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.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Baithak 12 -- A Journey through the day!!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR And May the 2009 bring prosperity and more music to Dheemtanites! ! What better way to start the new year, to spend an evening where you are transported from the early morning to the late evenings in a span of three hours. It speaks volumes to say that all the artists of the evening performed with such finesse and tact that you were left wondering as to what the time of day was...

Ameya Rao started off the morning, hmm. the evening with Raag Todi and transformed us to the early morning hours of the day. His beautiful rendition of two bandishes from the Late. Pt. Ramashreya Jha, or Ramrang as we all know him, was not only a great tribute to this master composer, musician who passed away on January 1st, 2009 but also a perfect way to start the first baithak of 2009, with a prayer to Saraswathi Devi, ( Tanak Heyro Hamari Ooar) and finishng off with a wonderful druth bandish. Amit Rao was his usual best playing tabla for his brother and Shishir on harmonium supported Ameya well.

Ameya had just managed to put us into the sombre morning mood and Vikas Yendluri, made sure that we did not go back to the early hours with his amazing tabla solo with Chou Taal Ki Sawari. He held the audience spellbound with this dexterous hands wondering what hit them ( or the tabla). His kaydas and chakradaars were a treat to the ears, and Shishir again supported him on lehra with Raag Hamsadwani.

It was now the turn of Prithvi Guruprasath, to ensure that the audience still were in the morning, devine mood with a wonderful bhajan on Lord Ganapathi. Even though this bhajan was a raagmala of Hemanth and Bhatiyar , the tempo with which she sang this bhajan prepapred the audience to get set for a more gambhir, serious raag, Raag Mangal Bhairav. She rendered two bandishes in Raag Mangal Bhairav, the druth on Lord Shiva, ensured that both the father and son recieved the salutations of Dheemtana. Vikas and Shishir did not have to get off the stage, but just make way for Prithvi. Both the accompanists did wonderfully well.

Prithvi's Mangalbhairav was the last raag for the day that kept us in the wee hours of the morning, it was Priyank Desai's turn to transform us into the right time of the day, i.e. the evening. His bansuri played to the fun and frolic of the evening with Raag Bageshri. The nuances that the bansuri rendered along with the appropriate changes by Vikas on tabla kept the audience glued to the edge of the seats ( sort of since we were squating ). Both the artists not only enjoyed the performance on stage with each other, but gave an unforgetable treat.

With the stage set for the evening, Malvika Sriram, a new entrant to Dheemtana making a debut on the stage, ensured that she kept up the musical journey with a medlee of Carnatic raagas and kritis. She was very simply put, AMAZING, for a young artist her age. Her poise and style of presentation did seem like she was a veteran on the stage. She was accompanied on mridagam by Vignesh Venkataraman, again another newcomer to Dheemtana, who Dheemtana could do more with.

The conclusion of the baithak seemed like it came too early, with more raags to go to complete the day, but the time had come to end the day. The day itself was memorable with tributes to one of the greatest modern Hindustani Composer and Muscian Pt. Ramashreya Jha and salutations to Saraswathi Devi, Lord Ganesh and Lord Shiva. What a way to start the NEW YEAR!!!

Please visit the website for the updates with audio.

Website: http://www.dheemtan

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