Sunday, 31 December 2017

Dance fest at Mammallapuram

The annual dance festival hosted by the Tamil Nadu state tourism department at the World Heritage Site of Mammallapuram ( 50kms from the city) is now on. 

Classical and folk dances are presented on a  stage near the Arjuna's Penance rock-cut sculptural piece here.

Remembering Chandralekha

Chandralekha, the iconic dancer who broke away from traditional Bharatanatyam and created some highly appreciated dance productions is remembered every year at year's end at her home and studio in Chennai called Spaces, located off the Elliots Beach in Besant Nagar.


On Dec.30 evening,  Uday Shankar musician-inventor of the chitra-venu stringed instrument performed at this tribute concert. ( This is an instrument of a sliding flute and a stringed instrument box)

Some 250 people sat in the open-to-sky performance space to watch this recital.

N. Ravikiran, chitravina maestro came by to listen for a short while.

This space is at the north end of the beach road, opposite the shore.

Ring in 2018 with music

You can soak in music at midnight to welcome the new year by attending a series of concerts hosted by Carnatica and Sri Thyaga Brahma Sabha at its T. Nagar auditorium. 

Dozens of artistes including some well known vidwans are scheduled to perform here from 10 p.m. onwards on Sunday night ( Dec.31).

Carnatica's K N Shashikiran says the music will be 'meditative' in nature, with bhajans and devotional music included.

Open to all. 

The show will be web-streamed later at www.carnaticworld.com - so rasikas around the world can watch it.

Superstar at concert

Actor Rajinikanth dropped in at the Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium to watch a dance-drama by Dr Padma Subrahmanyam and co-artistes on Friday evening. 
After the recital, he went up on stage and greeted the artistes and posed for pictures too.

On Sunday morning, he has announced his entry into politics, saying he will launch his own party. And Tamil Nadu is abuzz.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Natya Conference is on 'Sringaram'; here is a preview note

Here comes the second academic-recitals fest on classical dance - Natya Kala Conference, hosted by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha at its T. Nagar premises. It opens on Dec.26 morning.

Dancer-doctor Srinidhi Chidambaram is the convenor, carrying on from this role of last Season.

The theme this December is 'Sringaram'.

Here is an exeerpt from a note from Srinidhi on 'Sringaram' -

 '…..  love is hailed as the king of rasas.  Delineating subtle shades and hues, it is a complex rasa that is evoked from the multi-layered dynamics of love and romance. \ The 2017 edition of the Natya Kala Conference is an attempt to celebrate sringaram in all its glory.

'We aim to explore why this rasa, one of the navarasas, has enjoyed the privilege of being hailed as the supreme rasa, capable of constant innovation in creation and expression. 

'The Natya Kala Conference 2017 offers a insightful exploration of the various interpretations and connotations of Sringaram in different genres of not only Indian classical dance but also its manifestation across the Indian performing arts.'

'This year, exponents from across all classical dance forms including Sadanam Balakrishnan (Kathakali), Sharmila Biswas (Odissi), Vaibhav Arekar (Bharatanatyam), and Rajendra and Niurpama (Kathak), amongst others will present their insights into sringaram.

'Some of the subjects that will be explored in the sessions include sringaram from the male perspective, sringaram from the Geeta Govindam, sringaram in the compositions of maharaja Swati Tirunal, sringaram – from Tyagaraja’s eyes amongst others.

'A few eminent personalities like writer Devdutt Pattanaik, poet Vairamuthu, and writer-historian V Sriram are also billed to speak here.'


The conference is also hosting an exclusive workshop by Bharatanatyam and Abhinaya exponent, Priyadarsini Govind on performing Sringaram, in a parallel venue - this is for students of dance. For info, contact 9840792782.

Karaikudi Mani's platform for musicians

If Hamsadhwani hosts concerts for NRI artistes then guru Karaikudi Mani hosts a series of concerts for 'musicians living abroad'. He calls them the MLA concerts. These are held at the small hall at Sri Krishna Gana Sabha in T. Nagar. 


This season, artistes from Singapore, Australia and USA are here to perform alongside city-based artistes.

Chettinad snacks for rasikas

This is a surprise treat for rasikas who attend the Tamil Isai Sangam's concerts in George Town. 

A snacks stall on campus offers exclusive Chettinad snacks - thattais, ladoos, murukkus and more. A set of women make paniyarams in the kitchen- the standard ones served with chutney and sweet variety.
The Arvind brand of Chettinad Snacks, which has its factory in Madurai and is founded in Devakottai is offering these specials.


Open from 5 p.m. till month end.

Music beyond the sabha circles

There is music beyond the city's sabhas in Chennai. After all, it is the season of margazhi.
The celebration through music takes different forms.

In the Chitrakulam zone of Mylapore, for example a Hanumath jayanthi music fest is held every year by the Sri Panchamugha Anjaneya Aradhana Trust.

Concerts are held at a community hall in this area ( P. K. Mahal), from morning to late evening and even top rung artistes perform here in informal settings, facing the images of the gods.
Religion, rituals and music mingle here.

On the opening night, violin maestro T. N. Krishnan and his children, also violinists performed and there were over 100 rasikas staying on till 9.30 p.m.


Open to all.

Is the zing missing at sabhas this far?

Is there is a zing to the current December Season?
If one goes by the atmosphere, lobby buzz and attendance at sabhas across concerts of the day, then it appears that the zing is missing. That is the feel one gets as of today.
On two evenings, the lobby of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan in Mylapore was empty even during the breaks between concerts.

Last week, on a Wednesday evening, there were only a handful of rasikas inside the main auditorium here. And in the smaller hall on the first floor some 20 people were listening to a vocal concert.
Does this indicate to the fact that scheduling dozens and dozens of concerts just for the Season is actually not serving any great purpose?

There is a big buzz at concerts where the well-known artistes perform. And this is the case at a few old-time sabhas and at The Music Academy.
But the zing isn't there at morning concerts which we have checked out.

We are told that rasikas from outside the city and some from abroad will land here on the Christmas weekend.
Most sabhas schedule the concerts of the big artistes then, those of star artistes who draw the maximum audience during the Christmas week, timing it for many rasikas who travel to this city to soak in the music of the Season.
The rush for tickets for such concerts continues.


But if one looks beyond these circles of music, the atmosphere and the buzz is certainly missing - as on date.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Thiruppavai Upanyasam: list of venues in Chennai


Many sabhas in Chennai are hosting Thiruppavai discourses on their premises. Similar discourses are also held by private entities. Here is a check-list -

< Kidambi Narayanan will deliver Thiruppavai upanyasam at the mini hall of Narada Gana Sabha in Alwarpet. On till January 13, 2018. 7 a.m. daily. Open to all.

< A Thiruppavai discourse series is on from Dec.16 to January 13, 2018 in R. A. Puram's Jeth Nagar ( Narayaniammal Kalyana Mantap). It is delivered by U Ve Dr. M V Ananthapadmanabhachar swami, editor of Sri Nrisimhapriya magazine. Open to all. Daily at 6.45 p.m.
Organised by Swami Nammazhvar Foundation. Contact 98408 90059.

< Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan is hosting Thiruppavai Upanyasam from Dec 16 to January 13, 2018 daily 7 a.m. onwards by U. Ve. Kalyanapuram R. Aaravamudachariar. Open to all.


< From December 16 onwards, Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha is hosting Thiruppavai upanyasam at its hall in T. Nagar. The discourses are by U Ve Akkarakkani Srinidhi swami. Daily from 7 am to 8.30 a.m. till January 13, 2018. Open to all.

Sale of daily tickets at Music Academy


If you wish to buy tickets to the evening concerts at the Music Academy, you will have to head to the sales counter on its campus in the morning. It opens at 9 a.m. 

There are limited tickets, we are told. Expect a queue on the days when the very popular artistes are slated to perform - like the concerts of Bombay Jayashri and Ranjani-Gayatri.

Sad news on a Sunday morning

The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's Chennai kendra team in Mylapore and its well-wishers woke up on Sunday morning to sad news. 

The Bhavan's director, K. N. Ramaswamy lost his wife - Kamala Ramaswamy died of cardiac arrest early that morning. She had attended a concert at the Bhavan the previous evening, like she often did. 


To the Ramaswamys, the Bhavan is second home. Kamala, a trained singer devoted time to bhajans and devotionals. In recent years, she encouraged women in their 50s and 60s in her Mylapore colony to spare time to come to her place and learn devotional songs; this gave all of them a break from their humdrum lives. Some of them went on to join Kamala at concerts.