Vellore Shri Ramabhadran

Carnatic Musicians

#26  Postby appu » 20 Nov 2009 00:21

rajeshnat wrote:6. In one of our rasikas concert of aishu in the violin , he was talking with SRJ and Smt jayalakshmi santhAnam . Both SRJ and JS were talking about how today artists just hear the tapes and recordings and they gave their view point . Shri VR was just listening and then quipped 'gnamum and guru anugrahamum tape lendu varumA' (will wisdom and guru's blessing come thru recorded tapes). This point of VR need not be debated as he was not per se averse of recordings , but I am just sharing to illustrate that he has a knack of listening for a long time and then giving a punchy one line dialogue.


Rajeshnat: Blessed must be our Aishu to be in the graces of such greats as Vellore Ramabhadran, SRJ, TNK and others. Do you think an artist of Vellore's stature compromises his playing when accompanying a young star as Aishu. Or would you say the youngster rises to the occasion to meet the requirements.

Just mind boggling how the young artist behaves in front of such a senior vidwan. Like "rkiran" said one could easily get tongue tied in this case fingering tied.
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#27  Postby cacm » 20 Nov 2009 01:01

Unfortunately MOST of the concerts persons have are on TAPES RECORDED IN THE LATER PARTS OF V.R.S CAREER. There are some in which he has played as he was trying to make an impression on the way up etc. The earlier part of his career before he settled down to his STYLE he used to play in the style of PMI, Palani etc for parts of the concerts. Actually I have played such concerts to FAMOUS EXPERT MUSICIANS WITHOUT saying who is the Mridangist is & they said it was PMI or Palani etc! Actually he made his mark in the M.A. Concert- with Chowdiah as violinist Mohanam R.T.P. SARASADALA NETRA PALLAVI- & he was last minute substitute for Palani who fell ill. If you listen to that Thani its hard to differentiate from
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#28  Postby cacm » 20 Nov 2009 01:07

Unfortunately MOST of the concerts persons have are on TAPES RECORDED IN THE LATER PARTS OF V.R.'s CAREER. There are some in which he has played as he was trying to make an impression on the way up etc. The earlier part of his career before he settled down to his STYLE he used to play in the style of PMI, Palani etc for parts of the concerts. Actually I have played such concerts to FAMOUS EXPERT MUSICIANS WITHOUT saying who is the Mridangist is & they said it was PMI or Palani etc! Actually he made his mark in the M.A. Concert- with Chowdiah as violinist Mohanam R.T.P. SARASADALA NETRA PALLAVI- & he was last minute substitute for Palani who fell ill. If you listen to that Thani its hard to differentiate from parts of the Thani from pmi& palani. May be it was HIS tribute to those two giants.
Actually MMI himself before he setlled on the Mazhavarayal style of Pallavi singing has rendered nalu kalai chavukkam etc with gusto. Tiruvengadu Jayaraman describe to me an incredible concert- to me Each MMI CONCERT IS INCREDIBLE!- in Hyderabad & K.S.Kalidas played as part of his speech last year on MMI Remembrance day celebrations illustrated by playing how MMI sang the swaras for Thullu madha Vetkai & had rendered the complicated Kanakkus....The point is one has to consider the EVOLUTION of an artist. It is not whether one knows or plays complicated things. The genius of a MALI in rendering subtelities is not in the Gymnastics which he has done plenty but in entering the VEEDU in terms of swaras for particular ragas- S.Ramanathan has illustrated how Malaikottai had so mastered Sankarabharanam that after he played it NO ONE would play the raga in that town for a month!
Similarly V.R is such a GENIUS that ALL ARTISTS PREFERRED HIM because he will not indulge in what is called "idaynjal" but enhance the concert experience & make the main artist do better!....Unfortunately at 75 I have concluded the best I can do is to collect the creative explosions of these geniuses for posterity. I am still looking for this generation persons who are FAR BETTER THAN MINE to come up with schemes to explain, espouse & presrve for posterity....
REG Aishu & V.R. playing for her etc I am LEAST SURPRISED! V.R. does not need themoney - I suspect like me he has come to the conclusion that the FUTURE is where the FUNDAMENATALS ARE right & it is in not in GIMMICKS, kANAKKU ETC but PURITY & PERFECTION in the Fundamentals of music. She certainly is the one artist I have heard who has the ability not to be only great but appears to UNDERSTAND this aspect irrespective of obvious abilities to indulge in Gimmicks & Flashiness.....VKV
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#29  Postby rkiran » 20 Nov 2009 01:11

appu wrote:Rajeshnat: Blessed must be our Aishu to be in the graces of such greats as Vellore Ramabhadran, SRJ, TNK and others. Do you think an artist of Vellore's stature compromises his playing when accompanying a young star as Aishu. Or would you say the youngster rises to the occasion to meet the requirements.

Just mind boggling how the young artist behaves in front of such a senior vidwan. Like "rkiran" said one could easily get tongue tied in this case fingering tied.


About a couple of months after Santhanam passed away, I attended a concert of Maharajapuram Ramachandran (with LGJ and VR). Although Ramachandran had been accompanying Santham for many years and probably had given a few solo concerts too, he did seem a little shaken and unsure of himself. VR kept reassuring and encouraging him right from the first varnam in Charukesi all through the concert. Ramachandran got his confidence back after about three songs in and it ended up being a very enjoyable concert.

VR's humility and always defering to the main artist helps immensely with keeping the artist's confidence - even if they are junior. I have watched him accompany really young and relatively unknown artists and he always has the same intensity and concentration. I've never ever seen him slack off even the tiniest bit during any concert. As a contrast, my guru, Shri TAS Mani would almost stop playing and pose for the camera with a big smile; bring a video camera in and he would start his thani right away.

I attended a vocal concert of VR's daughter, Padma in the early 90s in Bangalore. VR did not accompany, but, was sitting in the audience - he watched her through the whole concert without speaking a word to anybody around him. During the vote of thanks, the presenter drew attention to VR in the audience, but, VR very humbly brushed it off.

Slightly off topic, but, a question. What is the deal with the current crop of Mridangam artists (Patri Satish and others) using 2 mics? Is this just for concerts in the US, or, is it the current norm in India too? I did attend a concert with Trichy Sankaran hare last year and he just had the one mic. To bring this back on topic, VR is the only mridangamist I have seen push the mic farther from his mridangam than where the organizer placed it; I have seen him do it in three different concerts.

MMI + TNK/LGJ + VR = Ecstacy.
Add Glenlivet to the above (or to MDR + TNK/LGJ + VR) to achieve Divine Utopian Bliss!

Regards.
Last edited by rkiran on 20 Nov 2009 01:26, edited 1 time in total.
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#30  Postby rkiran » 20 Nov 2009 01:21

rajeshnat wrote:Just few more viewpoints about vellore Shri rAmabadhran
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5. Mrudangam is very much a shruthi vAdhyam as much as a laya vadhyam, one can hear the shruthi most when only rAmabadhran sir plays kind of just going with the flow of the song and adhering with the shruthi of singer , a testimony would be to hear him playing for a KVN or madurai mani iyer.

Well said!

rajeshnat wrote:Just few more viewpoints about vellore Shri rAmabadhran
------------------------------------------------------------------------
On a side note, few of my friends who have learnt mrudangam do not seem to like him for his tani in general , but nevertheless they all appreciate his subtle sarvalaghu pattern variations.

His tanis are always short and sweet. Between VR's tanis and a few super-long tanis that are very repetitious, I'll pick VR's any day. Reminds me of a concert of NRavikiran with TKM as the sole percussionist; TKM played an hour and fifteen minutes long thani all by himself. It was an exhausting listening experience. I've heard older concerts with TKM and they have been much better.
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#31  Postby cacm » 20 Nov 2009 02:01

rkiran,
agree with you on MMI OR MDR + VR IS BLISS! Would like to add Santhanam to the list also ESP. BEC he has been accused of diluting talents by evolving a simpler style etc while I AM CONVINCED they are both GENIUSES who found what I call the INNER TRUTH! VKV
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#32  Postby rkiran » 20 Nov 2009 02:44

vkv43034 wrote:rkiran,
agree with you on MMI OR MDR + VR IS BLISS! Would like to add Santhanam to the list also ESP. BEC he has been accused of diluting talents by evolving a simpler style etc while I AM CONVINCED they are both GENIUSES who found what I call the INNER TRUTH! VKV


You are preaching to the choir! Back in the late 70s, my initiation into the world of Carnatic music was with 3 tapes - BMK's BhadrachalaRamdas Krithis (the very first one with Paluke Bangaramma), MMI (Sarasa SaamaDaana, Saarasamukhi, Maa Janaki) and Santhanam (Sri Mahaganapathe, Paripalaya, Ranganathude, Shri Chakraraja, Thunga Theera Virajam). These were the only 3 tapes I had and listened to for about 4 years. To this day, the artist that I've attended the most concerts of is Santhanam (mostly with LGJ, VR).

When I was 14 or so, I went to a Santhanam-LGJ-VR concert at Venugopalaswamy Temple in Malleswaram, Bangalore. I took a boombox to one of his concerts along with a huge extension cord asked if I could plug it in and record the concert - those were the days when people would get walkmans and record discreetly; I though I'd be cool and do it the right way with a stereo boombox. The temple secretary - who I asked first - said, No and if Santhanam said it was OK, I could record it. So, I went over to where Santhanam and LGJ were sitting in a room and asked them. Both of them said I could record if I gave a donation to the temple of at least Rs. 200 - which was an astronomical amount for me at that time. It took me a while to learn that recording was OK as long as it was done discreetly and stayed below the radar.

Regards.
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#33  Postby cacm » 20 Nov 2009 03:05

RK,
Fascinating! Small world?! VKV
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#34  Postby appu » 20 Nov 2009 12:20

VKV Sir,

Any update or details of the 80th birthday celebration for Vellore Ramabhadran. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall.
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#35  Postby Ramasubramanian M.K » 20 Nov 2009 19:47

Rajeshnat: Re: your query about VR's father Vellore Gopalachar;

heard one from Ariyakudi--I believe VG had accompanied Ariyakudi a couple of times before--once when the accompaniment for one of Ariyakudi's concerts cancelled the Sabha Secretary approached Ariyakudi for suggestions for substitutes(younger forumites should know that while PMI's playing for Ariyakudi pleased the Old man in no uncertain terms,if PMI is not available Ariyakudi was not averse to having even a novice accompanying him--a la Chembai ) Ariyakudi it seems quipped in characteristic fashion "O Appadiya,namba Nada Bhadranai Pottudalame--the Secy quizzes WHO? Namma Gopalachar paiyan-- My father had some anecdotes on VG which I cannot recall now--- with Dhakshinamurthy Pillai dominating the Kanjira scene and later on Palani Subramania Pillai, VG had fewer opportunities.
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#36  Postby Nick H » 21 Nov 2009 00:37

rajeshnat wrote:6. In one of our rasikas concert of aishu in the violin ...
Even though he may be (if I remember rightly) an old family friend, and with all respect to Aishu, whose playing was excellent and mature, it is quite something that one such giant of the scene would play for a youngster.

After one concert in Chennai, he greeted me: he remembered me from a London audience some at least a year or two before. I had forgotten seeing him play there. I still feel ashamed of that!
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#37  Postby cacm » 21 Nov 2009 03:17

appu wrote:VKV Sir,
Any update or details of the 80th birthday celebration for Vellore Ramabhadran. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall.

Dear Appu,
No need to be a fly on the wall in this case. I will be happy to update things; Only reasons for not writing are: A) suspicion of self-promotion of the event on my part may be by some. B) All the details are not FINALISED.
However using what is commonly known as the "thick skin"-also known in tamil as YERUMAI MADU- Principle let me describe the current status:
The function is sponsored by the Cleveland Aradhana Committee & admirers of Vellore Ramabhadran. It is going to be held on DEC 26TH 5:30-8:30 P.M. at Vivekananda Hall at P.S.High School Campus. There will be speeches for an hour. Sri. Murali, Cleveland V.V.Sundaram, M.K.Ramasubramanian, Dr.V.K.Viswanathan will briefly speak. Sri. Spenser Venugopal an eminent Composer & Rasika will be the expert main speaker.
It will be followed by a Violin Concert by Aishu Venkataraman accompanied by Vellore Ramabhadran(Mridhangam) & Dr.Vinod Venkataraman(Kanjira)......I will keep updating in this Forum. VKV
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#38  Postby rkiran » 21 Nov 2009 07:03

Until today, I hadn't listened to Aishu play - solely because I've historically been disappointed by overhyped recommendations.

I've spent the last hour listening to various bits of Aishu's violin performances and I am amazed! Her shruthi, tonal quality and bowing technique are oh so close to perfection! No gimmicks, no stunts, no squeaks, no have-to-play-faster-and-wilder-to-get-noticed attitude - looks like she really cares about achieving perfection. What a noble and rare trait! My only hope is that she doesn't give in to playing to the gallery as she gets older.

I watched a few video clips of hers - one of which was this youtube gem where she is accompanied by VR. Getting back to the topic of this thread, observe his unflinching, unwavering concentration - completely disregarding his seniority/experience vs. Aishu's - and utter focus on adding value to the Aishu's performance.

Also observe how the only part of his hand that moves when he is playing are his fingers and his wrist. Compare that to the likes of Patri Satish (sorry, but, he is my current embodiment of how-to-ruin-the-mridangam-experience) who strikes the mridangam furiously with violent movements of his whole upper body (a bit of an exaggeration, but, in contrast to VR, it appears so).

Did VR have any students? Any that are out to make their guru proud?

Regards.
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#39  Postby cacm » 21 Nov 2009 07:13

I AM AFRAID there is only one mss,mmi,gnb,pmi, psp & vr.........like there is only one Feynman.......VKV
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#40  Postby cacm » 21 Nov 2009 07:21

nick H wrote:
rajeshnat wrote:6. In one of our rasikas concert of aishu in the violin ...
Even though he may be (if I remember rightly) an old family friend, and with all respect to Aishu, whose playing was excellent and mature, it is quite something that one such giant of the scene would play for a youngster.

After one concert in Chennai, he greeted me: he remembered me from a London audience some at least a year or two before. I had forgotten seeing him play there. I still feel ashamed of that!

N,
NOW he is family friend! Which is the way it happens with V.R. When it all started IT was his unbelievable professionalism considering he has played more concerts & for more artists! VKV
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#41  Postby rkiran » 21 Nov 2009 07:29

vkv43034 wrote:I AM AFRAID there is only one mss,mmi,gnb,pmi, psp & vr.........like there is only one Feynman.......VKV


Touché!
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#42  Postby rkiran » 21 Nov 2009 07:43

Two additional video clips of VR from youtube:
Sarvalaghu - Part 1
Sarvalaghu - Part 2
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#43  Postby Nick H » 21 Nov 2009 15:14

vkv43034 wrote:NOW he is family friend! Which is the way it happens with V.R. When it all started IT was his unbelievable professionalism considering he has played more concerts & for more artists! VKV
It would not be surprising for one of his generation not to play for women at all; that he accompanies a young girl, with the same pure-musician attitude as he would give to anybody on the stage, really says a lot about him as a musician and a human being. It is great!
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#44  Postby appu » 18 Dec 2009 04:58

vkv43034 wrote:
appu wrote:VKV Sir,
Any update or details of the 80th birthday celebration for Vellore Ramabhadran. I would give anything to be a fly on the wall.

Dear Appu,
No need to be a fly on the wall in this case. I will be happy to update things; Only reasons for not writing are: A) suspicion of self-promotion of the event on my part may be by some. B) All the details are not FINALISED.
VKV


VKV Sir,

Any updates on this event. is it still on. Please give some more details.
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#45  Postby cacm » 18 Dec 2009 08:43

Dear Appu,
IT WILL take place at 6:30 p.m. at Vivekananda Hall in P.S.High School on dec 26th& will appear in HINDU on two days. Will write about it after 20th....VKV
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#46  Postby cacm » 19 Dec 2009 18:05

A function to celebrate & honour Sri. Vellore Ramabhadran still active in his EIGHTIES will be held at 6:30 P.M. at Vivekananda Hall in P.S.High School on Dec 26th.Sri.N.Ramani will talk about V.R. & present him with a plaque. Other speakers include Spenser Venugopal, Cleveland V.V.Sundaram, & VKV. THE ONE HOUR talk session will be followed by a Violin Concert by Aishu Venkataraman accompanied by V.R.(Mridangam) & Dr.Vinod Venkataraman(Kanjira). The event is sponsored by the Global Forum of Cleveland Thyagaraja Aradhana & his ADMIRERS WORLDWIDE. Dr.V.K.Viswanathan(President). Announcements will appear in Hindu also. ALL ARE WELCOME.
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Re: Vellore Shri Ramabhadran

#47  Postby ugk » 19 Apr 2010 15:43

Interesting article. Vellore Ramabhadran easily the best accompanist mridangam player in the world. For such a senior player he never tries to assert himself over everyone else.
But his style is frowned upon by some other mridangam players aswell as listeners. I guess its all down to perspective.
He is such a contrast to other famous mridangists who hit the drum very hard and can be aggressive to say the least.
One interesting thing to note is that Vellore Ramabhadran used to be much more flamboyant in his playing many years ago.
Either way his focus is to bring out the musical essense of the mridangam rather than its percussive mathematical aspect.
Thats what makes mridangam interesting. Different ways to express ones self through it
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Re:

#48  Postby krvramani » 17 Sep 2010 16:58

Mr.Bilahari!,
I fully agree with you. Though Madurai Mani Iyer was in his best with any set of accompaniments, i.e. Lalgudi, Palghat Mani Iyer (or) Chowdia, Palani (or) Rajamanickam Pillai ,T.K.Murthy, etc, the most enjoyable combination aesthetically is MMI with T.N.Krishnan and Vellore Ramabhadran. Both these vidwans used to follow him very gently so that MMI's virtuosity goes to a full reach and the effect was most electric and satisfactory! What do you say? KRVRamani

bilahari wrote:Sam, I agree 100%. VR provided brilliant accompaniment to MMI.
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Re: Vellore Shri Ramabhadran

#49  Postby cacm » 17 Sep 2010 20:48

I say that the genius of MMI was such that he tailored his concerts to not just the audience but also his accompanists. Acc. to Vembu Iyer with whom I had extensive discussions on this subject Tiruvalangadu Sundaresa Iyer was the BEST to accompany him on the Violin & I agree with that assessment. Similarly PMI,CSM, PALANI & V.R. were ALL EQUALLY the best to accompany him on the Mridangam apart from Madurai Krishna Iyengar. Of course they belong in the GIANT CATEGORY......This is after listening to close to three hundred concerts in person as well thru' recordings.....VKV
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Re: Vellore Shri Ramabhadran

#50  Postby Nick H » 17 Sep 2010 21:13

ugk wrote:Either way his focus is to bring out the musical essense of the mridangam rather than its percussive mathematical aspect.
If the musical essence is there, it doesn't matter how much, or how complex, the mathematics: it will sound wonderful to someone who cannot even count!
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