Glimpse of India: Lecture demonstration on Indian music by musicologist, scholar and Veena exponent Geetha Ramanathan Bennett
Geetha Bennett will be accompanied by Portland’s own percussionist B. Vijayan on Mridangam (double barrel drum).
Venue: Meeting Room, Hillsboro Library- Main (2850 NE Brookwood Parkway, Hillsboro, OR 97124)
Date & Time: 11am Saturday 25th August 2012.
Free for all.
Glimpse of India: Veena concert by Geetha Ramanathan Bennett
Geetha Bennett will be accompanied by Portland’s own percussionist B. Vijayan on Mridangam.
Venue: Hawthorne Farms, Intel Auditorium
Date & Time: 6pm Saturday 25th August 2012.
Free for all. Please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org for seating.
S P Balasubramaniam is a multilingual Indian playback singer, actor, music director, voice actor, and film producer. He is popularly known as SPB and Balu. He has won the National Film Award for ‘Best Male Playback Singer’ six times and has sung over 50,000 songs in 15 Indian languages with a career spanning over four decades. Balasubramaniam is also the recipient of prestigious civilian awards such as the ‘Padma Bhushan’ (2011) and the ‘Padma Shri’ in (2001) from the Government of India. He is the only playback singer in India to have won National Film Awards for singing in four different languages.
Popularly and fondly referred to as Chinna Kuyil (Little Nightingale) of South India, Chitra sings Indian classical, devotional, and popular music. She has lent her voice to Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Oriya, Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Badaga and Punjabi films. She has recorded more than 16,000 film songs and is a recipient of six National Film Awards (the most by any female singer), five Filmfare Awards South and more than thirty different state film awards. She is the only singer to have won all the four South Indian state awards till date.
A few video snippets from live concerts very much like this one – watch SPB’s inimitable wit between the songs:
Also, listen to their golden voices on:
Smt. Gayathri Venkataraghavan began her training in Carnatic music at a young age under the tutelage of Smt. Rajalakshmi and then under Smt. Padma Veeraraghavan, a disciple of Palaghat Sri K.V. Narayanaswamy. She was also trained in various kritis by Smt. Rukmini Ramani, Sri.V. Subramaniam and Smt. Lakshmi Natarajan. Her advanced training was under Acharya Choodamani Late Sri.A.Sundaresan, a disciple of Sri C.V.Krishnamurthy Iyer, Sri Ramnad Krishnan and Alathur Sri Sivasubramanya Iyer. Gayathri is presently under the guidance of Padma Bhushan Sri. P.S.Narayanaswamy.
Gayathri Venkataraghavan is an ‘A’ grade accredited artiste of All India Radio. She won the All India Radio National level competition in 1993. Her regular performances for the AIR include a prestigious National Broadcast in 2006. She has sung various themes for Archival purposes for the AIR.
She has been performing regularly at various centers in India. Her performances abroad include ones at the Cleveland Tyagaraja Festival 2005, 2008, 2011 at Ohio State, USA and Toronto in Canada. She also performed at the SIFA annual festival at Singapore in Feb 2007. She has also toured the United States and Canada extensively for a concert tour in September and October 2007.
In 2003 she was awarded the Kalki Krishnamoorthy award and in the same year she was given the Nada Oli title by Nada Inbam, Madras. She was awarded the CMANA award instituted by The Carnatic Music Association of North America, Inc. NJ (USA) Dr. MLV Endowment by Narada Gana Sabha 2006. She has been awarded the Shanmuka Sangita Shironmani title by Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts and Sangeetha Sabha, Mumbai and the Isai Peroli title by The Karthik Fine Arts Chennai.
A number of her Commercial albums have been released by Charsur Digital Workstation and other companies.
Here are a couple of recent videos.
Grandsons of the legendary Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar, Shashikiran and Ganesh are cousins who sing as the vocal duo Carnatica brothers. The Carnatica brothers stormed the Carnatic music world at the age of two as child prodigies and have since emerged as front-ranking musicians. They have performed extensively in India and in USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and UAE. They now have a vast experience of over 3500 concerts, lecture demonstrations, jugalbandhis and fusion concerts. They have garnered critical acclaim and popularity with their emotive style of singing and their strict adherence to classicism.
Chitravina Ganesh, world-record setting slide instrumentalist and vocalist, is the grandson of the legendary Gottuvadyam Narayana Iyengar. He stormed into the world of carnatic music even at the tender age of two and a half, just like his illustrious cousin, Chitravina N Ravikiran. Trained by Chitravina maestro Narasimhan (his maternal uncle), Ganesh was able to identify and render around 225 Ragas and 175 Talas and answer numerous other technical questions with ease.
Ganesh also had the rare privilege of learning from Sangeeta Kalanidhi T Brinda for a few years and is among the best chitravina performers in the country today. In May 2004, he set a record for the longest concert by any slide instrumentalist in the world by playing non-stop for 32 and half hours in Chennai, India. An A-grade artiste of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Ganesh has performed in tandem with Ravikiran as Asia Brothers and also accompanied top notch artistes like Smt T Mukta, Dr Balamuralikrishna and Smt Sowmya in several concerts and recordings.
Kalaimamani Nagai Muralidaran is one of the top ranking violin artists today. He initially learned from his mother R. Komalavalli, and later from vidwan R.S. Gopalakrishnan. His skillful handling of the violin and excellent grasp of the raga and laya make him the accompanist of choice of all the leading vidwans. A regular on Indian radio and TV, Muralidharan is also the recipient of numerous awards and has performed in many countries.
Sri Srimushanam V. Raja Rao was born in Palayamkottai, Tamil Nadu and received his initial training in Mridangam from his father Sri S. Venkataramana Rao. He has trained under some of the most eminent teachers of his time and has performed extensively both in India and abroad, accompanying a number of outstanding Carnatic and Hindustani vocalists. Besides Mridangam, he also plays the Kanjira and Morsing. He has won a number of awards and honors including the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award.
One of the most sought after Carnatic classical vocalists of today, P. Unnikrishnan was born on 9th of July 1966 to K. Radhakrishnan and Dr Harini Radhakrishnan. His family home, sari Kuteeram, was a well known landmark of Madras city, with his great grandfather Dr. K.N. Kesari being an Ayurvedic physician and the promoter of the popular Telugu women’s magazine Gruhalakshmi. His mother had noticed his talents in music and enrolled him for classical music lessons under Sri VL Seshadri who initiated him to Carnatic music at the age of 12. He studied at the Asan Memorial School and graduated from the Vivekananda College, Madras University in 1987 with a B Com degree. He is a national award winning playback singer for his debut film song ‘Ennavale Adi Ennavale’ which was composed by A. R. Rahman. He is one of the permanent judges in the reality television show AIRTEL Super Singer on Vijay TV in both the seasons (2006, 2008 & 2010-2011) and 2008 Idea Star Singer on Asianet. Unnikrishnan received many awards and titles including the Kalaimamani Award from the Government of Tamilnadu, Best Raga award from Music Academy and Yuvakala Bharati from Bharat Kalachar.
Embar S. Kannan
Embar S. Kannan is highly accomplished as a violinist and is in the forefront of violinists of the younger generation. His bowing technique is of high quality, marked by sweetness and clarity. He had his initial training in Carnatic music under Sri Subbanna Bhagavatar and Vittal Ramamurthy and in western classical music under music director, Diwakar master. He then continued his formal training in the violin under Kum. A. Kanyakumari. A recipient of many awards and honors for both his solo and his accompanying skills, he is an A grade artist of the All India Radio and has played solo concerts and accompanied many leading artists. He has traveled widely and performed in concerts in USA, Europe, and the Far East. Read more about Embar Kannan here.
Anand Anantha R. Krishnan
Anand started his musical journey on the mridangam, the principle drum of South Indian music, the Carnatic tradition. Anand started performing full-fledged concerts as a child, and has since cemented his position as a premier mridangam-ist of his generation, carrying forth one of the greatest drumming traditions. The grandson and disciple of the pioneering, venerated and award winning mridangam maestro, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Shri. Palghat R. Raghu – Anand learned the fundamentals of the mridangam under his uncle, Shri. R. Ramkumar and began an official tutelage under his grandfather at the age of five.
Sri Neyveli Santhanagopalan is an acclaimed senior musician steeped in traditional classicism. Renowned for rendering effective concerts couched in ‘Bhakthi’ (devotion) and ‘Bhava’ (emotion), he skillfully elevates music to the pedestal of divine life philosophy. His excellent theoretical depth with extensive research of the best approaches makes him a distinctive musicologist. This great multifaceted and versatile singer is also proficient at playing the veena and percussion instruments with strengths in ‘laya’ exposition.
A couple of recent video clips –
He hails from a culturally strong family, and was initiated into music by his mother Smt. Jayalakshmi Ammaal. He obtained his early guidance from reputed gurus like Chembai Sri. C.S.Anantharama Bhagavathar and Srirangam Sri. Ranganathan.
Neyveli has distinguished himself with numerous successful concerts worldwide and is the recipient of many awards from music associations in India and overseas. He has been awarded the Sangeetha Kala Sarathy by Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha,the oldest Sabha in Chennai, Naada Sevitha by Naadabrahmam Music Journal, Nama Sankeerthana Rathan by G.K.Foundation, and Sri Vidya Thapasvi by the Thapas Academy. He has also received Rasika Priya Rathna award from a prominent music organization in Australia. Garnering the Aasthaana Vidwan (Primary musician) titles from the most esteemed Kanchi Mutt, Sringeri Mutt, and Sri Ganapathy Sachidananda Mutt (religious establishments) has been a great honor for this deeply religious musician.
Outside of stage performances, Neyveli has been instrumental in promoting South Indian Classical Music education in India and abroad. He is the Dean of the Nityananda Music Academy (in USA); founded ‘Nada Pata S’ala’ to coach and guide budding musicians; anchors a daily music program ‘SaRiGaMaPa’ for JayaTV and promotes Internet-based music teaching/learning via www.imi.in/elearning. He has done extensive research on ‘Nada Laya Yoga,’ a new initiative exploring the medicinal and curative effects of music.
Ranjani & Gayatri – Vocal
Born into a family deeply involved in classical music, Ranjani and Gayatri’s musical talents were discovered at a very early age. The sisters, even as toddlers, showed an uncanny capacity to grasp the subtle nuances of Carnatic music. Gayatri could identify over a hundred ragas when she was barely two and a half and Ranjani could delineate complex Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi-s when she was barely five years old. Their formal vocal training commenced under their mother, Smt.Meenakshi an accomplished Carnatic vocalist. They started their violin training at the age of nine and six respectively from Sangita Bhooshanam Prof. T.S. Krishnaswami at the Shanmukhananda Sangeeta Vidyalaya, Mumbai. Their musical values gained shape and direction under the watchful guidance of their father and mentor Sri.N.Balasubramanian.
Recent video clips of Ranjani & Gayatri -
Ranjani and Gayatri’s musical career was launched as they barely reached their teens. The sisters’ first concert was for the prestigious Indian Music Group, Mumbai in 1986, at the age of thirteen and ten respectively. Through their intense training and fine artistry, they quickly established themselves as top-class violinists of international repute. The sisters achieved spectacular success as violin duet performers, and subsequently they also proved successful as most sought after violin accompanists. Both Ranjani and Gayatri have accompanied various artistes on the violin, including the legendary D.K.Pattammal, M.Balamurali Krishna, T.Vishwanathan and other popular, leading musicians of their generation. They are the recipients of the Government of India Talent Search Scholarship from the age of ten and winners of the first prize in the All India Radio National Competition for Violin. They received the title of “Sangeeta Shanmukha Mani” conferred by Shanmukhananada Fine Arts and Sangeeta Vidyalaya, Mumbai, and won the Outstanding Violinists Award for four consecutive years from the Music Academy, Chennai from 1994 to 1998.
Ranjani and Gayatri shifted from Mumbai to Chennai, the Mecca of Carnatic music in the year 1993. Subsequently, they started learning from Padma Bhushan Sri.P.S.Narayanaswamy. They started giving vocal concerts since 1997 and soon won high praise from discerning critics and music lovers all over the globe. Their music, imbued with a deep and abiding classicism, has been described as an exhilarating blend of vitality, melody and emotion. Their concerts have been featured in all prominent sabhas in the December Music Festival in Chennai, and at premier institutions and prestigious festivals all over India. Ranjani and Gayatri are one of the most sought after vocalists today and their concerts are instant sell-outs. They have performed abroad widely in countries including the United States of America, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia and the Middle East.
Numerous honours, awards and titles have been bestowed on Ranjani and Gayatri, in recognition of their outstanding talent and contribution to Carnatic music. A few of them are mentioned below -
- Sanskriti Award from Sanskriti Pratishtan, New Delhi (only the third carnatic musicians in thirty years to be so honoured)
- Title of “Isai Peroli” from the Kartik Fine Arts, Chennai
- National Eminence Award from Shanmukhananda Fine Arts, Mumbai
- The Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award
About their music
Perfection of sruti, powerful voice control and impeccable aesthetics which reflect the timeless values of classicism – these are some of the qualities that describe the music of Ranjani and Gayatri. Above all this, it is the sisters’ capacity to deeply experience and enjoy what they sing, that takes their music to a different plane. Their two voices blend and contrast to strike a fine balance between vibrancy and contemplation, intellect and emotion, tradition and innovation. It is this unique combination in their music that appeals to the connoisseur and the lay listener alike. Audiences eagerly await and savour their in-depth Ragam-tanam-Pallavi-s and soul-stirring viruthams, which are special features of Ranjani Gayatri’s repertoire.They have given many thematic concerts and have an extensive repertoire consisting of gems of the Trinity, old and contemporary Tamil compositions and other languages including Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Marathi. The sisters are also gifted composers, who have set to music many abhangs, bhajans, and other compositions.
H.N Bhaskar – Violin
Vidwan Mysore HN Bhaskar is the son and disciple of Vidwan Sri HK Narasimha Murthy and Vidushi Smt HN Rajalakshmi of Mysore. He is a grade A violinist of All India Radio and Doordarshan. Widely noted for his emotive and adroit playing, he is one of the most sought after violinists of this era. Bhaskar has been under the able guidance of the great Violin Maestro Sangeetha Kalanidhi Padmasri Parur MS Gopalakrishan for the past 10 years. He is accompanying all the top-notch artistes of the day and has been extensively recommended by all. He is also a reputed and a graded composer of All India Radio. He travels all over the globe for accompaniment and solo performances. Bhaskar is also well-versed in music direction and has directed and performed in numerous fusion shows across the globe with internationally reputed artistes.
N Manoj Siva – Mridangam
N.Manoj Siva began his training in Mridangam under Kumbakonam Shri.Rajappa Iyer and Srirangarajapuram Jayaraman in the year 1978 and later on came under the tutelage of Sangitha Kalanidhi Palghat R.Raghu in the year 1992.
Is a “Top Rank Grade “grade artiste of All India Radio Chennai and has been in the profession for more than 20 years. Known for his soft and accommodative style he has accompanied stalwarts like Shri.D.K.Jayaraman, Shri.K.V.Narayanaswamy, Smt.D.K.Pattamal, Smt.T.Muktha, Shri.R.K.Srikantan, Shri.P.S.Narayanswamy, Sri N.Ramani, Smt.R.Vedavalli, Shri.T.N.Seshagopalan, Shri.T.V.Sankaranarayanan.
Has won many prizes and awards notably Yuva Kala Bharathi by the Bharath Kalachar, Chennai, the “Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar Award” by the Central Sangeeth Natak Academi for the year 2006, the Nathan memorial award by Sruthi Laya Kendra of Guru Karaikudi Mani for the year 2007, the Kanchi Kamakoti Aasthana vidwan by the Kanchi mutt for the year 2009 and the title of ‘Mrudangam Mani’ by the kanchi mutt in 2010.
Has traveled abroad widely on concert tours to countries U.S.A, Canada, London, Germany, Malaysia, Australia, Sri Lanka ,Dubai Netherlands and Belgium .