Gayathri Venkataraghavan

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A letter from Gayathri about the first few stops on the tour

A letter from Gayathri about the first few stops on the tour

Namaskaram with the blessings of our gurus and my parents and well wishers I am touring USA and Canada for these two months with Mysore Srikanth and Tanjore Murugabhoopathi Anna. Starting the tour at Bridgewater temple New Jersey for CMANA was a special moment. What better way to start than see the Lord on Onam day. We had taken up Pankajakshanam in Thodi the second utsava Prabandam of Swathi Tirunal and a dwi raga pallavi for elaboration to celebrate Onam musically.

The real celebration took place in Smt.Sushila Swaminathan’s kitchen. She gave us all modakam and a festive spead of goodies. That’s the affection of a mother. Thank you mami. In Richmond we were so happy to see an entire community pitch in to make the concert a success. Though we stayed with the Ravi’s who are big time music buffs we met each of the volunteers who brought in so much of cheer into the after concert get together.Nice to see unity in organisation!

Our next concert at Richmond (Richmond Rasikas ) was at the temple there. Another day of ekanta Darshanam of all the deities was indeed blissful. We sang a pallavi in Karaharapriya set to tune by Sri. P.S. Narayanaswami mama as the main part of the concert with tani by Bhoopathi anna.

blog5aMysore Srikanth has been excelling in the raga and thanam segments. His MSG style of playing thanam was applauded enthusiastically every where. Tanjore Murugabhoopathi anna has a very unique style of accompanying songs. His aesthetic support has made all the kritis memorable.

Houston concert was at the Meenakshi Temple. The grace continues. After a beautiful darshan of the presiding deity Goddess Meenakshi it was time for a rare Syama Sastri piece in Kambhoji on Goddess Meenakshi which my Guru Sri.A.Sundaresan mama had taught with so much of passion. Our stay with Smt. Rajeswari Bhat and her family was really a treat. My prayers for Kruthi to excel in this field of arts. The entire family’s devotion to our music has to be seen to be believed.

blog5bSan Jose concert for SICA was the next stop. The journey was hectic from Houston to San Jose given the great distances to be covered in Houston. We arrived tired but were received happily. My stay with Priya and Murali’s family was great and I could meet some good friends like Vasudha and Sridhar who have moved from Cleveland and the whole lot of lovely people at Venka Rangan’s house when he hosted the dinner after the concert. Thank you V V Vaidhyanathan for the audio. And my dear friend and vidhushi Anuradha Sridhar for sending her student with the tambura. We could sing Koluvamaragada with Neraval at Tamburachekoni because of that:) I also had time to fit in Jananininnuvina on request and a RTP in Hamsanaadam. It was special to have my father’s sister and Dr. J.Balasubramaniam from Chennai in the audience. He is a great rasika and was the doctor to a host of musicians like Semmangudi mama and Lalgudi mama to name a few, in the audience.

blog5cSan Diego is like home ground. Sekarji C N V Mama and others make you feel like you are singing for a home crowd:). Mikes set by Mama and Saishankarji was great and we enjoyed singing there. I began with Mathe to remember MS amma since it was the day before her birthday and sang Nataikurinji; a Syama Sastri kriti Maayamma and Bhairavi for main. We did a pallavi in Nalinakanthi. I was nostalgic thinking about Smt. Lakshmi Shankar with whom I had the blessing to sing a jugalbandi a couple of years back. Sang Darushanudena which she had taught me . Raga Nandkedar poet Rasik. We finished with the Darbari thillana of Sri. Tanjore S. Kalyanaraman. I also have to thank Sekarji for getting us his daughter’s tambura which was in pristine shape. And the sandiego rasikas who sat through all the chowkam pieces with so much of Rasikatvam. We all salute you.

God has been kind . We seek your prayers and wishes to successfully finish the rest of the tour. Off to Baltimore today