day at Mudhra's studio which was webcast worldwide for rasikas. Such webcasts enable rasikas to listen to concerts on their PCs and mobile phones while sitting in their cosy living rooms or while on the move.
During the inauguration, the Vainika Mudhra Award comprising a shawl, citation, medal and purse, was presented to vidushi R.S. Jayalakshmi—musician, teacher, and musicologist—by Dr. Pappu Venugopala Rao. The award is given out of the endowment created by Chitravina N. Narasimhan in the name of his father Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar and Bapu Rajalakshmi Sundaram.
Click here to read more http://srutimag.blogspot.in/2017/09/vainika-mudhra-award-for-rs-jayalakshmi.html
Author: C. Ramakrishnan
Varsity affiliation for Haridhos Giri School of Music
Affiliation has been granted to the Swami Haridhos Giri School of Music by the Madras University. This welcome news was conveyed by the Head of the Department of Indian Music, Madras University, Rajashri Sripathy, while presiding over the seventh anniversary of the music school run by the Narada Gana Sabha Trust. Participating in the function as the chief guest, she complimented the honorary director of the school, vidwan P.S. Narayanaswamy and the other faculty members vidushi R.S. Jayalakshmi and vidwan C.R. Vaidyanathan, and advised the students to avail of the opportunity of utilising the services of such stalwart gurus.
Click here to read more http://srutimag.blogspot.in/2017/08/varsity-affiliation-for-haridhos-giri.html
Guru Dhruba Charan Biswal and Shyamamani Devi were honoured with the NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award 2017 in the field of dance and music respectively. The NALCO Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Yuva Pratibha Samman 2017 was presented to Lingaraj Pradhan (Bhubaneswar) and Namrata Mehta (Mumbai) for Odissi, Jyotsna Jagannathan (Bangalore) for Bharatanatyam and Jateen Kumar Sahoo (Mumbai) for Odissi music. The annual awards were presented by distinguished guests on 10 September 2017, the concluding day of the 23rd OMC Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra Award Festival organised by Srjan
Prof. Indira Parthasarathy honoured
JustUs Repertory, founded by Gowri Ramnarayan, celebrated ten years in theatre, by organising Just Fest--a two-day, two-play festival on 24 and 25 June at the Alliance Francaise in Chennai. Gowri’s two plays showcased on the occasion were her first play—Dark Horse (2005) and her latest play titled When Things Fall Apart (2017). Eminent playwright and author Prof. Indira Parthasarathy and theatre personality Na. Muthuswamy (inset) were honoured as part of the celebrations.
Book Release - Ustad Amir Khan
A book titled Ustad Amir Khan: Pioneer of Indore Gharana, an English translation by Meena Banerjee (scholar and critic), was released by musicologist Vijay Kichlu and noted theatre critic Samik Bandopadhyay, on 28 April at the auditorium of Bharatiya Bhasa Parishad, Kolkata. The original book in Hindi is Sangeet ke Dedeepyaman Soorya: Ustad Amir Khan by Hindustani vocalist Tejpal Singh (senior among the Singh Bandhu).