Flute Concert by Shashank
Violin – Akkarai Subbalakshmi
Mridangam – Anand Ananthakrishnan
March 14 2009
I wrote in 2004 – “I admire Flute Maestro Shashank purely for his talent and the achievements at such an young age. I have listened to him perform “Krishna Nee Begane Baaro” live in concert in an Open Air Stadium at early morning 4.00 AM. That was the serenest moment of my life. The music was so live and floating around me. I was so enthralled!”. This was after his concert in Nrityagrama, Bangalore during Vasanta Habba.
After that I listened to various albums of Shashank, and have been waiting to attend his concert. Finally the opportunity presented itself on March 14th, in Dallas. Thanks to IFAA , Dallas for arranging this concert.
The concert began with Shashank’s opening notes that he had not really planned for that concert. He gave the audience the choice of opening “raaga”. The audience chose Bhairavi. Beautiful rendition of Bhairavi, set the mood of audience for some more.
The second composition was again an audience choice of “raaga Latangi. Violinist Subbalakshmi shone with her beautiful emulation of Shashank’s flute.
The next composition was of Swati Tirunal set in “raaga” Karnataka Kapi. Shashank explained that this particular composition “Suma(Soma) Sayaka” was originally written for Mohiniattam dance form. But it was later induced into Carnatic singing by his Guru K.V.NarayanaSwami. The composition was truly marvelous.
For the next composition Shashank once again requested audience to choose from a Kalyana Vasantham and Hindolam. Audience chose Kalyana Vasantham. I personally admire Hindolam. But I thoroughly enjoyed this one as well.
After this slightly longer and slower rendering, some audience moved out. Immediately Shashank launched into a faster , shorter Raghunatha Nanna. Very energizing rendition.
Next there was the main “raagam-taanam-pallavi” part of the concert. Shashank offered several choices of “raaga” , some of them were – Pantuvaraali, Hemavati, PurviKalyani, Kalyani. I believe the chosen was Purvi Kalyani, but I am not quite sure. The pallavi that Shashank rendered was a simple one –“Bhagavati, Gunavati..”
Fantastic rendering by the flute maestro. Towards the end , his fingers were literally invisible. So detailed and fast was his rendering.
This was followed by “Baaro Krishnayya”. After which Shashank concluded the concert with Sindu Bhairavi – a slow composition and a fast Tillana.
My one penny observations during the concert –
Shashank definitely was a new era artist with a deep knowledge and also the ability to communicate with his audience and connect with them. Although he mentioned during the beginning of the concert that he had not really planned, I could see a definite pattern in the way audience was asked to choose the “raagas”. They had to chose from a set of “raagas”, which gave the audience the joy of choosing. But Shashank was able to set the mood of the concert like he wanted.
Shashank explained during the concert about his experiment with dual octave. It is quite easy ( with practice as he said ) to play one octave after another. But it is extremely difficult to play them together. He demonstrated this and very very beautifully.
Another minute observation was the fact that he had about 5 flutes with him during the concert. Certain compositions and “raagas” I believe will sound the best in invoking the mood when sung with a certain octave.
The accompanists were really very well accomplished and matched the main artist skillfully when needed. And what can I say about Shashank’s performance ? Simply mesmerizing! I went back with bamboo melodies firmly imprinted in my mind for years to come.