Despite the absence of kritis by the Trinity, Ashwin’s recital was aurally soothing.
It doesn’t rain; it pours when D.B. Ashwin is let loose before a microphone. It’s hardly surprising, as he is the worthy grandson of T.K. Rangachari, a genius who was known for his novel and captivating raga expositions.
Ashwin had the good fortune of learning under Vairamangalam, one of the best music teachers. At present, he is taking advanced lessons from Seshachari (Hyderabad Brothers).
Ashwin has a powerful voice and has mastered vallinam, mellinam modulation.
Above all else, he is able to traverse effortlessly from kizh panchamam to mel panchamam. What more can a performing vocalist aspire for?
If Dr. M Balamuralikrishna’s Nattai kriti, ‘Ganasudharasapana’ provided a heavenly opening, young Ashwin’s elegant Begada alapana, with all its possible contours and even murchanas, demonstrated his maturity. Subbaraya Sastry’s ‘Sankari Neeve’ (rupakam), with charming chittaswaras evoked spontaneous appreciation.
Similarly, Ashwin’s elaborate Simhendramadhyamam alapana and Mysore Vasudevachar’s ‘Ninne Nammithi’ brought out the aesthetic appeal and meditative tinge of the raga.
In the kalpanaswara (at the usual ‘Pannagendra Sayana’), his mel madhyama prayoga was a sheer beauty.
The piece that stood out that morning was a 25-minute RTP in Saveri, ‘Vettukka Chalani Koluvaiyunnade’ in Atheetham of Adi tala, followed by kalpanaswaras in ragamalika (Bilahari, Varali, Sahana, Rasikapriya and Surutti).
Akkarai Sornalatha (violin) has established herself as a top ranking artist. If her Begada and Simhendramadhyamam alapanas were sweet, the precision with which she handled the Atheetham pallavi (in the RTP) was an index to her skill.
Sai Giridhar, the seasoned mridangam vidwan, through his deft and agile strokes enriched the concert.
His short thani along with Madipakkam Gopalakrishnan (ganjira) concluded with a complicated, yet aesthetic korvai.
Ashwin wound up his captivating concert with ‘Gayathi Vanamali.’ No doubt, his unique style will earn him a wide audience.
It is incomprehensible as to why he chose not to include even a single composition of Tyagaraja, Dikshitar or Syama Sastri. I am sure it was not intentional. And, there was no Tamil piece either.. that too, on Bharatiar’s birthday!