Child prodigy turned genius flutist S. Shashank sparkled in his concert at Sri Odakkattur Math (under the aegis of Sri Guruvayurappan Bhajan Sabha Trust) in connection with the ongoing Sri Gokulashtami music festival. The melodious and pleasing strains of the flute, mesmerizing manodharma of the seasoned artiste and artistic concert craft added to the luster of the recital.
The fluid melodies soared and whispered in different sthayis. The acclaimed master created meditative music.
Accompanied by accompanists like Akkarai Subhalakshmi (violin), veteran Arjun Kumar (mridanga) and a rising star Sunaad Anoor (khanjira), Shashank played his heart out. The concert began with the powerfully persuasive Kambhoji varna. Nenarunchara naa pai in Simhavahini and Daari nee telisi konti (Shuddha Saveri) set a lively tempo. Shashanka did well in the rendition of a demanding Nasikabhooshini for Maaravairy Ramani and Girirajasutha (Bangala raga). The phrases in sahitya and swara expansions were ingenuous.
The listeners eagerly welcomed the Mohana raga, tana and Pallavi rendition. His tuttukkaras were crystal clear. The popular raga sketched with all its nuances had some of Shashank’s own phrasing. The pallavi was Gaanalola Muralidhara Hare Gopala Madhava Murahara. The neraval was negotiated with varied speed and laya. It was a feast of kalpanaswaras in ragamalika. The ragamalika comprising of Saveri, Desh, Sahana, Ranjani, Srranjani, Shubapanthuvarali, Panthuvarali, Chakravaka, Suruti and Kapi ragas had taut rhythmic variations too. He regaled by rendering the most popular Devaranama Krishna Nee Begane baaro in Yamuana Kalyani.
Young Sandeep Narayan’s concert on Saturday exuded vibrancy and power. He enthralled by rendering a rarely heard Manamohana maanipai in a glorious Mohana. The great Shahana piece Raama ika nannu brova raada was sung with style. Thunderous applause greeted his singing of Guruvayurappan appane appan (Reetigowla). Sandeep surprised the sensitive sahridayees by unfolding a fine Athana for Kannada Devaranama Rangana paada hidiko bidabeda. Detailed presentation of a Tamil composition Mahalakshmi Jaganmatha manamirangi varamarul (Shankarabharana) was received well. In the same breath he sang a crisp Sarasa Sama Daana (Kapi Narayani).
The highlight of the concert was a raga, tana and pallavi in Varali raga. The alapana was profound with three octave coverage. He captivated by converting the tana section into a ragamalika affair.
Hameer Kalyani, Hindola and Brindavani not only made up for a scholarly selection but also vouched for the vocalist’s expertise and skill. The line Sarasijanabha Murare Hare Krishna was coloured in different and distinctive phrases and speeds. B.U. Ganesh Prasad (violin) was a formidable back up for Sandeep. Thanjavur K Murugabhoopathi was energetic, enthusiastic and entertaining too. The ghata accompaniment was handled with grace by Omkar.
On Sunday last, renowned vocalist Sudha Raghunathan sent rasikas into raptures. Sudha’s voice is huge and powerful and it emerged most persuasively in her attractive repertoire that allowed her to unleash a full-throated flood of sound.
Sudha created a web of pristine strains and demonstrated her gift for dramatic clarity and force in the kalpanaswaras. A rare and intricate Mandari varna (Vanajakshi) was followed by Jhenjhoti number. Srimannarayana in Bhowli evoked divine feelings. The selection of another quaint krithi in Manirangu Jaya Jaya Padmanabhanuje was enthralling. Her Kalyani was not only grand but also graceful to the core for Niajadasavarada. The raga, sahitya and swara vinyasa had Sudha’s touches and each and every phrase was y appreciated.
Sudha reached peaks of profundity in singing the Sriranjani raga tana pallavi. Undoubtedly it was a gem of a rendition.
The pallavi line was Sri Krishna Gaanam,Venu Gaanam,Madhura Gaanam, sabhayorai maghizhavaikkum and it was moving.
It was marked by a sense of timely pauses and sung in different layas. The ragamalika which had Todi, Kaanada, Simhendra Madhyama and Nattakurunji ragas was an excellent and elegant presentation.
B. raghavendra rao (violin) and Sai Giridhar (mridanga) imparted able support. Young Bhagyalakshmi Krishna (morsing) was a superb partner throughout, playing with nimble precision and sensitivity.
— Dr M SURYA PRASAD