About Me

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I am a singer-researcher with expertise in Karnatik Music and Early Opera. I discuss intercultural music-making contexts. My work is available at www.charulathamani.com and at www.youtube.com/isaipayanam

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Isai Payanam at Karthik Fine Arts


I performed on 28th December at Valliammal College Auditorium, Anna Nagar for Karthik Fine Arts in their Music Season Tamil Isai Festival. The ticketed concert had a packed house, most of the audience being first timers for Isai Payanam who were very enthusiastic and enjoyed the concert.
I presented ragas Hamsadhwani, Hindolam, Shanmukhapriya in their classical hues and film songs that are based on them. I presented Parvati Nayakane as the main piece of the evening, and Pazham Nee appa, Muthaitharu, and Maraindirunde paarkum were received with thunderous applause. Rasikas love vintage stuff. There were lot of young people in the audience, this was indeed a refreshing sight. I presented Suttum Vizhi a ragamalika of Bharatiar, an abhang of Tukaram in Revati raga, Revati Thillana by Lalgudi Sri Jayaraman, the crowd favourite Maadu Meykkum Kanne, and finally Karpagame in Madhyamavati.
The concert was covered by kumudam.com. I shall share the link here for my cyber-music-lovers when it is ready.

Isai Payanam @KartikFineArts photos at galatta.com:


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Aaravadhu Vanam

The film Aaravadhu Vanam, had its audio release last week. The music is composed by Haribabu, a talented music director. The song I have sung is a pacy number with Velmurugan.

S.R. Ashok Kumar writes in The Hindu Metroplus, "MRG Films International's 'Aaravadhu Vanam' has six numbers by new-find R. Haribabu. The best in the album is ‘Mayiley Oh Mayiley' sung by Sri Madumita and written by R. Bhuvanesh.

After the hit song ‘En Uchi Mandela', Charulatha Mani gets to sing ‘Andaa Gundaa' with Velmurugan, written by R. Bhuvanesh. J.K.V. Roshini sings ‘Vinmeena Pidichivandhu', written by R. Bhuvanesh. Muthuvijayan's ‘Kannale Kannale' is sung by Bellie Raj while ‘En Uyire', written by Kugai Ma. Pugazhendi, is sung by Prasanna and Deepa Mariam. ‘Yarodu Yaridam' sung by Mukesh and written by R. Bhuvanesh is a moving number."

Listen to it here

Isai Payanam - 19th December- Tilang, Kharaharapriya & Yamunakalyani

It was a bright Saturday morning, and I took stage at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Auditorium for my Isai Payanam concert. The hall was teeming with people and I was excited as I always am before concerts, and this being the music season, is more special to me.

I presented raga Tillang, the classical pieces based in it, including the favorites such as Sri Ganesha, Prabho Ganapathe, and Shanti Nilava Vendum, popularised by D K Pattammal amma. The film pieces that followed included the famous Indru Poi Naalai Varai from Sampoorna Ramayanam, and Manadil Urudhi Vendum from the film Sindhubhairavi.
The main raga was Kharaharapriya, and I enjoyed exploring its various facets and presenting them to my audience. Thyagaraja's Chakkani Raja, Pakkala Nilabadi and Samanamevaru stood out with regality, while Papanasam Sivan's pieces Senthil Andavan and Janakipathe were well received.
In the film segment Madhavi Pon Mayilal is a song that I have been waiting to present to the audience and those moments when I sang it on stage were unforgettable. Maharajan from Karnan and Mayavalayil from Kulebagavali were other classics.
Suttum Vizhi Chudare from Ghajini was well-received by all too.
The final raga, Yamunakalyani was handled by me in a sedate fashion, bringing out its innate fragrance through pieces like Bhavayami Gopala, Krishna Nee, Tunga Teera, Uyyala luguma Sri Satya Sai. The film pieces included Sakthi kodu from Baba.
I was happy with the tremendous response and the enthusiasm which my dear rasikas showed.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sriragam Fine Arts concert at Music College

The Chennai Music College is a heritage building built in the 1700s with lovely halls, high ceilings, lake view, and a tranquil atmosphere. It was formerly known as Brodie's Castle, after its owner, James Brodie, an Englishman who worked with the East India Company in Madras. He drowned in 1802 while boating on the Adyar river. Ramakrishna Mutt road in fact used to be known as Brodie's Road.

The audience included eminent vidwans who form the faculty at the college and enthusiastic students with the will to learn and listen. The hall was fully packed with eager faces. Many of them wanted to know about film songs based on the Classical ragas that I was to handle and the request had already reached me prior to the commencement of the concert.

I started the concert with the Gambhiranattai piece "Sri Vigna Rajam" of Oothukadu Venkatakavi, went on to Saramati raga and "Arula Vendum Thaaye" of Madurai Sri Somu. This was followed by "Subramanyena" of Dikshitar in Suddhadhanyasi raga, all with swaras. I also presented GNB's "Ranjani Niranjani" this being the centenary year of his birth. The main piece of the evening was "Kapali" in Mohanam of Papanasam Sivan. Post-thani, I presented "Kanden Seethaiyai" in Bhagesri raga, and other lively items.

Very responsive and enthusiastic audience, good ambience. I congratulate the organiser Kalamamani Vazhuvoor Ravi for his efforts. I was accompanied by B. Anantakrishnan on the violin, Thirunageswaram Manikandan on mridangam, and Papanasam Sethuraman on kanjira.

Audio clips:

BVB Concert 7th December 2009

It was a pleasant evening on 7th December 2009 as I took stage at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Main Hall, Mylapore. The hall was full even when I started the show, and outside the organisers had thoughtfully installed projectors for viewers seated on chairs outside to watch and listen to the concert. I was accompanied by B. Anantakrishnan on the violin, and Arjun Ganesh on mridangam.

I started out with Sadachaleswaram, the Bhupala Raga kriti of Muthuswamy Dikshitar on the lingam seen at Thiruvarur. I handled swaras at "Kamala Vijaya kara", the madhyama kala passage in the charanam.

This was followed by the Varamu kriti of Papanasam Sivan, "Thunai Purindarul".

I then explained the meaning of the song "Samukhana Nilva" in Kokilavarali Raga of Thyagaraja and sang this piece peppered with a short alapana and swaras.

I then presented Raga Purvikalyani, the piece being "Deva Deva" of Swati Tirunal with niraval and swaras.

Then came "Akhilandeswari" of Dikshitar in raga Dwijavanti, on Ambal at Thiruvanaikavil.

The main piece of the evening was the emotive kriti "Muruga Muruga" of Periasamy Thooran in Saveri raga.

The tail pieces included a Sai Bhajan in Raga Kapi,  "Chitravati", and "Theertha Vittala" an abhang of Namdev, and finally "Bhaktha jana vatsale" an abhang in Brindavani Raga. I was inspired by Aruna Sairamji when I sang the abhangs, I thank her for her guidance in these pieces.

The response was very good. Yet another eventful music season at Chennai is in swing.

Audio Excerpts (MP3):

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Vettaikaran Launch on Sun TV

Last Sunday was an exciting day for me. The "En Uchi Mandaila" song I have sung in "Vettaikaran", Vijay's latest film, was premiered on Sun TV's telecast of the audio launch function. Krishna Iyer and myself performed this song before an audience of wild fans and stars of Tamil Cinema. I really enjoyed those moments on stage. It was more special because the music director Vijay Antony and actors Vijay and Anushka were looking on as we were performing.

I am preparing whole-heartedly for the December music season kutcheris, and hope to present my rasikas with memorable concerts this year as well. I will be shortly posting my entire schedule.
take care ...


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raga Payanam - Nattai

Dear all,
Raga Payanam continues with Nattai raga which I have taken up for sharing with you all.... enjoy, any questions, please ask!!


Arohana : S R3 G3 M1 P N3 S
Avarohana: S N3 P M1 G3 M1 R3 S

A janya raga of Chalanata, Nattai is considered a very auspicious raga and signifies the beginning of any concert. It is a mangala raga, and most compositions in this raga are on Lord Vinayaka, the remover of all obstacles. It is a Ghana raga, and the first of Thyagaraja’s Pancharatnas is in this raga. It is also a Vivadi raga, i.e. some notes are placed at very close intervals, and hence an intoxicating effect is created in Chalanata and Nattai ragas. The Hindustani raga Jog closely resembles Nattai.

Video Clip of Sarasiruhasanapriye - Raga Nattai

Video Clip of Mahaganapatim - Raga Nattai

Carnatic Compositions in Nattai:

Mahaganapatim - Mutthusvami Dikshitar- this is a very popular song, has also appeared in Sindhubhairavi film, sung by K. J. Yesudas, and has crowning chittaswaram.
Pavanatmajagaccha - Mutthusvami Dikshitar- A kriti about Anjaneya, he is described as "paripoorna swacchha" meaning totally pure and clean.
Jagananda Karaka- Thyagaraja - The first and most well-known pancharatnam, has also been used as prelude recently by Harris Jayaraj for Ayyangar Veettu Azhage in the movie Anniyan
Ninne Bhajana - Thyagaraja -Kriti on Rama, ideal opening piece
Jaya Jaya Jaya Janaki - Purandaradasa - Kanta Chapu tala based fast piece
Jaya Jaya Swamin - Narayana Theertha - A piece on Vinayaka, unusual since Narayana Theertha usually composes on Krishna.
Umayor Bagane - Papanasam Sivan - kriti on Lord Shiva
Sri Mahaganapate - N. S. Ramachandran
Edayya Gati this is in Chalanata raga, the parent raga of Nattai. Koteeswara Iyer has composed this on Lord Shiva, mudra of raga as “Bhutala Chalanata nin Taal thaan gati”)

Film songs based in Nattai:

Mahaganapatim - "Sindhu Bhairavi"- Ilayaraja has just used the original kriti in concert format, sung by Yesudas his mesmering voice and ideal back-ups giving it a charm that still endures.
Chennai Senthamizh - "M. Kumaran, Son of Mahalakshmi" - this is a tune by Srikanth Deva inspired by Mahaganapatim, sung by Harish Raghavendra.
Ayyangar Veettu- "Anniyan" - Harris Jayaraj has done a great job and beautifuly sung by Hariharan
Narumugaye- "Iruvar" - A lovely piece by AR Rahman, sung by Unnikrishnan and Bombay Jayashri, the words by Vairamuthu refer to Sanga Ilakkiyam usages.
Pani Vizhum (Chalanata) - Ninaivellam Nithya - a classic portrayal of Chalanata, unrivalled piece by Ilayaraja
Spiderman (Jog Rag) - "New" - Hindustani raga similar to Nattai, Jog is intoxicating. Sadhana Sargam has sung brilliantly in AR Rahman's music
Thom Thom- "Alli Thanda Vaanam" -Vidyasagar's music with brilliant sangatis. Hariharan and Chitra have lent sheen to this piece

That's all for now, rest in next! - CLM

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Deepotsavam and Concert at Hare Krishna Temple

Hi all!

On November 1st, I performed a concert at the Hare Krishna Temple, Valmiki Nagar for Deepotsavam Festival, in which devotees offer lamps to the Lord. I was accompanied by Arunachala Karthik on Violin and Erode Nagaraj on Mridangam. A devotional experience. The songlist included Pallandu (Nattai), Bhavamulona (Suddha Dhanyasi), Sriman Narayana (Bowli), Enna Thavam (Kapi), Sri Madhava (Behag) and Balagopala (Bhairavi) was the main piece. I also presented Abhangs Theertha Vittala and Bhakthajana Vatsale to an enthusiastic audience. The miking and sound was excellent and the arrangements were hassle-free.

Audio excerpts from the concert:

Govardhana Giridhara


Abhang - Bhaktajana Vatsale

Abhang - Theertha Vittala

Damodara is the representation of Krishna when he is tied to the mortar by his mother Yashoda for his lila-s. This month, the month of Kartika, Damodara is worshipped. He is Bhaktha-paradheena meaning he is enslaved by Bhakthi.

until later...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Teenage" - my latest song from the film Kadhalan Kadhali

Hi friends!

On 23rd October, my new song "Teenage" from the film Kadhalan Kadhali starring Jai Akash was released. The audio was launched in a function where Devisriprasad was the chief guest, and the song in a western number with Harish Raghavendra, totally rocks! Just listen to it, nice violin BGM too. Nandan Raj is the music director.

New Bhajan CD

"Kaatrinile Varum Geetam", my bhajan CD has been released by Sri Krishna Sweets for Diwali, and I just got copies. It has come out well and contains songs like Prabho Ganapate, Subramanyam, Sangita Rasike, Atma Rama, Vaa Vaa Hanumane, Maadu Meykkum Kanne and other popular songs with myself leading and the chorus repeating. A CD for light listening and bhakthi singing, from children to elders everyone will enjoy this offering. I have uploaded the tracks. Enjoy!

CDs are available at Sri Krishna Sweets outlets.

Lighting Kuthuvilakku for Korean Film Festival

I was a guest of honour at the Indo-Korean film festival held at Film Chamber premises on Monday 19th October. Mr. S. Ve. Shekhar and Mr. Chang, Byung-Suk from Korea Business Centre were present on the occasion. I spoke on how such festivals are increasing awareness of Indian film goers to international cinema. The festival opened with the screening of Memories of Murder.

In Srilanka, singing with Vijay Antony

Hi friends,

It was a fantastic experience to travel along with Mr. Vijay Antony, music director and co-singers to Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and perform live before an audience of 150,000 people on 25th October 2009. I performed my Naan Avan Illai song and also sang En Uchi Mandaila, and the crowd screamed drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!! We had great fun dancing and singing on stage. Colombo is a nice place, good for shopping. Jaffna is very quiet otherwise, slowly recovering I think. Anyway, we all had a great time!

Monday, October 19, 2009


This is the beginning of a new series of blogs by me, called Raga Payanam. You can read about your favourite ragas in this section, the classical pieces in them, anecdotes, and of course film super-hits based on these ragas. Enjoy the musical rain!!

Arohanam: S G2 M2 P N2 S
Avarohanam: S N2 P M2 G2 S

An auspicious pratimadhyama, audava raga, a janya of 66th Melakarta Citrambari(just for academic interest!), Amritavarshini as the name suggests is associated with rain. Muthuswamy Dikshitar is said to have brought rain to the parched lands near Ettayapuram by singing his famous composition Anandamrita in this raga. It is a minor raga, very well –loved by all rasikas, musicians and music directors for its characteristic gait, and brightness.

Classical compositions:
ANANDAMRITA - MUTHUSWAMY DIKSHITAR - The Raga Mudra is "Amritavarshini", raga name which also brought forth rain in Ettayapuram village where Dikshitar sang this piece)
SUDHAMAYI - HARIKESANALLUR MUTHIAH BHAGAVATAR - popularised by the late G N Balasubramaniam, the super-star of music whose birth centenary is this year, this kriti has a lovely chittaswaram also.

Film Songs:
SIVAKAMI AADAVANDAL - PAATTUM BHARATAMUM (music by M S Viswanathan, this song is a dance competition song that depicts a contest between Goddess Sivakami and Lord Nataraja, and has interesting jathis also)
MAZHAKKORU DEVANE - SRI RAGHAVENDRAR (this is a viruttam type of song sung by K. J. Yesudas, music Ilayaraja, in which Raghavendra Swamy prays to the lord of rain, Varuna for a downpour and extinguish the fire that is destroying the village. As soon as this piece is sung the rain starts and the fire is extinguished.
THOONGATHA VIZHIGAL - AGNI NATCHATRAM (Sung by K. J. Yesudas, and S. Janaki, in Ilayaraja’s music, this is a masterpiece in Amritavarshini. This song has lots of akaras and sangati-s which make it very special
NAAN THAANA - NINAITHALE , the latest addition, music direction Vijay Antony, Sadhana Sargam has sung this refreshing song.
A lively raga...
I will upload my recent concert clips in Amritavarshini very soon.... As we know music is better heard than read about, but every bit helps!!

Bye for now.....

Saturday, October 17, 2009

UK Concerts

Dear friends,

Hope you all had a lovely Diwali.

I had nice performances at London, full houses and warm audiences, organised by Tamil Orphans Trust. Very satisfying. Singing for 3 1/2 hours on consecutive days is quite a task, but by God's grace I was able to do it.

An excerpt from Sunday's concert:


The weather in London was quite pleasant bordering on being a little chilly and biting at times, especially at night. After the concerts I had a day to spare and went to the Bhakthivedanta Manor Hare Krishna Temple at George Harrison Manor, donated by George Harrison of the Beatles, to the Hare Krishna Movement. I also did some modest shopping and dined out with friends. I gave interviews, for Deepam TV, G-TV, IBC Radio, and one for Thamarai.com, a new portal for showcasing Asian talents to the Western world. The London audience is loving, receptive, very encouraging, and I was tickled when "Once more" resounded in the hall after I finished "Enna Thavam Seidhanai" in Kapi Raga. Overall, a hectic, enjoyable trip. Hope you liked me on Vijay TV's "Paattu Padava". I did my best, and 60K is nice to win...I'm contented (for now!!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Walking the Ramp with Hemamaliniji

It was a memorable evening on Monday 14th September 2009 when I was recognized as one among the nine Top Women Achienvers of 2009 and was honoured by Pothys , one of the leading silk manufacturers. I was asked to walk the ramp and given a beautiful Vastra Kala pattu saree (violet with gold border, and a lot of Kundan and Jaipuri work), the new range of which was launched on Monday. The “dream girl” of Bollywood, Hemamaliniji is their brand ambassador for the "Vastra Kala Pattu" collection, and shared the stage with us, and standing by her side and posing for all the press photographers is something I will never forget for a long time. I was amazed at the crowd’s response during my cat-walk, and still more stunned as all others by the evergreen beauty of Hemaji. Her professional approach and natural friendly disposition was something I admired even though ours was a brief meeting. I was given a citation by Mr Ramesh, MD of Pothys and the event was fully covered by Vijay TV. The dinner that followed was a treat. Taj Coromandel rocks as always. Like I said, a memorable evening...

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sankarankovil is a small town near Thirunelveli. This is where around the 10th Century, a Lingam was unearthed in a “Putthu” i.e sand dune, and was established as the “Sankaralingam” deity. The temple built around this presiding deity is called Sankarankovil. The consort of this Shiva form is the beautiful Gomathy Amman. A petite statue with pleasing facial features, not more than 3-feet tall in appearance, Gomathy Amman, our family deity is indeed the pride of this place. During the month of Aadi Gomathy Amman does a penance “Aadi Thavasu” and at the end of the 10 days the lord presents hiumelf in the “Sankaranarayana” form, half Shiva and half Vishnu, and this alankara is unique to witness.
I had the good fortune of visiting Sankarankovil yesterday, the third time after my wedding. I made the customary “Maavilakku”, in which one mixes rice flour and jaggery with coconut water, pours ghee and lights a “deepam” at the centre. A very tasty offering, the “maavilakku” is offered to all family members and other devotees after the ritual. My family and I watched abishekam, and we had given a red and gold saree for the godess to adorn after the abishekam. She looked beautiful. There is a Srichakram on which I sat and sang the Kamalamba Navavarana in Anandabhairavi, and also the Sri Chakra Raja Nilaye of GNB in the raga Sivasakthi. I also recited the Mahishasuramardhini Stotram and we enjoyed the spirituality and experienced happiness. Even the children though very young helped out with the arrangements. The putthu sand has healing properties it is said, so we brought home some “putthu mannu” as it is called to give to friends and relatives. We stayed at a friend’s house, a lovely old house built with verandahs and low ceilings, very cool exuding old-world charm. We were treated to a rare koottu, one with raw mango and lady’s finger, an interesting combination.
I wore the traditional 9 yards saree, I like it very much, and whenever there is an opportunity don’t hesitate to wear it. Learning it was quite a task but once I mastered the procedure, it’s a question of less than 5 minutes to get the right look.
Did you know that poet Subramanya Bharathi has composed a song on Gomathy Amman during one of his numerous visits to the temple?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Isai Payanam and DVD Release

On Saturday 29th Aug, 2009, Isai Payanam DVD Volumes 8, 9 and 10 were released at a function held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mylapore. This release function was followed by my Isai Payanam concert. 

The DVDs produced by Giri Trading Agency were released by well-known singer Sri P. Unnikrishnan and the first copies were received by noted music director Sri Dhina. Actor Sri ARS was also present on the occasion. Volume 8 contains ragas Subhapantuvarali, Madhyamavati, Brindavani and Brindavanasaranga. Volume 9 contains Abhogi and Kapi ragas and Volume 10 contains ragas Kaanada and Darbari Kaanada

Sri Unnikrishnan congratulated the effort of Isai Payanam to promote classical music among a greater cross- section of audience. Sri Dhina stressed the importance of classical music and highlighted the role that classical singers like MS, Madurai Somu and others have played in enriching film music from those days till today. He also stated that he liked watching the television episodes of Isai Payanam and said they were very entertaining and informative.

The function was followed by my concert in which I presented ragas Sahana, Maand, and Bagesri which was enjoyed by the packed auditorium full of eager rasikas.

Seen in the photo (L to R) – Sri ARS, Sri Dhina, Sri P. Unnikrishnan, Smt Charulatha Mani and Sri Karthik Bala, Trustee, Isai Payanam Trust.

Concert Contents:


Classical Songs:
Vaanathin meethu - Ramalinga Swamigal
Muralidhara - Periasamy Thooran
Arumo Aaval
Thillana - Lalgudi Jayaraman
Pullanguzhal (theeratha)- Bharatiar
Odi varugayile (chinnanchiru) - Bharatiar

Film Songs:
Aduvome - Naam iruvar
Maasila - Ambikapathy
Ayiram kann - Paavai vilakku
Oru naal poduma - Thiruvilaiyadal
Kumari pennin - Enga veettu pillai
Nenjam marappadillai - Nenjam marappadillai
Jaathi malli - Azhagan
Anjali - Duet
Sowkiyama - Sangamam
Varaha - Sangamam


Varnam (karunimpa)
Vandanamu - Thyagaraja
Giripai - Thyagaraja
Evasudha - Thyagaraja
Emana dichevo - Thyagaraja
Dehi tava - Thyagaraja
Raghupathe - Thyagaraja
Sri kamalambikayam - Dikshitar
Rama inka nannu - Patnam subramanya iyer
Sri vatapi - Papanasam sivan
Chittam irangadadenayya - Papanasam sivan
Innamum - periasamy thooran(?)
Sri rama sri rama - Thyagaraja
Jayatu kodandarama - Purandaradasa
Kuthuvilakkeriya - Thiruppavai

Film songs:
Kanavinile (viruttam) - Meera
Parthen - Vira abimanyu
Engo pirandavaram - Bommai
Rukku rukku - Avvai shanmugi
Azhage sugama - Parthale paravasam
Poonthena - Eeranilam
Kannamoochi yenada - Kandukondein


Sagara sayana - M.D.Ramanathan
Kanden kanden - Arunachala kavi
Govindamiha - Narayana theertha
Nageswari neeye (karpagavalli) - Devotional

Film songs:
Kalaiye - Meenda sorgam
Kaanaa inbam - Sabhash meena
Nilave ennidam - Ramu
Mayakkum malai - Gulepagavali
Nee ennenna - Sirithu vazha vendum
Malarukku thendral pagaiyanal - Enga veettu pillai
Koluse - Pen buthi pin buthi
Mazhai varudhu - Raja kaiya vechha
Konja neram - Chandramukhi
Jaag dard-e-ishq - Anarkali

Monday, August 17, 2009

Janmastami Special Concert at RK Swamy Audi, Mylapore on 14th Aug

Hi friends,

Hope you all had lovely Krishna Jayanthi celebrations, despite the minor hassle that the swine flu scare created. On 13th I performed at the IKSCON Temple here in Valmiki Nagar Chennai for a private audience, very calm experience. 

On 14th was the day I have been looking forward to for the past few months now. Isai Payanam Trust, founded by me, was officially launched on the 14th of August. On this occasion I presented a Janmastami special concert dedicated to the life and stories of Lord Sri Krishna. I presented well loved kritis, bhajans and abhangs, interspersed with interesting anecdotes from the Bhagavatam and some verses with meanings from the Bhagavat Gita. I was totally taken in by the spiritual power that prevailed on the stage that day, and my audience were also drawn in. It was a warm, and fulfilling experience. Some of the most memorable renditions were that of "Ganamurthe" - Thyagaraja in Ganamurthi raga, "Sri Parthasarathy" by Dikshitar in Suddha Dhanyasi raga, "Krishna Nee Begane" in Yamunakalyani, "Jagadhodarana" - Pilu, and the Abhangs.

Some excerpts (full recording will be available soon):

This morning was spent at the floors of SUN TV where I shot for the Vijayadasami Special program on songs of Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. In the evening I sang for a film called "Aaraam Vidhi" music by newcomer Haribabu from Bangalore. Nice peppy tune sung by "Madura Kulunga" (Subramanyapuram fame)  Velmurugan and myself.

Tired but not  just enough to go to sleep without connecting with my fans and friends...

Lots of love, take care and protect yourself from the swine-flu. Try not to touch your face when you are out at  public places. Wash up thoroughly after coming home.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Concert in honour of DKP, Balaram Jayanthi, and Repin's paintings.

The past week has been an eventful one.
On Wednesday Balaram Jayanthi Celebrations went off in full swing at the Hare Krishna Temple, and I sang kritis and bhajans in praise of Narayana after the abhishekam. It was very fulfilling, I experienced ecstasy as Harinama escaped my lips and took the form of music.
On Friday, the 7th of August I performed a concert "Tribute to the legends MS, MLV and DKP" dedicated to the memory of Smt D. K. Pattammal who passed away recently. The concert was held at the Tchaikovsky Music Club, Russian Cultural Centre, and was very well received. "Eppadi Padinaro" and "Bhaja Govindam" were the highlights. Prior to the concert Mr. Simakov, Consul General of Russia, and myself inaugurated an exhibition of the paintings of the great Russian painter Repin. Lovely paintings, "The Unexpected Visitor" and "The Lady in the Fields" are masterpieces. Very natural.
Saturday was spent at Kagithapuram, Karur district where I judged the music competition held by TNPL. With me, judging, was TRM Savitri, daughter of the great T. R. Mahalingam, and it was very nice to share with her reminiscences of her father. I believe TRM was a very jovial and jolly person, and very soft spoken.

I'm making preparations now for the Janmastami special concert at R K Swamy Auditorium, Mylapore on the 14th of this month at 6:30 pm... Do attend.

Ciao friends..

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Music Workshop

Cyberian music lovers, I am very happy to announce that I have founded the "Isai Payanam Trust" to promote music among all those who have the slightest interest in it!
Right now I'm gearing up for the workshop "Isai Payanam Trust" is conducting. It is for children from ages 8 to 12 and teens from 13 to 17 and includes classical and film singing, differences in modulations for various styles of music, voice culture tips, diction and pronunciation, and celebrity guest lectures as well. It is to be held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mini Hall on the 1st and 2nd of Aug. Interested persons may register by calling 24412744 or 98410-88141. Nice to share tips with kids...hope they benefit from it. We performers have to certainly tune into the frequencies of the new-gen so that we don't get left behind and at the same share with them many beautiful things about music that we may have had the opportunity to seek out and learn. That's all for now...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coffee Break

Family and self tried out the new Mocha Mojo in Indiranagar. Designed in a 70's theme, with hit numbers from that period playing in the background, it was definitely different. The menu covers are even fashioned from old vinyl records. Our experience with what actually landed on the table was a bit mixed though... The bagels, panini, raw-garden lasagne were tasty. Unexpectedly, the coffees were a fiasco, whether it was a simple cappucino or a so-called "specialty" Antigua brew. Their over-priced Lindt hot chocolate took the cake...a white milky beverage in which a Lindt choc bar had apparently been dipped for a few nano-seconds. The only thing it had in common with the indulgent heisse shokolade served in Viennese, Swiss cafes, was ... the price.
"Sorry for the break"; back to musical musings soon...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tamil Music Awards 2009

Hello Cyberians,

The past few weeks have been quite hectic, concerts, recordings, kids going back to school and finally walking the ramp like a model in a fashion show exclusively by singers at the Tamil Music Awards launch. It was a great experience, walking the ramp first in an elegant saree, then in an evening gown designed professionally to fit us in an Indo-western style. A rare evening to remember when we interacted with our colleagues in the playback industry on and off stage, cracked jokes and finally rocked on the ramp. There was tremendous press coverage and response from all sections of the audience. What's more, I shared space with my sister and playback singer Srimathumitha.

The weather only gets worse out here in Chennai with every passing day it seems. I am just recovering from a throat infection, and thankfully am out of it.

I make it a point to listen to music that I like while working out on the exercise bike... thats the advantage of working out at home itself, you get to choose the music, and that's very important for a musician!

Well folks, I'll sign off now. A little busy with A.R.Rahman special episodes of "Isai Payanam" on Jaya TV. .. Bye.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Kolkata Kutcheri, ISKCON performance, and a film recording

Hi folks,
On 29th May I performed for Rasikapriya Sabha, Kolkata, It was an Isai Payanam concert, and I handled ragas Hamsadhwani, Hindolam, Charukesi and Kalyani in Classical and Film music. The audience was very nice and interested, and the auditorium and sound was state-of-the-art. Enjoyable experience.

Kolkata is a nice metro, lesser known, less talked about, but teeming with life and quaint. Its old-world charm and heritage buildings, narrow gullies, crowded markets full of rustic cheerful faces smeared with a paan stained smile, women with conch shell bangles, forehead sindoor and Bengal cotton sarees….indeed very refreshing.

After the concert we had a nocturnal visit to the famous Kali Temple, had a good darshan and later I shopped (a tad too enthusiastically) for lovely Bengal cotton sarees with long borders in bright hues.

Yesterday was a memorable day in my life. I had the opportunity to sing at the inauguration of the Sri Krishna Balaram Temple of ISKCON established mow at Valmiki Nagar, Chennai. I have been a Krishna devotee for the past 4 years, but little did I think I would get such a golden chance to present my musical offering at his lotus feet on such an auspicious day.

The deities were beautifully made statues in Panchaloka material. Elaborate pujas and homams were performed. This will be an evening to remember….

Today I sang a film recording for music composer L.V. Ganesan, son of music composer Sri L. Vaidhyanathan (his brothers L. Subramaniam and L. Shankar are also noted musicians). Folk number…good fun singing!

Ok friends ciao!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Goa vacation, film recordings and updates

Dear Cyberians
How have you all been? Vacationing at exotic locales, or chilling out at the local beaches or curling up in the comfort of your AC rooms reading a book?
I took off to Goa for a five-day break this summer with my husband and one of the twins (the boy), the reason being he is the one who loves a swim, and she prefers her time indoors with books, or chit chatting away with my sis whom she considers her fashion guru (dressing in pink, latest hairdos, ribbons, dancing shoes etc.!!).
Anyway we had a nice time at the Royal Goan Beach Resort, Monterio in Goa. Plenty of sun ( a bit too much for even a hardcore Chennaite like myself to bear), lots of water, nice food, polite service, beaches with fine whitish sand often forming shelves. My son just lay down in the sandy shores as the water cascaded him like a cradle. It was a lovely sight. The Baga beach was walking distance away, and we went there everyday morning and evening. I loved to watch the sunset from the beach and do my meditation there. It was rejuvenating and liberating....
Anjuna beach was rockier and more picturesque, like the one you see in movies. I got some good photographs of us having fun in the sun.
There is a little cafe called the Lila Cafe run by a German couple, and the coffee, homemade chocolates, pastries, and ice creams there are exceptional. I stole a few mouthfuls from my innocent and distracted child's strawberry ice cream, it was heavenly. I sheepishly exclaimed that I was helping him finish it...

Anyway back to the good work and singing in good old Chennai. Last week I recorded a couple of movie songs, and did a shoot in Raj TV's Top Singer.
I recorded a nice song in raga Kaapi for a film called "Valiyudan Oru Kaadhal", interspersed with bols and jathis. The song had a good feel and pace to it...
Off to Calcutta next week for a concert, and by the way, how did you all react to the elections? I thought ...... (no comments, I know only to sing!!). I cast my vote, and am proud of myself for doing my duty as an Indian citizen... Wonder when that black mark on my left index finger will disappear, it looks .............hmm....... unprepossessing.
Ok my friends, thanks for reading all this.... and take care.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Elections, Tofu, and Hot Picks

My dear Cyberians,

    The elections are moving closer and I am thinking about the effect this could have on us musicians. A popular Tamil magazine's senior reporter and friend called me and said " Ma'am why don't we do an article with singers telling us their preference in voting in the upcoming elections? Let me start with you". I almost fell off the chair in shock, "please.... I hope I have a long and bright career ahead, please don't jeopardise it with a question like this!". "There, there", the cheerful reporter said "Today is April 1st ma'am".

    Having to go to the booth to cast our vote in the hot summer heat is indeed a very challenging ordeal but still worse is the selection process as to who to cast the vote for. Anyway I shall give away no clues as to who I will be voting for, it is a secret ballot you see, which is why in our country many people secretively even refrain from voting. Why not, anyway your vote shall be cast in complete secrecy by someone who passes off as you (second life avatar perhaps?).

    Friends please eat Tofu for vocal and holistic health, I heartily recommend it for voice users whether you are singers striving to get a sangati or emotion across or election campaigners struggling to get your point across or annoyed mothers of rebellious teenagers shouting to get yourself heard over inadmissible decibels of music. The vocal cords are muscles and they can be strengthened with tofu I believe and this view has been endorsed by my singer sister Srimathumitha. Disease resistance is also built up by consuming tofu. Just an innocent little tip folks, please donot conclude that I have a Soy paneer factory as a side business..... Oh no , surely not.

    And before signing off, I would like to recommend my pick of the day - the Dikshitar kriti Maaye in the raga Tarangini sung by Dr. M. L. Vasanthakumari is a stunner, please do listen to it if you can get hold of it somewhere.

In world music I would like to recommend the singer Wes. He is South African and his earthy singing and varied tones just rock....

Ok my dears, bye for now.... Somebody please do something about this heat in the summer!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tamil New Year

Dear Friends,

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Tamil New Year 2009-2010. Invoking the blessings of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, I begin my blogging pursuit. I am known to many as a singer, I also love to interact with my rasikas by speaking during the concert. On Isai Payanam in Jaya TV I explain the sahitya and raga bhavas and also the usage of ragas in cine songs. So much for the speaker in me.

Writing has always been close to my heart, it is a quiet way of communication, silent yet powerful. I am really excited to blog, its like conversing with you all from a dais that has no beginning, no end, just the fabric of the omnipresent world wide web. My writings may sometimes seem tiresome...but mostly they are ...not...ahem...

Mango Pachidi is indeed a delicacy, friends, what with all its tangy flavour of the seasonal fruit, dripping in jaggery paagu, the occassional dash of the neem flower combined with the aroma of green chillies. A treat I ate with great delight for lunch today. The New Year brings in plenty of heat, lots of sweat, cartloads of mangoes, and long days indoors. I use this time for listening to more music, minding my little children the twin troubles that I enjoy tending to, and practising.

I performed in Delhi for a lovely Tamil audience last month. I didn't have much time for sight seeing, though I promised to myself that I would surely explore at least the main parts of Delhi at a later time. Delhi Tamil audience are very sweet, they made sure I sang for a good three hours, and even after that chits kept coming on to the stage. I assured them that I would certainly come back very soon.

Anybody from Calcutta out there? I am singing for "Rasikapriya" organisation on the 29th of May at Calcutta. You may contact one Mr. Kannan for info on venue, I shall also be posting details.

I sang Raghuvamsa Suthambudi the Kadanakuthuhalam kriti at a recent Rama Navami Concert in Chennai, and really enjoyed the experience. I felt a sense of elation and happiness while singing, and that was infectiously communicated to the audience. During the chittaswaram a few children started dancing spontaneously, overjoyed. Such is the nature of this raga, it radiates happiness. This kriti is often played on instruments than sung, but when sung it is a winner.

So much for this instalment, friends... The year is called "Virodhi" but, what's in a name? (Virodhi means enemy in Tamil and Hindi!) Well then, lets all have a happy and friendly "Virodhi" year!