Episode 80: Featured Composition — Shankari Shankuru — Part IV

In this concluding episode of the sub-series on the composition “Shankari Samkuru” by Shyama Shastri we continue our discussion on how Shyama Shastri has masterfully employed the concept of dual tala. Using examples from various parts of the song, Vidya goes into greater detail and lays out how the tala construct and specific syllables in the lyric connect up in the two talas – Rupaka tala and Adi tala in tisra gati.


Episode 79: Featured Composition — Shankari Shankuru — Part III

In this episode we continue our discussions on “Shankari Shankuru”, a composition by Shyama Shastri. Vidya introduces the audience to the core tala construct used in this composition. Shyama Shastri has masterfully composed this song such that the rhythm can be kept in either of two talas, the Rupaka tala or the Adi tala in tisra gati. Vidya sings snippets from the Pallavi to demonstrate this interesting aspect of the composition.

Episode 78: Featured Composition – Shankari Shankuru – Part II

We continue our analysis of the Shyama Shastri composition: Sankari Sankuru in the raaga Saveri. Using several phrases and snippets from the Anupallavi and Charanam portions of this composition, Vidya illustrates how the composer has skillfully weaved in some of the subtle nuances of this wonderful raaga.

Episode 77: Featured Composition – Sankari Sankuru – Part 1

In this episode we feature a Shyama Shastri composition: Sankari Sankuru, in the raaga Saveri set to Adi tala in Tisra gati. Vidya covers the high-level meaning of the song as well as showcases some of the salient Saveri phrases that Shyama Shastri has skillfully used in the Pallavi of this song.

Episode 76: Featured Composer — Shyama Shastri

In this episode we feature the renowned composer: Shyama Shastri. Shyama Shastri is the oldest of the relatively contemporary trinity of Carnatic music (the other two being Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar). Vidya discusses his compositional format, style, and contributions to the field of Carnatic music. We conclude the episode with a snippet from a rendering of a Shyama Shastri composition by the stalwart musician, Sri. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer.

Episode 75: Featured Raaga — Punnagavarali

In this episode we feature the raaga Punnagavarali. Vidya shares with us the probable origins of this traditional raaga in the music of snake charmers as well as its scale and structure. We discuss how this raaga offers limited improvisational scope, and yet has been used by all three of the trinity composers. Vidya also elaborates on the concept of Madhayama Sruti, which involves a shifting up the fundamental note to the original Ma (4th note from the fundamental).

Episode 74: Featured Composition — Kanakashaila Viharini

In this concluding episode of our sub-series featuring compositions on the temple town of Kanchipuram, we feature a Shyama Shastri composition: Kanakashaila Viharini in the raaga Punnagavarali. Vidya shares with us the meaning of this song, and uses the three segments of this composition, i.e. Pallavi, Anupallavi and Charanam to show us a glimpse of the form and flow of this raaga.

Episode 73: Featured Raaga — Bilahari

Continuing our discussion from Episode 72, we take a minor detour from our series on compositions dedicated to Kanchipuram and feature the raaga Bilahari. Vidya shares with us the basic contours of this raaga, and discusses why it is typically considered a lively one to perform on the concert platform. We also list some well known compositions in this raaga and finish with an short alapana that features the key Bilahari phrases we heard in the Pallavi of the composition Kamakshi Varalakshmi.

Episode 72: Featured Composition — Kamakshi Varalakshmi

Raaga Rasika wishes you all a happy new year! In this episode we feature a composition by Muthuswami Dikshitar: Kamakshi Varalakshmi in the raaga Bilahari. This is a continuation of our discussion featuring compositions by each of the Carnatic music trinity on the temple town of Kanchipuram. Vidya sings snippets from this composition and explains the meaning across the pallavi, anupallavi, and charanam of this song.

Episode 71 — Featured Composition: Vinayakuni

We continue our discussion on the temple town of Kanchipuram by featuring compositions by each of the Carnatic music trinity on this location. In this episode, we highlight the Tyagaraja composition “Vinayakuni”, in the raaga Madhyamavathi. Vidya sings snippets from this composition and explains the meaning, the salient aspects of the raaga Madhyamavathi and provides some illustrations on how Trinity compositions often provide the foundation for creative aspects in Carnatic music.

Episode 70: Featured Place — Kanchipuram

We turn our attention to yet another noteworthy temple town in South India which has tremendous significance to the world of Carnatic music: Kanchipuram. In this episode, we talk about this town and its amazing temples. We also discuss the influence this town has had on the art form as well as prominent composers who have composed on this location. Vidya shares several snippets of popular compositions that are based on the various temple deities in this town.

Episode 69: Analysis of an “RTP” by Sri. GNB

In this concluding episode on Sri. GNB, we analyze a Raagam-Thanam-Pallavi (RTP) rendered by him in the intricate and rich raaga: Bhairavi. We showcase Sri GNB’s incredible talent as he brings out various details of this raaga in a step-by-step fashion with tremendous creative energy. Vidya takes up snippets from each of the three segments of the RTP and discusses them in some detail.

Episode 68: Featured Person: Sri. G. N. Balasubramaniam – Part II

We continue our conversation on Sri. GNB and discuss his talent, music and style. Vidya talks about the GNB Baani (or the GNB school) as well as the incredible improvisational and creative talent he brought to bear – including his contributions to techniques such as graha bedham and neraval. We conclude this episode with a snippet from a GNB composition “Samagama Lole”, rendered by one of his prime students – Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari.

Episode 67: Featured Person: Sri. G. N. Balasubramaniam – Part I

In this episode, we feature the legendary musician, Sri. G. N. Balasubramaniam (1910-1965). We discuss how Carnatic music shaped and influenced his early childhood days and his debut performance in the city of Madras (now called Chennai). We finish with a snippet from a concert recording to give a glimpse of the experience enjoyed by audiences during his time.

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