Sreyas Narayanun has a good voice which needs to mature into consistency

Sreyas Narayanun sang at Shri Krishna Gana Sabha, Mysore, accompanied by B.K. Raghu (violin), H.L. Shivashankaraswamy (mridanga), V.S. Ramesh (morsing) and Herbert Long (khanjira).

His voice is appreciably resilient, yet does not enjoy the advantages of consistency, and therefore tends to become thin in the higher octaves losing melodic resonance in the lower ones. It perfectly aligns with the shruthi in slow and medium progressions, occasionally deviating in faster ones, especially while manoeuvring through labyrinthine articulations, which he could have avoided to foster better expressions, improve melody and facilitate diction.

It is common with scholars of high repute that the lyrics in many areas get obliterated by surging akaara-s: only the beginning of the composition will be clear helping identification, the major portion will be lost (unless the listener is very well-versed or one is able to catch just by the dint of the context), and this was not an exception.

The artiste's remarkable sense of raagabhaava rendered the concert interesting and absorbing from that aspect. The general style is masculine and commanding fortified by competence, and therefore instantly captured the hall. Nevertheless, the sahithyabhaava appeared marginally undermined for lack of suitable vocal inflections; in that sense the present concert favoured raga-s more than the lyrics.

Observe Dikshithar's “Hiranmayim Lakshmim” (Lalitha). Even a quick span over the scale was sufficient to instantly highlight all the characteristic features of Lalitha, but, lyrics suffered as a result of inadequate attention given to accentuations and pronunciations (observe the aspirates-mahaprana) in view of a Sanskrit composition of that rank of lyrical richness and descriptive grandeur.

Further, the lyrics (for example) at “Shvethadhvipa Vaasinim” muffled and those at “Maatharamaabja Maalinim” could not imaginatively expose the lyrical and the tuneful harmony the composer has incorporated in his work (keeping in mind sensitive lilting areas of the raga and gravity of the general import — vivid description of the resplendent beauty of the Goddess.

Mainly for the above reasons, an admirable neraval at “Geethavaadhya Vinodinim” (charana) could not command unreserved accolades. Crisp, emotive and scholarly swarakalpana followed the neraval.

It was “Paridhanamichithe” (Bilahari – Patnam) that captured the audience from all aspects featuring a neatly and analytically drawn alapana, a scholarly neraval (at the charana — “Rokkamichuta Ne”) and lively swarakalpana. He presented compositions like “Mahaganapathim” (Naata –Dikshithar), “Saraswathi Namosthute” (Saraswathi-GNB), “Chinnanaadena” (Kalanidhi-Thyagaraja), “Rama Ninne” (Huseni – Thyagaraja), “Telisi Rama” (Purnachandrika – Thyagaraja) and “Janakiramana” (Kaapi-Vanamali Jeer Swami) more or less in quick succession.

While delineating Kalyani (“Ethavunara” – Thyagaraja), the singer could have avoided much stress on high pitches and complicated bhirka-s, for better balance and melody. A vivacious swarakalpana followed a bright neraval at “Shri Garudagu” (charana).

Tani avarthana by three percussionists went in favour of Shivashankaraswamy, Herbert Long trailing much behind in crispness and stability. B.K. Raghu scored in his imaginative approach to Kalyani (Bilahari too) dexterously realising its mood considering the element of proportion and propriety in his assignment.

Three more compositions – “Kamalapthakula” (Brindavanasaranga-Thyagaraja), “Narajanma Bandaga” (Madhuvanti-Purandaradasa) and “Bhakthajana Vatsale” (Brindavanasaranga – abhang-Santa Namadeva) concluded the concert.