Sri Krishna Gana Sabha - Yagnaraman July Fest 2015
Valedictory Function of the Yagnaraman July Fest , Sri G Srinivasan, Chairman & M.D.,The New India Assurance Co.Ltd. conferred the title 'SKGS Yagnaraman Living Legend' on Dr Yamini Krishnamurti and the SKGS Yagnaraman Award of Excellence was awarded to V Anirudh Athreya, Subhashree Ramachandran and Lakshmi Gopalaswamy
The Kalasagar awards instituted in memory of chenda maestro Kalamandalam Krishnankutty Poduval, were presented on his 91st birth anniversary to several artists, on 28 May at Changapuzha park in Edapally, Kerala. The function was inaugurated by the chief guest Balakrishnan Koyyal, Station Director, AIR-Kochi. V.M. Girija delivered the keynote address, and rich tributes were paid to Krishnankutty Poduval by Dr. Mankulam Krishnan Namboodiri, V. Kaladharan and Dr. C.P. Unnikrishnan.
Apart from Kathakali actor Peesappilly Rajeev, Kathakali accompanists were also honoured. They included Kalamandalam Babu Namboodiri (music), Kottakkal Prasad (chenda), Kottakkal Radhakrishnan (maddalam), and Kalamandalam Balan (chutti or make-up).
Artists belonging to different genres were honoured -- Vayalar Krishnankutty (Ottanthullal), Vallachira C.N. Ramachakyar (Koodiyattam), Kala Vijayan (Mohini Attam), Kalamandalam Sugandhi (Bharatanatyam), Kalamandalam Sangeetha (Kuchipudi), and Kalanilayam Udayan Namboodiri (thayambaka). The Panchavadyam artists felicitated on the occasion were Kelath Kuttappa Marar (timila), Kalamandalam Kuttynarayanan (maddalam), Tiruvalatoor Sivan ( edakka), Kalloor Raghu (talam) and Kummath Ramankutty (kombu).
The finale was the staging of the Kathakali play Baali Vijayam.
Vasundhara Komkali is no more
The town of Dewas in Madhya Pradesh, which emerged as a musical capital for Hindustani classical rasikas, stands silent today. Renowned vocalist and guru- Vasundhara Komkali passed away on 29 July, 2015, after a brief illness. Affectionately called ‘Vasundhara Tai’ by the music community, the octogenarian was the wife and disciple of the legendary Kumar Gandharva and a true embodiment of his musical legacy.
Born as Vasundhara Shrikhande in Jamshedpur, she was barely a teenager when she first met Kumar Gandharva at the All India Music Conference in Calcutta. Fascinated by his gayaki she requested him to teach her and he asked her to join him at Bombay. This did not happen immediately. She was training with Kalipada Banerjee and was already an established musician by the time she arrived in Mumbai much later, in 1946. Kumar Gandharva directed her to receive taalim from the Gwalior gharana stalwart Prof BR Deodhar, who had also mentored him. Later, she became a devoted disciple of Kumar Gandharva and they married in 1962. Her music became transformed as she profoundly imbibed the musical ideology and technique and the spiritual intensity of the maestro’s style.
For her substantial contribution to music Vasundhara Komkali was honoured with a number of awards, including the Padma Shri in 2006 and the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 2009.
Ms Komkali is survived by her daughter Kalapini Komkali, a respected vocalist in the same genre.
by Shrinkhla Sahai
SAFE Ramabhadran is no more
Carnatic music patron P. Ramabhadran passed away on 15 July 2015 in Chennai. He was 88.
He spent all his life promoting and propagating Carnatic music, wherever he lived. He, with a couple of like-minded friends, founded the Music Triangle in Bombay to cater to music lovers residing in the western suburbs of the city. He continued to support the organisation even after moving to Chennai, by identifying promising talent and providing a platform for them in that mega city.
He founded SAFE – Shanti Arts Foundation and Endowments – in Chennai in memory of his daughter. Through this organisation too, his aim was to showcase bright and potential talent. The October and December concert series showcased both promising youngsters and senior musicians.
An ardent admirer of GNB, he spearheaded the Global GNB celebrations during GNB's centenary year.
Just one year short of its twentieth anniversary, Ramabhadran Mama, as he was fondly known, decided to honour eleven musicians during the December event last year. Did he have a premonition that he would not be around to hold the celebrations this year?
Many are the artists who have passed through the portals of the Music Triangle and SAFE, who acknowledge their gratitude to these sabhas and to Ramabhadran in particular.
He also earmarked funds for charity, supporting needy students of music with scholarships to learn from eminent musicians. All this entirely with his own resources, without having to depend on donations or sponsorships.
The quiet, dignified presence of SAFE Ramabhadran will be sorely missed at all the sabhas.
By Gayathri Sundaresan
K. Raghavendra Rao passes away
Kalale Raghavendra Rao (80), writer, longtime contributor to Sruti from Mysore, and an engineer by profession, passed away on 3 August 2015 at his residence in Mysore. He was suffering from age-related ailments. He leaves behind his wife Prema, son K.R. Vasudeva, daughters Sudhamayi Havaldar, Chandrika Gururaj and Manisha Gupta. His eldest son-in-law, Dr. Nagaraj Havaldar, is a noted Hindustani vocalist in Bangalore.
Rao had worked in many parts of India. His last assignment was as General Manager and later on Director of Oriental Electric & Engineering Co. Ltd., Kolkata, for 17 years. As the president of Karnataka Association and Madhwa Samaj of Kolkata, he had invited a number of artists from all over India for performances at Kolkata and his residence was a veritable guesthouse for eminent artists.
After retirement, Rao was engaged in studies of philosophy and scriptures. He authored four books – Gift that is Life, My Enjoyment of Music, On the Other Hand, and Rigbhashya and Astrophysics, besides several research articles. His last work Vishnu Sahasranama: Aadibhautika Interpretation, has received scholarly review in Vedanta Kesari of August 2015.
From young age, Rao had good exposure to Carnatic, Hindustani and Western music. He was very knowledgeable about them and was quite a regular contributor to Sruti from 1986 to 2002. The late N. Pattabhi Raman held Rao in high esteem for his well researched articles.