Subdued yet sensitive, Subashini was a picture of poise.
When Subashini Parthasarathy sang the alapana for Purvikalyani (‘Satileni Guruguha Moorthi’, Thanjavur Ponniah Pillai) - and later for Bhairavi - one could sense her deep-rooted clarity and well-imagined (and executed) phrases that never did have any kind of flamboyance associated with them.
In many concerts today, a kind of exhibitionism has, unfortunately, become the corner stone of performance (and that tends to pull crowds). Another positive and noticeable trend in Subashini’s rendering was that she never went into a state of tension while presenting the swara segment. They followed a certain logic acquired over years of experience and practice.
The beginning was with the Vasantha varnam (did it lack the composition’s accepted Gambiram?) and was followed with ‘Ramanannu Brovara’ (Harikhambodi, Tyagaraja). It had a well-sustained niraval and swaras at ‘Meppulakai Kannathavu.’ Margazhi’s signature was brought with the rendition of a Tiruppavai, ‘Pullum Silambinakaan’ (not in customarily heard Sankarabaranam). The main item, Bhairavi (‘Upacharamu,’ Tyagaraja) had a certain quietness that was consistent with the nature of her voice, with niraval and swaras at ‘Kapata Nataka.’
Subhashini is not gifted with an assertive voice. She has considerable years of kutcheri experience so much so that any suggestion might sound presumptuous. Still, she should learn to exploit her voice in a better way. She is able to express herself in an assured manner when she is at the mandhara sthayi. The voice really gets transmuted, almost, and acquires a new assuredness. She should learn to dwell more here than elsewhere.
Sandhya Srinath (violin) accompanied with total commitment but did encounter some difficulty while negotiating the speed sangatis during her Purvikalyani alapana. She, however, gripped rasikas’ undivided attention by executing these fast-paced sangatis in a lovely manner, faultlessly during her Bhairavi alapana.
Srinath Bala on the mridangam and B. S. Purushotham on the ganjira accompanied with tact while playing for the songs and bestowed their best to see that the tenor of the concert was never disturbed by their hard beats.
An interesting aside: The niraval line in Harikhambodi sung singly ‘Meppulakai Kanna Thavu’ translates to mean “Seeking money from any quarter whatsoever to lead and maintain a false standard of living.” How well does it become ‘ideal’ for a niraval which would require its repeated rendering? Debatable? This is, however, not intended as a comment against this particular artist.
Her concert was organised as part of the Global Festival in association with Sri Parthasarathy Sabha.