Subhashini Parthsarathy showed her mettle as a scholar-musician adept at handling the audience
Subhashini Parthsarathy’s singing evinced a strict adherence to tradition in raga delineation. Singing to an auditorium of mostly college students can be daunting. It’s not unusual to face wide-eyed expectation, enthusiastic applause, and at times, mild chatter if the concert proceeds to a serious raga alapana or a taniavartanam.
In her concert for the Meenakshi Sundararajan Fine Arts Academy, at the Meenakshi College for Women in Kodambakkam, Dr. Subhashini Parthsarathy showed her mettle as a scholar-musician adept at handling the audience, while stoically remaining a vocalist with a penchant for strict adherence to her gurus’ styles- be it T. Mukta or TMT (as T.M. Thyagarajan was known).
The vocalist illustrated that evening as how sedate raga essays can be, compared to the frills and fuss one gets to hear often in the name of alapana.
Her voice range allowed her to scale the mandra sthayi or the tara sthayi with ease, yet, she had her sancharas in control, never overdoing the high-pitched swara phrases and never doing anything that could be termed playing to the gallery.
If a dignified Chetashri, a Diskhitar masterpiece in raga Dwijavanti, gripped the audience, the cadence of an earlier Kalyani raga elaboration and Tyagaraja’s Amma ravamma, set the melodious pace for the evening. The niraval and kalpanaswaras at Tamarasa dalanetri evinced appealing shades of Kalyani in the panchama and shadja varja phrases. Violinist Hemamalini Ranganathan chiselled a mellow Kalyani as well.
Following this was Purandaradasa’s ebullient emotional piece Rama Rama in ragam Vasanta. Because steady gamakas were the singer’s forte, the main raga alapana of Bhairavi with highlight bhavas and arresting sancharas was the right choice. Interesting manodharma in the niraval-swaram at Kapata Nataka elevated the song Upacharamu. More light pieces toward the end could have enthralled the youthful audience.
The enthusiastic tani by the mridangam-morsing duo — A.S. Ranganathan and A.S. Krishnan — added lustre to the concert.