Pallavi goes Gen Next

by Namrata Pulapaka

Pallavi, a non-profit organisation devoted to providing Sydney with quality Carnatic music inaugurated its milestone twentieth year with a superb concert by Sri Sandeep Narayan on Sunday 19th April 2015.

Sandeep, a senior disciple of Sri Sanjay Subrahmanyan is one of an emerging breed of young Carnatic musicians who, though born and raised abroad, returned to Chennai to pursue a serious career in Carnatic music.

Sandeep eased into the concert with the evergreen bhairavi aTa tALa varnam, viribOni. He followed this with a brisk rendition of Sri Thyagaraja’s brOchEvArevarE in sri ranjani, complete with a few catchy kalpana swaras in quick succession.

Next, he launched into an alapana in ramAmanOhari, the beautiful 52nd melakarta ragam. The krithi  chosen was Sri Patnam Subrahmanya Iyer’s kOrina varamosagumayya, expanding on the charaNam line ‘sari vArilOna nannu sokka jEya valadu nIdu’ in the nereval before smoothly delivering rhythmic swara patterns.

Sandeep’s manodharmam is characterised by his contrasting use of speedy brigas and plain notes, combined with a melodious flow, excellent voice modulation and sound sense of layam – staying true to his guru’s bani.

Arunachala Kavi’s eppaDi manam thunindadO in the soothing hussEni gave the audience a moment to relax, before he flashed a streak of Vakulabharanam and sang the rare but beautiful sAdhu tadA nijabhAmini (a composition of Maharaja Swati Tirunal on Devi) and seamlessly incorporated charming swarakshara phrases into its melody.

The majestic O rangasAyI was the concert’s centrepiece and Sandeep displayed his proficiency in showcasing Kambhoji in its entirety. Of note, he used some interesting dATu phrases in his ragam and the nereval at bhUlOka vaikunTham in the charanam was followed by a lively swaram exchange between Sandeep and Sri Vittal Ramamurthy on violin.

After an enjoyable taniavartanam by Sri Balasri Rasiah and Sri Trichy Murali, Sandeep sang the eponymous natajanapAlini naLinakAnti, a classic composition of Sri Tanjavur Sankara Iyer and then presented a short RTP in kAnaDa. His tAnam exposition was excellent, especially in the higher octave. The pallavi was set to tisra jAti tripuTa tALam:

kA vA vA vEla- | vA ten| pazhani malai muru- ||(ga).

His nereval brought out both the bhavam and layam of the line as he deftly switched gati between tisram and chatusram in both speeds. He then went on to do swara kalpana in kAnaDa, ranjani and behAg. Taking a leaf out of his guru’s book, he smoothly transitioned from his behAg swaram into the popular krithi irakkam varAmal, earning himself many head shakes and audible appreciation from the audience. He concluded the concert with Purandaradasa’s tambUri mItidava and a riveting rendition of Sri T. N. Seshagopalan’s thillana in bAsant.

Just as his guru did, Sandeep left an indelible mark on the Pallavi audience as they were roused into a standing ovation. He is truly a role model for young Carnatic enthusiasts here in Sydney. Pallavi must be commended for enriching the Sydney audience with excellent concerts by high-calibre artists consistently for the past twenty years, and for introducing to us the next generation of outstanding musicians.

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