Sashidhar lent originality and variety in his playing

Flautists often tend to get imitative in their performing styles. Sashidhar, as he played at the Kasturi Srinivasan Hall, (The Music Academy premises) seemed to reverse this trend and displayed originality and showed a hunger for freshness. If he has received wisdom from all corners, he only tried to adapt this fully to emerge as one who tried to carve a niche for himself. He handled the different elements of a concert with a fair level of competence and control. In this, he was ably assisted by Roopa Rajagopal (violin) and Ashwin Sridharan (mridangam).

Sashidhar handled the raga alapanas of Sankarabharanam, the main item, and Lathangi with different orientations. Lathangi had sangatis that flowed and showcased instrumental wizardry as it were, but the second had a certain stillness that could be felt.

It seemed as if each of these ragas had its own context and texture. The compositions chosen were ‘Marivera Dikevvaru’ (Patnam) and ‘Akshaya Linga Vibho’ (Dikshitar), respectively. Swaraprastharas came at the pallavi for ‘Marivera Dikevvaru’ that had a single long korvai, and at ‘Badari Vanamula Nayika’ for ‘Akshaya Linga Vibho.’ The second had many captivating patterns, zig-zag combinations and step-by-step climbs to crescendos, which were done in a flawless manner.

Sashidhar began the concert with the Saveri varnam and retained the tempo with a delightfully rendered Hamsadhwani song, ‘Varana Mukhava’ (Koteeswara Iyer). He smartly integrated two kritis of Tyagaraja, ‘Namakusuma’ (Sri) and ‘Entha Ninne Sabari’ (Mukhari), and lent serenity to the concert. By completely indulging himself in niraval for ‘Kannulara Sevinchi,’ he clothed the Mukhari number in a deservedly dense canopy.

The violinist Roopa had before her a task well-defined. Her accompanying manner suited that of Sashidhar and her raga alapanas for both the main and sub-main had a winsome quality about them. She struggled a wee bit during the swaraprastharas but that was only a passing fluctuation in an otherwise steady performance. Ashwin (mridangam) gave a thani that had an intricate and well-worked out korvai that was reserved as an end-piece. He meshed with the flutist fully: his motto was made explicit as he played with sowkhyam throughout.

This concert was presented under the Endowment of Sri Pichumony and Smt. Kunthalam Trust.