Season Reviews - Aditya Madhavan

Aditya Madhavan's robust Karaharapriya raga elaboration


By Renuka Suryanarayan


In a two-hour concert, Aditya Madhavan sang to an audience that appreciated his musical background, variety of presentation, and full-throated approach to singing that effused boldness. 


Aditya displayed intelligent singing during his recital as a part of Narada Gana Sabha's recent annual music festival held at their mini hall. He raised the ante in terms of a good choice of compositions and an undeterred singing style, whether fielding difficult sangatis or handling manodharma suites.


With more opportunities, he is aiming to become a seasoned performer. A case in point is many artists on the way to the top manage with any level of pakkavadhyam. Such artists aim primarily to present as many concerts as possible.  Aditya, however, differed. On that occasion, he had a  set of co-artists, enhancing his music in aesthetics and creativity. Keerthana Sankar on the violin, Kumbakonam Swaminathan on the mridangam and Sunil Kumar on the khanjira were indeed assets at this event.


The concert


Aditya began with Tyagaraja's iconic kriti, Dinamani vamsa tilaka lavanya in Harikamboji raga, laying a solid foundation for the concert by following it with an even more iconic Tyagaraja outpouring, Gana murthe (Ganamurti).


That vivadi mela raga was a good couch for the swaying classic beauty of the devotional Narayana Tirtha composition that followed Jaya Jaya Durge jitavairi vage.


Other offerings in Aditya's robust singing style were Hiranmaayeem Lakshmeem (Lalita) by Muthuswami Dikshitar and Tillai Chidambarame (Kapinarayani) by Marimuttha Pillai. Both these kritis made for a fine warm-up. 


This set the stage for Karaharapriya raga alapana; Aditya's evocative, calm, and detailed elaboration, with violinist Keerthana providing a well-executed version of the raga. Although the ensuing Pakkala Nilabadi (Karaharapriya, Tyagaraja) was an excellent choice, it had less impact. Niraval was at Manasuna dalachi mei marachiyunnara; the emotionally charged line came with good variations from both the vocalist and the violinist. The swarastara flowed nicely, ending in a main swara flourish anchored on Dha, culminating in a korvai finale.  Aditya could consider refining and perfecting some of the intricate phrasing to elevate his presentation.


A good tani coming next from  Kumbakonam Swaminathan (mridangam) and Sunil Kumar (khanjira), definitely added appeal to the effect of this capsule. Aditya ended the recital with a javali Sakhi prana sakhuditu jesene and a tillana.


 The author is a trained classical musician and holds a Ph.D. in journalism.