Music

Sumptuous treat

Shashank. Photo: M. Karunakaran   | Photo Credit: M_Karunakaran

Asocial and cultural organisation, Vedavyasa Vidya Vignana Varadhi, like its name suggests, has the single objective of building the academic lives of poor but brilliant students by supporting them with financial aid when they are unable to raise money to continue their academic career. They pay tuition fees directly to the institutions. They held an event at Bharatiya Vidyabhavan, last week, where they handed over scholarship certificates through the hands of Justice N. Ramamohana Rao to fourteen new students and renewed support to another sixteen. They included an MBBS student and a couple of B. Tech students and another studying in NIT; all with high scores in their exams. According to their practice of inviting stalwart musicians to perform; on this occasion a concert was given by child prodigy, flute maestro Shashank.

Shashank, born in the Kaveri belt that has produced many Carnatic musicians like Thyagaraja, displayed talents as a boy. His father Subramanyam, an amateur flautist, gave him his first lessons. As a six- year-old, Shashank surprised his music teacher in school by playing the ‘Kaanada raga varnam' on his father's flute. Knowing this T.R. Mahalingam (Mali) advised him to learn vocal music first, which he did later. His flautist debut surprisingly was in Adelaide, Australia in 1990 when he was eleven year old. He performed in his 12th year at Madras Music Academy and began giving concerts all over the world. He is creative while conforming to vocal traditions of high quality.

The consummate flautist gave ample evidence of all these traits in the concert he gave at this venue. He dramatically demonstrated his expertise, versatility and knowledge. Due to lack of time Shashank cut short his repertoire for the main part of the concert and presented just five serious compositions, while he responded to the requests from his audience in playing light classical numbers. He was in the company of Akkarai Subbulakshmi on violin and Patri Satish Kumar on mridangam, both stalwarts in their respective fields.

He opened with Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje in Hamsadhwani giving a sketch of the raga. He then played Endaro Mahanubhavulu, the famous Pancharatna kirtana of Thyagaraja in Sri Ragam. He then chose to play Pantuvarali and used this for a ragam-ranam-pallavi session. The raga delineation was superb taking it into all the three octaves, with intricate nuances. The tanam part was a brilliant exercise, instantly changing notes from Mandra to Tara, at one stage and then playing both simultaneously. The pallavi he chose was Kshemamkuru Gopala…of Narayanateertha, set in Misrachapu talam with one beat edupu. The violinist responded brilliantly. The swarakalpana was done in ragamalika comprising of Kapi, Malayamarutham, Sriranjani, Sama, Abheri and Mohana. In the concluding part he let loose to bring out his manodharma and wizardry with awesome breath control and technical skills. It was an experience to watch.

The violinist Subbalakshmi revealed her own skills, matching the output of flute. Patri Satish Kumar too gave a sizzling display in his tani avartanam, matching the level of the concert. The final piece was a breezy Raghuvamsa Sudha in Kadanakutuhalam. Later he rendered light classical numbers.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:09:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/music/Sumptuous-treat/article16198815.ece

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