REVIEW Prashant Hemmige's rendition has clarity and resonance
P rashant Hemmige sang at Venkataramanaswami Temple, Mysore, as part of Shayanotsava, the concluding ritual that began with Brahmotsava celebrations. Other artistes who joined him as accompanists were Adhiti Krishnaprakash (violin), A. Radhesh (mridanga) and V.S. Ramesh (ghata).
The singer with relevance to the spiritual significance of the event (symbolically lulling the Lord into highest spiritual state of yoganidra ), sang such compositions that created the necessary ambience to understand and experience Lord Vishnu's glory, his illimitable munificence and the event's significance that fully complemented the path of Bhakti in furtherance of Mukti.
In addition to displaying in-depth scholarship, the singer was endowed with, the concert drew such observations that needed keen attention in the process of building up an approach, finely refurbished and aesthetically modelled. As to the gamut of his voice, there was sufficient expandability (for expatiations to suit his manodharma), flexibility (to help his expressions) and resonance (to infuse melody into the evolving passages). Yet, when control over the volume was taken into account, the voice tended to be stentorian as it reached higher octaves. The singer could have mellowed down the force, yet retaining the emotive fervour of articulations in those areas.
Clarity in accentuations and a measured pace facilitated the audience to catch the lyrics easily for a full appreciation of their meanings. In this respect, take for example Dikshithar's “Hiranmayim Lakshmim” in Lalitha or Poochi Shrinivasa Iyengar's “Anudinamunu Kaavumayya” in Begade.
However, “Hiranmayim” would have emanated lilting waves to enhance the mystic mood the lyrics embodied, had the singer polished his vocal modulations with pronounced jaaru gamaka-s and over all gentleness, which the soporific raga Lalitha and the grandeur of the lyrics demanded. No doubt, the right tempo and the right pronunciations backed with the artiste's thorough involvement substantially compensated for the above dearth.
Scholarly interpretation of Begade and Simhendramadhyama (“Ninne Nammithinayya” – Vasudevacharya) spoke of the singer's musical vision and ideal approach. He was fluent in framing the swarakalpana though there were weak moments. A simpler approach avoiding labyrinthine complexities would have averted such moments. He imaginatively and extensively elaborated the lyrics of “Ninne Nammithinayya” at the anupallavi, “Pannagendra Shayana”. Systematic manner of exposition added to his emotive expressions consummated the experience.
Collective contributions from all the accompanists — Adhiti's rich resonance built into tuneful curves, lyrics-oriented rhythm techniques by both the percussionists — were immense in enriching the concert. “Teretiyakarada” (Goulipanthu-Thyagaraja), “Shri Lakshmi Varaaham” (Abhogi – Dikshithar) “Rangapuravihara” (Brindavanasaranga - Dikshithar), “Jagadhodharana” (Kaapi – Purandaradasa) were some of the other interesting presentations.