Russell Brand on Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse is gone at 27 – Sad ! Her music will live on forever.

Russell Brand has written a beautiful blogpost in rememberance of Amy. Touching and very elucidating. Some snippets:

When you love someone who suffers from the disease of addiction you await the phone call. There will be a phone call. The sincere hope is that the call will be from the addict themselves, telling you they’ve had enough, that they’re ready to stop, ready to try something new. Of course though, you fear the other call, the sad nocturnal chime from a friend or relative telling you it’s too late, she’s gone.

Frustratingly it’s not a call you can ever make it must be received. It is impossible to intervene.


Entering the space I saw Amy on stage with Weller and his band; and then the awe. The awe that envelops when witnessing a genius. From her oddly dainty presence that voice, a voice that seemed not to come from her but from somewhere beyond even Billie and Ella, from the font of all greatness. A voice that was filled with such power and pain that it was at once entirely human yet laced with the divine. My ears, my mouth, my heart and mind all instantly opened. Winehouse. Winehouse? Winehouse!

Read the full post here.

(Found via kottke)

Day 7: Madras Music Season

My father was the one who noticed that, I had not logically concluded my series of posts on the Madras Music Season, which I thoroughly enjoyed the whole of last week.

The last concert on the day that I left for Bangalore, was Sanjay Subramanyam, at Rama Bhaktha Jana Sabha (at PSBB schook KKNagar). My bus was at 11PM, and I was at the concert until 9:20PM. :=). So yes, I was listening to music until the last minute of my Chennai trip.

My comments on the Sanjay concert:

  • Outstanding performance
  • His maturity and control over the music is evidently visible.
  • One thing that I noticed was, how he enjoyed the concert. He was smiling, and encouraging the mridangam, ganjira, and the violin (genuinely!). You can easily see that, he was enjoying the concert, as much as the listeners were. I think that’s made the concert class apart. The only other concert, in which I got this vibe, was TM Krishna. Every other concert, the singers were so engrossed in making sure they sounded good, they chose the right songs, they did on time etc etc etc. Sanjay’s music just flowed.
  • Bilahari, Amir Kalyani, and Vagulapriya, were few of the ragams delivered flawlessly.
  • Virutham before Aadum Chidambarame was amazing.
  • He was almost dancing while singing the fast paced Nijagaadasa Yadunandane.
  • It was a pity, that I had to leave at 9:20PM. Not sure how long he sang. I am sure there would have been atleast 2-3 thukkadas. He is famous for singing tamil songs. I sure missed them.


That ends my series of posts on the Madras Music Season 2009-2010. I had tons of fun. I hope reading these posts encourage/enthuse people to come to Chennai next year, and have the same feeling that I had this year.

Happy listening!

Day 6: Madras Music Season

Day 5: Madras Music Season

Day 4: Madras Music Season

Day 3: Madras Music Season

Day 2: Madras Music Season

Day 1: Madras Music Season

Day 5 – Madras Music Season – OS Arun/Priya Sisters

OS Arun (stayed only for half concert). Concert was at Bharath Kalachar. Got very bad seats. The burnt oil smell (or should I say stink!) from the canteen wafted too strongly for comfort. Disgusting, and distracting.

  • Ok crowd.
  • Ghana ragam was Kalyani. He was experimenting something – mixed in a few other ragams. In my humble opinion, they did not mix well.

Priya Sisters. Concert was at Parthasarathy swamy Sabha – Bheemasena Garden Street – off Luz.

  • Concert was awesome. Very fast paced. Good selection of songs.
  • The elder sister had a bad throat, and there were some times, when she struggled. But other than those times, the concert was very enjoyable.
  • Sujanajeevana (Kamas) and Soundararajam (brindavana saranga) was highly enjoyable.
  • The next day was Arudra Dharshanam – so they sang a kriti on Mylai Kapaleeswarar (Nambi kettavar evvarum illai) – Hindolam – one of my favourite raagams.
  • For the ghana ragam – it was Mohana Rama (Mohanam) – very well sung. A long time, since I heard Mohanam being picked as a ghana ragam.
  • Then they shifted into bhajanai mode (for the mylapore maami’s who were the overwhelming majority in the crowd – I even wondered if the entire sanskrit college crossed the road and came to the concert). A neat fast paced kriti – Matsya Kurma Varaha was sung to set the stage.
  • Sree Chakra Raja Simhasaneswari was beautiful. One of my favourite songs as well. But then, the master of this song – Maharajapuram Santhanam – is no more!
  • Jo acchuthananda (nilambari) – put us all into a somniferous state – with the entire mami population – swaying.
  • There was also a nice Kabir bhajan – chadhariya – fast paced and nice.
  • All in all, a very entertaining concert.
  • Canteen was also good – had a plate of bonda – very tasty.

Day 4: Madras music season – Ranjani Gayathri

From what I had heard, Ranjani/Gayathri were the best performers in the past few seasons (and this season as well). So the expectation was set high. Concert was at Rani Seethai Hall. Hall was packed.

  • The concert was like a diesel locomotive. Started off slow – with a song in the ragam chintamani (terribly slow song!)
  • Then came manasu swadhinamai (sankarabharanam) – almost a let down for me as well. Sankarabharanam does not sound good slow (atleast to me). It is ideal for some high pace swarams, but not dragging alapanais. Well rendered, but slow for my taste.
  • Then the speed picked up. The loco picked up speed. A superb song by GNB (did not note down the song name) in Malavasri.
  • Ragam Thanam Pallavi in Madhyamavathi was mind blowing – very very well sung.
  • It was vaikunta ekadasi – and hence Sreenivasa thiruvengada mudayan – was sung with full devotion. Several of the mami’s in the crowd were prompty swaying in bhakthi 😉
  • The concert ended with an abhang which, again, had the audience swaying ;-). It was kind-of amusing to see the relatively “polished” silk saree crowd (in raani seethai hall) swaying in Bhakthi. You can usually see this more often in other sabhas like Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha, Mylapore fine arts etc.

Day 3: Madras Music Season – Nityashree.

Decided in the morning to attend Nityashree at Rani Seethai Hall. Concert was at 6:15PM. The previous concert was a free concert by an upcoming singer – Ravikiran. He was pretty good. Nityashree started the concert bang on time. Following are my observations:

  • Very impressive concert.
  • Full throated singing – though she has started modulating her position with respect to the mike, so it has become more pleasurable than previous years.
  • Started off with a brisk varnam – Thodi. Was awesome.
  • Nannu brovu Lalitha in ragam lalitha was beautiful. In general, it is one of my favourite ragams.
  • Some new raagams featured were – Karna ranjani and Jayantasena – both very pleasing to hear.
  • Pasupatheeswaram in Shubhapanthuvarali was rendered with passion.
  • Aadum deviam nee (kambhoji) was the ghana raagam.
  • A high paced Velan Varuvaaradi made people sit up, after the thani avarthanam.
  • The tempo was beautifully modulated with a melodious Sarvam Brahma Mayam (Madhuvanthi)
  • A quick thukada was in order – Ramanai Bhajital (maandu)
  • The concert was nicely concluded with a thillana in Ananda Bhairavi
  • All in all, a good concert. Packed hall. Thunderous applause.
  • She still, however has something very amusing going on, on the top right side of the ceiling, which she keeps beckoning, whenever she goes high pitched 🙂

Day 2: Madras Music Season

Had bought tickets for T. M. Krishna (7PM) at German Hall (Indian Fine Arts). The ticket is for both the 4:00PM and the 7:00PM concert. The 4PM concert was Hyderabad Brothers. So we (mother and me) reached there around 5PM (after getting tickets for Wednesday’s Ranjani Gayathri concert in Rani Seethai Hall). Observations about the 2 concerts below.

Hyderabad brothers – Indian Fine Arts (German Hall)

  • Went in about an hour after the concert had started. It had not quite warmed up yet.
  • About 50% of hall was empty.
  • SriMushnam on the mridangam was just fantastic.
  • Manasu swadinamai (Sankarabharanam) was soulfully rendered, but something was missing (my opinion).
  • Simlar case with Shanmugapriya. Shanmugapriya when well rendered, can make you soar. Did not happen for me. I was still in my seat.
  • About 7ish (when they should have finished), they were still going. Thani Avarthanai started at 6:50PM. Pretty bad time management.
  • The secretary mama, after trying to give lots of secret signals regarding time-up, and failing, moved into stage, and grabbed the mike, and said a few good words about the artists and said, “they will be concluding now.” This (I think) pis*** off the brothers. And they sang, “Naan oru vilayattu bommaya” – a subtle way of saying – Do you think you can control me like your toy.
  • They sang 2 more songs and closed up at 7:10PM.

T. M. Krishna

  • This was just another play ground all together.
  • The sabha had filled up to the brim.
  • TM Krishna was at his best – just brilliant.
  • Two small songs + 2 RTP (Ragam Thanam Pallavi’s) + 2 small songs
  • Excellent time management.
  • Both the RTPs were off unusual raagams, and he said out the ragams. I really appreciate the artists letting us know what they are singing. Makes me appreciate the music better (else I am quizzing myself in my brain, as to what ragam it is!).
  • First RTP was in Narayanagowla (it was Vaikunta ekadasi yesterday).
  • Second RTP was in Rishabapriya (very closely resembling Shanmugapriya).
  • Guruvayoor durai on the mridangam did his magic.
  • Performance par excellence.
  • He has inherited the “playing-with-the-swarams” capability from Semmangudi.

December music season – 2009

Thanks to the global recession, which has led to a shutdown in my company, I am here in Chennai, steeped in the Margazhi Music festival. I am here for a week, and I am going to allow myself to drown in the carnatic music. It has been a long time.

Yesterday was Day 1 – and here are my observations (I almost said review – but I am not that big to review such maestros).

Day 1:

Artist: Shashank (Flute)

Date: 27-12-2009

Venue: Rama Bhaktha Samaj – PSBB School – KK Nagar.

  • Awesome performance
  • Alapana rendered for Raagam Dharmavathi was amazing.
  • The ghana ragham was a Ragam-Tanam-Pallavi in Raagam Bindu Malini. Beautifully melodious. In the pallavi, he beautifully slipped into a couple of popular raagams, and the flute was doing its magic. Beautiful strains of Hindolam, Sindhubhairavi and Arabhi kept the audience in a trance.
  • Enna thavam seidhanai (kaapi) always sounds awesome in flute.
  • Concert was wrapped up with a mellifluous Sindhu Bhairavi Annamacharya bhajan.
  • All-in-all spell bound evening. Thanks Shashank and team.
  • The violin (Ganesh Prasad) kept up with Shashank through the concert. Very able support.
  • Mridangam (Parupalli Phalgun) was also awesome.
  • Lastly, it was a great feeling to be back in my alma mater – brought back memories indeed.