Entries under Schedule 2010

Schedule changes

The schedule of events has changed. We no longer have any events on Monday. Please have a look at the schedule for details.

posted on April 7, 2010

Sangeetha Sangamam

As Carnatic music spreads across the world, we're seeing musicians in different countries taking up this musical style. Sangeetha Sangamam is an attempt by the Aradhana Committee to showcase the talent of musicians in North America alongside musicians from India, performing together in concert. It is also to show that the rising talent in North America is equal to the talent available in India.

Putting together two different musicians from two different continents trained in two different styles of music seems like a recipe for disaster. However, the beauty of Carnatic performance is that even under constraints like this, there is tremendous scope for creativity.

With differing styles, the manodharma aspect of concert performance predominates. With two main artists plus accompanists, there is much more opportunity for interplay between performers, rapid-fire bursts of creativity, and artists playing off of one another, leading to a happy confluence of minds and musical styles.

We expect an exciting series of concerts unlike anything seen before.

posted on April 6, 2010

Arulvaay Arumugane

One of the themed programs this year is by Smt. T.V. Sundaravalli. Arulvaay Arumugane (Tamil: அருள்வாய் ஆறுமுகனே) is a concert that will revolve around songs about Lord Murugan.

Murugan is predominantly a South Indian god. He appears prominently in Tamil literature and traditions. He is recognized in other parts of India, but is not accorded the same importance that he is in the South. Thiruppugazh (Tamil: திருப்புகழ்) are a collection of religious songs written in Tamil by the poet Arunagirinathar in praise of Lord Murugan.

Smt. Sundaravalli has devoted her life to Bhakti music. She has done a lot of research on Thiruppugazh and is an acknowledged expert in the field. Her program will mainly feature songs about Lord Murugan, and will include several songs from Thiruppugazh as well.

posted on March 22, 2010

Damayanthi Swayamvaram

Our main dance program this year is Damayanthi Swayamvaram, a program that is over 20 years in the making.

The genesis of this program is from Dr M.L. Vasanthakumari. She came to visit V.V. Sundaram in Chennai to talk about Smt. Krishnaveni Lakshmanan. MLV thought very highly of her as a dancer, and wanted the Aradhana Committee to arrange a dance program that featured her. Smt. Krishnaveni was at Kalakshetra at the time.

MLV said, "I don't sing for dance programs, but I will for Krishnaveni; that's how great I think her dance is." For such a great musician to make an offer like that moved VVS and he agreed to arrange the program.

Unfortunately, it was too late that year to schedule it. The next year also, there were issues bringing the program to fruition, and very shortly after that, MLV passed away. With that, the program was put on the back burner, and before long, Smt. Krishnaveni had also died.

This year, the Aradhana Committee is finally bringing MLV's program to audiences. We consider it to be an unpaid debt that is being honored. It is the same program that was conceived by MLV. The featured dancer is Smt. Krishnaveni's daughter and disciple, Smt. Gayatri Balagurunathan.

The program is dedicated to the memory of the two great artists, Dr MLV and Smt. Krishnaveni, whose concept is being brought to stage.

posted on March 10, 2010

Nadaswaram Bani

In the schedule of events, several concerts have a footnote that includes some raga visthara with a nadaswaram. This feature is a part of the GNB centenary that the Aradhana is celebrating this year. The influence of the Nadaswaram Bani has been one of GNB's lasting contributions to Carnatic music.

In GNB's days, the manodharma that vocalists performed tended to be rather staccato, with passages broken into short phrases. Ramnad Krishnan and Madurai Mani Iyer, who were his contemporaries, are good examples of this style.

Nadaswaram artists, on the other hand, used to play with long kaarvais, and filled in the gaps between phrases. This was typical of the periya melam style that was used in the music that accompanied religious rituals and festivals. T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai was a leading exponent of this style, and GNB greatly admired his music, often attending performances given by him.

It was GNB's insight that led him to incorporate the periya melam style into the traditional Carnatic music that was performed in concert halls. It certainly helped that his voice was versatile enough to handle the gamakam-laden nuances, crisp brighas, as well as the long sustained karvais that characterized the new style that he created. On top of that, his musicianship was such that he incorporated all of it in a manner that was pleasing to the ear.

GNB's style has pervaded Carnatic music since he introduced it. His music was wildly popular in his time, and his style has endured among modern performers as well. We would like to recognize this contribution, and educate listeners about the extent of his influence.

Before select concerts during the Aradhana, a leading musician will speak about a raga, how GNB handled it, what his favorite krithis in that raga were, etc. A nadaswaram artist will also perform that raga for a few minutes. The concert will feature a major piece in that raga, so that listeners can discern the elements of the nadaswaram technique in the performance.

We hope that listeners will find this introduction educational.

posted on March 2, 2010