MUSICSCAN: Hamsadhwani remembered K.V. Narayanaswami with a delectable vocal recital by his disciple Pattabhiram Pandit.
How thrilling it is for senior rasikas of Carnatic music to listen to clear echoes of some of their favourite past masters' voices in concert halls! Strong memories of vocalist K.V. Narayanaswami were revived recently at the semi-open-air ambience of Hamsadhwani, which organised KVN Day appropriately by inviting his disciple Pattabhiram Pandit to give a vocal recital on the occasion.
Young Pattabhiram has assimilated KVN's art sufficiently well to be able to create a certain resemblance between his master's method of singing and his own. But while KVN's style was extremely gentle and delicate, Pattbhiram's is quite robust and vigorous.
The most impressive thing about his music is the way he reconciles these elements effectively to project his own image forcefully without letting you forget his master's.
As a result, what reverberated at Hamsadhwani were resounding echoes of KVN's music.
Brilliant versions of ragas
The highlights of the concert were brilliant versions of the ragas Varali and Kharaharapriya (and the kritis ‘Seshaachala Naayakam' and ‘Raama Neeyeda' of Dikshitar and Tyagaraja), which were as soulful as they were forceful. And Purandaradas'a ‘Jagadoddhaarana' reinforced the worshipful mood.
Throughout the concert, the singer's earnestness was matched by the excellent accompaniment provided by M.A. Sundareswaran on the violin and Sree Sundar Kumar on the ganjira.
As regards the mridangam, merely to say that the vocalist was accompanied by Umayalpuram Sivaraman is a severe understatement.
What should be truthfully said is that Pattabhiram is fortunate to be figuring in the select list of promising young musicians whom the legendary mridangam maestro chooses to accompany, as an integral part of his many-sided mission to encourage successive younger generations of vocalists and instrumentalists in Carnatic music. And that involves not only enhancing their image by his very association and creating wonderful opportunities for them to shine in his inspiring company, but also counselling them effectively on technique and presentation.
To make an overall assessment of the tremendous contributions Sivaraman continues to make to the preservation, progress and continuity of the Carnatic music tradition would call for a couple of separate essays.
Meanwhile, it only needs to be said that he was an obvious source of inspiration not only to the vocalist but also to the veteran violinist Sundareswaran and the talented young ganjira artist Sree Sundar Kumar.