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