Monday, November 1, 2010

Baithak 21 - A fitting start for Diwali

Five classical vocalists performed this October evening - two Carnatic and three Hindustani, representing three gurus, showcasing ten ragas, with compositions in four languages, and in praise of seven gods! The packed Dheemtana audience thoroughly enjoyed the rich musical feast.

Apurva Chakravorty opened the proceedings for Baithak 21, accompanied by Rama Garimella on the tabla, and Shishir Neelakant on the harmonium. Apurva sang raga Kedar - the beautiful "Painjani Baaje" describing Krishna as a toddler, by Pt. Ramashreya Jha in teental, followed by "Sharan Aayo" penned by Guru Nanak, also in teental. In her third Dheemtana appearance Apurva sang confidently, executing reference versions of the compositions, interspersed with well delivered alaaps and taans - both in sargam and aakaar. Apurva concluded with a Basavanna vachana "Yennaginta Kiriyara illayya" in raga Gara. Rama was crisp and competent on the tabla, with Shishir being likewise supportive on the harmonium while accompanying Apurva.

Sravya Rallapalli was up next, in her maiden concert, accompanied by Vinay Raghuram on the violin and Gopal Ravindhran on mridangam. Sravya opened with Muthuswamy Dikshitar's "Maha Ganapathim" in raga Nattai, Eka taala, followed by "Mangambuthi" on Lord Hanuman in raga Dharmavathi, Adi taala, penned by Annamacharya, concluding with her guru Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan's composition in raga Abhogi "Jaya Jaya Jayashree Varamahalakshmi"
in Adi taala. Sravya sang with maturity and was melodious throughout, bringing out well the mood of each raga and the bhava of each composition. Vinay accompanied beautifully on the violin, with Gopal enhancing the performance with his lively mridangam playing.

Gayatri Sabne was the next singer, accompanied by Vishnu Nair on tabla, and Shishir Neelakant on harmonium. Gayatri sang raga Durga - the traditional "Ata hi Ghanghor" in vilambit Rupak, followed by a tarana in drut teental. In her 4th Dheemtana appearance, Gayatri sang with authority and flourish, wowing the Dheemtana audience. Her full-throated rendition brought the graceful raga Durga to life, with beautiful alaaps and strong taans. Vishnu was steady with his theka on the tabla, and Shishir in perfect step with his harmonium accompaniment to Gayatri.

NavyaMaithri Konda sang next, in her first concert, with Vinay Raghuram on violin, and Gopal Ravindhran on violin. Navya opened with Sripadaraya's somber composition in Bhowli, Adi taala, "Parvathi varasutha", followed by "Rara Rajeeva Lochana" in Mohana, Adi taala, and concluding with her guru Smt. Jayashree Varadarajan's composition in raga Yaman, "Govinda Namo", Adi taala. Navya was spirited and energetic in her singing, and her swara kalpana in
Mohana with Vinay's excellent violin accompaniment was pleasing. Gopal shone in his mridangam playing and his short tani avartanam left the audience wanting to hear more.

Pramod Korwar brought the curtain down on the evening of multi-hued music, singing the melodious raga Chhaya Nat. Accompanying Pramod on tabla was Rama Garimella, with Medha Korwar on the harmonium. Pramod sang the traditional madhyalaya composition "Eri Maalaniya" in Addha Teentaal. Pramod sang unhurriedly and with relish, bringing out the gentle beauty of the raga. Rama was steady on the tabla with her addha, and Medha in sync with
her father on the harmonium.

The Dheemtana website has already been updated with pics, audio, and video from Baithak 21 - please enjoy!

Baithak 22 is next - on Saturday, December 18th, again in Los Altos Library.There is just one performance spot still open, so if you'd like to perform, please send in requests to, or

Till then, GO DHEEMTANA!

And, wishing all Dheemtana-ites a very Happy Deepavali!

Thank you,
Dheemtana Baithaks

Dheemtana is 4!!!! Years Old -- A Grand Celebration to mark the event

Dear Dheemtanites,
We just completed four years, and what better way to celebrate the coming of age of the community. We had a novel baithak with different genres of Indian classical music portrayed to highlight the open forum that Dheemtana provides to our younger artists.

The melodious strings of Anooshka's Sitar beckoned the start of the musical journey for the evening. She started with Raag Pilu and very elegantly finished off with Raag Megh. The faster paced Raag Megh was a delight to listen and Vikas Yendluri's dexterous fingers flying on Tabla did a fantastic job supporting Anooshka.

After Anooshka it was time for us to move further south in India to Carnatic Music. Anirudh Venkatesh ensured that everyone, including the audience who were not familiar with the language, were comfortable with the melody that emanated from him. He started with a Saint. Tyagaraja composition in Raga Janaranjani. How apt was that? Not only did the Raga be Janaranjani, his singing it made it even better Manoranjan for the group. True to his word or singing, he rendered his second piece in Raga Todi, if the kalpana swarams of the previous piece did not get all the audience, his alapana of Todi quietened down the crowd to a pregnant silence. Just as they were expecting his shower of fast paced kalpana swarams pulled out of his immense quiver of music kept the audience spell bound to this person with a very humble but yet powerful demeanor. Anirudh topped off his rendition with a small piece in Raga Mand to a feeling of insufficiency from the audience. He was supported wonderfully by Sri. Ragavan Manian on violin and Sri. Ganesh Ramanarayanan on mridangam.

The pace and the bar was set for the main performance of the evening, with Smt. Sujata Ghanekar. She started off with an exquisite vilambit in Raag Gawti, her captivating voice almost immediately mesmerized the crowd. Smt. Sujata's voice spanning at least three octaves was a delight to listen to. She continued her concert with a wonderful tarana in Raag Hamsadwani. Her varying pace taans in the tarana were exquisitely delivered and left the listeners wanting for more, which they did get in the form of exquisitely rendered Marati Natyageet. She concluded the event with a bang and the highlight of the day, "Bhavani Dayani" in Raag Bhairavi. A fitting tribute to the upcoming Navarathri, Durga Pooja and Dasara. The audience were enthralled by the rendition of such a beautifully composed prayer to Goddess Bhavani.

With a longing for more music, we drew the curtains on the wonderful evening which was elegantly compered by Smt. Anupa Chakravorty. Sri. Padmanabha Rao and his family, an ardent supporter and founding member of the group helped immensely in setting up the place for the show. The videos will definitely highlight the wonderful job that was performed to pull through such a good show.

The website has been updated, so please enjoy the lovely music once more.

Attend Baithaks, Perform; Attend Baithaks, & Perform Better

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summary of Baithak 19 - August 14th 2010

The summer baithak of Dheemtana was special - five Hindustani vocalists performed, representing three different gurus, and airing eleven ragas!

Pragathi Guruprasath was up first, performing Kalavati as her main piece. She was accompanied on the tabla by Shashank Patil, and on the harmonium by Shri Manoj Tamhankar. In Kalavati Pragathi sang Piya Ghar Aaye, in Vilambit Ektaal, followed by Saajana Tore Bin in Drut Teental, both by Tanarang (Pt. Viswanath Ringe). Pragathi impressed with her open throated and resonant voice and the phirath she was able to exhibit with it. Pragathi closed with a Marathi Abhang - Vaikuntha Pandhari, by Sant Chokha MeLaa set as a ragamala by Shri Manoj Tamhankar based on ragas Deshkar, Janasammohini, Yaman, and Bhimpalas. Pragathi brought the spirited abhang to life, aided by Shashank's lively tabla saath, and Manoj-ji's encouraging presence.

Ranjita Swamy was up next, singing Lalit, with Vikas Yendluri on tabla and Shishir Neelakant on harmonium. Ranjita sang the traditional vilambit ektaal bandish Raina ka Sapna, and Jogiya more ghar aaye in drut Teentaal. Ranjita's singing was intense and meditative and transported the audience to a different time and place, specially the dream like Raina ka Sapna. Vikas and Shishir's camaraderie was evident as they played creatively and interactively with laya while accompanying Ranjita.

Shouvik Neogi performed Bageshree next, with Amit Rao on tabla, and Ameya Rao on harmonium. Shouvik sang Binati suno mori in madhalaya jhaptaal, followed by Binati karat in drut ektaal. Shouvik's was a solid, no-frills performance, bring out the inherent sweetness of Bageshree, and delivering the two binatis (pleas) well, (one to Lord Rama, and the other to a romantic husband), with likewise solid support from Amit and Ameya.

Priyank Desai sang next, performing two beautiful Ramrang (Pt. Ramashreya Jha) compositions - the first Mukuta Vaarun in Kirwani, drut Ektaal, and the second Chanchal Chapala Chapalaasi in Shahana Kanada, in drut teentaal. Accompanying Priyank on tabla and harmonium were the familiar duo of Vikas Yendluri and Shishir Neelakant. Priyank did justice to both compositions, and both ragas, performing them competently and melodiously, aided by likewise competent saath.

Shishir Neelakant brought up the finale, with Raga Hemant, singing two Ramrang compositions - Hamari sudh leeje in Addha Teental, followed by Bairan Bhayo in Drut Ektaal. Accompanying Shishir on tabla and harmonium were Vikas Yendluri and Medha Korwar. Shishir turned in an outstanding performance, keeping the audience spellbound specially with his sargam layakaari, which was like a conducted tour of swara-space in Hemant, on a roller-coaster! It was filled with surprise changes in speed and direction, and lots of excitement with novel taan patterns, and unexpected ways of catching the sam. Medha and Vikas kept up with Shishir in speed and dexterity, to an appreciative audience. Shishir concluded with a Bhairavi bhajan - Khelat Hai Giridhari, beautifully bringing down the curtain on a wonderful evening of music.

The next Baithak 20 is the much awaited 4th Anniversary Baithak, for which an interesting program is being worked out, as are date/venue. Look for an email announcement shortly about this, as well as for the website ( update with pictures/audio/video for Baithak 19.

Baithak 21 follows on October 30th, and Baithak 22 on Dec 18th, both in Los Altos Library. If you would like to perform at either, please send in email to
And till then, GO DHEEMTANA!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Baithak 17 - Short but Sweet Baithak

Summary of Dheemtana Baithak 17: March 27th, 2010

Baithak 17 was short and very sweet - we had performances by three young Hindustani vocalists,
all students of Shri Nachiketa Sharma.

Apurva Chakravorty started the spring evening with Raag Brindaavani Saarang, singing the somber
Ghana Gagan Garajata in Madhalaya Jhaptaal, followed by the brisk Jaaun Mein Tope Balihaari
in Drut Teentaal. Apurva delivered melodious alaaps, and high energy sargam taans all with a
pleasing level of confidence and competence, in only her second performance at Dheemtana.
Accompanying Apurva on tabla was Smt. Rama Garimella, and on harmonium Shishir Neelakant,
both veterans of Dheemtana Baithaks.

Prachi Prasad was next, with Raag Alhaiya Bilawal. Prachi sang three compositions - Le Teri Lakadi in
Madhayalaya Jhaptaal, then Roke Thaado Gail Mori in drut Teental, followed by a sprightly Tarana.
Prachi was melodious throughout, and her voice in the taar saptak was specially beautiful, with bell-like clarity.
Prachi has grown impressively as a performer, since her maiden performance at Dheemtana, about a year ago.
Accompanying Prachi supportively on tabla and harmonium were Smt. Rama Garimella and Medha Korwar.

Sarathi Garimella was the third performer, singing Raag Durga. Sarathi sang the vilambit Sundara Roopa Salone
in Rupak taal, and Man Mohana Jaa in drut Teentaal. Sarathi navigated the wordy vilambit bandish carefully taal-wise,
and did well with alaaps, layakaari and taans. Sarathi closed the evening with a heartfelt Nanak Bhajan -
Sumiran Karle
in raga Gara, set in Bhajani taal. After finishing, Sarathi drew sustained applause when it was
announced that this was his first solo public performance. Accompanying him on tabla was his mother, Smt. Rama,
and on harmonium Shishir Neelakant, both able saathis.

The heart-warming performances by these youngsters, the festive stage and backdrop, and good snacks and company,
all made it a satisfying evening for the encouraging Dheemtana audience.

The next Baithak is Saturday, May 1st, 6:15 pm, again in Los Altos Library.
See you there!

Call for Performers:

We welcome requests for performance slots by all student performers - both adults and children, in all categories -
instrumental, vocal, Carnatic, Hindustani, and from all Bay area Indian Classical music schools.

We request that you attend at least two Baithaks before your performance Baithak.
Here is a link to other performer guidelines.

The upcoming Baithak 18 on May 1st has a full agenda, there are currently two open spots for Baithak 19 on June 13th.
Here is the Baithak calendar for the remainder of 2010:

Baithak 18: Saturday, May 1st
Baithak 19: Sunday, June 13th
Baithak 20: Saturday, July 31st OR Sunday Aug 1st, Home Baithak
Baithak 21: Saturday, September 18th - Anniversary Baithak
Baithak 22: Saturday, October 30th
Baithak 23: Saturday, December 18th

Please send in slot requests to, or to
Likewise if you would like to host Baithak 20, the home Baithak this summer.

Thank you,
Dheemtana Baithaks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Baithak 16 - Summary

Summary of Baithak 16: Feb 6, 2010

The first Dheemtana Baithak of this year was a vocal one - the three student performers
and the invited guest speaker were all Hindustani classical vocalists.

Sucheta Korwar, a student of Shri Nachiketa Sharma, opened the proceedings,
appropriately with morning raga Todi. Sucheta sang the traditional Mero man yaad karo
in vilambit ek taal, followed by Pt. Ramashreya Jha Ramrang's composition
Tanak Hero Hamari Aur
in drut teentaal. In this beautiful composition Ramrang asks
Goddess Saraswati to bestow on the seeker the gifts of taal, taan, and swara.
Sucheta's rendition brought out the somber beauty of Todi, and she did justice to
both compositions with well executed alaaps and layakaari.
Accompanying Sucheta on the tabla was Amit Rao, whose lively playing enhanced
the proceedings, as did that of Medha Korwar on the harmonium, who drew a
dramatic "kya baat hai!" from her sister.

Shri Nachiketa Sharma, the invited lec-dem speaker was next, elaborating on "KaN swar".
Nachiketa explained a KaN swar as an inflexion, or a touch of a neighboring note.
This neighboring note may be part of that raga, or could be a foreign note.
He demonstrated by singing examples from ragas Bhairav (the komal Dhaivat is made
alive at various times with a KaN of either the shuddha Dhaivat, or komal Nishaad),
Darbari Kanada(the komal Ga is andolita with a KaN of the shuddha Gandhar),
Shuddha Kalyan, and Yaman. Nachiketa also talked about how "swara"
is not synonymous with "note", since in Indian Classical music the concept of "swara"
encompasses more - approach, inflexions, tugs, etc.
Nachiketa-ji's easy style of talking, and eloquent vocals went down well with the
appreciative Dheemtana audience.

Manasi Aranake was up next, a student of Smt. Archana and Shri Manoj Tamhankar,
and a first time performer at Dheemtana. Manasi sang three compositions in raga
Shuddha Sarang - in vilambit ektaal: A bana bana aaya, in madhyalay teentaal: Faiyaz Khan
Prempiya's Ab mori baat, and drut: Prabho Toomhare re Daras ki Aas Lagee, adding on a
Marathi Abhang at the end.
Manasi sang like a seasoned performer, with a confident and strong voice,
and graceful meends in her alaaps. Giving supportive saath to Manasi
were Shri Sudershan Siddhaye on tabla, and Shri Manoj Tamhankar on harmonium.

(The Dheemtana audience then took a short break from the musical feast to do justice to
the wonderful snacks and tea.)

Rhucha Joshi closed the evening's musical session with raga Miyan Malhar.
Rhucha, a student of Smt. Shubhangi Sakhalhar, sang the canonical vilambit -
Adarang's Karim Naam Tero, and in drut ektaal Barasan Laagi re.
Rhucha's Miyan Malhar was introspective and beautiful as she sang with complete absorption,
exhibiting the tonal purity and delicate touches which are the hallmark of her Guru.
Accompanying Rhucha on tabla was Shri Kedar Karmarkar, with Ameya Rao on the harmonium,
both giving competent saath.

The next Dheemtana Baithak is on Saturday, March 27th, at 6:15 pm, again in Los Altos Library.
See you all there!

And till then, Go Dheemtana!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dheemtana's Third Anniversary Gift - RAMRANG Vol1

Dheemtana has successfully completed three years of its musical journey. We had a very colorful and eventful three years with each of the Annual Baithaks being special. This year was no exception with two wonderful performances by Sri. Prasad Bhandarkar and Sri. Nachiketa Sharma.

Prasad, accompanied by Akshay Naresh, who came down specifically for this event, started the evening with a wonderful rendition of Raag Puriya Kalyan, the sombre alaap that he transgressed the audience into a meditative mood. He followed it with yet another beautiful rendition of Raag Durga, apt for the Diwali evening. Prasad ended his part of the evening with Raag Shivaranjani. The tabla of Sri. Ravi Gutala did the talking to provided the fireworks needed to light up the evening.

The mood set by Prasad-Ji was elevated to yet another level for Dheemtanites with the release of their first "RAMRANG - VOL1", a Tribute to the legendary Pt. Ramashreya Jha, by none other than the Thri-Murthies of Bay Area Hindustani circles, Sri. Nachiketa Sharma, Sri. Ravi Gutala, and Sri. Vivek Datar.

With the release of CD out of the way, Sri. Nachiketa topped off the evening beginning with the very first composition of Ramrang in Raag Hamsadwani "Kal Na Parey", followed it with yet another classic in Raag Chayabihaag. Though Diwali had set in, Nachiketa's next rendition of the Ramrang's Magnum Opus(As put by Nachiketa) was the Raagmaala, an ode to Goddess Saraswathi, taking us back 10 days into Dasara. This masterpiece a amalgam of 23 raags, is beaded such that the name of Raag is intertwined into the lines of song and with each word carefully positioned to deliver a ode the Goddess. Nachiketa's devotion and his passion for Ramrang, is clearly evident when this rendition of the Raagmala is heard. Nachiketa ended the evening, with Dheemtanites anxious for more, with yet another jewel of Ramrang in Raag Bilaskhani Todi, a composition in the praise of Goddess Durga.

It would be unfair to just say that Sri. Ravi and Sri. Vivek provided excellent support, They indeed were the part of the whole that made the listening intensely pleasurable. The chemistry between the three artists has to be seen to be believed, when they get onto the stage it seems like it is one person performing. It has been the delight of Dheemtanites and Bay Area to watch the three perform on stage. HATS OFF!!! to trio who make it seem effortless to render such a wonderful yet complicated piece of music on stage. The recordings posted and the CD is a testament to the same.

With that note, Dheemtana celebrated its third birthday, of course, with a lavish dinner provided by the Dheemtanites, still swimming in the Raagmala and Bilaskhani Todi. Thanks to all the volunteers the event was a complete success and once again thanks to the Bay Area Gurus specially for being a backbone to the organization and encouraging us to go further, of course none of this would be possible without the active support of Dheemtanites. Three Cheers to Dheemtana!! HIP HIP HURRAY!!

The website has been updated with all the recordings, under Events->2009->Baithak 14.

The RAMRANG Vol-1 CD is available as of now at the RAAGA MUSIC STORE, 1016, E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA - 94087. Please go ahead and pick a copy of the CD. It is also available to be ordered on the Web for non Bay Area residents.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Baithak 13 - Season of change

Arrival of Spring

Change is in the air all around us, Dheemtana definitely is not immune to this. The Baithak 13 heralded this with new artists on the stage, and an amalgamation of raags. The organization of the baithaks become streamlied with some of the activities being handed over to committees. Thanks to Kalyani Prasad for volunteering to handle the food committee which was a little lacking since we moved the venue to Los Altos Library hall. Yesterday's feast at the end of baithak made sure this is changed for good. Dheemtana has been fortunate that Annaji Garimella has de-facto become the Video Committee head, we have been recording all the videos but due to the lack of internet bandwidth we are forced not to put up the videos. We will try to use some of the free streaming sites to add these videos into, and link it to our sites. This a definite change that has to happen.

Baithak 13 started with the first of the new artists, Sonia Dubey, she presented Raag Durga. A wonderful rendition, a short but sweet performance. She was accompanied on the harmonium by Rhucha Joshi, who did a fantastic job on the peti, on tabla was Rhucha's brother Rahul Joshi who did a wonderful job on the tabla. Dheemtana would definitely do more with these younsters in the team. Sonia's raagdhari, and presentation skills was worth mentioning.

Prachi Prasad, yet another first timer, did a superb job of Raag Tilak Khamod. The "Begi Begi Aaye Hari" was wonderfully rendered, and fitting invitation to spring was her "Koyaliya Bole Ambhuwa". She performed on the stage with ease of a well honed performer, which she definitely is going to be soon. She was accompanied on the tabla by Nikhil Joshi, who Dheematana has seen from Baithak 1, and he definitely is a testament to Dheemtana's motto of perfection through performance. On the harmonium was yet another Dheemtana stalwart Medha Korwar, she is blossoming to be a good harmonium player.

Priyank Desai, continued the journey of Baithak 13 with a beautiful rendition of Raag Yaman on bansuri. He stepped in to fill up the slot vacated by Pramod Korwar as he was down with the spring affected flu. Nikhil once again proved that even without any practice he can accompany as well as with practices. His saath for Priyank's flute was simply superb.

Shishir Neelakant, followed Priyank with a rendition of Raag Nand. He rendered two traditional bandishes accompanied yet again buy Nikhil on tabla and Medha on harmonium. It seems that the Nikhil-Medha duo are becoming quite a combination to reckon with. Shishir rendered his alaaps, and was highlighted with his layakaris which he improvised very well.

Anand Karve did complete justice to the Raag Multani which he played with ease on his 22 Shruthi harmonium. The ease at which he rendered the raag was a treat to watch and hear. Satish Tare-Ji accompanied him on the tabla, words cannot express the delight he gives when you listen to his hands flying across the tabla. Dheemtana is indebted to him for his continued support and encouragement. The pair of Anand and Satish-Ji on stage was a fitting finale for the baithak.

Once again the baithak was a complete amalgamation of talent, different raags and moods. All in all the baithak itself was perfect to herald the arrival of spring and the young and young at heart artists ensured that the hearts of the audience springed with joy.

The website has been updated, and we will post this commentary on the blog. Dheemtanites are encourage to blog regarding the baithaks and post their comments so we can improve as a team and as individual performers.