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KHMC Draws A Musical Rainbow In Summer Concert!

Krishnan Vaidhyanathan, Shreyas Mosurkal, and Rajesh Pai

Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle of Greater Boston held their recent concert on June 18th, 2016 at the home of Krishnan and Savithri Vaidyanathan of Hopkinton, MA. The hosts welcomed the musicians and music lovers alike cheerfully. The amazing music was accompanied by great food and wonderful weather. There were four segments as usual but with an interesting mix - Hindustani junior, Karnatic Senior, Karnatic Junior and Hindustani senior. The 100+ audience made the concert a great success.

The concert started with the Hindustani Junior segment. This was a group tabla recital by 15 students of Shri Rajesh Pai. The tabla students comprised of elementary schoolers, teenagers and adults. The students recited and performed Ganesh Naman, a Teen Taal Kayda, a Jap Taal Kayda, demonstrated variations of Kehrava- Bhajan Teka and concluded with a fast paced Delhi Gharana Kayda. The performers were Shreesh Nalatwad, Maurya Virmani, Aarya Virmani, Kanishk Mishra Pothireddy, Danveer Singh Nijjar, Abha Choudhary, Harman Deep Singh, Raunaq Singh Mokha, Deeksha Vaidyanathan, Aaroh Jugulum, Ashwin Kulkarni, Sumeet Singh Nijjar, Amandeep Singh, Arun Chaudhari and Shivkumar Srivatsava.

It was followed by the Senior Karnatic Segment- a Veena, Venu and Violin, more famously known as VVV with double mridangam accompaniment. One of Smt. Durga Krishnan's senior students, Smt. Shanthi Ganesh was on the veena. A senior student of Sri Delhi Sundarajan, Smt. Smitha Krishnan who is also a PhD student at Tuft University was on the violin and Prayuth Naduthota was on the flute while Sri Gaurishankar's student, Hari Shanmugam and Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan or Mali's student Varun Chandramouli accompanied them on the mridangam. They started with Neranammidi, a Ata tala varnam in the raga Kanada and then moved on to the ever popular Vathapi Ganapathim Bhajeham by Sri Muthuswamy Dikshidar in the raga Hamsadhwani set to Adi tala. Smt Shanthi Ganesh ended this piece with a long and brisk swara kalpana and korvai. The threesome took Mysore Vasudevachar's Rara Rajeevalochana in the raga Mohanam set to Adi tala as the main piece. All three artists shared the alapana of the raga Mohanam seamlessly and followed that with a beautiful and soulful rendition of the kriti and swarakalpanas. Hari and Varun followed that with a very creative thani avarthanam or percussion solo. The center piece of this segment was the Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi (RTP) in the raga Dharmavathi, "Venkateswara, Giridhara, Abhayankara Sadha Unnai Charanadaindhen", composed by Smt. Smitha Krishnan's first Guru. All three artists once again seamlessly performed an elaborated alapana of the raga that was followed by tanam. After performing the pallavi in 4 speeds following the tradition they played the swara kalpana in ragamalika or string of ragas. This segment ended with the popular thillana in the raga Mand, composed by Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman.

KHMC concert continued on with a Junior Karnatic Segment. This was a pancha veena recital by the students of Smt Durga Krishnan. The performers Pratima Vaidyanathan, Prisha Naduthota, Raghu Nimmagadda, Srinidhi Kaushik and Shweta Vasu were all Middle and High school students. They gave a taste of a traditional veena concert but in less than one hour starting with Pugalvai, a varnam in the raga Amrithavarshini, composed by Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman in Adi tala and moved on to one of the St. Thyagaraja's popular pancharathana kritis Endaro Mahanubhavulu in the raga Sri. They took Thyagaraja's Samaja Varagamana as their main piece for this recital. Prisha Naduthota played a short but to the point alapana and tanam of the raga Hindolam and all five performers took turns to perform the swarakalpana including kuraippu (reduction) and korvai at the end of the song. They then played the ragamalika Ksheerabdhi Kannike, a composition of Sri Purandara Dasa and concluded the recital with a thillana in the raga Kadhanakuthuhalam, another composition of Sri Lalgudi G. Jayaraman.

The Hindustani senior segment was the concluding segment of the evening. The artists in the Hindustani senior segment were Chethan Anant on the bansuri (flute) and Pranav Ghatraju on the tabla. Chetan and Pranav travelled from Urbana-Champaign area in Illinois where they attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

An aura of music that had been established by all the concerts in the evening deeply resonated with the enthusiastic audience. The concert began with Chetan performing an alaap in raag Puriya Dhanashree (Pantuvarali in Karnatic). This beautiful alaap established a tranquil atmosphere that was kept consistent throughout the concert. This alaap was followed by a gat in vilambit laya. This gat was based on a vocal composition. Chetan sang the composition and followed it by expressing the raag on the bansuri with beautiful taans and variations. The next composition was in raag Madhuvanti (Dharmavati in Karnatic). Chetan began an alaap which very precisely introduced the raag and its components in a melodious manner. The alaap was followed by a gat in Madhya laya. Chetan invoked a romantic sensation with his earnest devotion and figurative style of exploring raag Madhuvanti. Pranav’s tabla variations on the taal, or beat, were superb due to the nimble and swift movement of his hands; his variations simply left me awestruck. One of the most favorite raags followed. This was raag Yaman (Kalyani in Karnatic). Chetan started with a beautifully developed alaap and followed with a gat in madhya laya. He comfortably expressed raag Yaman with a very bright and bold “tivra madhyam.” This gave a strong impression of peace and tranquility which very much associated with the quiet and blissful evening.

All the compositions led to a beautiful conclusion. It ended with a melodious bhajan in raag Bhairavi (Sindhu Bhairavi in Karnatic). The golden, rich sound of raag Bhairavi delighted all and left us all a feeling of self-content. The concert concluded just as smoothly as it had begun. Audience was truly engulfed into the ambience of Hindustani classical music. All in all, Chetan and Pranav mesmerized all. Audience was completely taken into another world by Chetan’s harmonious playing of the bansuri and by Pranav’s precise yet energetic playing of the tabla. 

This KHMC concert was certainly very unique and has, once again, opened another door of musical imagination. A unique highlight of the concert was 6 of the 7 senior musicians were born/raised in the United States. This is a testament to the love for classical music among the Indian community, which is the central motto KHMC strives for!



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