Sunday, January 5, 2020

December Music season: Fulfilling Evenings At Kalakshetra!

Koothambalam
Koothambalam (auditorium)....Old one! (Image source)

The renovated Kooththambalam!



This clip is an elaborate one.  This group, Keremane artists are very famous, I was told. I saw this Yakshagana programme after a very very long time.  When I was a school going kid, I used to watch this program at Kodavooru, my village near Udupi...it was a whole night program.  I used to copy their dance movements like turning the palms upward downward and walking around the stage in circular movements. Swirling around on two knees...which is not easy! You can see all these things in the above video.  The story we watched was 'Kaarthaveeraarjuna Kalaga' by Keremane group.  The yakshagaana stories are mostly from mythology, but in normal coloquial Kannada/tulu languages. Sit on sand in an open maidan and watch from 8/9 pm till 6 am the next day! I am posting this link just to show how women characters are shown in this play.  All are men in women's dress: Women don't participate in Yakshagaana.

I went to the carnatic music  concert of Smt.Ranjani and Smt. Gayatri, the next day.  Pure classical music.  3 hours' non-stop music.  I think they are the best in this season.  The concert hall was too crowded.  Everybody was clapping often whenever a good piece of rendition was there.  They are very good.  We heard raagam taanam pallavi elaborately, which is very rare to be heard in the short duration concerts, here.  Thank god, this was 3 hours' concert and not 2 hour concert, 6 to 9 pm.  Got this in 'you tube', though this is not the one we heard there.

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From their wiki:

Ranjani and Gayatri started their musical journey as violinists even before they reached their teens, performing in leading sabhas (music organizations) all over the country and abroad. Besides playing the violin duet, they have also performed along with musicians such as Smt.D.K.Pattammal, Sri M Balamurali Krishna, T.Vishwanathan.

Marathi Abhang!

This one is in raag Chandrakauns+Madhukauns...when I visited 'you tube' for their songs, I came across this beautiful song! The sisters seem to be very good in Hindustani raagaas too! Don't miss it. It is here!

One more song by Ranjani Gayatri sisters in raaga Yaman Kalyani. The rendition is very good. It is here!

An interesting anecdote about the sisters' unique sarees.  Many sisters wear sarees in same colour combination and sometimes similar jewellery too.  These sisters chose sarees like one will wear a pink saree with green border, the other one wear green saree with pink border (same design!).  You can see this in the links in 'you tube':) They don't seem to wear flashy sarees too, which is very nice! Hear their view here!

We heard Pt.Sanjeev Abhyankar's concert the next day.  He is Pt.Jasraj's student.  The raagas we heard at Kalakshetra were very good.  We could notice Pt.Jasraj's touch everywhere in his singing.  Effortless beautiful singing. Hear one song here:



Sanjeev Abhyankar, Hindustani music concert!
We were not supposed to take pictures or videos at the concert.  This was taken before the concert started.  I just wanted to post a picture of the stage arrangement at Kalakshetra.  Simple and beautiful.  It is not air-conditioned but the auditorium was cool with natural breeze throughout.  Neem leaves' smoke was distributed via a bamboo basket taken all over the auditorium; as a result, mosquito bites were not felt even though the doors were kept open.

(We had gone on a tour of Kalakshetra last year or so, and I wrote about it...have a look! Read more about this place here!)

I noticed one more thing in this music season: Normally, before concluding the concert, with mangalam, the artists sing light melodies like bhajans (Kabirdas, Purandara dasa etc.). Nowadays, Marathi abhangs are becoming famous. Most of them sing abhangs which are melodious to the ears. South Indians are opening up for all types of music let alone Carnatic music, nowadays, which is a good sign. You can read my earlier posts about my visit to the concerts here!

Did you go to any concert? If so, pl. mention in the comment section!

Going to Zakir Hussain(tabla) and Niladri's (sitar) concert next week at the Music Academi! Happy times!

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7 comments :

Swaram said...

Sandhya, so glad to have you back. :) I envy you Madrasis during the Magazhi. :)
Have a wonderful time at all the concerts, and come tell us more about them. :)

Sandhya said...

SWARAM: Thanks for the first comment, Swathi! We enjoyed the concerts thoroughly! come home during the season next year and I will take you to the concerts!

ashok said...

Nice to know u enjoyed the concerts!

Wini said...

I love Ranjani and Gayathri too! They are so grounded. Enjoyed reading about your childhood memories of watching Yakshaganna. I distinctly remember the neem smoke at Kalakshetra— it somehow enhances the concert experience. Smells divine. Do keep writing maami!

Sandhya said...

ASHOK: Thank you, Ashok! All of them were good!

WINI: Not a single mosquito was there...though I have heard Ranjani and Gayatri in TV, this was the first time I heard them live. They sang continuously for 3 hours. The younger sister had severe cold. She was blowing her nose and continued singing without any coarseness. Great singing. Abhang and Kabirdas bhajan were also very good. We get to hear the elaborate raagam thaanam pallavi very rarely. Did you watch the video about their sarees? They are talking there. Missed you with us, Ashwini!

KParthasarathi said...

Lucky you are living close to the venue and in a position to savour the music and dances of the season.R&G are my favourites and they have been holding their own unassailable position with their captivating music liked alike by the lay rasika and the cognoscenti.

When I read about the neem leaves smoke,I was reminded of my younger days where the sabhas would be sprayed with kunega marikozhundhu scent leaving a strong but pleasant fragrance wafting in the hall all through the concerts.

I do not know much about Yalksha ganams or Hindustani classical.With the advent of you tubes the patronage to sabhas is reduced but the experience of listening in the hall is unique and irreplaceable.
Keep coming up with your posts regularly and frequently.

Sandhya said...

K.PARTHASARATHY: Thank you very much for the detailed comment, Kp! Yes, I am blessed to be living here near the venue itself!

Ranjani and Gayatri sisters were superb. The artists also give lot of importance to the Art school, Bharat Kalakshetra and feel privileged to showcase their talent here. Both the sisters and the Hindustani exponent, Abhyankar said so! Abhyankar had come here to perform with his guru Pt.Jasraj 16 years back, it seems. But he was here now to PERFORM!

Everybody can't enjoy Yakshagaana...It was in Kannada too. But we can enjoy this type of ancient art if we have the mindset. The stories are mostly derived from Ramayana, Mahabharatha etc, So, it will not be difficult to follow.

Thank you, once more, Kp for the beautiful comment!

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