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Ananya Ashok - voice range and depth through alapanas
26 December, 2015

Ananya Ashok as she sang under the auspices of Kartik Fine Arts in the afternoon slot, at Bhavan’s PAC Ramasamy Raja Hall proved what is central to a musicians performance is the degree of comfort  his or her voice has on the listener (rasika) and innately within the giver (singer). Her voice had a commendable reach and she is also gifted with an imaginative approach.

Her sequence of swaras for Gananayakam (Rudrapriya, Dikshithar) was lilting and the alapana that followed for Panthuvarali showed that she could journey comfortably to the top octave. She was also able to  make dives into the mandharasthayi with the same ease thereby proving that she possesses voice strength. The alapana also had those single-breath winding phrases that bore testimony to her stamina. The song in this raga was Apparama Bakthi of Thyagaraja. When she embarked on an alapana on the tricky Vagadeeswari she must have borne in mind that this raga has its boundaries that could not be transgressed lest it should sound like Harikhambodhi. (Vagadeeswari varies from Harikhambodhi by virtue of single swara, Ri). Any raga is fully comprehended by taking recourse to composers and there is only a single krithi in this raga and therefore renders the task of the performer more arduous. That she had fullness of knowledge about both the limitations and scope of this raga was made explicit as she handled the raga as elaborately as it could be, flawlessly. Without a choice the krithi sung was Paramathmudu a Thyagaraja composition. Panthuvarali and Vagdeeswari had swarakalpana embellishments. She also included Andal’s Thiruppavai, Pullum Silambinakan and  Rarama Intithaka (Asaveri, Thyagarajar) that showed her capacity to select songs with an awareness on the relative pace of the numbers.

Once you get efficient and understanding accompanists half the success in a concert is assured. Ananya had the fortune of having Aditi Krishna Prakash on the violin and Tanjore Praveen Kumar on the mridangam. The mridangist gave a thani which was loaded with all elements mixed in the right way to make it wholesome. What must have also pleased the rasikas was the different nadais that Praveen had on offer whenever the main artiste was on resting points.

Violinist Aditi could handle Vagadeswari with amazing clarity. She also presented a tidy version of Panthuvarali. Both these alapanas were distinguished by their poise and manner of gait. She responded adequately during swara exchanges.

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