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KHMC Spring Concert Brings In A Musical Down Pour!

N. Pandit and Jeyanthi Ghatraju

KHMC (Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle -www.khmcnewengland.org) is known for its mission in bringing together the 2 major styles of Indian classical music in one forum and has been in action for over 16 years. The spring concert of 2012 was held on March 17th from 2-9 PM at Sumana and Anand Rao's home in Lexington, MA.  

An extraordinarily warm spring afternoon graced the guitarod (guitar-sarod) concert by Phil Kaplan in the Hindustani segment. 

Paramesh Karandikar, a student of Phil Kaplan, opened the segment.  A junior at Westford Academy in Westford, Paramesh initially trained in Hindustani classical music under Smt. Kumkum Sanyal.  He simultaneously pursued music on the acoustic and electric guitar.  As it was meant to be, Paramesh connected with Phil Kaplan, a faculty-member of Learnquest Academy of Music who plays Hindustani classical music on the guitarod and began learning from Phil, a journey that continues.  Paramesh was accompanied on the tabla by his father, Karan Karandikar, who took tabla lessons as a youngster in India and has recently resumed his riyaz.   

Paramesh selected Raga Rageshri, playing a thoughtful alap followed by vilambit, and then drut gat set to Teen-taal.  Paramesh’s dedication to the guitarod, musical talent and drive to master the instrument and music were evident in his performance.  Karan, gave very able “Sangat”, providing a foundation for Paramesh to express his ideas and to bring out the beauty of Rageshri. 

The main Hindustani segment featured Phil Kaplan on the guitarod.  The guitarod, a creation of Phil, was the result of customizing a solid-body fretless guitar to produce a hybrid between a guitar and sarod.  At the age of 13, Phil was drawn to the sarod music of Ali Akbar Khan. But it wasn’t until 1994 that Phil got the opportunity to begin the formal study of Hindustani classical music, when he took vocal lessons from Dr Pradeep Shukla of Learnquest Academy.  Later, Dr Shukla introduced him to Puspen Dey from Kolkata, a master sarod player and disciple of Pandit Buddhadev Dasgupta. Phil continues to study under Puspen Dey.  Accompanying on the tabla was Ajit Acharya.  Ajit trained under Shri Seshagiri Rao, Dr Rajan Sachdev and more recently under the renowned tabla player of the Benaras gharana, Pt. Samar Saha.  

Phil started his concert with Raga Jaijaiwanti progressively unfolding every note through alap, vilambit and drut gat with thought, care and concentration. Ajit Acharya provided insightful sangat on the tabla, embellishing with different types of patterns, adding beauty and variety to the performance.  Phil then proceeded to play Raga Darbari Kanada - alap, vilambit gat in Teen-taal and drut gat in Ek-taal demonstrating different patterns and spontaneous creativity in his taans.  Phil concluded his performance with a couple of his own dhun compositions in Puriya Dhanashree and Bhairavi, giving us a glimpse of his extensive experience with fusion, jazz and experimental music.  An interesting epilogue to the musical performance was listening to Phil share his musical journey to India for his recent dream project: Raag Billy Bop - to combine traditional and western music. 

All of this was well received by a very appreciative audience that looks forward to hearing more in the coming months & years. 

After a short break, the second segment commenced with Carnatic music by Roshni Narasimhan, disciple of Smt. Sandhya Sridhar, followed by Smt. Bhuvana Ganesh, a well-known music Guru.  

Roshni has been learning Carnatic music from Smt Sandhya Sridhar for the past several years and was featured in our earlier concerts. She has diverse knowledge of Indian music and dance, learning the veena, Hindustani music and Bharathanatyam to bring a holistic approach to her presentation. Roshni started her concert with the Saveri varnam, Sarasuda Ninne which was followed by Anandamruthakarshini in raga Amruthavarshini. It was quite the down pouring of devotion in her unhurried pace of rendition. One also has to commend the Guru, Smt Sandhya Sridhar in guiding her disciple with the wise selection of songs which included Shobillu Saptaswara (ragam Jaganmohini), Shiva Shiva Shiva Bho (Nadhanamakriya), Parulanamata (Javali in Kapi), a popular thillana, Geetha Dhuniki (Dhanashree), finishing up with the evergreen melody, Maithreem Bhajatha (Kapi). The junior segment which was about 45 minutes long set a blissful pace for the ensuing presentation by Smt. Bhuvana Ganesh. Roshni was ably accompanied on the violin by Sri. Surya Sundararajan and Sudarshan Thirumalai, an upcoming youth artist on the mridangam, Sudarshan has been training under Sri Pravin Sitaram and one could see that the guru was quite approving of his young disciple's performance.  

Bhuvana Ganesh is no stranger to New England audience, her voice along with her disciples has been heard for several years in the music arena, dance arena is not new to her either. However, when one changes hats from a teacher/dance vocalist to being a solo Carnatic vocalist, it is an interesting challenge.  And, she rose to the occasion, setting an ascending pace with a collection of songs that inspired her. It was a soulful presentation and once tuned in, definitely took one to the higher level. Bhuvana commenced her concert with the varnam, Vallabha nayaka in ragam Mohanakalyani, a composition of Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman. She followed it with nenarunchara (Simhavahini composed by Saint Thyagaraja), Oothukadu Venkatasubbiar's Premaswaroopa in Ananda Bhairavi came next, bringing out the underlying bhakthi bhava. 

A brief alapana and kalpana swarm for the Pantuvarali krithi Shiva Shiva Shiva yenaradha was much appreciated. Goddess Karpagambika in Mylapore would have been quite pleased with Bhuvana's rendition of Karpagame un darishaname. Sarasamukhi sakala bhagyathe in raga Gowdamalhar and rupaka talam, gave a little change to the flow and was pleasant to listen to. The main ragam, neraval and kalpana swarms were elaborated in Sri Subramanyo ma'am in ragam Thodi. The time-tested krithi, Kurai Ondrum Illai touched the hearts of many. Bhuvana then presented Nee ninaindhal in Darbari Kanada, a composition of Sri Periasamy Thooran. She followed this with a thillana in Madhuvanthi by Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman and concluded the concert with the Bhadrachala Ramadas krithi Ramachandaraya.                               

Having known, worked with and listened to Bhuvana over the years, I found a fresh approach in her presentation and her advanced training under Smt Vidhya Subramanian shone through many a time. We were all delighted by it and wish Bhuvana continued inspiration and success in her musical endeavor.  

The accompanying artists in a vocal concert are vital to the success although they get mentioned only at the end! Surya Sundararajan, a well-known violinist and Guru gave Bhuvana the needed support, be it in the alapana or in the middle of a krithi. His own advanced training from Sri Vittal Ramamurthy added an extraordinary touch to our listening experience. Having worked together for several years, the chemistry between them and his understanding of her ways was quite evident and helpful to bring out a harmonious performance. His best was Thodi that day, although his violin spoke wonders all through!  

Ullas Rao on the mridangam was no exception. He is an accomplished young mridangist, a disciple of Sri Pravin Sitaram, who is known for his unobtrusive accompaniment. Having imbibed the nuances of accompaniment from his guru and from his own performances, Ullas continues to be a rising star. As a dancer I always look forward to the thani and the rhythm from his thani lingered in my ears for quite a long while.  All in all, one came out of the concert with the blissful feeling that learning is continuous and one's reach to higher levels is dependent upon quenching the thirst to be their best and the desire to do whatever and how ever long it may take.  

KHMC concerts are quite successful as intimate house concerts because of the generous hosts who take care of all the arrangements. Sumana and Anand Rao from Lexington, MA along with the band of their friends who volunteered to help had to be thanked profusely for an evening of musical bliss.

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1.JZOvstkxfmXF January 30, 2013Karine 
2.Paramesh's concert was amazing.. April 13, 2012Saiketh 

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