That Chennai-based vocalist Saashwathi Prabhu is an emerging force on the Carnatic scene was evident in a private concert she performed at while in Sydney recently.
From the very start one saw a smiling figure sing with great enthusiasm and much confidence. From the Varnama to the Thillana, there was clear-cut pronunciation, good diction and admirable voice control and modulation.
Saashwati captured the audience early on with her number Nee Iranga in raga Attana. Ragas Bahudari and Kalyani were elaborated with distinctive alapanas. In the alapana for Bahudari (a Brovabarama kriti) it was as if Saashwathi was bringing out some inner anguish. Several shades of the raga were revealed. The item was delivered in a gripping style with an intricate swaraprasthara.
This was followed by a swaying, ever popular, Nagumomu (in raga Abheri).
Raga Kalyani formed the item for the day. Again with a detailed Alapana, Saashwathi took the krithi Isha Pahimam for rendition. After a faster lap of the lyric, swaraprasthara followed. It was an effortless flow of imaginative swaras, which followed each other like a fountain.
Many items, pleasing and appealing, such as Venkatachala Nilayam, Eththnai Kodi, Ramanamame were also included. Ramaname was sung without the rhythmic accompaniment and was a treat.
Saashwathi was ably supported on the violin by AGA Gnanasundaram and on the mridangam by Sai-Navaeithan Ravichandhira of Melbourne. The latter provided an impressive thaniavrthanam after the Kalyani item.
Saashwathi is a disciple of the violin maestro the late Lalgudi Jayaraman. A touch of his style was evident in the concert.