Notes from the mandolin

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Music Mandolin player Aravind Bhargava mesmerised the audience with his skill.. GUDIPOODI SRIHARI

Mandolin genie Aravind Bhargava
Mandolin genie Aravind Bhargava

A fter Srinivas popularised the mandolin by moulding the western instrument to suit Carnatic idiom, others began taking to it. Twenty-five year old Aravind Bhargava is the latest entrant in this field, making news for the last three years, since he gave his first performance in 2008 at Vani Mahal, Chennai under the banner of Srinivas Institute of World Music. As a six year old, Aravind was first exposed to one of ‘Mandolin Srinivas' concerts. He then developed a passion for the instrument. He belonged to a family of musicians. N.M. Lakshmi, his maternal grandmother is a veena artiste and composer. His mother Gnanaprasuna is a disciple of Balamurali and is a graded artiste of AIR and Doordarsan. Aravind learned vocals from his mother.

Later he went under the tutelage of ‘Mandolin Srinivas'. His maturity could be witnessed in the concert he gave for Sangeetha Ksheerasagaram held at Thyagaraya Ganasabha. He was in the company of Komanduri Anantha Sowri Rajan on violin, P. Mehar Sagar on mridangam and Sundar Rahul on ghatam.

Aravind opened with a varnam in Hamsadhwani Jalajakshi of Manambuchavadi Venkata Subba Iyer with raga essay and showed his command on the instrument. The swarakalpana too was engaging. He then went on to present Mahaganapathim in Nata of Dikshitar, which he presented after giving brief picture of raga.

Duduku Gala in Gowla, one among Pancharatna kirtanas of Thyagaraja was presented later and brought out the import of the kirtana, playing it in expressive style. Niravadi Sukhada in Ravichandrika' of Thyagaraja that followed was preceded by brief delineation of the raga. He went through the chittaswaras well. Anuragamuleni in Saraswathi of Thyagaraja was treated as his first main raga effort. He followed it with Kanjadalayatakshi in Kamalamanohari of Dikshitar. The raga was presented in detail. Podagantimayya Ninnu Purushothama in Mohana of Annamacharya, that he played later was preceded by its brief raga picture. He then went for the main melody of the concert, Poorvikalyani. Surprisingly he chose another kirtana of Annamacharya Nallani Meni Nagavu Choopulavadu for this main effort. He took good time to evolve the raga in different phases shaping it as a tasteful presentation.

He displayed his instrumental virtuosity in raga expansion and also in the later part of swarakalpana as well, like producing swaras for a couple of minutes just with a single ‘meetu' (stroke) on the strings. The swarakalpana was done in raga chain comprising of Valaji, Sivaranjani and Bahudari with a good finish. The percussionists added more colour to the number with their erudite tani avartanam. Chinnam Chirukeliye of Subramanya Bharati figured next in ragamalika comprising of Kapi, Mand and Tillang, which was also followed by percussionists with a compact tani avartanam. On the lighter note Aravind played Ambujam Krishna's Adinaye Kanna in Mohana Kalyani, Tandanana Ahi in Bowli of Annamayya, Chandrasekhara in Sindhubhairavi of Anai Bhagavatar. The concert concluded with tillana of Lalgudi Jayaraman in Dwijavanthi that sounded extremely well on mandolin.

The support given by instrumentalists was cognizant shaping the concert as an experience.




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