M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

Carnatic Musicians

#426  Postby CRama » 07 Jan 2010 11:56

MDR was an inseparable part of the Navarathri Mandapom Trivandrum for many decades. His concert will be eagerly awaited by his die hard fans in Trivandrum who were in no small numbers. His concerts always had excellent accompaniments like Lalgudi, TNK, Palghat Raghu, UKS etc. The people who were regularly attending his concerts like Sivaramakrishnan will cherish that experience for their life time. But I also find that the number of his fans has increased multifold after his untimely demise.
He had his favourite list of songs for the Mandapom concert. He had rendered almost all the Navarathri songs as the main songs on the respective days. His customary mangalam in the concerts was the last charanam of the famous Kriti Bhavayami- "Kalithavara sethu bandham"in Madhyamavathi without any chittaswaram and in a different tempo which was also a favourite of his fans. He also had sung the entire Bhavayami ragamalike in some concerts which had a different flavour from the one popularised by Semmangudi/MSS. His fans will die for this song.
The concert in Navaratri Mandapam is very strict as to the timings. It will start at 6. P.M and end at 8.30 P.M. There will be a bell for the Deeparadhana at 8.30P.M. and the concert has to end at that time. One year,after the main song and thani, MDR was singing the great ragamalika Pannagendrasayana to be followed by his customary Mangalam. It so happend that while he was finishing the ragamalika, the bell rang and he had to sing Mangalam. MDR did not get perturbed. He finished the concert after singing the Mangalm. The Officer of the Palace who was in charge of these concerts expressed his displeasure in exceeding the time allotted to which MDR plainly replied : ""O appadiyanal kooppida vendame"". But the Royal family held him in high esteem and they did invite him for the concerts till his demisse.

Another incident. In the year 2001 or 2002, the Palace arranged the concert of Shri Abhishek Raghuram, an upcoming artist at that time, on the seventh day of Navarathri. The main song of the day was Janani Pahi in the ragam Sudhasaveri. AIR Trivandrum relays excerpts of the concert for 1 hour and 30 minutes on the same day - 9.30 to 11 P.M which is eagerly looked upon by music enthusiasts who can not go inside the mandapam for various reasons. We sat tuned to the radio at exactly 9.30 P.M thinking that AIR will relay excerpts of the concert of Abhishek Raghuram. But on that particular day, AIR did not broadcast Abhishek Raghuram concert probably because he was not auditioned at that time. But we were for a pleasant surprise. AIR did a very wise thing. They relayed excerpts of an old concert of MDR with TK Moorthy Mridangam singing the same Janani pahi as the main song. That concert was a heavenly concert which is treasutred by the people who recorded. (I have recorded ).

To the moderator. It will be appropriate to shift this thread to Vidwans and Vidushis as we will be mostly talking about MDR- the musician.
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#427  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 08 Jan 2010 20:07

Thanks CRama for joining the discussion with lot of information. His observation that MDR rasika-s have swelled in number after his time, is quite true.

Skandyhere has put forward a candid point: He seems to say 'the proof of the pudding is in eating'. So let's listen to more and more of MDR.
My admiration for MDR did take me to a stage where I attempted to 'sing like him'. No mimicry this I swear, but was the outcome of MDR's influence on me! I 'sing the style' to myself or in very close circles!

Shall continue with the MDR experience in next!
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#428  Postby gangar2758@vsnl.net » 18 Jan 2010 05:18

any comments on MDR MAMA 'S pAhi rAmadhoota?
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#429  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 20 Jan 2010 20:28

After a concert at Ernakulam in the eighties, MDR was escorted by the organisers to the Rly station. The train was late and MDR suggested them to return and he would manage alone. But one of them stayed back ( the bonus would be a close musical interaction with the maestro during the 'waiting time'). But it was not to be that day. Instead, he saw an affectionate father in MDR who wanted to take a gift home for his son! Despite a sincere offer from the organiser to bear the cost, MDR maintained that 'it won't be proper to do so' and paid for it (reportedly a ready made dress ) requesting the organiser just to help him make the right choice. Needless to say the 'Sabhawala' was bowled over by the simplicity of the great man!

(I ask for myself if it would be the same case with any other Vidwan / Vidushi!!)
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#430  Postby vpp » 22 Jan 2010 02:02

Is there any thillana composed by MDR in raga Kanada? any one have the lyrics?
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#431  Postby thenpaanan » 22 Jan 2010 19:23

One hallmark of a great musician is that they are never static but constantly evolve and change over the course of a lifetime, constantly incorporating new ideas that keep the music from becoming repetitive. MDR, if anything, was a highly cerebral musician. Can folks here talk about how MDR's music changed over the years? Did his choice of ragas or kritis or handling ragas change? Did his voice change? In what ways did they change?

All these nostalgic memories of MDR make me eager to listen to a early tape of MDR. Are there any recordings of a "young" MDR in existence that help us compare them with the older MDR? Or alternately what is the earliest MDR recording that is known to exist?

-Then Paanan
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#432  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 24 Jan 2010 10:57

All India Radio must be having several recordings of MDR in his early years. I have listened to one such broadcast years ago where MDR had rendered a very rare daru varnam 'Eti... manmathakoti' in Sreeranjini (Composition of Tiger?). I had even written to AIR to broadcast it again, but not sure whether they played it again.

And another AIR national programme of the sixtees opens with the Durbar varnanm - A young MDR has sung in 1 kattai sruti. Anyone could help retrieve?

Yes, MDR used to sing 'very rare' kritis like the one mentioned above, during his early years. He settled down to only established kriti-s later.

One thing I can say: he was 'simply in love' with Kedaram and Reetigoula raga-s which perhaps 'went away with him'!!

And guess another musician who had the greatest regard for MDR : Yes, Sirkazhi Govindarajan! More about this , later.
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#433  Postby srkris » 24 Jan 2010 22:24

One thing I can say: he was 'simply in love' with Kedaram and Reetigoula raga-s which perhaps 'went away with him'!!


Nice way of putting it.
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#434  Postby sakthi.balan » 26 Jan 2010 16:51

Sivaramakrishnan wrote:
And guess another musician who had the greatest regard for MDR : Yes, Sirkazhi Govindarajan! More about this , later.


Looking forward to hear more about MDR.....
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#435  Postby vpp » 28 Jan 2010 04:44

Sivaramakrishnan wrote:All India Radio must be having several recordings of MDR in his early years. I have listened to one such broadcast years ago where MDR had rendered a very rare daru varnam 'Eti... manmathakoti' in Sreeranjini (Composition of Tiger?). I had even written to AIR to broadcast it again, but not sure whether they played it again.


http://www.youtube.com/user/mdramanathan#p/a/u/1/Yv3NhGVre_4

this one?
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#436  Postby ganeshkant » 30 Jan 2010 13:18

Yesterday bet.9-9.30 p.m there was a documentary on MDR in DD - Malayalam.

It covered right from his birth at Manjappara in Palghat to his death in 1984 at Chennai.

Interviews by his Manni,brother's sons,wife and disciples were all very touching.

He had lead a life of sorrows of various types which made him move towards music closer it seems.
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#437  Postby devi » 30 Jan 2010 14:32

hope some one recorded the programme
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#438  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 31 Jan 2010 07:23

Thanks so much vpp, for the link. I wish today's musicians popularise it!

ganeshkant, eager to know if someone has recorded the DD Malayalam documentary.
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#439  Postby ignoramus » 31 Jan 2010 08:14

Does this documentary start with a clip of an elderly lady listening to the radio ?
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#440  Postby Sivaramakrishnan » 01 Feb 2010 13:16

Once Sri Sirkazhi Govindarajan was winding up his concert when someone in the audience requested for a Tillana. 'Ni Ri Ga Ma Ga Ri Sa..' thus he began the poorvikalyani Tillana. Just after the pallavi, he paused to mention how MDR immortalised it. "Well, I can traverse any upper Stayi, but not the mandrastayi - the hallmark of MDR..... I learnt this only from his recording... this Tillana defines the greatness of the saptaswara-s and I recommend everybody to listen to MDR rendering this in a pace unique to him", said a humble Sirkazhi. The audience applauded- this time for Sirkazhi's devotion to MDR!
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#441  Postby Nick H » 28 Mar 2010 20:20

So you have said, on several threads.

Suggest you check out the meaning of "spam"
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#442  Postby girish_a » 31 Mar 2010 10:44

Slightly offtopic, but since we're talking of MDR, here's Johnny Cash singing "Country roads" with John Denver. I think Johnny's voice is similar to MDR's. How deep and beautiful Johnny's voice is! And how well he expresses the feeling in the song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C7rS2Cs ... re=related
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#443  Postby thenpaanan » 03 Apr 2010 01:40

girish_a wrote:Slightly offtopic, but since we're talking of MDR, here's Johnny Cash singing "Country roads" with John Denver. I think Johnny's voice is similar to MDR's. How deep and beautiful Johnny's voice is! And how well he expresses the feeling in the song!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C7rS2Cs ... re=related


Thanks for the wonderful pointer!

I have fantasized from time to time about singers from other traditions such as opera, barbershop choirs,etc singing CM kritis and how that might sound. Until now I had never included Cash in my fantasies, but clearly Cash to MDR is a very suitable comparison. Cash singing a CM kriti such as the bhairavi swarajati would be quite something to listen to.

Are there other such comparisons you would like to share?

-Then Paanan
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#444  Postby girish_a » 04 Apr 2010 12:28

thenpaanan wrote:Are there other such comparisons you would like to share?
-Then Paanan


Well, I'm not aware of any other such comparisons, but in the same video, John's and Johnny's voices themselves are a study in contrast. Now, to which Carnatic artist's voice is John Denver's timbre the closest? :)

By the way, there's another rendition of "Country roads", again by John Denver, in which I think the bhava of the song particularly stands out. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukUL_I14GPw

There's something about the way he says "Mountain Momma", "painted on the sky" and such other phrases that is very ennobling. I don't know if it's only me, but this particular rendition, I found more beautiful than others of the same song.

Now we're really offtopic :)
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#445  Postby rajeshnat » 21 May 2010 11:53

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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#446  Postby cienu » 08 Jun 2010 17:52

Nice picture of MDR teaching some students of Kalakshetra.
But the article of Gowri Ramnarayan pertains to reminiscences of Sri Dhananjayan.
http://beta.thehindu.com/arts/history-a ... 449834.ece
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#447  Postby ragam-talam » 07 Aug 2010 22:23

http://ramavarma.yolasite.com/unsung-genius---mdr.php

Prince Rama Varma wrote:When M.D.Ramanathan sang ‘Amba Kamakshi,’ the immortal swarajathi in Bhairavi by Syama Sastri for instance, he would seem to metamorphose into Syama Sastri to begin with. The transformation would continue magically till he became the song too… and Bhairavi itself. And finally things would come to a state where M.D.Ramanathan, his accompanists, the shruthi, Syama Sastri, the Swarajathi, Bhairavi ragam, Goddess Kamakshi herself and the sensitive listener, all fused together to become one single entity, brimming with music, completeness and perfection. It is this experience that I had in mind when I talked about “seeing God and showing God to others.”
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#448  Postby ragam-talam » 31 Aug 2010 02:19

Nice! http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... athan.html

Trichy Sankaran looks so young!
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#449  Postby cpblog » 30 Sep 2010 22:24

ragam-talam wrote:Nice! http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... athan.html

Trichy Sankaran looks so young!


Ragam-Talam, you now have a choice deciding from the many artists alive today who did once 'look so young':

http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... olden.html (Mysore Nagaraj)
http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... enius.html (Lalgudi)
http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... flute.html (KSG, Rukmini, Upendran)
http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... hur-v.html (TVR, LS)
http://chowdaiahandparvati.blogspot.com ... iramu.html (BMK,Parur,TVG)

and how about Sir UKS (all over since 1963!) and Sir 'Vikku' (from 1965 when his hair didn't keep steps with his Ghatam! and well before his days with Shakti)

With a little more time maybe we'll be able to see how Baby Gayathri was once, when she fired up our imaginations!

Best Wishes, and Happy listening and Happy reminiscing!
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Re: M.D. Ramanathan (MDR)

#450  Postby sramaswamy » 30 Sep 2010 22:37

Beautiful pictures! Especially since most of the pages have current pictures as well, the contrast is wonderful. Thanks
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