Aswath Narayan’s raga essays speak of a promising future
It is always said that the competency of a musician can be judged by the first phrase drawn for a raga; it should bring out the raga’s image quite explicitly. Young Aswath Narayan demonstrated that skill strongly. One heard the flash of Nattai, Kanada, Kalyani, Lalitha, Madhyamavati and Sindhubhairavi even as he began singing. Following the Nattakuranji varnam, he chose a rare number in Nattai of Swarna Venkatesa Dikshitar, ‘Sri Siva Daya Maha Ganapathim’ tuned by K.V. Narayanaswami. ‘Mamavasatha Janani’ in Kanada with a brief raga preface and few rounds of swaras, led to the Kalyani exposition.
Aswath’s handling of the ragas was admirable. He developed them organically with frills and long stop-over intertwined at appropriate points. His voice carried appeal and his open throated delivery added weight to it. He can, probably, exercise some extra care in his tara sthayi outings. In general, his raga treatises and swara matrices were expository of his perfect grooming and pointers of promising talent.
He sang the Kalyani Tiruppavai, ‘Amabarame Thanneerae,’ adding niraval on ‘Semborkazhaladi Deva’ with smart swara segment. The main raga was Madhyamavati and the kriti was Tyagaraja’s ‘Ramakatha Sudha.’ His swara essays on the pallavi and the fast track final links with intricate korvai were expressions of Aswath’s spontaneity and originality.
Another youngster, Sriram Sridhar (a student of Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan) on the violin, matched in his musical vision of Aswath well, in all exercises. One can expect to see Sriram making waves more on the stage in the coming days.
R. Sankaranarayanan on the percussion was active right from the start and his thani was exquisitely designed without being strident.
‘Hiranmayeem’ in Lalitha, ‘Krupajujutakhu’ in Chaaya Tarangini, ‘Visweswara’ in Sindhubhairavi and Paras thillana were the other enjoyable inclusions in Aswath’s concert.