Papanasam Ashok Ramani displayed determination.
Papanasam Ashok Ramani, the grandson of Papanasam Sivan, too the stage in the company of T.K. Ramanujacharlu on the violin, M.L.N. Raju on the mridangam and C.P. Vyas Vittala on the ganjira.
The Saveri Adi Tala varnam proved a good opener for Ashok Ramani's vocal recital.
When Ashok started Sriranjani raga alapana soon after the varnam, the rasikas sat up a little perplexed with the question crossing their minds, why an alapana for the first kriti of the kutcheri. But it was just a small sketch of the raga and Ashok proceeded on to ‘Bhuvinidasudane,' the Tyagaraja kriti in Adi talam in this ragam with a few rounds of kalpanaswaras at the Pallavi.
The artist was having a non-cooperative voice for sometime and it was perceptible that he was using the voice very carefully to avoid any aggravation of the condition. Mainly depending on brigas and with minimum karvais, Ashok could keep the voice under control.
With a crisp alapana of Sarasangi ragam, Ashok presented Papanasam Sivan's composition ‘Karunai Varumo' in Adi Talam.
It was surprising that he skipped Varali raga alapana and gave only the kriti ‘Seshalachala Nayakam' in Rupaka talam of Muthuswami Dikshitar in Rupaka talam. This had niraval at ‘Aravinda Patra Nayanam' in the charanam. The pre-pallavi middle piece was ‘Mari Mari Ninne' the Adi tala Tyagaraja kriti in Khambhodi.
The raga alapana for this was proportionally lengthy and was a good display by Ashok. Violinist Ramanujacharlu's version was equally well expressed. Kalpanaswara rounds at the Pallavi added lustre to the kutcheri.
The percussion solo interlude after this by the mridangam and ganjira duo added additional vigour. M.N.L. Raju's sollus were clear cut strokes of tuneful nadam. ‘Nee Padame Gathi,' the Nalinakanti and Rupaka tala piece was to precede the Ragam Tanam Pallavi.
The Shanmukhapriya raga alapana by Ashok the vocalist was a portrayal of the raga through brigas. Ramanujacharlu explored the raga through karvais and sweeps.
The Pallavi after the Tanam was in Tisra Rupaka in Sankeerna Nadai, the lyrics running as follows ‘Kumara Guruparane Siva Shanmukha Vadivelane -Tirumal Marugane Mal Marugane Marugane'. Using both hands Ashok kept the talam well-reined and went through the pallavi perfectly.
The ragamalika swaras had only two ragams – Behag and Kapi. As an extension of Kapi, a viruttam in this raga and a song ‘Easan Enbar' brought the performance to a close.
Ashok was ably supported by the accompanists. Kudos to Ashok Ramani for the grit and determination in combating the odds posed by his voice and making the concert a plucky display of his talents.