Grandson of the late Chowdiah, one of the best known violinists of the previous era, Chandan has abundant flair for the complex aspects of Carnatic music and relishes challenges with his flute. His concert had the ingredients for this young talent to be noticed. Chandan’s fluency, brisk kalapramanams, roller-coaster brigas and laya-laced swara patterns make up a powerful suite. In his enthusiasm to parade these, he seems to overlook lucidity of sangatis, but that realisation is not beyond him.
Chandan’s Sahana varnam (‘Karunimpa’) followed by Purandaradasa’s ‘Gajavadana Beduve’ (Hamsadhwani) and swara exercises launched the vibrant mood. ‘Srimannarayana’ (Bowli) halted the trend briefly. Shanmukhapriya (‘Siddhi Vinayakam,’ Dikshitar) restarted this toofan express that left the violinist gasping.
Vidya Sankaranarayanan was inadequate for the challenge and her sails deserted her mid-way. The organisers have to be more careful in matching competencies of accompanists.
Chandan’s main piece, ‘Evarura Ninnuvina’ (Mohanam, Tyagaraja) ignited the nostalgia as this was one of the great Mali’s favourites. Chandan’s high speed and somersaults sometimes stood in the way of melody. The non-chalant array of kalpanaswaras, with deft mixtures of tisra nadai, signalled his class beyond doubt. The percussionists Harihara Subramanyam (mridangam) and the ghatam vidwan revelled in the racy tenor of the concert even though their thani was out of proportion. Chandan Kumar may have overshot the runway this time, but he’s skilful enough to achieve perfect landings in the future.
Rasika Vishwanath gave an accomplished performance, with an aesthetic presentation of a conventional programme. Beginning with the Nattakurinji varnam and ‘Sree Mahaganapatim’ (Atana, Jayachamaraja Wodeyar), Rasika found the right grooves in Dhanyasi ragam (‘Balakrishnam Padamalar,’ Papanasam Sivan) with a nice sketch of the ragam. The ‘pratimadyamam’ quota was in the form of Pantuvarali (‘Sambho Mahadeva,’ Tyagaraja). Rasika’s intensity and polish in the raga alapana, showed her sound training. A gamaka-laden first speed niraval and crisp swarams pushed up the overall score of the concert.
Rasika’s Kharaharapriya ragam was sketched zestfully as her heavy voice brought out good gamaka phrases. She sang another Sivan song, ‘Janaki Pathe’ in a slower kalapramanam providing space for exposition of all the beautiful upper octave sangatis, especially in the Anupallavi, ‘Dinajanavana’ which was the niraval point. Swarakalpana was good with minimum kanakku. Violinist Roopa Rajagopal was adequate in her accompaniment without being remarkable. Percussionists Babu (mridangam) and V.V.S. Manian (ganjira) were supportive.