Monday, April 2, 2012

Classical Concert by Ananya Ashok

In November 2011, Hemmige and Subhapriya Srivatsan gave a lecture on, "The sense of proportion in Concerts" as part of the VivRti 2011 Fall Festival. They talked about the importance of:
  • appropriate rAgam selection
  • using songs from different languages
  • effective utilization of the percussionists
  • timing the various pieces appropriately
  • etc.
in order to keep the audience enthralled and engaged for 3+ hours in a concert. They Bay Area is indeed fortunate to have opportunities for such lectures, concerts and "music seasons" (a topic for a future blog post).

Ananya Ashok had this "sense of proportion" in a near perfect Carnatic vocal concert on Saturday, March 31st at the Divine Science Community Center in San Jose. Ananya was ably accompanied by Siva Ramamurthi (student of Delhi P. Sundararajan) on the violin, Vignesh Venkataraman on the mridangam and Ganesh Ramnarayan on the kanjira. Ananya began her concert with the shankarAbharaNam varNam, chalamElA. She followed this with Puliyur Doraisamy Iyengar's Sankrit kritI, sarasIruhAsana priyE in nAtAi. She did an efficient swara kalpanA at the conclusion of this song. Ananya then sang an elaborate AlApanA in madhyamAvatI followed by the Thyagaraja kritI deva srI tapastheertha - which is also a Lalgudi pancharatnam. Before embarking on her major piece, Ananya sang a melodious, short Annamacharya kritI in hamIr kalyANi, yEmana vachUnU.

Ananya chose bhaIravI for her major piece - an excellent choice given the wide scope for improvisation in this rAgam. She sang the popular Dixitar kritI bAlagOpAla and did a niraval on the anupallavI, "nIla nIrada sharIra dhIratara". This was followed by a 20-minute thaniAvathanam - executed very well by Vignesh and Ganesh. She followed this with a very fast paced Mysore Vasudevacharya composition paripAhi mAm shrI raghupatE. This perfectly led up to the RTP in shaNmukapriyA. The pallavI that she sang was "sAma gAna lOlE srI bAIE sangIta rasika priyE". In the kalpanaswAras she sang rAgamAlika swarAs in kAnaDA, hamsAnandi, naLinakAnti and kalyANavasantA.

Ananya concluded with a Tamil song thAyum Anavare in pilu and finally Lalgudi Jayaraman's mAnD tillAnA.

While a majority of the credit for this excellent concert must go to Ananya - for her sadhakam, kudos to her guru Anuradha Sridhar. Earlier in the day, I was at Badarikashram for a Ramanavami program by the students of Bay Area music teachers. Rohan and Madhuri, were singing along with Srilaxmi Kolavenu's other students (you can watch them sing rAmachandram bhAvayAmi in vasantaa and sing shObillu sapthaswara in jaganmOhini). Before Srilaxmi's students went on stage, there was a young artiste (probably not more than 18 years old) giving a solo performance (along with a young violin and mridangam player). I don't know their names, but she sang a mesmerizing AlApanA in pUrvi kalyANi and the Dixitar kritI gnanamOsagarAdha. She followed this with a melodious jAnaki ramaNa in kApi. It was later that I learned that the young artiste is a student of Anuradha Sridhar. Of course, singing with such control and have such an imposing stage presence at such a young age takes a lot of sadhakam. It also takes a dedicated guru. It is not surprising that Anuradha Sridhar has won numerous awards and accolades - including "Best Teacher in North America" at the Cleveland Thyagaraja Festival.