About Us Contact Us Help




Carnatic Vocal Arangetram: Yash Ravish

Ravikanth Rayadurgam

Arangetrams are meant to be the first formal concert in public for an aspiring musician. Typical expectations include a solid grasp of the technical fundamentals of the music along with the sort of preparation required to sing a full-length concert in the traditional paddhati. What is not necessarily expected is the complete composure and abandoned singing that we saw in this concert.

The concert got off to a brisk start with the evergreen Begada varnam. This was a harbinger of things to come with Yash already showing his command of melody with spontaneous rhythmic flourishes. Next up, was “Jaya Jaya Ganapathi” in Hamsadhwani. Starting with a concise delineation of the ragam, the composition was followed by a crisp set of swarams. These two pieces represented a delightful start and provided a preview of the fare that was to follow.

Next up was the Muthuswami Dikshithar classic Cheta Sri Balakrishnam. The piece was rendered in a most lilting and soothing gait, filling the hall with melody. The serenity of the rendition provided a beautiful contrast to the brisk opening pieces and highlighted Yash’s versatility; while at the same time raising the expectation for the series of major pieces to follow.

The first of the major pieces of the evening was Syama Sastri’s Talli Ninnu Nera in Kalyani.  The piece started with a beautiful alapanai in which Yash highlighted both the weighty aspects of the Ghana ragam as well as its lighter shades. His command of the melodic nuances was further on display as he performed a Shruthi bedham to Todi. Sahana,’s response to the alapana was concise and equally beautiful. The alapanai was followed up with a chaste rendition of the krithi, bringing out the bhava that the composer Syama Sastri has infused the piece with. A soulful niraval at the line “Syama Krishna paripalini,”followed by a kalpana swaram exchange between Yash and Sahana rounded out the beautiful offering of Kalyani.

A dynamic rendition of Mysore Vasudevachar’s Palukavademira in Devamanohari provided a great set up for the two main pieces of the evening.

The main piece started with a detailed elaboration in Todi, one of the great ragams in the world Carnatic music. Todi, with its tremendous possibilities for elaborations offers immense possibility for improvisation. Yash grabbed the opportunity brilliantly by traversing the nooks and crannies and bringing out the absolute classicism, majesty and bhavam of the ragam. This clearly showed the depth of understanding that the young debutant has achieved at his young age. The alapanai was followed by a beautiful rendition of Saint Tyagaraja’s Kaddanuvariki. The song was a throwback to the yesteryears as Yash rendered the krithi beautifully, bringing out the grandeur of the krithi. Niraval is the most difficult of the improvisational forms in Carnatic music since it requires complete control of the melodic and rhythmic nuances while also bringing out the lyrical beauty of the line. Yash’s niraval at the line “Needhuraa...”, showed his command of all these aspects as he highlighted the lyrics without becoming slave to the technicalities.  Kalpana swarams in first and second kalams were full of the aesthetic phrases that, once again, maintained raga bhava and culminated in a river of swarams, sweeping the audience off their feet.

The tani avartanam that followed was a treat as Tarun and Sri. Ravi Balasubramaniam traded delightfully creative and dynamic korvais. The trick to a tani avartanam is to explore the laya structure of the talam, while maintaining the aesthetic appeal and keeping the audience enthralled. Both Tarun and Sri Ravi mixed explored the laya intricacies even as they played phrases in first kalam, tisram and mel kalam. The audience showed its appreciation with a loud applause at the end of the tani avartanam. Overall, a concert of this magnitude owes a lot to the accompanists and this concert was no exception. Their enthusiasm, energy and unflinching support for the other artists on stage was a very pleasant sight for the audience as well.

The piece de resistance of the concert was the Ragam Tanam Pallavi (RTP). RTPs are hard enough to execute even when set to a single ragam. To make matters triply onerous, Yash’s pallavi was set to Pavani, Charukesi and Karaharapriya. It was extremely evident Yash was more than equipped for this challenge as he launched into the alapanai. Starting with the less well known melakarta Pavani. Yash showed his extraordinary imagination through his ability to easily come up with phrases in this ragam. The alapanai beautifully transitioned from Pavani to Charukesi and to a traditional Karaharapriya. The enjoyment of the audience was palpable. Sahana, a seasoned accompanist at her young age, was more than up to the task as she brilliantly responded to Yash’s salvo.  The tanam was sung with the Pavani and Charukesi being sung only to the accompaniment of the violin, while the perussionists joined in for the Karaharapriya part of the tanam.  The Pallavi line, composed by the late Smt. Suguna Purushottaman “Parama pavani charukesi Janani karaharapriya,” was explored in detail with niraval rounds sung entirely in one of the three ragams as well as an effortless combination of the three. Trikalam was executed with perfect fidelity in talam, ragams and bhavam; this was a minefield to navigate through though Yash executed it with effortless ease. The kalpana swarams were executed in first kalam, second kalam, tisram and double speed tisram. While those alone would have been impressive enough, Yash elevated the audience to an even higher level of enjoyment in his ragamalika swarams in ragams Vasanthi, Rasikapriya, Sindhu Bhairavi and Niroshta. Singing aesthetically flowing swarams in rare ragams, Yash was orchestrating the accompanists on stage with playfulness and ease; it was truly a joyful sight and experience for all in attendance. It is always fulfilling when the violinist is able to enthusiastically respond to the creativity of the main artist, and Sahana was a perfect foil to Yash. It was an RTP that will stay with this listener for a long time.

The post RTP part of the concert started with a beautiful rendition of “Sagara sayana vibho,” a beautiful composition of Sr. M.D. Ramanathan.  The Bhakthi and bhava envisioned by the great vaggeyakara was fully brought out. Following this was the viruttam in Hamsanandhi and Mand: this lead up to the classic ragamalika Barokrishnayaa of Kanakadasa.

The Tillana in Pahadi followed a beautiful outline – both his outline and rendering of the piece showcased his uncanny swara-sudham in an intricate ragam like Pahadi. Finally, the mangalam brought the concert to an auspicious conclusion.

It is hard to articulate the accomplishment of the young Yash Ravish. As Guru Tara said at the outset, Yash’s is clealrly gifted but it is equally important to recognize the amount of work that he has put in to be able to internalize this extremely difficult art form. It is seldom that music flows so purely and in an uninhibited form; no doubt, we will remember this for a long time. A concert of such dynamism and creativity would not shine without stellar support by the other artists on stage. We have seen Sahana perform on numerous occasions and it is wonderful to see how brilliantly and effortlessly she rises to the challenge that the vocalist throws up, with due sensitivity. Similarly, Tarun’s accompaniment on the Mridangam is so in sync with the music that he is able to accentuate the music with soft accents or emphatic playing as demanded by the situation. Sri.  Ravi Balasubramaniam’s veteran Ghatam accompaniment is a huge draw in all the area arangetrams. While his brilliance on the instrument during the pieces and the tani avartanam is obvious, what is outstanding is how he encourages the crew on stage and provides encouragement to the younger performance.

Finally, a few words about Guru Tara. More so in Carnatic music than in any other form of music, the role of the Guru is central. While Yash is, needless to say, gifted, the role of the Guru in imparting the knowledge and grooming him and so many others before is quite monumental. We as a community are greatly indebted to her for bringing us top quality music right out of our own community.

Finally, kudos to Yash on a brilliant arangetram! May he grow with his music and achieve great heights.

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help