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Music Fest
Bharateeya Kala Samithi, Hyderabad celebrated Sadguru Sri Tyagarajaswami 247th Jayanti & 13th Annual Music Festival on 22nd May 2014.The inauguration function was followed by a vocal recital by Duddu Radhika. The fest also had concerts by Mangalairi Aditya , Jonnalagadda Sisters, Vidyasagar. The main programme was a vocal recital by N.Rammurthy On the final day, renowned flautist Dr.Prapancham Sitaram was conferred the title “Sangeeta Bharathi” followed by a mellifluous Jugalbandi -flute & veena presented by Sitaram & Emani Lalitha Krishna. All the programme proved to be a feast to the music lovers.

Ruby Jubilee Celebrations of Ganesa Natyalaya
Ganesha Natyalaya celebrated its Ruby Jubilee(40 Years) on 26th April 2014 at Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. Bharatanatyam performance by eighty five disciples of Dr.Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan, Founder President of Ganesa Natyalaya(Padma Bhushan awardee) marked the occasion. Dr.Nalli Kuppuswamy Chetty presided over the function. The Shreshthakala Prachark Award instituted by Ganesa Natyalaya in recognition of the tireless efforts in promoting Indian Culture were given to Prof.C.V.Chandrasekhar, Chennai and Dr.Kanak Rele from Mumbai.

Kodai Nataka Vizha
The 25thKodai Nataka Vizha of Kartik Fine Arts in association with Nalli was inaugurated on 22nd April at Narada Gana Sabha, Chennai. The dignitaries who graced the occasion were Crazy Mohan, S V Sekar, L Sabaretnam, , A V S Raja, R Sekar. This was followed by the drama “Ada Kadavule.”

Pictorial books released
Pictures of Melody by researcher and writer Lakshmi Devnath is the world's first graphic biography on Carnatic music legends. This series of pictorial story books is a labour of love and a deep passion and mission of Lakshmi to reach the greatness of our art and culture to the younger generation. Earlier books released by her are on M. S. Subbulakshmi, GN Balasubramaniam, Madurai Mani Iyer, T.Brinds and the latest releases are on Swathi Thirunal and the Tamil vernacular version of MS Subbulakshmi.
A grand function was organized for the book releases. Dr. Sajith E.N., Director, South Zone Cultural Centre launched the book on Maharaja Swati Tirunal, - A King & a Composer and Gopika Varma, Mohiniyattam exponent, received the first copy. In his speech, Dr.Sajith appreciated how the story of the Maharaja had been told by Laksmi in a simple and lucid way, yet retaining all the minute and intricate details. Dr. Radha Bhaskar, musician and Editor, Samudhra magazine launched the Vernacular Series of M.S. Subbulakshmi and Gayatri Venkataraghavan, received the first copy. Dr.Radha said that Lakshmi was reaching her work both globally and locally by publishing the story books both in English and vernacular languages. She also appreciated how attractively Lakshmi had presented the book so as to make it captivating to children. Dr.Radha appealed that all schools should buy copies of the books and motivate children to read them Nandini Ramani, Bharatanatyam exponent and Managing Trustee, Dr V. Raghavan Centre for Performing Arts was the guest of honour and felicitated. Nandini lauded the efforts of Lakshmi and her dedication in bringing out a series of such unique books.
The launch was followed by a thematic concert of Swati Tirunal Kritis and Tamil songs popularised by Smt. M.S.Subbulakshmi, rendered by Gayatri Venkataraghavan

Coveted honour
The World Tamil University (Maryland, USA) conferred honorary Doctorate on ace photographer Yoga in a convocation function held at Madurai. Selvin Kumar, University Chancellor conferred the degree and Professor R.Mohan, Madurai Kamarajar University graced the occasion.

Facets of Lord Rama
Celebrating Sri Rama Navami, Sarvani Sangeetha Sabha Trust featured a musical presentation 'Sri Rama Charithra Geetham' wherein kritis in praise of Lord Rama were presented by Dr Radha Bhaskar along with Vasuda Kesav and Aishwarya Shankar.
Radha took compositions on Lord Rama by various composers like Thiagaraja, Dikshitar, Arunachala Kavirayar, Oothukkadu Venkatakavi, Tulsidas, Purandaradasa etc. and after giving interesting introductions to each kriti, they were presented. The variety of kritis with suitable virthams, alapana and swaram kept the concert mood upbeat. The hall packed audience enjoyed the songs and were also enlightened by the simple but enlightening information shared by Radha.

Drama fest inaugurated
Sri Krishna Gana Sabha inaugurated its 22nd Chithirai Nataka Vizha recently. Gopalkrishna Gandhi inaugurated the festival and conferred the 'Nataka Choodamani' award on noted artiste Girish Karnad. M.Narendra,Chairman & M.D, IOB was the guest of honour and N.Ram, Alarmelvalli felicitated the awardee. The Poornam New Theatres Rolling shield was presented to Augusto Creations for the best drama troupe. This was followed by Theatre Nisha's presentation 'The KarnadNayika 7 states of a women in GirishKarnad Plays' by Meera Sitaraman.

Lahari's Dikshitar Jayanthi in Singapore
On April 19th 2014, Lahari (Singapore) organized “Dikshitar Jayanti” along with Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple Music and Dance Academy. Ms Ashwini, student of Smt. Vardhini started the day's proceedings with her Bharathyanatyam performance for Dikshitar's composition “Eka Dhantam” in Bilahari raga.
More than 200 children participated. The teachers Usha Raman, Godha, Kavitha Sankaran, Kalpana Swaminathan, Ramya Harish, Jayashri Prakash, Gayathri Karthik, Shruti Anand, Aditya, Mythili Rajaraman and Saraswathy along with their students participated in the mass rendering of the Nottuswarams followed by Dikshitar's Kritis. Archana, gave a lot of insights into Dikshitar's life and his compositions.
Saraswathy & Nithya (Directors of Lahari) along with Kamala Das (Chairman of SSVT MDA) felicitated the gurus and the accompanying artists. The audience said they were looking forward to more such events in future.

Prestigious title
Utsav Music and The Times of India presented Dance Day Festiavl -2014, in association with Sri Krishna Gana Sabha. On the occasion, dance exponent Chithra Visweswaran was conferred the title “Utsav Nrithya Ratna” by Bharat Joshi, British Deputy High Commissioner.

Soulful rendition of Ashtapadis
The Gita Govinda is a monumental work composed by the 12th-century poet, Jayadeva. It has twelve chapters and each chapter is further sub-divided into twenty four divisions called Prabandhas. The prabandhas contain couplets grouped into eights, called Ashtapadis. The work delineates the love of Krishna for Radha, his faithlessness and subsequent return to her, and is taken as symbolical of the human soul's straying from its true allegiance but returning at length to the God which created it.
The real beauty of the Gita Govinda is in its music. The lyrics are written in such a way that a talented composer can fit a large number of tunes and unleash his creativity, letting the music speak even more than the words.
It is interesting to study how these Ashtapadis have lent themselves to different ways of tuning from simple to complex, depending on the context and occasion for which it is intended. In the Bhajana Padhati, they are set to simple tunes so as to facilitate congregational singing. When part of the concert genre, they assume an intricate form akin to a kriti. When sung as a group rendition, they assume an intermediate form which is neither too simple nor complex, yet being musically appealing to the listener.
Lalitha Iyer of Mumbai, who is passionate about the Ashtapadis, learnt it from her Guru Thailambal Krishnan and has now taken it up as a mission to teach these great songs to as many people as possible. Formerly a bank employee, she used her weekend time to learn the Ashtapadis and then slowly started teaching it to small groups of ladies. Her group is called Swaranjali. Most of them are not formerly trained in music and it is amazing how they have been trained to sing with such perfect sync and coordination. The groups have been performing in various places and last year, they were fortunate to perform at Puri in the Jagannatha temple.
The 50th programme of Swaranjali was organized on 27th April at East Goregeon, Mumbai wherein in a grand function, about 60 ladies joined together to sing the Ashtapadis. Lalitha led the group with a sense of dedication and all of them followed in perfect unison. Selected Ashtapadis with suitable slokas were rendered and the melodies permeated through the entire audience which had gathered in large numbers to get soaked in the Bhakthi Rasa. The enunciation of lyrics was clear and articulate. Pure classical ragas were employed and hence, there was weightiness in presentation as well. On the whole, the programme was a spectacular display of well coordinated music presented with sincerity and utmost devotion.
The welcome address was given by Vineeta and Neelakanta Iyer proposed a very heart-warming vote of thanks to all those who had done their bit to make the function such a grand success.
Swaranjali will soon be off to Guruvayur to perform their next landmark programme.

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