Grand Carnatic Vocal Concert

Grand Carnatic Vocal Concert

By Sudha Ragunathan

Saturday, June 3, 2023 | 4:30 PM

East High School

450 Ellis Ln,
West Chester, PA 19380

About This Event

Sudha Ragunathan invites you to the concert

SRUTI is pleased to present a Grand Carnatic Vocal Concert by Padma Bhushan, Sangeetha Kalanidhi Sudha Ragunathan, accompanied by Rajeev Mukundan (on Violin) and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (on Mridangam)

Sudha Ragunathan (Vocal)

Sudha Ragunathan is one of India’s foremost Carnatic vocalists. A disciple of the legendary Padma Bhushan awardee Dr. ML Vasantha Kumari, Sudha has evolved a style of her own where the soul of her music lies in the dynamism of her presentation, with exceptional motifs and matrices of raga images and swaras making it a quintessential amalgam.

Sudha received her initial training in Carnatic music from her mother Smt. Choodamani and subsequently learnt under Shri B. V. Lakshman. In 1977, she received the Government of India scholarship to learn Carnatic music from the legend Dr. ML Vasantha Kumari, whose student she remained for 13 years.

Sudha Ragunathan received ‘Padma Bhushan’, the third highest civilian award of India, in 2015. The Music Academy awarded Sudha the ‘Sangita Kalanidhi’ in recognition of her contributions. More than a 100 awards and titles adorn her including – ‘Kalaimamani’, ‘Sangeetha Choodamani’, ‘Sangeetha Saraswathi’, ‘Sangeetha Visharaadh’, ‘Sangeetha Sampoorna’, to name a few, along with a noteworthy list of Lifetime Achievement Awards from renowned institutions across the world.

Sudha Ragunathan also has the distinction of being the only Carnatic musician second to Bharat Ratna MS Subbulakshmi, to have sung at the United Nations. Sudha Ragunathan led the largest Carnatic band along with Bharatanatyam and Kuchipudi dancers to acquire a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Louisville, Kentucky declared 19 May 2019 as Sudha Ragunathan Day in recognition of her service to the field of arts for the past four decades. Her other memorable moments were when her music celebrated the nation’s 50th year of Republic India with ‘Vande Mataram’ sung at the Central Hall of Parliament. Sudha also had the honor of performing at the Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Centre and at New York Broadway to commemorate 50 years of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan.

As the voice and soul of Carnatic music Sudha has contributed immensely to the increasing acceptance, awareness and ‘hosannas’ for music in its purest form. Her music has enthralled packed audience at International Music Festivals and concerts in India and around the world.

Rajeev Mukundan (Violin)

Rajeev Mukundan began his violin lessons with Shri N. Govindarajan at a very young age. He has been currently receiving advanced training from Sangeetha Kalanidhi A. Kanyakumari for over a decade. He is an ‘A’-grade artist on the All India Radio. He has received numerous awards from prestigious organizations and has traveled extensively on concerts, both in India and abroad.

He has given many violin duet concerts with his Guru A. Kanyakumari and has also accompanied senior artistes. He has been a part of several unique jugalbandis and musical collaborations.

Akshay Anantapadmanabhan (Mridangam)

Akshay Anantapadmanabhan is a sought after mridangam artist known for his sensitive musicality and distinct tonality. A senior disciple of Sangita Kala Acharya Sri. T.H. Subash Chandran, Akshay has performed with the leading names of Carnatic music such as Sudha Raghunathan, Aruna Sairam, Unnikirishnan, T.M. Krishna, Ranjani & Gayatri, Lalgudi GJR Krishnan & Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi

Akshay has been invited to perform at prestigious festivals and venues including the Madras Music Academy Margazhi Festival, World Music Festival – Chicago, Ragas Live Festival – New York City, Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival, and Sacred Spirit Festival – Jodhpur.

With over thirty musical releases, EPs, and albums in collaboration with various genres, Akshay has developed a keen sense of integrating roots of Carnatic tradition in cross-over collaborations.

Akshay is the recipient of several awards including recognition for his latest discovery of the “spotless mridangam”, the ‘Best Mridangist’ award from the Music Academy Madras, Maharajapuram Youth Excellence Award, C.S. Murugaboopathy award from Krishna Gana Sabha, and North America Young Musician Award. One of the primary faces of IndianRaga (, Akshay is also an educator of Carnatic percussion, teaching both classical and multi-genre musicians through individual training as well as master classes.

List of Songs

Track 1 – Mathe – Varnam – Khamas – Adi – HKM Bhavagathar

Track 2 – Jayajaya – Nattai – Khanda Capu – Purandaradasa

Track 3 – Raka Sashivadana – Takka – Adi – Tyagaraja

Track 4 – Janani Ninnuvina – Reeti Gowlai – Misra Capu – Subbaraya Shastri

Track 5 – Kanden Kanden – Vasanta – Adi – Arunacala kavi

Track 6 – Swara Raga Sudha – Shankarabharanam – Adi – Tyagaraja

Track 7 – Tani Avartanam – Adi

Track 8 – RTP – Brindavani – Khanda Jati Triputa

Track 9 – Hari Smarane Mado – Yamuna Kalyani – Capu – Purandaradasa

Track 10 – Bho Shambho-Revati-Adi-Dayananda Saraswati

Track 11 – Kavadi Chindu – Chenjurutti – Chatusra ekam

Track 12 – Chinnanjiru Kiliye – Ragamalika – Bharatiyar

Track 13 – Mangalam

Concert Review

By Tyagarajan Suresh

The evening of June 3rd, 2023, with ‘Sangita Kalanidhi’ ‘Padma Bhushan’ Sudha Ragunathan, was a memorable experience indeed for the connoisseurs of yester-years as well as the young and aspiring music lovers who deeply enjoy the creative and innovative angle of Carnatic music. What was remarkable is Sudha’s ability to sustain her energy level consistently from the beginning to the end of this wonderful concert.Sudha commenced the concert with the KhamAs (daru VarNam) with all the gait it deserves. This was followed by a heart melting viruttam in NAttai “Sri RAghavam DasaratAtmajam Apprameyam”. This was a prelude to ‘Jaya JayA’ by Purandara DAsar. It contained unique kalpanA swaram patterns with Ni (nishAdam) as a focal point in NAttai. We were then taken through a classical listening experience of RAkA Sashivadhanay – in takkA. The rendition of the next item, Janani NinnuvinA in Reetigoulai was in many ways a fresh reminder of the touches of the Late Sri GNB – TAmasamunu in second speed with ¼ yedam (spaced) yeduppu (spaced forward from the start of the tAla cycle) was a notable highlight, exhibiting Sudha’s prowess of manOdharmam. This was followed by a well-rendered Kanden Seethayai in VasanthA. SankarAbaraNam essay for the next song SwararAga SudhA– traversing across octave(s) in the rendition was a memorable landmark in the concert. Sudha adopted Graha Bhedam. Neraval and kalpanA swarAs were beautifully built at the point of MoolAdhAra in the song. There were interesting converging and diverging patterns of swaras ending in Pa (Panchamam). Rajeev Mukundan (violin) blended exquisitely with the style and substance of Sudha. Akshay (Mrdangam) provided a brisk Tani as an icing on the cake.

The relatively short yet sweet RTP (Ragam Tanam Pallavi) in BrindAvani was a specially designed one:Pallavi – “Surya (The Sun) PrabhAkara Mihira”, set to KandajAdhi Triputa tAlam (starting with 2 kaLais and then moved on to 1 kaLai). The highlight of this design was that it was strung together in rAgAs [ Priyadarshini (S R2 M1 D1 N3 S – S N3 D1 M1 R2 S), SooryA (S G3 M1 D1 N2 – S N2 D1 M1 G3 S), NAgaswarAvali (S(P) G3(N3) (S) P(R2) D2(G3) S(P) S(P) D2(G3) P(R2) M1(S) G3(N3) S(P)) (with Graha Bhedam in Hamsadwani {another pentatonic rAgam when Sa shifts to Ma}), Revathi (S R1 M1 P N2 S – S N2 P M1 R1 S) ] – depicting the colors of sunlight (Sun God’s horses). Interestingly, at the climax of the swarAs, Sudha brought in the BrindAvani TillAnA pattern into the kalpanA swarAs. Sudha’s layam (rhythm) mastery was subtly showcased during the transition to “Priyadarshini” with different permutations of sankeerNams (3*3, 4+5 for 9 counts and 3*2 plus 3*4 for 18 counts). All in all, the RTP was a magnificent display of Sudha’s repertoire of skills in every department of the art form. A smooth flow of popular demand numbers such as Hari SmaraNe MAdO, BhO ShambO, KAvadichindu and ChinnajirukiLiyE, that ensued thereafter, aptly complemented the earlier segment of the concert as an aural treat.

PraNAms and hats off to Sudha for weaving together a cleverly-navigated experience that had the sparks of the vintage Sri GNB and Dr MLV with a judicious blend of her own style, exhibiting dynamism, exceptional motifs and matrices of rAgA images.

Thanks to SRUTI for bringing in such wonderful experience to the core Carnatic music lovers of the community.

Tyagarajan Suresh (‘Suresh’) is a Carnatic Music lover, an active SRUTI participant and a VaiNikA in the Philly area.