Lucidity Ashok Ramani proved that an artistic alapana is possible without breaching the walls of acceptability and familiarity. BALA SHANKAR

M ature musician Ashok Ramani relied on his strengths of drawing from his idea bank, and his laya control to carve out an interesting concert for Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. There was a volley of good traditional phrases in his Thodi elaboration (‘Kartikeya Gangeya,' Sivan).

There are always overt and covert debates on intrusion of ‘foreign phrases' in singing raga alapana, as young musicians seek innovation.

Interesting swara korvais

Ashok Ramani, with a reputation for musical probity, argued through his music that an artistic alapana is possible without breaching the walls of acceptability and familiarity. In the niraval at ‘Maal Maruga Shanmukha,' Ashok brought out several crisp elements of the raga, using the sahityanubhava. With clever laya patterns, Ashok wove swara korvais in interesting webs, and was splendidly complemented by Varadarajan on the violin in this aspect.

The sedate start with ‘Siddhi Vinayakam' (Shanmukhapriya) and ‘Nee Irangayenil Pugaledhu' (Atana) was enlivened by Purvikalyani whose alapana gathered lucidity as Ashok moved up the octave. With karvais sandwiched between short briga phrases, good understanding of the ‘raga jeevan' was displayed.

Varadarajan instinctly played a perfect prelude to the kriti, ‘Deva Deva Jagadeeswara' of Swati Tirunal. Ashok's choice of niraval at ‘Darita Magada Mahita' reinforced his musical intelligence as the lines offered many swarakshara opportunities for exploitation. Such subtle thoughts enhance the flavour of overall music.

‘Telisi Rama' (Poornachandrika) and ‘Maa Ramanan' (Hindolam) filled up the time but not the mind.

RTP in Khambodi was a short affair, but Ashok and Varadarajan excelled in the thanam segment, pleasingly portraying the ragam.

The Pallavi ‘Ananda Nadanamadinar Thadhim Thadhim Ena Kanakasabayil' in tisra triputa had the usual concomitants such as ragamalika swarams in Abhogi and Kapi.

Mannargudi Easwaran actively backed the concert with crisp playing especially with the laya overlay in Ashok's singing.

Easwaran and Purushottaman's tani was good and was performed in the right proportion.