Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-7

Posted by on Apr 22, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Sat. 22nd April, 2017 Tribute to Sivavadivel Pillai by..   “Akila Ulaga Nadaswara Eka Cakraatipathi” Thiruvaavaduturai Adiinam Sangita mahaavidwan, “Nadaswara Everest”, T.N. Rajaratnam Pillai, “Sivaji Mahal”, Thiruvaavaduturai.   ‘The gem born of penance’ in Tamil Nadu, in Kuttalam in Tanjore district, the beacon of the ‘lamp of music’ , Sri Sivavadivel Pillai’s death immersed me and my family in unbearable sorrow. Sri Pillai got to fame performing in Tamil Nadu and in many other countries (many other states?). He came into the world according to the dictum of Thiruvalluvar: “Be born as great, if you come unto the world”. In Tamil Nadu, with respect, standing like a mountain, he got respect through his instrument. With the mellifluous sound of mrdangam, and shining like an ornament without interfering with the music of those gems of vocal musicians, showering his ‘torrential rains of his music’ with the tuneful tambura, he would give his ‘Miittu-c-Caappu’. He established his style of playing (‘paani’) satisfying the hearts of thousands of his rasikas. With accolades and titles he was like an ornament among the gems of mrdangam players.   “Oh Pillai! When would I see you? When would we converse? Oh, the great bard, on the banks of the river Ponni, where the flowers adorned the pastures, Oh who gained the selfless love of your guru, Sri Kuppusami, you who made the heads sway with your music, pouring sweetness in the ears, making the forest and mountains fertile by your music, like magic.. where did you go leaving the hearts here attracted by the music of your laya? With your smile like the famed ruby, Oh the virtuous one, who did service like a ‘soldier of mrdangam’ in Bharat.. did you join your good guru, (my) brother Sri Kuppusamy ? You who, by attending all our family functions, made us immerse in happiness! In your profession, like me, your guru and you held the principle of self respect, not bowing to any one (to eke out your life). Now I am left alone. You could have lived for some more time to make everyone (your disciples) play well. How can you live in this world when our enemies have to live here? It looks as though God cannot leave the habit of inviting those ‘incarnated artistes’ unto him. Hey, the beauty spilling Gem! One who was born to serve arts and bring peace to your soul, is taken away by the God of Death. I bow to the one who is now in the lap of the brave Bharat...

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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-6

Posted by on Apr 21, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Friday 21, April, 2017 A tribute to Sri S. Sivavadivel Pillai (Mrdangam) By Sangita Kalanidhi Gaayana Gandharva Sangita Saamraat Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Chennai Coming to know through the papers and Kalki journal that Sri Sivavadivel Pillai is no more, I am sorrowful. The guru of Sivavadivel Pillai, Kuttalam Sri Kuppuswamy Pillai had been playing for me since 1914. Then it was customary that Govindasami Pillai (Fiddle), Azhagan Tambi Pillai (mrdangam), Dakshinamurthy Pillai (Kanjira) used to accompany me for the concerts. In 1920 it happened that for the first time he accompanied me on the mrdangam, in the Aryagana Sabha concert in Trichy along with Govindasami Pillai and Dakshinamurthy Pillai. Then he must be around 16. His accompaniment in the concert without any fear was much appreciated by the rasikas in the 100 pillar hall, as well as making Govindasami Pillai and Dakshinamurthy Pillai very happy. To see this and listen I was very happy too. After that he had accompanied me on the mrdangam for many concerts and for a few he played on the Kanjira, with Palghat Mani Iyer on the mrdangam, and for many on the mrdangam with Dakshninamurthy Pillai on the Kanjira. Apart from his playing he had done research in Tamil, showed great devotion for Lord Muruga, and conducted music festivals in the mutt he established for Arunagirinathar made of Silver. He was always cordial and friendly with his associates. He had good intentions. His demise is a great loss to the concert...

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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-5

Posted by on Apr 19, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

19th April 2017 Tribute to Mrdanga Vidwan Kuttalam Siva Vadivel Pillai  By Sangeeta Kalanidhi T. N. Swaminatha Pillai, Professor of Music, Central Carnatic Music College, Chennai “ When I was young I had a sweet voice. Between 12 ad 17 I had given many vocal concerts. In the beginning, considering the promise I had in the career of music one of the famed mrdangam maestros , respected Kuppusamy Pillai, encouraged me, joining me in many of my concerts. To have contributed to making me come to the front ranking artistes, I cannot deny that Kuppusamy Pillai had a greater share. When I reached 17, my voice became bad and I could not sing any more. At that point I began to practice flute. By 20 I began giving concerts on the flute. Even then, because of his love for me, respected Kuppusamy brought me accolades by continuing to play for me. At that time our Vidwan Sivavadivel Pillai must have been 12 years old. In the small town called Ilaiyanar Velore, Close to Kanchipuram, there was one, Srimathi Saradambal ammaiyar, an exponent of Katha Kalakshepam, conducted the Navarathri festival. I have performed concert. Only there, for the first time, Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai had been arranged to perform for me. After that he had played for me in many concerts. I had great respect for his musicianship. He possessed a firm and precise performing style. From the beginning to the end, without disrupting the concert, playing with utmost attention he had the skill and capacity to make the concert memorable, embellished and special. Many maestros had assembled at Arimalam Ramanathan Chettiyar’s home concert of mine. It is still ringing in my ears the superb supportive performance of Kuttalam Sivavadivel pillai. When we played together once in Pudukkottai, the great artiste Dakshinamurthy Pillai, sat at a close distance listening to the concert with heart felt joy and finally praised and blessed us too. The greatest music maestro who earned a special niche among the greatest, Kanchipuram Nayinappillai had praised Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai captivated by his superb sound and laya mastery in his playing. From his guru, the great laya exponent, Kuttalam Kuppusamy Pillai, Sivavadivel Pillai from his very young age learned the intricacies of laya with its finer emotive and expressive qualities. He had learned with clarity the dynamics of sound, the intricate differences in productions. As a great exponent of both mrdangam and Kanjira, Sivavadivel Pillai skillfully accompanying many great music maestros, was a source of strength. Many famed artistes invited him to their functions and had praised his mastery over the art of music. On the concert stage, Sri Siva Vadivel Pillai without only showing his skill on his instrument, he appropriately enriched the main artiste’s performance according to their individual strengths and thus contributing to the overall gestalt making the audience enjoy. Even though the main artistes were not equal to his status, he accompanied them with understanding and projected the main artiste as one of the best in the perception of the audience. Later in his years he had ailing health. Although he could not go beyond what he was really capable as a maestro, everyone accepted him as one of the greats in laya. He had not hesitated in giving his best in his art of mrdangam to his disciples without distinction, without hiding and without any partiality. He had contributed to grooming up many young players. He earned enough wealth through his skill in his art. He used his wealth purposefully. He spent for the promotion of arts and for the worship of God. He had...

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Foot Prints on the Sands of Time-KSS-MD-4

Posted by on Apr 18, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

18th APRIL, 2017  Mrdanga Vidwan Kuttalam Siva Vadivel Pillai      (A summary of the tributes to the mrdaṅga Vidwan, Kuttalam ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’ S. Sivavadivel Pillai; Publishers: Disciples of the Guru; Press: Gambhir Vinayakar Press; Kutralam-1956) குத்தாலம் “மிருதங்கச் சுடரொளி” எஸ். சிவவடிவேல் பிள்ளை அவர்கள் நினைவு மலர்; வெளியிட்டோர்: மிருதங்கச் சுடரொளியின் சிஷ்யர்கள்; பதிப்பித்தது: ஸ்ரீ கம்பீர வினாயகர் பிரஸ், குத்தாலம்; 1956 Kuttalam ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’ S. Sivavadivel Pillai-Memoir   Publishers: Disciples of the ‘Mrdangaccudaroli’; Press: Sri Gambhira Vinayakar, Kuttalam-1956; Language: Tamil Mrdanga Vidwan S. Sivavadivel Pillai Konnakkol Vaidyalingam Pillai’s writes: (Unfortunately there is not much information on Sri Konnakkol Vaidyalingam Pillai. If some has you may post here with his photograph-Dr. KSS) “ I met him in 1935 at Pondicheri to perform together for Cittoor Subrammanya Pillai. He is very well known in mrdangam playing. But for that concert he played on the Kanjira and proved himself equally skillful. We started playing together for Cittoor in concerts. In addition he also palyed Dolak very well. He is an expert in Laya, on the whole. He had no fear in his profession. He is devoted to Arunagirinathar. As a proof there is a mutt for Arunagirinathar built next to his home. He is fond of humor. His father Konnakkol Pakriyapillai was fond of him. It is no exaggeration to say that he was a pillar to the Isai Velalar community....

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Notes on Tala-KSS-MD-3

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Music Forum, Uncategorized |

Karaikudi S.S   Rhythm is a fascinating subject and the world music students are greatly inspired by Indian rhythms. South Indian rhythms have a very long history. While there are legendary greats in South Indian drumming such as Mamundia Pillai, Dakshinamurthy Pillai,  Palghat Mani Iyer, Palani Subbramania Pillai, Ramnad Murugabhoopathi and others, of late there are hundreds of top drummers in South India. The complexities in rhythm will be bewildering to a beginning student. The following notes are meant as an introduction to basics in South Indian Tala from a simplistic point of view to help the beginners. What would be interesting and instantly rewarding would be the demonstrations through the Tala Keeper programmable soft ware.    NOTES ON TALA ( Pronounced TAALAA)   Talas: Hand gestures to Keep time visually for compositions and improvisations. Parts: 1. Laghu (Variable 3, 4, 5, 7 & 9 executed through a beat followed by finger counting) 2. Dhrutam (Constantly represents two-executed by a beat and a wave) 3. Anu dhrutam (represents, one-which cannot exist without the laghu and dhrutam. In other words they are sandwiched between Laghu and dhrutam)   Syllables (solkattus) used for numbers are called ‘jathis’. There is another element, jaathi, referring to groups of 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9. It applies to Laghu to define the tala (a beat and two finger counts, for example, will be a ’tisra’ group) The undercurrent of the ‘pulses’ between two beats (or counts) can vary from 3 to 9 according to composition or improvisation. It defines the ‘gait’ or ‘gati’ of a composition or improvisation. It is the flowing time realised within the performer which needs to be strengthened in order to command time and execute a composition or improvisation with precision.    One will hear the words Tisra (referring to 3), Caturasra or catusra (referring to4), khanda (referring to5), Misra (referring to 7) and Sankirna (referring to 9). These terms are commonly referred to define the talas (with respect to lagus), gatis (‘gait’ or the undercurrent of the pulses between two counts) or simply rhythmic groups or patterns. Find the common talas given below used in a South Indian Music concert. There are the theoretical 7 talas traditionally called, Sulaadi Sapta talas or Alankaara taalas. You will notice the talas Dhruva, Matya etc., having adjectives such as Catusra, misra and so on defining the talas). I am using the soft ware Tala Keeper to help in this process.  http://talakeeper.org     Common Talas Adi Tala Ata Tala (Kanda) Kanda Capu Tala Misra Capu Tala Rupaka Tala Sankirna Capu Tala Alankara Talas Catusra Dhruva Catusra Matya Catusra Rupaka Misra Jampa Tisra Triputa Kanda Ata Catusra Eka     1. Adi:  4+2+2 = 8 (One Laghu + Two dhrutams) Click Adi Tala  to play and experience the sound. 2. Capu: 2.1 Khanda (Kanda Capu Tala) 2.2 Misra (Misra Capu Tala) 2.3 Sankirna (Sankirna Capu Tala) (The simple and common variety of 3 is played with two beats and a wave can be called ’tisra capu, while the traditional and formal tala is called rupakam) 3. The traditional and theoretical sapta talas are Dhruva (Catusra Dhruva) Matya (Catusra Matya), Rupaka (Catusra Rupaka), Jampa (Misra Jampa), Triputa (Tisra Triputa), Ata (Kanda Ata) and Eka (Catusra Eka) used in the initial foundation exercises.    Simple structural exercises for Talas in three speeds (geometric progression in speed with respect to finger counts and syllables. 1:1 (One count with one syllable); 1:2 (One count with two syllables); 1:4 (One count with 4 syllables); 1:8 (One count with 8 syllables and so on)   How to do it?    Adi Tala:    1. In speed one, say Takadhimi Taka Taka, (one syllable per every count- which will complete one...

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