Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blessed with a velvety voice

K.J. Yesudas wirth Nagai Muralidharan (violin), Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam (mridangam) and Trupunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam). Photo: S.S. Kumar K.J. Yesudas is blessed, for the Suprabatham that marks the opening of the Ayyappan temple at Sabarimalai and ‘Harivarasanam,’ played during the closing ceremony at night, are recorded in his voice. Listening to Yesudas at the Kamarajar Arangam on the eve of Pongal was an absolute delight.
The programme was organised by ABBAS, which started its Kalai Vizha of Carnatic music 19 years ago at the singer’s behest.
Yesudas has a huge fan following in this city. Instead of opting to present popular songs to keep the house full, Yesudas chose a different path and was still able to keep the audience riveted.
After the Thodi varnam, he sang a traditional alapana. After that, one thought Hamsadhwani and ‘Vatapi’ would follow. That he had a different idea became evident when he touched Suddha Rishabam. With his captivating voice, he went on to present the raga with ease.
Nagai Muralidharan (violin) followed suit. The song ‘Vaarana Mugathonai’ with niraval and swaras went on to establish the raga swaroopa. Yesudas announced the raga as Rukhmambari. Next was a brief essay of Pushpalatika, a raga not touched by the Trinity. This is a derivative of 22{+n}{+d} melakarta Kharaharapriya. ‘Gurukripa’ was the kriti. Yesudas went for swaraprasthara for this too. The rasikas were awe-struck and cheered with thunderous applause.
The next song was Tyagaraja’s ‘Enda Vedukonduraghava’. Chakravaham was detailed as well. Such is the power of his voice that even with the microphone at a distance of about 10 cm, he could produce the desired effect.
The kriti ‘Brahmadadhipam’ had kalpanaswaras wherein the veteran singer showcased his range over thristhayi. His sketch of Charukesi (‘Krupaya’-Mishra chapu-Swati) and Suddha Saveri (‘Sri Guruguha’-Rupakam) were on his own terms.
Next was a Suvarnangi alapana. Sauveera is the name given to this raga by Dikshitar. ‘Sarasa Sauveera’, a Dikshitar kriti (Adi) was sung at a slow pace with niraval and swaras.
Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam (mridangam) unleashed an array of strokes with fantastic power and control during the thani. Trupunithura Radhakrishnan (ghatam) proved a good foil.
As if a dose of rare ragas was not enough, Yesudas presented an Urdu poem in Ketakapriya (he gave a detailed explanation of the raga). The crowd loved everything he presented, even if the fare was largely unfamiliar. Is it not a divine blessing?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

K J Yesudas celebrates his 70th birthday by helping 100 infant heart patients

Internationaly famous Play Back Singer K J Yesudas has celebrated his 70th birthday by giving a new lease of life to over 100 economically poor infant patients at Kochi.

The 'Hridayathalam' (Heart Beat), programme, initiated by a trust founded by Mr Yesudas coinciding with his 70th birth day, on Thursday(Today).

Though the initial target was only 70 patients, already more than 100 patients had undergone heart surgeries with the financial assistance under the programme launched on March 6 by the "Divyakarunaya Trust" commemorating the singer's birthday, a trust official said.

It was launched at a unique function where 43 renowned playback singers, representing various languages and states, participated.

"So far, we could successfully arrange operations for over 100 patients. We have plans to undertake post-surgery care in deserving cases, otherwise the operated patients may not survive and the very purpose of Hridayathalam programme will be defeated," Benny Josephy, General Convener, said.

The project, which has won acclaims from far and wide, was aimed at helping the poorest among the poor children waiting for heart surgeries and who have no resources at all or not having ample resources of their own, he added.

Target Raised to 700

With applications for assistance being received every day, the target has been raised to 700 now, he added.

To ensure that the patients who got financial support for heart surgeries are getting proper care post-surgery, it was planned to create a rehabilitation centre with ambulance and other facilities, he said.

Yesudas, who has enthralled music lovers with his melodious voice, has attributed the success of the programme to the benevolence of God.

The project has been getting huge support from all quarters including from many philanthropic persons, groups, firms, institutions and from the film world, he said.

To ensure transparency, the details of contributors and that of the beneficiaries would be made available on the trust website in the near future, he said.

Lions International District 324-E4 is also jointly sponsoring the Hridayathalam programme.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr.K.J.YESUDAS

Music legend Yesudas turns 70

Music legend Yesudas turns 70

Iconic playback singer and Carnatic exponent K.J. Yesudas turned 70 on Sunday, marked by a quiet birthday at Mookambika temple at Kollur in Karnataka.

The top-notch singer, who has rendered over 40,000 film songs in Malayalam and other Indian languages in a career spanning five decades, offered prayers with his family members at the temple this morning, sources close to Yesudas said.

Born on January 10, 1940 in Fort Kochi as son of actor-singer Augustin Joseph and Elizabeth, Yesudas took early lessons from his father before encounters with leading singers and actors of those days.

After completing schooling at St. Sebasitan High School at Palluruthi, he took music as his main subject joining RLV Music College and later in the Government Music College in Thiruvananthapuram from where he graduated with first rank.

His film career began by singing a score composed by eminent music director M.B. Sreenivasan in ‘Kalapadukal’ in 1961. The song, whose theme was the message of social harmony as propounded by saint-reformer Sree Narayana Guru, was well-received.

After that he teamed up with leading lyricists like Vayalar Rama Varma, P. Bhaskaran and Sreekumaran Thampi and music directors including G. Devarajan, M.S. Baburaj, Salil Chowdhury, M.S. Viswanathan and Ravi, to render several compositions.

“Yesudas stands out as singer on account of his talent, hard work and devotion”, recalled noted music director M.K. Arjunan, for whom the singer had rendered around 400 songs.

“He is one of those singers who practise music in mind even while travelling in an aeroplane or train,” he said.

Every music director has acknowledged the quality of his music, ability to learn compositions fast and talent to render songs without losing the emotions they sought to reflect.

Even at the acme of film career, Yesudas had unwavering commitment to carnatic classical music in which he was groomed by the legendary Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar.

He has also made lasting contribution to devotional songs rendering hundreds of Hindu, Christian and Muslim spiritual songs. His famous ‘Harivarasanam...’ is played every evening at Sabarimala temple before the closure of the temple.

Winner of seven national awards and 23 state awards, he has sung in all Indian languages barring Assamese and Kashmiri. He also has rendered songs in English, Russian, Arabic and Latin.

For Yesudas, an advocate of inter-faith dialogue, a dream remains unfulfilled-that of visiting and singing at the famous Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple, where entry is barred to non-Hindus.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stylistic renditions

K.J. Yesudas, Sanjay Subrahmaniam, O.S. Arun and S. Sowmya charmed the audience with their distinctive recitals.
The 32nd edition of Soorya Music and Dance Festival 2009 featured four Carnatic vocalists, each unique in their presentations. As usual the festival opened with K.J. Yesudas' concert at Tagore Theatre, Thiruvananthapuram. Yesudas began his concert with a Pattanam Subramania Iyer varnam 'Evari Bodha' in Abhogi, set to Adi tala. He followed it with a short alapana of Kanaganki and the kriti was Tyagaraja's 'Sree Gananatham Bhajamyaham,' which saw some smooth swara sancharam.
As a tribute to his guru Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, he rendered 'Pavana Guru' in Hamsanandi. The piece stood out for the rich tonal quality of his voice. A brisk rendering of Dikshitar's 'Santhana Rama Swaminam' in Hindola Vasantham was well received by the audience.
Paying glowing tributes to G.N. Balasubrahmanyam, Yesudas rendered 'Samanarchithe Amba' in Saranga Tarangini. He brought out the essence of the raga in the raga vistaram. The piece stood out for its emphasis on sruti shudhatha. He then enthralled the listeners with one of his masterpieces {ndash} 'Ksheera Sagara Sayana,' composed by Tyagaraja in Devagandhari. Presenting a composition in Ramapriya, Yesudas, in the delineation of the raga, demonstrated its essential difference with Vachaspati. The raga bhava was picked up ably by Mahadeva Sarma on the violin. The kriti was Swati Tirunal's 'Samodam Paripalayama' set to Adi tala.
The taniavartanam was performed with aplomb by Thiruvarur Bhaktavalsam on the mridangam and Uduppi Sridhar on the ghatam.
A request from the audience had Yesudas rendering 'Govardhana gireesam' (Hindolam). The thukkadas included 'Alai payudhe' and 'Santhanamum jabhadhamum' (Abheri).
Exuberant recital
Sanjay Subrahmaniam began his concert with a thanavarnam in Malawi, a janyam of Harikambhoji. Next to follow was the popular Tyagaraja kriti 'Sree Ganapathani' in Sourashtram. The piece stood out for its alapana and kalpanaswaras.
It was followed by 'Anudinamum' in Begada. Koteeswara Iyer's 'Vaa Velava' in Thanarupi set to khandachappu tala brought out the vishada bhava of the raga. Ace violinist S. Varadarajan followed him like a shadow. Dikshitar's 'Nagagandhari ragalude' in Nagagandhari preceded the main piece, a ragam-tanam-pallavi in Abhogi with the sahitya 'Sabhapatikku vere deivam.'
In the ragamalika, Sanjay rendered the tanam, which consisted of Abhogi, Sahana, Subhapantuvarali and Behag. The taniavartanam was performed by Neyveli S.P. Venkatesh on the mridangam and Trichy K. Murali on the ghatam.
O.S. Arun, the younger brother of O.S. Thyagarajan, in his debut performance at the Soorya Festival, enthralled the audience with his pleasing voice.
He opened with Papanasam Sivan's varnam, an invocation to Lord Ganesa in Hamsadwani and set to Adi tala. Tyagaraja's 'Nannu Brovani' in Abhogi came next.
Then he rendered with bhakti bhava Koteeswara Iyer's 'Ayya Arul Seyya Vendum' in Rasikapriya. Dikshitar's 'Akhilandeswari' in Dwijavanti followed.
The main item of the day was a Tyagaraja kriti 'Ennalum,' in Subhapantuvarali, set to Misra chappu tala. Karakkal S. Venkatasubramaniam supported him on the violin. The taniavarthanam saw some fine exchanges between Kumbakonam A. Saravanam on the mridangam and Uduppi S. Srikanth on the ganjira.
The thukkadas included a Swati bhajan 'Aaj Aye Syam Mohana' in Syamkalyan, 'Swagatham Krishna' and a tillana in Mand composed by Lalgudi G. Jayaraman.
Scholarly concert
S. Sowmya's scholarly concert began with a Todi varnam 'Eranapai,' set to Adi tala. 'Pahimam Sree Rajarajeswari' in Janaranjini was rendered in a slow pace. Then came Papanasam Sivan's 'Balakrishnan pada malar' in Dhanyasi, set to Rupaka tala.
'Annapoorne Vishalakshi' in Sama, composed by Dikshitar, was presented with bhakti bhava. Syama Sastri's 'Venkittashaila' in Hamirkalyani stood out for its ragalapana. A brisk rendering of 'Sree padhe nee padha,' composed by Tyagaraja in Nagaswaravali, enlivened the concert.
Sowmya proved her mettle rendering a ragam-tanam-pallavi in Kharaharapriya, set to Khandajati jhampa tala. The sahitya was 'Mayon Maruganai, Muruganai pani maname anudinamum.' She sang the ragamalika swaras, which had Sunadavinodini, Revathy, Amritavarsini and Surutti.
Avaneeswaram S.R. Vinu's violin sketched the nuances of the raga. The tani was performed by Palakkad Mahesh Kumar on the mridangam and Uduppi Sridhar on the ghatam. The thukkadas included a Meera bhajan 'Krishna karo' in Madhukauns, 'Theerathavilayattu pillai,' a ragamalika of Bharathiar, a kavadi chinth and a Hamsanandi tillana.

Yesudas helps Thekkady boat driver

Singer KJ Yesudas is supporting the boatman from the recent Thekady tragedy. The boatman and his assistant have been kept under judicial custody by the crime branch after more than 45 lives were lost in the boat tragedy. Yesudas believes that the boatman wasn’t alone responsible for what happened and that the boat belonged to the Kerala tourism. He will help the boatman fight the case.

Thursday, February 26, 2009