A well-structured concert by Prarthana Sai Narasimhan

Prarthana Sai Narasimhan accompanied by Shraddha Ravindran on the violin, Kumbakonam Swaminathan on the mridangam, and Adambakkam Sankar on the ghatam.
| Photo Credit: Rajappane Raju

Prarthana Sai Narasimhan presented a refreshing array of ragas and rare kritis at Arkay Convention Centre’s 12th anniversary series. She was accompanied by Shraddha Ravindran on the violin, Kumbakonam Swaminathan on the mridangam and Adambakkam Sankar on the ghatam.

A well-structured raga essay of Chakravakam surprisingly came as the second piece. The scope of the raga was explored with ingenuity. What stood Prarthana in good stead throughout the concert is her melodious voice that has an admirable range. She exploited it in full measure in this as well as in the later raga treatises of Saramathi and Hamsadhwani.

Elaborate swara segment

In Chakravakam, she presented the popular ‘Gajananayutham’ by Dikshitar. She went for a detailed niraval on ‘Ajendra poojitha vigneswaram’ and followed it up with an exhaustive swara segment, the final section of which centered on daivatam. ‘Devi brova samaya’ in raga Chintamani by Syama Sastri came as a sober filler.

Prarthana’s next choice was a meticulous and melodic alapana of Saramathi. Here, she moved smoothly and seamlessly, lending every phrase a poignant touch. Her sojourns in all the registers were thoughtfully done with great emphasis on the raga’s sublime quality. Shraddha’s contribution here was equally significant. The selection of a lesser-known kriti by Purandaradasa, ‘Kandena udupiya krishnana’, added an edge along with a smartly woven swaraprastara at the pallavi.

The tani avartanam by Swaminathan and Sankar was an enjoyable exchange of sharp rhythmic patterns.

The RTP was taken up for Hamsadhwani. The energetic raga treatise was followed by tanam. Pallavi composed by Sai Narasimhan, ‘Karunai deivame karpagame kana vendum un porpadame’, set in Adi tala two kalai had niraval appended to the shadjam-anchored swaras that brought alive the rendition. The trikalam of the pallavi followed the swara section again and concluded with a bouquet of swara sallies between Prarthana and Shraddha.

The finale had ‘Naaneke badavanu’ (Behag) and ‘Chandrchooda sivasankara’ in Darbari Kanada (both by Purandaradasa), and a Thiruppugazh in Bilahari. Prarthana opened her concert with a lilting varnam ‘Vanajaksha’, in Mandari by Mysore Vasudevachar, and concluded with ‘Bega baro neela megha varna,’ a bhajan in raga Maund.

The Chennai-based reviewer specialises in Carnatic music.

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