Thursday, August 21, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Anand Sundaram - Mohana Veena - Hamsadhwani

Anand Sundaram - Mohana Veena - Hamsadhwani

Anand Sundaram, specialising in Mohan Veena, is a disciple of Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and his son Sri. Salil Bhatt. Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is the only Grammy Award Winner from India and the creator of the Mohan Veena.

Anand is a musician by passion and an IT Manager by profession, living in London.

In this clip, he plays Raga Hamsadhwani, integrating the North Indian Hindustani style with the South Indian Carnatic style.

He is accompanied on the tabla by Bhismadev Chakroborty, a Neuro Scientist based in Cambridge, who is also a classical tabla player, and leads a world music band.

Many thanks for visiting. Your feedback would be most appreciated.



This is a video of song SRI RAJA RAJESHWARI in the Raga PRABHUPRIYA set to ADHI tala composed by VEENA VENKATAGIRIYAPPA.(i.e.,VEENA is a south indian String instrument associated with the goddess Saraswathi,the deity of learning and fine arts). I also hold the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for MOST CONCERTS IN 24 HOURS.
You can read more about the record in the book GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2008 in page 76



This is a video of song RAGHUVAMSHA SUDHA in the Raga KATHANAKUTHUHALA set to ADHI tala composed by PATNAM SUBRAMANYA IYER.(i.e.,VEENA is a south indian String instrument associated with the goddess Saraswathi,the deity of learning and fine arts). I also hold the GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for MOST CONCERTS IN 24 HOURS.
You can read more about the record in the book GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS 2008 in page 76

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sushiri by G Jayaprakash - For Guinness, this is not the smallest yet

Sushiri by G Jayaprakash - For Guinness, this is not the smallest yet
M. Harish Govind for THE HINDU

The musician G. Jayaprakash is annoyed at the Guinness Book of Records refusing to accept his innovative `sushiri' as the smallest musical instrument. The musician G. Jayaprakash is annoyed at the Guinness Book of Records refusing to accept his innovative `sushiri' as the smallest musical instrument.

SMALL IS MUSICAL: G. Jayaprakash plays on the tiny wind instrument, `sushiri'. Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar for THE HINDU.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The efforts of a city-based musician, G. Jayaprakash, to get into the Guinness Book of Records for developing the smallest musical instrument have come to nought, with the global organisation refusing to alter the existing record being held by a nano-technology device developed by US scientists in the laboratory.

Jayaprakash's instrument, `sushiri,' is a chip of sandalwood 4.5 cm long, 1.5 cm wide, one mm thick and weighing just half a gram. The chip has four rows of minute holes on it, and when held close to the lips and played with fingers, it produces notes similar to those of a saxophone or a flute.

In response to Jayaprakash's application, Guinness wrote to say that his achievement does not better the existing record held by the nano-scale guitar developed by scientists at Cornell University, USA. The silicon `nano-guitar' is only as big as a single red-blood cell; it is `played' in a vacuum chamber, using a laser in place of a guitar-pick.

When a laser hits a string, the heat makes it vibrate at frequencies a thousand times higher than what the human ear can pick up. However, scientists say that they can detect the vibrations and electronically scale them down to audible tones. Interestingly, the device was developed not to make music, but to try out small devices that vibrate at very high frequencies — to find ways to create cheaper electronics that save energy.

Unfazed by the reply, Jayaprakash wrote back pointing out that his `sushiri' is a conventional wind instrument which produces the same sound frequencies as other such instruments. It can produce notes loud enough to be heard by about 100 persons in a room. Its notes could blend with those of other wind, string and percussion instruments in a concert, he said.

But the Guinness authorities refused to budge. "We are not at present interested in splitting the category into instrument types, and so the smallest guitar as mentioned takes precedence," they wrote back, adding that the decision was final.

Jayaprakash, 44, says that he developed the instrument after 15 years of research.

"I did not expect a prestigious global organisation such as Guinness to be so biased. How can they can call a laboratory device, which cannot be seen or heard, a musical instrument?" he asks.

A self-taught musician, Jayaprakash coaxes classical compositions such as `Om mahaganapathim...,' `Ennathapam cheithane...' and `Jnanappazhathe...' out of the `sushiri' with the finesse of a maestro. He played the instrument at the Soorya Art & Dance Festival held in the State capital in July last. He has now submitted a proposal to the Limca Book of World Records and is awaiting their response.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Ballad of love - Redefining changambuzha's "Ramanan"

Ballad of love - Redefining changambuzha's "Ramanan"

Album A group of musicians join hands to come up with a musical version of Changampuzha’s ‘Ramanan,’ writes Saraswathy Nagarajan

Redefining ‘Ramanan’ (from left) Kavalam Srikumar, Edapally Ajith Kumar, K.R.Roopa, Gayathri and Sreevalsan J. Menon

It is a timeless love story that has inspired filmmakers, authors, poets and scholars. And now a group of musicians have joined hands to come up with a musical on Changampuzha’s evergreen ‘Ramanan.’

“It was actually violinist Edapally Ajith Kumar who suggested the idea about two years ago. But then we were busy with our work on another album and it got postponed. We began working on ‘Ramanan’ last year. Most of the compositions have been scored by Ajith, and I did the rest,” says Carnatic vocalist Sreevalsan J. Menon, who is Ramanan’s voice in the audio album.

Kavalam Srikumar renders the lines of Ramanan’s friend Madanan while Super Star Global winner Roopa and playback singer Gayatri voices the lyrics of Chandramthi and Bhanumati respectively.

Emphasis on lyrics

“It was interesting to work on this popular kavyam that has been read and recited so many times. Some of the recitation was done impromptu and the emphasis was always on the lyrics. I feel this kind of a work will help reach the poem to a wider audience,” says Kavalam Srikumar.

Agreeing with him, Gayatri says that though the project is a first of its kind, she did not find it too difficult as most of the lines in one scene were set in a particular raga.

“I usually get carried away by notes and music, lyrics were not a priority for me. In this case, I had to be careful about the lyrics and pay attention to intonation and pronunciation. So, it was a new experience for me,” she adds.

Perhaps the first of its kind in Malayalam, the album, marketed by Manorama Music, promises to be a trendsetter.

“When my brother-in-law, Santosh, a Gulf-based entrepreneur, wondered aloud if we could do something to popularise Changampuzha’s work among a new generation of Malayalis, little did I imagine that it would turn out to be something so unique,” says Ajith.

Ajith adds that the fact that the story of the poem has strong connections to Edapally did not cross his mind then. “But when I started interpreting the poem musically, I did feel blessed to be involved in this project. Moreover, there is an innate melody and rhythm in the poem that makes it ideal for such a musical interpretation.”

Various ragas such as Kalyani, Hindolam, Abheri, Lavangi, Karnaranjani, Nasikabhushani …, with slight variations, have been used to compose the songs for the album. Sreevalsan hastens to add that though the orchestration has a contemporary touch to it, it has been composed in such a way that it does not drown the lyrics.

Says an enthused Sreevalsan: “It is an audio theatrical presentation. And we have none other than Nedumudi Venu (who won the National award for narration) narrating certain scenes to take the story forward. We have slightly abridged the original poem and again, in a break from the original, the narration begins with Madanan searching for his friend Ramanan and finally discovering his body in the forest. Then, in the flashback technique, popularised in our cinema, we go to the first scene and Ramanan’s story. And chipping in as Ramanan’s flute is Kudamaloor Janardhanan.”

The musicians aver that they were careful to maintain the rustic feel to the lyrics and not go in for affected voices.

According to Ajith, though they had tried to rope in some big names for the lead female voice of Chandramathi, their tight schedules forced them to opt for Roopa. But no regrets. “She has a fresh and unaffected voice,” says Ajith.

Sreevalsan points that since the poet himself has indicated where the chorus comes in and so on, it was easy to be in tune with the poem musically. The musicians chorus in one voice that the endeavour was a labour of love.

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to listen:

Monday, August 4, 2008

ANAND - a true leader - future of Arts & music in safe hands.

ANAND - a true leader - future of Arts & music in safe hands.

This week some of us were lucky enough to have skipped the urge to take hot summer holidays away from UAE. Six finalists from Amrita TV's Super Star Global programme visited Abu Dhabi to perform at the National Theatre. They arrived on 30th July and the show was held on 1st August. It turned out to be a huge success for the organisers Kerala Social Centre. A big surprise - more because of the facts that many fans/families were out of town due to summer holidays and the three day national holiday.

What made me write this article is the way these boys and girls conducted amongst themselves, with the fans and the crowd during their visit with their excellent behaviour and public relations.

Anand - I had watched him many times while performing for SSG and then his exit speech was one which set out to be an example for all the contestants of Reality shows. It didn't end there. He moved on to something new surprising all his fans and became the anchor of the Let's Dance show. How is he going to manage this - was one question which came to my mind at the beginning and had written off this programme - Let's Dance - with many other ordinary shows happening around. A casual watching of the show on one night during its re-telecast time here in Abu Dhabi changed my mind. It made me extend my TV watching time after the late night Middle East news.

My mind said, hey, this is someone whom I have to focus for my TQM values - a person who really views positive out of every situation and personalities.

I never thought I will be meeting him this fast. There comes a phone call from a friend of mine from KSC Abu Dhabi. The boys and girls whom you criticised and promoted are coming down to Abu Dhabi for a performance. Would it be possible to work out something extra for them elsewhere in other Emirates. Why not? It was a Wednesday afternoon and I was left with Thursday and the week from Sunday to Wednesday to arrange this. A few phone calls here and there and I was explained in detail by several organisers about the lack of time and difficulties in getting approvals, selling the tickets, finding organisers, venues etc.

Ok, leave it for now. We will make their visit memorable here. Checked with all the newspaper/media friends to give maximum coverage. Now, what? - wait for them to arrive here.

All of them arrived in Dubai and after a long immigration que/clearance they all came out of the airport and then what a welcome they got! It was a dusty and sandy evening. What would normally take a 2 hours trip down to Abu Dhabi from Rashmi's home, it took them almost 5 hours to reach Abu Dhabi.

The dust and sandstorm portrayed also the mindset of these talented youngsters and the organisers - how the venue will be, how the audience will be and finally the auditorium - is it going to be empty, half full or full??. Several questions and question marks hovered around all of us.

We didn't relax a bit during this time - worked door to door and camps to camps to announce their arrival and opportunity to meet them in real. Fingers did not stop dialling numbers from the mobiles of everyone involved.

Did not contact them till later part of Thursday allowing them to rest and relax. And in the afternoon went to meet them at the Kerala Social Centre. Knocked the door of the meeting room where they were doing their practise session. Someone opened and all of them very serious about their jobs. Introduced myself and then the seriousness melts down. May be they expected someone different in looks.

Roopa, Ratheesh, Praveen, Latha, Rashmi and Anand. But, one person stood really high above all of them - Anand. First glimpse itself I could make out the capabilities behind this power pack of talents. Cool, concise and clear about what he is talking when questioned and focussed and optimistic. Relaxing with each one of them but at the same time taking control whenever it is required. During the show and after, even during their two day holiday period in UAE, he proved it again and again. He is the man in control and one who can really get along with everyone.

All of them were excellent and captured the heart and soul of everyone during this visit.

It also proved me one thing - many of our finer talents are short in physical stature but TALL above everyone in their Quality output. Look at P. Jayachandran etc etc. And Anand has joined their bandwagon. Like one of my close friend from media - a very famous personality - who is also short, had said earlier - if I had a few inches more to my height - I would have ruled the media world. For Anand, I firmly believe this few inches are not at all necessary as he has shown sparks during his visit here to the UAE that a whole world of achievement and success awaits him ahead. He can do it, that is my belief and it has never let me down.

Boys and girls from Let's Dance, do utilise him to the best of your abilities. It is an opportunity to be amongst him and extract the nuances of his management, artistic and more than anything else interpersonal skills. That "MIND" inside him is thinking in 200 different directions at the same time. If you observe him and follow him, you will automatically see yourself in a higher platform of performance and personal conduct.

God bless and have a great future ahead.

Ramesh Menon

Friday, August 1, 2008

Super Star Nite in Abu Dhabi - Friday, 01st August 2008 - a memorable evening

Super Star Nite in Abu Dhabi - Friday, 01st August 2008 - a memorable evening

Super Stars Nite in Abu Dhabi - inaugural ceremony - Chief guest - Smt KPAC Lalitha with sponsors and organisers of the event.

Sri Regi Mannel introducing the Super Stars to the audience.

Super Stars in UAE - Rashmi, Praveen, Latha, Ratheesh, Roopa and Anand.

Praveen on stage.

Roopa and Ratheesh.

Fully packed National Theatre Auditorium in Abu Dhabi.

Roopa and Praveen.

Super Stars interacting with children.

Super Stars rocking for the final time on stage with audience for this memorable evening. I am sure this will be the beginning of a series of successful programme for these young talents and may get to perform many more such packed venues in INDIA, UAE, OMAN, BAHRAIN, QATAR, KUWAIT and other parts of the world.

Let us look at the details of the show as it evolved.

Vow!!! Reality Stars in Real. Amazing performance by the team of Anand, Roopa, Ratheesh, Praveen, Latha and Rashmi.

The 2000 plus seat National Theatre Abu Dhabi was full - a surprise to many of us considering the summer holiday period. What would have been the scenario if this programme was held during normal time?.

Full round of applause to Anand and team for their good preparation and execution of the programme from start to end. Every one enjoyed the programme to the full.

A surprise was in store for them and for all when the show was inaugurated by Smt. KPAC Lalitha.

Sri Reji Mannel, famous radio presenter based in UAE compered the show.

Anand was the first one to be introduced, then followed by Rashmi Vijayan, Praveen, Latha Krishnan, Ratheesh and finally Roopa. The introduction itself brought variety as the singers mixed with the audience and came out from amongst them when introduced.

They sang 28 songs in the following order:

1. Ratheesh - Hrudaya sarassile

2. Roopa - Aa nimishathinte

3. Roopa/Ratheesh - Odakkuzhal Vilikketto

4. Latha - Maarghazhi Thinkallallava

5. Anand - Voh Lamhe

6. Praveen - Oru Pushpam Mathramen

7. Praveen/Roopa - Akale Akale Neelakasam

8. Rashmi - Chandralekha from Thiruda Thiruda

9. Ratheesh - Sankrutha pamakari

10. Roopa - Minsaara poove poove

11. Ratheesh/Praveen - Padakaali chembada from Yodha

12. Roopa/Anand - Muthumazha konchal pole

13. Praveen - Pramadhavanam

14. Rashmi - Rasikira vanra

15. Latha - Oo mama mama chanda mama

16. Roopa/Latha - Kasthoori Thailamittu vala kilukki

17. Ratheesh - Kadukkittu varuthoru from Hallo

18. Praveen/Rashmi - Muthal Murai Janal Thuranthathai

19. Anand / Roopa - Karuppanu kayyala

20.Ratheesh/Latha - Mambazhama mambazham

21. Roopa/Latha/Rashmi - Aarumukhan

22. Anand/Roopa/Ratheesh/Praveen/Latha/Rashmi - Pennale, Pennale, Karimeen Pennale from Chemmeen

23.Anand/Latha - Ram bam bam Ram bam bam perimbam

24. Rashmi - Mayya mayya. Too neel samundar hai

25. Anand/Rashmi - Theri ankhem bhool bholayya

26. Praveen/Latha - Madhuraikku pokamedi

27. Rashmi/Anand - Kannum kannum maafia

28. Final songs - Melodious medley of several hit Hindi/Tamil/Malayalam mix by all 6 Super Stars.

Irrespective of age, everybody was dancing - so much fun filled moments that when Rashmi announced her song Mayya mayya - audience replied by saying that Vayya vayya. Ratheesh and Roopa were applauded each time when they came on stage. Praveen and Latha mesmoriesd the audience with their numbers. Anand - a total leader - held on to the steering and controlled it very well. Not to leave out Rashmi - if you ask a question - who will be the next Usha Uthup - we have an answer - Rashmi Vijayan from UAE. Overall, it was a memorable musical evening which one and all present in the packed National Theatre Abu Dhabi auditorum will remember for ever.

A very big thanks to KERALA SOCIAL CENTRE organisers for inviting them to Abu Dhabi to perform in live and real. I am sure their objectives for social cause were also duly achieved by this event.

Let this be the golden beginning for these young talents and May God bless them all to give many more such venues and opportunities in future.

Ramesh Menon

And the videos: