A neat array of songs, right choice of ragas for expansion, calculated niraval or swaras, and a proper mix of fast, slow and medium numbers were the appealing hallmarks of Ashwath Narayanan’s concert at Sri Parthasarathy Swami Sabha.
A vocalist with a pleasant, pliable voice and who has training coupled with confidence, Ashwath began his concert with ‘Paga vari’ varnam in Hamsadhwani by Patnam Subramania Iyer and signed off with Jayadeva’s Ashtapadi ‘Rase hari miha vihita vilasam’.
The kritis presented in between fit into a delectable variety. Tyagaraja’s lively ‘Yochana kamala’ in Darbar came with upbeat kalpanaswaras, adding ample stress on the jiva swara rishabam. The less-heard Sarasangi raga alapana led to the composition ‘Neekela dayaradu’ by Ramaswami Sivan. The niraval at ‘Saketha puravasa’ was built up exquisitely with several spiralling sangatis leading to a crescendo; this energised the supporting artistes and the audience.
High on raga bhava
‘Poonivar meni maragathathin’, a Tamil verse from Periya Thirumozhi by Thirumangai Azhwar on Nagai Soundararaja Perumal, was the viruththam in ragas Sahana, Purvikalyani and Atana that led to Brindavana Saranga and landed on Dikshitar’s ‘Soundararajam’. The exquisite and weighty composition demanding a ‘sowkya kala’ tempo was executed in all its grandeur. Raga bhava and enunciation were the special features of Ashwath Narayanan’s rendition in this composition.
Tyagaraja’s ‘Vara narada narayana’ in Vijayashree sprinted, and the vocalist added fast-paced niraval at ‘Prakatam buga kirti nosangene’ with an impressive package of jetset swarakalpana.
Begada raga offers ample span for a singer to explore it deeply and attractively. Ashwath’s soft start and patient detailing of the raga suite carried surfeits of long and short phrases, gliding moves and appropriate intervals at the right places. The image of Begada was thoroughly elevated in the treatise. He chose to sing Tyagaraja’s ‘Nadopasana’ at the right pace. The slow and steady rendition of the kriti was appended with an exhaustive swara section linked to the charanam line ‘Tantri laya swara raga’. The ingenious and well-conceived ‘pachamam’ centric groupings were presented with precision.
Violinist B. Anathakrishnan almost vied with Ashwath for equal honours in raga vinyasa and swaraprastara. His responses were well received by the vocalist and the audience. Delhi Sairam and H. Krishna on the mridangam and ghatam, respectively, strengthened the concert’s quality with their perfect percussion.
Their tani avartanam, however, was a brief affair with an eye on the time factor.