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KHMC December Delights!

Mahalingam Santhanakrishnan

Karnatic Hindustani Music Circle (KHMC) held its December 2017 concert at the beautiful, warm and welcoming home of Shri Sambasiva (Sam) Rao and Smt. Sathya in Franklin, MA. The evening started with Smt. Neelima Chaturvedi’s students presenting Hindustani Classical music for the junior segment. Tarun, Shreya, Mali and Pari sang the well known traditional khyal “Ja Ja Re Upnay Mandirwa” in Raga Bhimpalasi followed by a Soordas bhajan “Karam Ki Gati Nyaari”. Next, Sharada and Meenakshi rendered a composition in praise of Lord Shiva in Raga Hansdhwani “Shankar Bholaynaat”. They sang aakaar alaaps and sargam taans in the khyal and followed it with the famous Meera Bhajan “Payoji maine ram rattan dhan paayo”. The traditional khyal “Guru bin kaise” and a tarana in raga Yaman were presented next by Sarah, Sharada, Meenakshi, Omar, Dhwani, Vidula and Sneha. The seven member group concluded with a rhythmic bhajan “Jai Raghunandan jai siya ram” set to eight beat rhythm cycle. The juniors were well prepared for the program and were provided expert accompaniment on the harmonium by their teacher, Smt. Neelima Chaturvedi and Shri Anil Kunte on the tabla.

Chi. Arvind Mahalingam, disciple of Vidwan Palghat Dr. R. Ramprasad and Smt. Geetha Murali, presented the Carnatic segment of the evening. He was accompanied on the violin by Smt. Rasika Murali Mohan and on the mridangam by Shri. Hari Shanmugam. Arvind started the concert with Saint Thyagaraja’s composition “Brochevarevare” in Raga Sriranjani adorned with flowery kalpanaswarams. He continued with a very delightful alapana of Raga Nasikabhushani (70th melakartha) and sang the krithi “Maravairi Ramani” in Tisra gathi, embellished by Rasika’s soothing violin presentation and Hari’s choiceful rythmic patterns. Arvind then presented a crisp Bilahari alapana followed by the Muthuswamy Dikshithar krithi “Sri Balasubramanya”. This was followed by a beautifully rendered Rama Nataka krithi “Ramanukku Mannan” in the raga Hindolam composed by one of the Tamil Trinities - Arunachala Kavirayar.

For the main piece of the concert Arvind rendered a powerful alapana in Raga Thodi and presented the krithi “Raju Vedala” in praise of Lord Ranganathar of Srirangam. In this krithi Arvind sang a soulful neraval of the charanam verse “Kaveri dheeramu nanu” and Kalapana swarams with intricate matching patterns. Rasika showed her excellence and prowess in violin throughout the concert, especially in Thodi, while at the same time providing superb support and encouragement to Arvind. Hari’s solo presentation on Mridangam was scintillating with a crescendo that matched the krithi itself, showcasing his sangeetha gnanam. Arvind completed his evening’s presentation with a Tiruppavai in Begada raga and “Pathiki Haratheere” in Raga Surutti. It is apt to say Arvind’s poise and presentation at this young age captured the hearts of the audience who blessed him with continued success.

The final segment of the evening was presented by Smt. Shuchita Rao. True to one of the core goals of KHMC, Shuchita presented a beautiful lecture demonstration of the Dhrupad genre of Hindustani music. Shuchita was supported by Shri Harsha Hampapura on Tabla. Shuchita started the evening with renditions of two Dhrupads in Raga Malkauns, and explained the root of this style of music goes to Sam Gaan. She introduced the different Gharanas of Dhrupad singing and showed using a map of India how well the Gharanas are distributed covering the North, Northeast and Northwest parts of India. She then elaborated the different sections of the Raag elaboration - Alap, Jor and Jhala, and the different sections of the Bandish(composition) like Sthaayi, Antara, Abhog and Sanchari. Throughout the presentation Shuchita used audio clips of masters to point out the melodic and rhythmic aspects of Dhrupad style.

Shri Harsha, with his background in both Hindustani and Carnatic music, explained the parallels between the two systems of music and how Dhrupad style closely matches certain aspects of the Carnatic style of music. As an added bonus, audiences were delighted by an extempore presentation of Bharatanatyam by Smt. Jeyanthi Ghatraju, the noted dance exponent, for a Dhrupad on Lord Hanuman sung by Shuchita. This also helped highlight how the Dhrupad genre is so well structured that it can even be presented in conjunction with highly rhythmic and structured dance forms. Overall it was a superbly satisfying learning experience for the audience.

The lovely audiences who braved the weather were very appreciative of the hosts Sam and Satya for accommodating the concert on a Sunday, after the first snow of the season pushed the concert back by a day, and for the sumptuous food they were treated with. All in all it was a grand closure of a very successful year for KHMC

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