Music Ashwin D. Bhogendra's concert was memorable for his emphasis on raga bhava. Harish Bal
I t was a refreshing experience to listen to Ashwin D. Bhogendra render Carnatic kritis at Kerala Fine Arts Societ, Kochi. His music is marked by an unhurried approach to alapana and kriti renditions with due emphasis on raga bhava. A disciple of Vairamangalam Lakshminarayanan, this New Jersey-based musician left indelible melodic impressions with his music.
After a short raga essay of Sri Ranjini, he opened the concert with the Papanasam Sivan composition ‘Gajavadana Karunasadana.' Swara phrases in Jhanda patterns embellished the piece. As a delectable raga elaboration of Amruthavarshini followed, one could see that the vocalist found his comfort level in the higher middle register and upper octave. The Dikshitar composition ‘Anandamruthavarshini' was sung with relish and swaras in tisra nadai were promising.
His Kedaragowlaalaapana came as a sweet interlude. The profound bhava of devotion inherent in the raga came to fore as Ashwin sang Swati Tirunal's ‘Jalajanabha Mamava' at the apt pace in Misra chapu. Thirunalloor Ajith Kumar supported the vocalist on the violin
‘Arul cheyya venum Ayya' in Rasikapriya was presented next. Ashwin took Todi as the main raga. Without brigas and other sparklers, the vocalist kept the raga essence as his priority. The srutibhedam to Kalyani was not without surprises and the transition back to the main raga was yet another thrill that was greeted with applause by the audience
The weighty composition ‘Kaddanuvariki' by Tyagaraja was sung with reverence to its kalapramana. A luscious niraval, which traversed upper ‘Panchama' and beyond was followed by appealing swaras. Raj Narayan on the mridangam and Harikrishnan Chettiyar on the ghatam presented a precise and harmonised taniavartanam.
If his rendition of ‘Jalajanabha' reminded one of the rendition of the same kriti by MDR, Ashwin's singing of ‘Guruvayoorappane appan' in Reetigowla brought to mind the baritone timber of Maharajapuram Santhanam who popularised the composition. ‘Pralayapayodhi jale,' a Jayadeva Ashtapadi, was the concluding item.