Second Annual Thyagaraja Utsavam has been celebrated in Colorado on 8th March 2009 at Douglas County Fairgrounds Kirk Hall, in Castle Rock, CO in a big fanfare. There were more than 100 singers and 300 audiences in this massive event that includes the seasoned artists through the aspiring young learners. The program has started at 10am, and continued without interruption till 7:00pm, at its grandeur. The stage was decorated with Saint Thyagaraja Swamis photo in the center, grandly decorated with various flowers on either side.
The program was started at 10:00am, with all the notable artists Priya Hariharan, Arun Kumar, Chayadevi Ramayanam, Gayatri Krishnamurthy (Veena), Gowri Nandakumar, Sriram Srinivasan (Mridangam), Meera Ganesh, Pramod Kuppa, Matangi Venkat, Vani Iyer, Vijayashree Venkatesh, Venkat Subramanian (Mridangam), Kanchi, Ravi Mahalingam (Mridangam), Raja Venkatraman (Tabla) along with some kids to start with the Ganesh stuti. The team then proceeded with the Pancharathna kritis - Jagadananda Karaka (Naata), Dudukugala (Gaula), Sadhinchene (Arabhi), Kanakana ruchira (Varali) and finally Endaro Mahanubhavulu (Sri), just took the whole breath from the audiences to delve into the ocean of Carnatic music. This was very well blended with the Mridangam beats, to create the absolute symphony.
The individual performances then started roughly about 11:30am. All the artists were called to have their seats beside the stage, so there won't be any lag time when they were to start the performance. The first individual performance by the kids Shritha & Shriya Gunturu with 'Shri Gananatham Bhajamyaham' (Kanakangi) was good start. Emhyr, Gautam, Siddarth and Arjun's 'Rama Nama' (Madhyamavathi) was astonishing, which then followed by the nice rendition of 'Nagumomu kalavani' (Madhyamavathi) by Meghna Yarlagadda and Shreya Annamalai. Kids from North Denver Raga Anupindi, Veda Anupindi, Anika Ajay, Trisha Somu and Trini Somu have presented 'Melukovaiya' (Bowli) wonderfully. Kanjana Chandren and Diya Deepak's rendering 'Ramimchu vaarevarura' (Subhoshini) showed the talent; followed by Sriram Ganesh's 'Tulasi Dala' (Mayamalavagoula) was great. Mrs.Kanchi Mahalingam's rendition 'Nagumomu Kanleni' has reflected the best gamakas of the Carnatic music. The kids song 'Telisi Rama' (Purnachandrika) by Tejas, Aneesh, Sumanth and Gokul, 'Manavi aalakimcharadate' (Nalinakanthi) by Anupriya Jose, Varsha, Chandana were presented with a lot of ease. The violin rendition of 'Ninnunera' (Panthuvarali) by Adhitya Basker has stunned the audience for his expertise.
While covering the Thyagaraja Event, we should cover another great part of it, which was Fusion by Priya Hariharan (Violin), Gayatri Krishnamurthy (Veena), Charlie Parker (Cello), Anthony Salvo (Western Violin), Justin Kephart (Guitar), Sriram Srinivasan (Mridangam) & John Thomas (Tabla) to render 'Nidhichala' in Kalyani raga. It was just a exemplary performance by everyone, and just a masterpiece of the day. This stole the hearts of all the audiences when they see the Indian and western instruments resonated the great scales of Carnatic music. The audiences were spell bound with this performance, and almost gave a standing ovation at the end of this performance.
The performances by Anandi & Abhinetri Ramaswami's 'Eesha Pahimam' (Kalyani), Tara Kuyilath, Aneesh Warrier, Shrushti Manikandan's 'Karunajaladhi' (Nadanamakriya), Neya Manavalan and Kavya Kannan's 'Seetha Kalyanam' (Shankarabharanam) were remarkable. Violin performances by Hari (Daya Rani - Mohanam) and Rahul Ramesh (Anuraga mule - Saraswathi) were good. The individual performances then continued with Justin Kephart's 'Brovabharama' (Bahudari) on his guitar, Charlie's 'Niravathi' (Ravichandrika) on his cello.
The 'Nightingale of Twincities' and the 8th level in the student chain from Saint Thyagaraja Mrs.Chayadevi Ramayanam has then cheered the audience with her bhakti sampradaya kriti 'Srirama Bhakti'. Gowri Nandakumar's 'Etavunara' (Kalyani) with a brief but beautiful raagaalapana received applause from audiences. The couple Shubhakar & Sahana's rendition 'Seethamma Mayamma' in Vasantha raga was a very melodious and beautiful composition. The recently moved couple Matangi & Venkat Subramanian's presentation of 'Teratiyagarada' (Gowlipanthu) was a scholarly execution. VK Arun Kumar's Devaamrithavarshini composition 'Evarani nirnayinchedira' embellished with erudite expression of the great voice. Another great Singer in Denver Gayathri Krishnamurthy has rendered 'Upacharamu' (Bhairavi), which started with a beautiful alapana and swaram, and cherished the audience. Priya Hariharan's 'Kotinadulu' (Thodi) was another rare and beautiful Thyagaraja kriti, and presented with a great melody.
The music teacher from North Denver area Mrs.Vijayashree Venkatesh's 'Paramathmudu' (Vagadeeshwari) filled with intricate and complex sancharas and quite impressive.
Ashwini Basker (Ramakatha - Madhyamavathi), Tara Sowrirajan (Nee Daya Radha - Vasanthabhairavi), Vikasini Mahalingam (Marugelara - Jayanthasri), Aniruddh Prakash (Nanupalimpa - Mohanam) have proved their best evolving talents, with matured performances. Maithreyi Ramesh and Sharada Ramesh have received several cheers.
Suppu Annamalai's violin performance for 'Daya Rani' (Mohanam) was good. The kids from Colorado Springs Rohan Nandakumar, Pranav Jose, Nikhil Purushothaman sang 'Sri Rama Sri Rama' (Sahana) and Snigdha Nawala & Sidharth Nair sang 'Jo Jo Rama' (Kedaragowlai), Nikhil Purushothaman, Ashwin Kundeti, Pranav Jose, Mohit Bhat, Apoorva Kanekal, Sanavi Nair, Gowri Simha, Kushi Golla, Shreya Boppudi presented 'Raghunandana' (Kedaragowla) very enthusiastically.
Aishwarya Ramamurthi's 'Mamava raghurama' (Saranga) was another good presentation. There were several kids performances with upcoming talents - 'Naapali' (Shankarabharanam) by Namrita Ashokprabhu, Eeswari Duggirala, 'Bantureethi' (Hamsanadham) by Hithaishini, Manasa Ponapali, Apurva Subramanian, 'Seethamma Mayamma' (Vasantha) by Punya Ramesh, Vidhya Umesh, 'Naapali' (Shankarabharanam) by Sravani Katamaneni, Pratyusha Gunturu and Mandira, 'Naapali' (Shankarabharanam) by Maithreyi Ramesh and Sharada Ramesh were some of them.
Usha Yarlagadda and Indira Duggirala's 'Shobhane' (Panthuvarali), Sankar Gunturu's 'Adamodi galade' (Charukesi), Sravya Mudigonda's violin performance for 'Vidajaladura' (Janaranjani), Padma Kannan, Anou Manavalan's 'Giriraja sutha' (Bangala), Shalini Harikes's 'Bhavanutha' (Mohanam) were some more impressive performances of the evening.
Then there is another melodious number 'Mokshamu galada' (Saramathi) by Vani Iyer that cheered the audience. The newly moved kids from Newyork, Pramodini and Pranav's Violin performance for 'Giriraja sutha' (Bangala) was greatly mixed. Another kid Nidhi Unnikrishnan's rendition for 'Bantureethi' (Hamsanadham) was just gregarious.
There were certain numbers that surely cheered the audience after dark by seasoned artists. Prasun Allepalli (Raga sudha rasa - Andolika), Meera Ganesan (Evarikai - Devamanohari), Padmini Murali (Shobillu - Jaganmohini), Nirupama Bhatt (Pakkala nilabadi - Kharaharapriya) and Jayshree AV can be undoubtedly placed into this category.
The program ended with the group rendition of Geetharthamu and Mangalam, by the senior artists who have participated in the Pancharathna krithis in the morning. Priya has thanked all the volunteers, parents, audience who make the event a big success. She wished this event to turn into a real massive event like Cleveland Thyagaraja Utsavam.
All the vocalists were given the mridangam support by eminent mrigandists Sriram Srinivasan, Ravi Mahalingam, Swaminathan, Venkat Subramanian, and aspiring instrumentalists Arun Chandra (mridangam), Rohan Nandakumar (tabla) and Bijoy Devarajan (tabla). The 9-hour program has been very well compered by the duo Aarthi Ramesh and Sarmishta Ramesh, with a very situational explanation of the krithis, a little bio about the artist along with some historical perspective of the festival.
The event was very well organized by Priya Hariharan, with the help of several dedicated volunteers. A seamless coordination has been seen throughout the event, in every task, and Priya would surely be appreciated for such a wonderful job. The stage has been busy since morning till about 7:00pm, when it finally ended with Mangalam, without any break. A great care has been taken to serve the audiences with lunch boxes, and afternoon tea. All the participants were awarded with a certification of appreciation.
Highlights of Thyagaraja Utsavam 2009
Rocky Mountain region is ready for another great festival of Carnatic music, the Thaygaraja Utsavam. Colorado has many seasoned Carnatic classical gurus, seasoned artists and aspiring students, and this is the great occassion to show their adoration towards the music.
The all-day event has made the audience sit and enjoy the show the whole day. It started at 10:00am, which is an hour ahead of the original schedule. This is partly due to the the day light savings reset to lose one hour on this day. Many parents and volunteers have just helped to make the arrangements right from the stage decoration, seating arrangement, kitchen stuff, front-desk, technical arrangements in a very methodical way.
The audiences were served with delicious food neatly packed in boxes to their seats, without interrupting the show. This was very highly organized, and appreciated by everybody, as the show is fully packed with many recitals.
"I really liked it and happy to see the young children performing and hope the young children carry forward the tradition and organize more events like this in the near future."
"I have been learning with Priya aunty for the past 2 years. She is an amazing teacher and helps us learn very well. This is a good experience for us. Its good, and we get lot of experience and we learn new things from this event."
- Ashwini Basker
"I am really inspired and this is a good way of learning our cultures. We came to know many ethnic things passing on to other generations and all the western type of delio and Indian music."
- Vikasini Mahalingam
"She is inspiring and helpful and encourages us a lot. This utsavam just gives everybody to shine. I really enjoyed it."
- Tara Sowrirajan
"I have been with Priya aunty for the past 3 and half years. This is a good event, and I really donít know that Colorado has so many singers. It is good to see so many singers and a great chance to see different forms of music."
- Shravya Mudigonda
"I am learning music from Priya aunty from my 5 years of age. She is really a great teacher she really pushes us hard and makes us work hard. This is really a great event. I can good to see so many singers trying to sing."
- Aishwarya Ramamurthi
"This program is almost like being in Thiruvayur. It is unbelievable and I have just seen in videos, and it is really taking place here. Hats off to Priya Hariharan, whom I have known for many years. She has collected all her students, all the people who was hesitating and explained them the significance of this festival. She has gathered people of all ages right from 5year old to 56 year old, everybody is performing marvelous. The kids performing today, even sit on the stage is phenomenal."
- Dr.Ravi Mahalingam
"I felt really well. A lot of care was taken in the preparation. You can see the care taken by each individual performer here. We worked really long, almost every Saturday for a couple of months. We are all really enjoyed to bring up these two different systems of music. We had a lot of fun together, playing to know what works and what not, respecting each otherís traditions. Getting two different aspects of music into one beat is a great experience. We all learned from each other. Carnatic music tradition is huge. Charlie, Justin and I were so excited to get the elements of western classical, jazz into fusion. We are very excited and definitely want more."