Thanjavur Sankara Iyer

Carnatic composers

#1  Postby rajeshnat » 16 Sep 2006 22:41

The highly respected vaggeyakkara ThanjAvur Shankara Iyer(TSI) , who was also a concert artiste and a much loved teacher,was felicitated in MFAC on Sept 15th,2006 .There were 3 speakers who paid tributes to TSI.I am just documenting only the salient points that each of the 3 speakers V V Sundaram (cleveland),Dr Srivastava and TK Govinda Rao talked .

VV Sundaram said
# TSI was born on pongal day and his father was a tamil pandit and his mother was a musician, and he composed not only in tamil,but also in telugu and sanskrit
# learned from tiger varadachariar for 8 years in annamalai university
# VV Sundaram recollected that his friend shri Lalgudi jayaraman loved each of the krithis that TSI had composed , and LGJ used to explain to V V sundaram how TSI aptly connected the sahithya and rAga that he tuned , and how TSI emphasised the vallinam and mellinam in every composition .
# he recollected how TSI explained tOdi for about 45 minutes with respect to then and today of how tOdi was sung.

Dr Srivastava said
# He was one of the prolific composers who gave bOTH old and new perspectives at the same time and said he brought a lot of understanding to common man .

# Incidentally he told an interesting real anecdote of how TSI composed the master piece "mahadeva shiva sambo" in revati rAgam . Lord shiva is believed to play veena in 3 occasions , one significant occassion was he plays veena to destroy. TSI when he was in madras many years before a cyclone threatened to destroy. TSI with his emotions outpoured, prayed to Lord Shiva and composed this revati masterpiece praying Lord shiva not to have any destruction.

# The popular number manasAramathi was composed drawing inspiration from a krithi by thyagaraja in the rAgam vivardhini.

Sangeetha Kalanidhi TK Govinda Rao said
# TSI compositions had both lakshanam and lakshyam and he recollected he used to sing for long number of years TSI's rAma namame in desh without even knowing that TSI was the composer.

# TSI was both lakshana and lakshya vidwan , and his musical compositions fall in the league of thyagarAjar and pApanAsam Sivan. TK Govinda Rao recollected his association with TSI in annamalai university.

The best followed was TSI's concert.
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#2  Postby rajeshnat » 16 Sep 2006 22:47

ThanjAvur Shankara Iyer Felicitation@MFAC on Sept 15th,2006

accompanied BY nAgai Sriram - violin , bhakthavatsalam -mridangam and vAsan-ghatam. Shri TSI sang for 95 minutes.

1. ninnu kori (varnam)- mOhanam -Poochi Shrinivasa Iyengar
2. shree varalakshmee namastubhyam vasupradE (RS,S) -shree - MD
3. edhukku thaan ...ayyA(RS) - shuruTTi -Marimutha pillai
4. sarasa sAma dhAna - kApinarayAni - T
5. tani - just for 3 minutes.
6. telisi rAma (R,S) - poornachandrika - T
7. appa rAma bhakthi(R) - pantuvarAli - T
8. shree subrahmanyaya (R,N,S)-"bhusuradi samasta janapujitA" - neraval -kAmbOdhi - MD
9. ini Oru kanam (R) - shriranjani - pApanasam sivan
10. evarini nee - devamruthavarshini - T
remark by tirvarur bhakthavatsalam - "engalukku evalavu bhakhyam"
11. muthukumarAne(R)- shankarabharanam - ramaswamy sivan
12. endhan undan nAmame (R) - behAg -TSI ??
13. manasAramathi - saramati - TSI
14. manadhirkku ugandhadu (R) - sindhu bhairavi - TSI
excellent tit for tat alankaram at the end (violin)
15. sree rAmachandra srithapathi(slokham) - madhyamavathi - ???
16. shree ramachandrannuku jaya mangalam - madhyamavathi - ArunachAla kavi

Having only heard TSI as a composer, this is the first occasion where TSI was a live vocalist to me.Being 83 years old and also with he suffering from a stroke (left forearm was evident)did not push TSI to give a mediocre performance .

Every krithi that he sang had tremendous energy and vigour. Started with a brisk mOhanam varnam . A very distinct shree rAga alapanai followed with clean diction of shree varalakshmee .Swara patterns were more half avartana type, but were just down in quick succession and looked the entire team was challenged and jolted by TSI .Incidentally Shree followed by a rare shuruTTi(edhukku thAn) must be a rare combination in early part of concert .

I knew TSI was a big fan of mmi. His sarasa sAma dhana was sung with gusto and a short 4 minute tani followed . The next was a neat and short alapanai indicating to my imperfect ear that it could be telisirAma was rendered well and had nice swarams in poornachandrika.

I did register the alApanai of pantuvarAli as poorvikalyAni , but TSI sang quite well the appa rAma bhakthi. What a surprise he took a daring kAmbOdhi as #8 ,that too one of the toughest shree subrahmanyaya , excellent neraval and a very polished swara pattern in kAmbOdhi was a great treat.

The surprise continued with an excellent shriranjani ,the popular mmi krithi ini Oru kanam was sung with gusto, his tamil diction was perfect. Well I thought it is tukkada time but he continued with another evarani nee. At the end of devamruthavarshini , shri bhakthavatsalam picked up the mike and said "engalukku evalavu bhagyam , eppadi padrar parungO"

In one concert picking a KambOdhi and shankarabharanam is some thing that I have not heard , that was what shir TSI choosed.When I heard a rAga alApanai of shankharabharanam ,I assumed lot of songs in that and may be a RTP. He again surprised and elaborated with muthukumarAne , which is a slow and rhythmic song.. He did not completely sing every sahithyam of shankarabharAnam but brought all the charm of the melakartha 29.

One lady got up and asked TSI to sing his own compositions. With his humility he said there is not much there and then he consented to sing one or two . He sang a very good and new behAg endhan undhan nAmame which I am assuming it is his composition . Excellent alankaram in the line pazhani pazhani enrAle of behAg krithi.

With Dr Srivastava's explanation of mahadeva siva sambho, I got up and asked mahadeva shiva sambo, for which TSI said that is a long song and he said he cannot make it now . Then I said manasAramathi , for which TSI said "manasAra padren manasAramathi".:).Here his few sishyas took over I only heard the last charanam sung by TSI.

The popular sindhu bhairavi was sung very well with a nice tit for tat exchange between TSI and nAgai sriram (brilliant today) in the sindhu bhairavi alankAram at the end. Incidentally there was a very good and slow exposition of sindhu bhairavi in the lines "eNNum eNNamellaam niraivErum" which usually is rushed by most of musicians.

The slokham sri ramachandra srithapathi jataha was sung very well in madhyamavathi and a nice and rarer finish of arunachala kavi krithi "shree ramachandrannuku jaya mangalam" gave a complete awesome experience to me.

The prayer song was a TSI composition mahAganapathi vAr manamaghizhndu by one of the sishyas and vidushi Geetha rAjasekar thanked TSI before the concert began.
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#3  Postby Lakshman » 16 Sep 2006 23:09

# 12 should be enrum undan nAmamE tuNaiyena which is his own composition.
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#4  Postby rajeshnat » 18 Sep 2006 21:42

Lakshman Sir,
Can we get the exhaustive list of TSI's compositions with rAga names.
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#5  Postby Lakshman » 18 Sep 2006 23:51

Compositions of Tanjavur Shankara Iyer.

Adaikkalattil. rAgA: sarasvati. Adi tALA.
annai akhilANDEshvari. rAgA: suraTi. Adi tALA
atishayam pala sheivAi. : husEni. Rupaka tALA.
yyyappan nAmam. rAgA: pUrvikalyANi. Adi tALA.
cintaiyil ninai manamE. rAgA: cakravAka. Adi tALA.
bAlasubramaNyan pAdamE. rAgA: viSNupriyA. Adi tALA.
dhyAna lakSmi taruNam. rAgA:suraTi. rUpaka tALA.
enda varam taruvAi. rAgA: kalyANi. Adi tALA.
enda vidamAi. rAgA: shuddhasAvEri. Adi tALA.
enna vandAlum. rAgA: kAmbhOji. cApu tALA.
enrum undan. rAgA behAg. rUpaka tALA.
ezhiluDai hamsanAdam rAgA: hamsanAda. Adi.
gaNapatiyE. rAgA:nATa. Adi tALA.
gaNapatiyE un kazhal paNindEn. rAgA: mOhana. Adi tALA.
gangai aNI shivan maindA. rAgA: tODi. k/cApu tALA.
gIta vAdya naTana. rAgA: nATakapriyA. Adi tALA.
IshanE. HindOLa. Adi tALA..
kANa muDiyumA. rAgA: sArangA. Adi tALA.
kAnaDA. rAgA: kAnaDA. Adi tALA.
kaNDavuDan. rAgA: hamsAnandi. Adi tALA.
karuNai purivAi tAyE. rAgA: gauLipantu. s/cApu tALA.
madhuram madhuram. rAgA: kharaharapriyA. Adi tALA.
mahA gaNapati vA vA. rAgA: nATa. sankIrNa cApu tALA.
mahAdEva shiva. rAgA: rEvati. Adi tALA.
mAl marugan (varNa). rAgA: hindOLa. Adi tALA.
mAl marugA SaNmukhA. rAgA: hindoLa. Adi tALA.
mAmalai ADinEn. rAgA:SaNmukhapriyA. k/cApu tALA.
manamalar (jAvaLi). rAgA: suraTi. Adi tALA.
mandirk-kughandadu. rAgA: sindhubhairavi. Adi tALA.
manasAramati. rAgA: sAramati. Adi tALA.
manOranjita rAgA. rAgA: manOranjita. Adi tALA.
murugA tirumAl. rAgA: harikAmbhOji. rUpaka tALA.
nambinavarkku aruL. rAgA: shankarAbharaNa. Adi tALA.
natajana pAlini. rAgA: nalinakAnti. Adi tALA.
nI illAmal vEru tuNai. rAgA: bhairavi. rUpaka tALA.
nIvE gati gaNapati. rAgA: kAmavardhani. Adi tALA.
pada sarOjamula. rAgA: asAvEri. Adi tALA.
pAmAlai shUDiyE. rAgA: SaNmukhapriyA. k/cApu tALA.
paripUrNa candra vadani. rAgA: pUrNacandrikA. Adi tALA.
pizhai koLLa vandAr. rAgA: kalyANi. Adi tALA.
pOghAdE manamE. rAgA: sArangA. Adi tALA.
poruttaruLvAyE. rAgA: shahAna. Adi tALA.
rAma nAmam. rAgA: valaji. Adi tALA.
rAma nAmamE tudi dinamE. rAgA: dEs. Adi tALA.
ranganAyakiyE. rAgA: nAyaki. cApu tALA.
ranjani mrdu. rAgamAlikA. Adi tALA.
sakala kalA vANi (varNa). rAgA: hindOLa. Adi tALA.
samayam idE. rAgA: hindOLa. Adi tALA.
santAna lakSmiyE. rAgA: SaNmukhapriyA. Adi tALA.
shakti gaNapatiyE. rAgA: gauLa. Adi tALA.
shAnti aLittiDum. rAgA: cenjuruTi. Adi tALA.
sharavaNabhava guha. rAgA: shahAna. Adi tALA.
shendil vElanE. rAgA: cakravAka. Adi tALA.
shrI rAjarAjEshvari. rAgA: pUrvikalyANi. Adi tALA.
tA dhirana (tillAnA). rAgA: Anandabhairavi. cApu tALA.
tAyE. rAgA: lalitA. rUpaka tALA.
vENDina varam. rAgA: rItigauLa. rUpaka tALA.
vENDina varam tarum. rAgA: kAmbhOji. Adi tALA.
vinavinar viNNulagattil. rAgA: tODi. Adi tALA.
yamunA vihAra. rAgA: bhImpalAs. Adi tALA.
yAr arivAr avar mahimaiyai. rAgA: kAmbhOji. cApu tALA.
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#6  Postby Vocalist » 19 Sep 2006 15:27

grrrr...so many of these compositions are neglected in concerts now and before. do you have notation for these Lakshman?
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#7  Postby Lakshman » 19 Sep 2006 17:04

I have for some.
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#8  Postby kmrasika » 20 Sep 2006 06:26

Vocalist: tanjAvUr Shankara aiyyar needs no introduction to the CM world as his songs are quite popular with musicians and rasikAs as well. I believe chitravINA ShrI ravikiraN has edited and released a book of aiyyar's compositions which has had a good reception. As an anecdote, I remember some rasikAs who would recall when asking the composer to render his own compositions, he would oblige but would also encourage rasikAs to hear renditions of his compositions by DKJ and MLV. I only know now why he had mentoned thus. Try hearing DKJ's rendition of mahAdEva Shiva ShambhO; w/ amazing svarakalpana dwelling on only the mandra sthAyi; MLV's handling of manasAramati and manadirkkugandadu is spectacular.

Just on your comment:
so many of these compositions are neglected in concerts now and before

So are compositions of many others, can't be listed long enough. I've also noticed nowadays as the number of new compositions get bigger in number, they override importance over a lot of older compositions, thence the latter becomes rare(so are the books containing them). Luckily, specialization has become common among musicians so compositions don't become extinct.
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#9  Postby ksrimech » 20 Sep 2006 09:58

rajeshnat Sir- Please change ravichandrikA to pUrNachandrikA in item #6 of the song list. Thank you.
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#10  Postby coolkarni » 20 Sep 2006 13:05

I have fond memories of spendng a great deal of time with Thanjavur Sankara Iyer in the 80s.

Those days I was a paying guest at Sangeetha Colony in KK Nagar Chennai.The landlady was a distant relative of TSI and her daughter a senior disciple of his.TSI used to stay in that flat too but it was only after 6-8 months of observing me and my listening habits that he decided to get close.
Those were early days for me in CM appreciation.I had a great thirst for CM but was finding it difficult to lay my hands on hight quality recordings.Most tapes available in the market were of 45mt durations and the practce of publishing live concerts was not yet in vogue.

Over a period of time I got very very close to him.Mainly because of our love for the music of Usad Amir Khan.He had some personal contact with the Ustad (probably in Bombay ,during his stint with School at Shanmukhananda Sabha) and we spent so many hours listening to those gems-and he was hearing many of them after a long long time.

It was during this period that Neyveli Santhangopalan used to visit him (on a moped .. seems like yesterday) and he was advised to listen to as much as possible of Amir Khan at my room.

My mother who had insisted on visiting me to see -first hand -if I was being fed properly had a reason to cheer too.Hailing from a joint family where she had to cook for a minimun strength of 10-15 members , she was getting all the proportions wrong while cooking for two.
With TSI and Neyvelis love for Chappathis etc , she was happy she could now cook for three on most days and four on occasional days.

Those were wonderful days - though I was ignorant of the importance of the happenings.

I sincerely hope that some of these anecdotes throw more light on this wonderful Composer.

The first thing that struck me was his simplicity .His smile can light a thousand lamps.It is so pure.And then as I spent more and more time , I started getting a clear idea of what it is to be a practitioner of CM.
Call them by any name - a composer , an artist ,or a practitioner or an exponent ...the sincereity is unmistakable.
I cannot believe today that on atleast three different occasions in that period , he narrated a dream of his over a morning cup of coffee , and he sang a new composition for me which he had composed in his half-asleep-half-awake state.
These experience really put me on a path of obsession with CM.

And this is something he was quick to locate in aspiring students - this magnificent obsession - without which he felt , nothing substantial could be achieved.
"Ha ! look at all my students who demand a break to watch sapthahiki on doordarshan (then a popular weekly capsule) - I have no big hopes for them -"he would confide to me.

I was also very useful to him whenever he tried to build on issues of aesthetics , for his students.
On occasions he would ask me to nod in approval or disapproval) as he sang various passages.
And whenever I came across something that I did not relish he would stop and say
"Look this chap.He has no past experience of CM but his areas of discomfort are so telling .And he has been listening to HM all his life.This is that unmeasurable aspect of our music which one can only acquire through constant listening to high quality stuff.Never for a moment lower your tastes if you want to reach greater heights " he would teach his students.

As I write these . more memories flood in.
His waking me up one night for Kumbakonam Betel Leaf (his stock had run dry) and treating me to some glorious Veena at 2 am or so.
His insistence on my accompanying him to a private concert of his (where he wanted to introduce me as his friend) .It was a wonderful house in Mylapore (cant locate it now though)
with a small a small theatre that could hold 100 people.And at the sight of the small audience , I started getting the shivers -all the big names of the day in CM were there.
I was so nervous that I did not stay for the after concert pleasantries(including dinner) only to get a reprimand the next morning.

I must say that I was fortunate to see the Practice of Carnatic Music in a totally different light.What happens on a concert platform is just a passing mirage.Here at ground zero , I had a chance to observe how artists would just drop in casually , how conversations would develop ,the wide range of subjects that CM encompasses (philiosphy , artistry, tradition, theory-) how the visiting artists would settle down to a practice session of what was being taught etc
On many a hot afternoon I decided to stay back and listen to a Dwaram Mangathayru or a Veena Sunder play and discuss.

To cut a long story short, It was a period where I realised what it meant to be a Upasaka .
There are so many images which move in and out .It is so difficult to describe the full picture.

What remains with me is
an enduring image of a man from whom compostions would silently exlpode as though they could not stay inside him anymore.
So ,The term composer or a vaggeyakara has never been the same to me again.

And the sound of an accomplished performer ,performing to himself with only the strains of a Thambura to accompany him , lost in thought-

BTW on the subject of his favourite singer , He once asked me that same question.I must have have mentioned a few names , but at the end he remarked ..
I know that these can only be personal choices , but let me tell you one thing.
I can see that you are on a path of discovery and that you are finding it quite exciting.The music of many artists will prop you up on your way and you may discard some and add some favourites along the way.
I may not be near you when you have progressed a lot but remember one thing.
if you do conclude- like I have - that GNB was a very singular and attractive influence on CM affecting it like no other musician has done , then you can conclude that your education has come full circle.

I mention this not as a subject to be debated , but only as something I find quite appropriate while discussing Thanjavur Sankara Iyer
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#11  Postby srkris » 20 Sep 2006 13:24

Thanks a lot for reminiscing about him.
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#12  Postby prashant » 20 Sep 2006 16:17

Such beautiful memories - thanks for sharing them with us...
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#13  Postby Vocalist » 20 Sep 2006 17:01

kmrasika, I've heard a lot of TSI's work - but I haven't heard a lot either. MLV and DKJ have popularised a few of them, and so have others (including disciples from their respective schools).

The main block of nice items that seem to be popular include:

gaNapatiyE. rAgA:nATa. Adi tALA.
gIta vAdya naTana. rAgA: nATakapriyA. Adi tALA.
karuNai purivAi tAyE. rAgA: gauLipantu. s/cApu tALA.
mahAdEva shiva. rAgA: rEvati. Adi tALA.
mAl marugan (varNa). rAgA: hindOLa. Adi tALA.
mAl marugA SaNmukhA. rAgA: hindoLa. Adi tALA.
mandirk-kughandadu. rAgA: sindhubhairavi. Adi tALA.
manasAramati. rAgA: sAramati. Adi tALA.
murugA tirumAl. rAgA: harikAmbhOji. rUpaka tALA.
nambinavarkku aruL. rAgA: shankarAbharaNa. Adi tALA.
natajana pAlini. rAgA: nalinakAnti. Adi tALA.
rAma nAmam. rAgA: valaji. Adi tALA.
rAma nAmamE tudi dinamE. rAgA: dEs. Adi tALA.
ranjani mrdu. rAgamAlikA. Adi tALA.
sakala kalA vANi (varNa). rAgA: hindOLa. Adi tALA.
tA dhirana (tillAnA). rAgA: Anandabhairavi. cApu tALA.
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#14  Postby meena » 20 Sep 2006 23:29

-
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#15  Postby arasi » 21 Sep 2006 07:20

Rajeshnat,
I thank you for your posts on Thanjavur Sankara Iyer. Your coverage on the event and his concert gave a vivid picture of this venerable vaggeyakara and teacher. At his age, he truly seems to have given a solid performance. Wish I were there. Keep sending in those reviews.
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#16  Postby arasi » 21 Sep 2006 07:48

Coolji,
What can I say? You added another dimension to this musician-composer-teacher and brought him closer to us by recounting your thoughts and interaction with him. Thanks for sharing the incidents with us in your inimitable way.
elli sangIta kathA prasangavO
alli jaya gAna sirOmanigaLembuvudE sari sujanarigE
(wherever there are worthy stories of music, to say jaya jaya to the great gems of music is agreeable to the rasika crowd)
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#17  Postby Raja Chandra » 21 Sep 2006 12:02

Cool,

You are beyond compare ! I admire your felicity with words .
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#18  Postby rajeshnat » 21 Sep 2006 14:44

The sishya's who sang in MFAC are all there in the photo that meena has attached . The opening invocation song mahAganapathi vAr manamaghizhndu(nAttai) was sung by the sishya who is wearing the white shirt (center)in the photo.

Coolji
Looks like in your journey of appreciating CM ,TSI has been a big influence.Tx for sharing those...
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#19  Postby coolkarni » 21 Sep 2006 19:30

Rajesh
TSI used to jokingly call me his manasika shishya - a shishya who never bothered to learn but only listen.
Can u believe that he has travelled with me on the pillion of my scooter - a proud Blue Bajaj Chethak !!
When other visitors would join the chorus to ask why i was afraif of learning music , I would meekly say that I was afraid that Knowledge would hinder my enjoyment.Those days ,of all the people with whom I had contact , the ones with any amount of musical knowledge were not the kind of rasika I wanted to develop into.I am not generalising , But persons with the most minimal of learning would make sweeping remarks about other schools/styles .. and I was wary of falling into that trap.
I did give this as reason to TSI (apart from the respectful stance that one should approach him only for higher learning !) and even queried him about this.WOULD I BE ABLE TO ENJOY MUSIC THE SAME WAY AFTER I START LEARNING IT.

He did ponder over it for a long time and said-My child , you are like a kid in a candy store.And this candy store is good enough to last you for several lifetimes.I think it is wise to leave you as it is.
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#20  Postby cmlover » 23 Sep 2006 01:21

I have paid homage to this great vidvaan on behalf of our Rasika community at
http://rasikas.org/viewtopic.php?pid=22255#p22255

Now I hope more of his friends (including coolkarni) will share anecdotes/experiences/ appreciations /..regarding him...
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#21  Postby Vocalist » 24 Sep 2006 22:02

Thanjavur Shankara Iyer & D.K.Jayaraman

Image

source: unknown
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#22  Postby shadjam » 14 Apr 2007 22:30

Can someone share the mp3 file of Sri Shankara Iyer's composition in SankIrna ChApu? Thank you.
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#23  Postby gb » 22 Apr 2007 18:57

Hey i have it in cassette which he sang in my house... but donno how to upload.. may be i need to look for Coolji's help.. BTW i was the one who sang that song.. mentioned above
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#24  Postby shadjam » 25 Apr 2007 06:24

gb sir,

It will be great if you can convert those cassette to mp3. Thanks in advance.
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#25  Postby vs_manjunath » 27 Jun 2009 19:39

To-day early morning I heard TSI singing ( Sruti, World Space Radio) a Tamil song in Subha Pantuvarali.

He was accompanied by M Chandrasekaran on the violin.

Can we request Coolji/ Rasikas to provide some links to his Audio Recordings( Any of his concerts ?)
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