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Jon B Higgins

Jon B Higgins

Kanjira Player
Nagarajan V
Violin Player
Thyagavayoor V
Mridangam Player
Guruvayur Durai

About this album

The influence of Carnatic music on Westeners has been noteworthy ever since the early 60's, when several of our renowned artistes performed for large audiences outside India, especially in the USA. Many Americans started venturing on learning and imbibing the nuances of our classical musical tradition. A very striking entry into the performing arena of Carnatic music was made by Jon Higgins who was already a scholar in world music; he came to be well known as Higgins Bhagavatar in the South Indian music circles.

Higgins began his vocal music with Ramanathapuram Krishnan, Ramanathan S and later was greatly inspired by the tradition of Veena Dhanammal, when he witnessed a Bharatanatyam recita of the legendary Balasaraswati; the grand daughter of Veena Dhanam. Jon Higgins continued his in depth training with Balasaraswati and her brother flautist Viswanathan; his documented work on Dance music represents an authentic material on the emphasis of the essential link between music and dance. The reputation that he set up through his performances was something great.

1. 'Shobhillu Sapthaswara' (Jaganmohini - Rupakam), kriti of Thyagaraja explains the bliss of Nadayoga and emphasises the worship of beautiful Goddesses presiding over the seven swaras, which shine through navel, heart, throat, tongue, nose etc and through the Sama Vedas, the heart of the Gayatri Mantra and the minds of Gods and holy men and Thyagaraja.

2. Papanasam Sivan's beautiful composition on Lord Muruga 'Kaa Va Vaa' (Varali - Adi) is a moving devotional outpour. The composer addresses the deity with varied names and refers to Him as one who vanquishes the miseries and saves devotees from
the danger of darkness (ignorance).

3. Ghanam Krishna Iyer, well known composer of Padams or song compositions used in Bharatanatyam recital has composed 'Padhari Varigidhu' (Kambhoji - Rupakam) is in praise of Lord Muruga whom the heroine eagerly awaits and requests her friend to fetch Him to her.

4. Narayana Teertha, the author of Krishna Leela Tarangini has composed 'Govardhana Giridhara' (Darbari Kanada), addressing Lord Krishna as one who lifted the Govardhana mountain to protect the people of Gokula from rains.

5. In the kriti 'Thanayuni Brova' (Bhairavi - Adi) Thyagaraja seeks the mercy of Lord Rama and asks Him to reveal the secret whether it is the mother who goes to the child to protect it or does the child to go the mother. So saying, Thyagaraja begs for the vision of the Lord's face. This song is elaborated with a raga alapana in the beginning and includes Kalpana swara delineation and solo segment by the mridangam and kanjira players.

6. A vigorous Thillana of the well-known Tanjore quartette (codifiers of the Bharatanatyam formed) in Mandari raga and Adi tala is the concluding number.


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