Following the thematic presentation called Traditional Tukkadas, I had a few other regular season concerts. The one at Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha on Dec 22, 2013 with a young team comprising Nishanth Chandran (violin), N C Bharadwaj (mridangam) and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (kanjira) was a totally fun affair. Each contributed to the energy on stage, and was quick and excellent in his response. I tailored my concert according to my team's buoyant spirit, and enjoyed myself thoroughly in the process. Anand
anatamaduvar (Purvikalyani) and Rakshabettare(Bhairavi) were the pieces I took up for elaboration that day. Something about the questionable ambience of the Vidya Bharati Kalyana Mantapam, where these concerts are held, or the venerability of this 113-year old Sabha seems to spur artists to give of their best and most seem to do so exceedingly well! I've heard this sentiment echoed by many others.
Following this, I performed at the Cleveland Festival (co-hosted with Carnatica and Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha) on Dec 25, 2013. The venue is the lovely Hare Krishna (ISKCON) Temple in Tiruvanmiyur, right by the beach. One can see and hear the waves from the stage and feel the fresh, gentle breeze as it wafts by. Perfectly great ambience and as the evening wears, many people gather here to enjoy the music in this great setting. At this concert, my accompaniments were Mysore Sangeeta (violin), Burra Sriram (mridangam) and Nanda Masti (kanjira), and I took up Brovabharama(Bahudari) and Enduku peddala (Shankarabharanam) for detailed treatment. The response was once again excellent.
On Dec 28, 2013 was the concert at Nada Sudha, Velachery that is held in the quiet precincts of the Ganapati Sachidana
nda Ashram. I was in a calm frame of mind even though I sang the first half of the concert rather briskly. My accompaniments here were the young Aditi Krishnaprakash (violin) and the very experienced Poovalur Srinivasan (mridangam). The entire concert, like the one at the Cleveland festival, comprised popular pieces. I elaborated were Mamavasada janani (Kanada) and Meenakshi me mudam (Gamakakriya). The audience was not huge, but the reception was very good.
My final concert for the year 2013 was on Dec 30th for the Trinity Arts Festival sponsored by the evening daily, Trinity Mirror, in the company of my good friends, V V S Murari (violin) and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (mridangam). This fest is new to Chennai, it being only their second year of existence. The venue (Meena Muthiah College of Arts and Science, Adyar) was an unusual one and probably not very well known in the art circuit. But it seems to be a great choice. The festival is run in a very classy manner, under the leadership of Mr. Murali Raghavan, a resident of the US, and his professional approach was evident in everything from the stage decor to videography, the sound system and media coverage. Going by the requests I had gotten before the concert and the expected audience, I sang a concert full of popular compositions such as Shambho mahadeva (Bowli), Durmarga (Ranjani), Nagumomu (Abheri), Parvati nayakane (Shanmukhapriya), Teerada vilayattu pillai (Ragamalika) and so on. The audience reception to this stupendous! I was also surprised at the end of the concert with an award from the organizers, and the title of "Isai Arasi" (translating to Queen of Music)! Here is the media coverage of this event (go to Page 8).
On a related note, this season marked the entry of my student, Akshay Sridhar, into the Chennai music circuit. While many of my students perform now, what is special in Akshay's case is that he is fully my product, having started his music lessons with me some eleven
years ago, when I first moved to the US. From a child of eight, who was interested in music but not disciplined with his approach, he has come a long way both as a discriminate listener and as a performer with good musical values. His progress from his debut performance in 2011 in Buffalo, NY, has been the right one, with increased levels of commitment, focus and determination, something that seldom happens with the scores of students who do their 'arangetram' (debut) in Indian music or dance. We decided that he should perform three concerts this season and he presented himself very well. It was a proud milestone for both of us!