Sunday, January 31, 2021

The Majestic Temples!


VEENA AND VIOLA-The rendition of Brahmakadigina Paadamu (Ragam-Mukhari, Adi thalam and composed by Annamacharya) was picturized in the great temples, Sri Kamakshi and Sri Varadarajaswamy temples of Kanchipuram for a musical produced by Sri. Govind Nallappa and telecast by Doordarshan in the 80s.

A unique combination of Veena and Viola with the viola played by none other than the legendary late Dr. Balamuralikrishna! His mastery of the instrument was amazing! The audio was recorded in Sangeetha Studio (Sri.Guruvayur Dorai- mridangam). Our action was filmed as we played our instruments according to the recorded audio version. The video was shot in bits in Sri Kamakshi as well as in Sri Varadarajaswamy temple, Kanchipuram.
Many devotees and vedic brahmins gathered around us to watch the film shoot. Dr. Balamuralikrishna's casual banter and jokes put me at ease as I felt painfully shy and self-conscious during the filming.
The temple prasadam (of pulihara-tamarind rice, chakkara pongal-jaggery rice and vadas) was served as lunch in the thick foliage of mango and various other trees in the backyard of Sri Varadarajaswamy Temple. 
The 2-day shoot in the holy and pure atmosphere of these majestic temples will forever stay in my memory!

 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Divine Ecstasy


MAMAVATHU SRI SARASWATHI- HINDOLAM-MYSORE SRI.VASUDEVACHAR

SRI T.M.THIAGARAJAN-Vocal

Ultimate Bliss


SRI RAJARAJESWARI-POORVIKALYANI-TANJAVUR SRI.SANKARA IYER (COMPOSER)

SRI. T.M.THIAGARAJAN-Vocal
SRI.M.S.GOPALAKRISHNAN- Violin
SRI. T.K.MURTHY-Mridangam


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

THE ULTIMATE GURU


                                       With my musical God and Guru, TMT (late)

1988-2005-
My music sessions with my ultimate Guru, philosopher and guide, late Sri.T.M.Thiagarajan were life-changing. He opened doors to a new magical world of over-flowing music and limitless creativity. My 15 years of training under him (since 1988) was the best phase in my life. 
A genius, he combined the power of his super-intellect-braincells with the cry of his soul. He achieved ultimate contentment through his music and lived on his terms.
He's my ultimate Guru, my musical God!
(Words are not adequate to express the treasure I had gained from this great legend....)



Monday, January 18, 2021

Gems of Swathi Thirunal


 
FUSION ALBUM IN COLD STORAGE- 1) PARIPALAYAMAM-REETHIGOWLA, RUPAKAM. 2) PAHI JAGATJANANI, HAMSANANDHI, ADI.

This album containing 15 numbers with jazz orchestra was recorded more than 2 decades ago but never found its light. Above are 2 numbers from the unreleased album.

P.S- This is a raw product, as you can make out that the sound and pitch levels have not been balanced. The final mixing of the product has never happened so far.
My Veena was recorded alone to the metronome beat. The body of orchestra was added later on to the skeleton of my Veena. I was told that the lead guitar solos were played by Keith Peters.
Kindly pardon uneven pitches and sound levels- E.Gayathri

Friday, January 15, 2021

Playing In The Dark

DANCING IN THE DARK- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN


My favourite Bruce Springsteen number, " Dancing in the dark" reminds me of my earlier Veena practice as a teenager.

"Playing in the dark" is what I used to do. I would switch off the lights in my room to make it pitch dark so that the Veena frets were not visible to me.



Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Rare Krithis of Mysore Sri.Vasudevachar

MYSORE SRI.VASUDEVACHAR
From left- My mother, late Sri.S.Rajaram (Grandson of Mysore Sri. Vasudevachar), Smt. Padmasini (Kalakshetra-member of administration), Smt. S.Rajaram


                                                         LATE SRI.S. RAJARAM

RAJARAM UNCLE (carrying my 20 days old daughter Haritha) AND MYSELF-a1984 photograph 

1984- 
KALAKSHETRA COLONY, CHENNAI.

He was appointed as Principal/ Director of the institution around the years 1984 to 1987. 
Our music sessions twice a week were filled with soulful raga exchanges and mainly krithis of Mysore Sri.Vasudevachar. Singing to a perfectly tuned tambura Rajaram Uncle would lose himself in his music, music was meditation for him.
His renditions of "Pahi Sambho" in Mohanakalyani and "Bhavayeham Raghuveeram" in Behaag are unforgettable and will always remain fresh in my memory. Our music sessions went on for almost all through his term in Kalakshetra, till he went back to Mysore.


Thursday, January 7, 2021

Veena Nada Yogini

WITH TEACHER

VEENA NADA YOGI, SMT. KALPAGAM SWAMINATHAN

1967-1968:-

I took my father's handkerchief which was big enough to tie all the flowers. I wanted to pick up all the 'parijatham' flowers that were lying scattered on the ground under the big 'parijatham' tree in Teacher's house. "Teacher", that's how I called my Parama Guru (mother/Guru's Guru), Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan.

It was a weekend routine. The walk from my house in 2nd main road, R.A.Puram to Teacher's house in 7th cross road, R.A.Puram was completed in no time as I skipped and hopped my way to her house.

My friends Tooti, Lokki and Bommi waved at me from their houses calling out loudly to me to meet them after my class. The R.A.Puram of 60s was a very calm area and quite safe for children to walk alone.

I ran the remaining steps leading to Teacher's house heading directly for  the 'parijatham' flowers. The gate opened noisily and as always I forgot  to close it.

"Gayathri, have you come? Close the gate child!" Teacher's voice came from the side room where she conducts her Veena classes. Obviously the screechy sound of the gate alerted her. I planned to first collect all the flowers before going inside.

As though reading my mind Teacher called out, "You can pick the flowers later child, come inside quickly. I have other students lined up after you."

Sulking, I went inside.

"Samatthu ( good child)", smiling affectionately Teacher asked, "Now show me what you learned in your last class."

2 YEARS OF TRAINING UNDER THE GRAND GURU (1967, 68) FOR ENHANCED TECHNIQUE THROUGH A COLLECTION OF VARNAMS AND KRITHIS. I WAS BLESSED AND PRIVILEGED TO ACCOMPANY HER (AT AGE 7) IN HER PERFORMANCE IN STELLA MARIS COLLEGE, CHENNAI.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Unparalleled Excellence

           VIOLIN VIRTUOSO, Late PARUR SRI M.S.GOPALAKRISHNAN

MY GURU (in specialized instrumental concert presentation, for one year)

1973-1974

"Brihaspathi" is the word that always comes to my mind whenever I think of MSG. He was an unparalleled artist in terms of knowledge, virtuosity and versatility. I was his keen admirer and follower.

I had the great fortune of learning the entire set of Navagraha Krithis, instrumental neraval and kalpana swaram techniques directly from him. Extremely soft spoken and unapologetically disciplined he was very meticulous in explaining the mantra-shastra laden sahithya of Sri.Muthuswamy Dikshitar's Navagraha Krithis.

His words- "Never feel satisfied with your practice. Don't ever think you've practiced hard, nothing is arduous enough and there is no limit for achievement. Working hard should become a way of life" forever stay in my mind.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

My Veena Guru-My Mother



MY VEENA GURU, MY MOTHER,  SMT. KAMALA ASWATHAMA
WITH MY MOTHER/GURU, HYDERABAD, TELANGANA
SERVED IN VADYA VRINDA (ALL INDIA RADIO, Chennai) AS VEENA ARTIST (retired-1991)
My mother, as a student of Kalakshetra. In the photo she can be spotted slightly above the right shoulder of Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale. Also seen in the photo are Sri.M.D.Ramanathan, Sri. D.Pasupathi, Smt. Shantha Dhananjayan ( seated on the ground, far left), Adyar Sri.Lakshman, Budalur Sri. Krishnamurthy Shastri, Dr. Krishna Menon etc.

PHOTO NO.3- In younger times with my mother/Guru.
VIDEO  - My mother enjoying listening to her favorite bhajans in her favorite balcony in Saket Pranaam, Hyderabad, Telangana (as on 12th December, 2020 at 03.55 pm).

DETAILS ABOUT MY VEENA GURU- GURUKULAVASAM with Mysore Sri. Vasudevachar and Smt. Kalpagam Swaminathan.

Studied in Kalakshetra (Gurus- Mysore Sri. Vasudevachar, Sri.M.D.Ramanathan, Budalur Sri. Krishnamurthy Shastri, Karaikkudi Sri. Sambasiva Iyer).
 

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