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An Evening Of Enchanting Music At NEKK’s Ganeshotsava

NEKK Committee

Mandaara - New England Kannada Koota (NEKK), presented an amazing musical program that culminated in two standing ovation performances with audience spellbound by the sheer quality and standard of the performances by two great musicians, Kalaimamani Padma Shri Dr. Kadri Gopalnath and Pandit Dr. Nagaraj Havaldar. It was very heartening to see two music legends, both from Karnataka, but presenting in two different styles, Carnatic and Hindustani on the same stage.

NEKK community was celebrating Ganesha Chaturthi on September 21st, Saturday, at Keefe Tech Auditorium in Framingham. The program started off with Ganesha pooja by Priest Kodandapani. Following the pooja and MangaLaarati, Ganesha vandana was presented by NEKK veteran Smt. Latha Sainath and team followed by 12 kids from Metrowest Chinmaya Mission Kannada School singing “Gajamukhane GaNapatiye”.

Music lovers flocked the hall in hoards and by the time the Saxophone performance by Dr. Kadri Gopalnath started, the hall was full. He was accompanied by Kum. Kanyakumari on Violin. On Mridangam was Sri B. Harikumar and on Tabla was Sri Rajendra Nakod.

It was an evening that will remain unforgettable in many minds.  Listening to Dr. Kadri and his team was pure joy, and the sound emerging from the symphony of all the instruments seemed magical. Dr. Kadri started the evening with the alapana of Tyagaraja's Hindola kriti Samaja Varagamana.  From the instant they started, the tunes sounded effortless and flawless.

Next came other treats such as the Rama Sreerama in raga malika followed by a medley of  folk songs, and bhajans ranging from the snake charmer song Adu Pambe (Raag: Punnagavarali) to Purandara Dasa's compositions Pillangoviya cheluva Krishnana (Mohan Kalyani) and Tamboori Meetidava bhavabdi daatidava (Sindu Bhairavi), and Mira bhajan - Paayoji maine. Interspersed with the rich melodies were a variety of enthralling thani exchanges between Sri Harikumar and Sri Rajendra Nakod.  Many in the audience who had never seen a percussion duo like this were left speechless.  

Dr. Kadri and his team ended the concert with classics from Karnataka, Krishna nee begane baaro (Yaman Kalyani), and Bhagyada Lakshmi baaramma (Madhyamavati).  The audience was on its feet when the performance concluded. Many admirers flocked the green room for a chance to speak to the artists and take pictures. They were not disappointed.

Before the next music segment started, there were several things that the president of NEKK Madhusudhan Akkihebbal discussed. He talked about the various groups that have been formed to cater to unique needs of the community. Some examples are, Seva Mandaara, Saahitya Mandaara, Geeta Mandaara, etc. Following the information session, Dr. Krupa and Dr. Sharanabasava Rajur were felicitated for their vision and execution of NAVIKA 2013, World Kannada Convention in Boston.

The second segment of the program was a Hindustani Classical Vocal recital by the eminent Pandit Dr. Nagaraj Havaldar. Pandit Havaldar hails from Karnataka and belongs to the Kirana Gharana and is a disciple of Pandit Madhava Gudi, a prime disciple of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. Pandit Havaldar was accompanied by Dibyarka Chaterjee, young Tabla player from the Farrukhabad Gharana, and the son and disciple of Pandit Samir Chatterjee, on Tabla and our very own Sri Ravi Torvi on Harmonium.

Pandit Havaldar started the concert with a traditional Hindustani classical piece in Raag Poorvi. As he explored the nuances of Raag Poorvi, the audience knew that they were in for a treat for the rest of the evening. Following this piece, Panditji presented a mixture of rare and popular Vachanas, Devarnamas and Abhangs that were steeped in musical classicism and devotion.

Some of the compositions presented were Sadaa Enna Hridayadalli, Aadapogona Baaro Ranga followed by a Marathi bhajan Tirtha Vitthal Kshetra Vitthal, originally sung and popularized by Pandit Bhimsen Joshi. This was followed by Hasivadode Bhikshannagaluntu and Maniye eNisi Dinava KaLeya Beda, both popular Vachanas by Akka Mahadevi and Allama Prabhu respectively. The light music section continued with Honnu Taa Gubbi and Muddu Taaro Ranga Eddu Baaro by Purandara Dasa.
During the course of the concert, Panditji shared many stories and anecdotes of his associations with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi which were very interesting and informative. Panditji’s eloquence combined with his mesmerizing voice and soulful renditions kept the audience in rapt attention throughout the concert. Dibyarka Chatterjee and Ravi Torvi’s accompaniment were most appropriate providing soft and subtle support to Panditji.

Pandit Dr. Havaldar concluded his performance with a beautiful song Jo Bhaje Hari Ko Sada So Hi Param Pada Pavega. The audience appreciated the concert with a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes. The Kannada community was indeed treated to a very memorable evening.The excitement continued to the next morning. Dr. Havaldar presented a music workshop and also delivered a lecture on the topic – Common Man and Classical Music. This was held at Jaya and Shridhar Kulkarni’s residence in chamber concert style. Pandit ji’s knowledge on the subject of music and his ability to teach a group of people of all ages were evident in that session.

Both these events were also attended by a lot of people from outside the NEKK/Kannada community and were very happy to hear some great music!

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