Sandeep Narayan: In a class of its own

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Sandeep Narayanan
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Sandeep Narayanan | Photo credit: PICHUMANI K

Sandeep Narayan is taking decisive steps towards establishing his own distinct identity. His concert for MadrasanaIt was demonstrated to warm applause from an enthusiastic audience. In the process, he has moved away somewhat from gimmickry and impersonation.

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The concert list reflects the expanding repertoire that Sandeep brings to the table. If ‘Vara Vallabha Ramana’ (Hamsadhavani, GNB) was sung with a lot of enthusiasm and without a single breath of swaras, then ‘Gana Sabail’ (Saranga, Papanasam Sivan) with a relaxed kalaparamana. He was more thoughtful. This ability to switch gears is key to increasing the concert’s appeal.

Among the highlights of the concert was Karnaranjani’s beautiful raga alapana which had two parts – one giving full scope to the aesthetic raga grammar while in the other, she showed a natural flair for a brilliant ride. Violinist Marari also packs a lot of ‘Sikhm’ into his raga alapana. ‘Vancha Thonona’ by Hariksanalur Mathia Bhagavatar which started the raga was ably rendered. Kriti, with a throbbing third nadai, is a brilliant modern contribution. It has an attractive chittaswaram and Sandeep seized the opportunity to win rave reviews.

Tyagaraj’s ‘Niruti Sukha’ in Ravichandrika is a highlight in a concert before extended stages. Sandeep’s rides were, as expected, high-speed and off-the-scenes stuff. As long as such contrived moments attract loud applause from the audience they will continue to be part of the architecture of the concert.

Kapi Alapana was handled with maturity – mostly gentle glides and pregnant pauses. There were folk and Indian colors to reinforce the feel. Murari had an equally brilliant and raaga alapana which proved that he is a budding musician. Sandeep sang a pallavi in ​​Aadi 2 Kaalai, ‘Nethu Mahima Telia Na Tarama’. The trikalam and ragamalika swara segments had some great elements — madhavanti, atana, durga, sama, ragesri, nilambari and arabi — that amped up the adrenaline on stage. A Nanda Satuti in Kantala Varali and an Ashtapadi in Darbari Kannada were good tails that brought back the ‘Sukhem’.

Sandeep Narayan’s voice is simple – it is soft and comes with range and clarity. One would think he should just take advantage of it and not get into decibel explosions, especially when debunking myths.

Violinist Murari is a natural with the raga, and even in fast-paced savars, he shows his respect for the raga lection. Meredangist KV Prasad was equally impressive, showing restraint when he had to. KV Gopalakrishnan on Kanjira provided good support and animation.

Chennai’s music scene has benefited from new outfits bringing some variation in programming and more importantly, youthful energy and a keen understanding of new audiences. Madrasana is one such.

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