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Shashank, the innovator-artiste
Shashank Subramanyam is unique. A flutist who loves to experiment all the time, Shashank also enjoys entertaining the audience. This innovator-artiste has learnt Hindustani vocal music. From sublime to thrill, he produces music with unmatched ease. Not without reason, this globe-trotting flutist is a well-acclaimed artiste across nations. On the first evening of the New Year (i.e. January 1, 2018), Shashank gave an exhilarating recital for Sri Parthasarathy Sabha. Shasank was at his expressive best, and sent the audience into a trance with his magical playing. Be it the Kalyani kriti of Shyama Sastri, "Birana Brova", or Manusuloni in raga Varamu and RTP (ragam, tanam and pallavi) in raga Jonpuri, Shashank was superb. His overall command - from fingering to blowing and kriti knowledge - was telling. Not surprisingly, an artiste of his stature has a truly secular appeal cutting across barriers of many kinds. Shasank Subramanyam was accompanied by Nagai Muralidharan on the violin, Chandrasekara Sharma on the Ghatam and Patri Satish Kumar on the mridangam. Popular kriti “Manusuloni”(Varamu) of Thyagaraja was absorbing. Shasank took a Kalyani kriti of Shyama Sastri “Birana Brova”(Kalyani) in Tisra gati adi talam. Shasank explained how important accompanists were for him in understanding the right way to follow during concerts. It was not always easy for the main artistes if the accompanying violinist or the percussion artistes could not understand the nuances of the laya, he pointed out. Sometimes, even a brilliant artiste can be de-motivated or the concert may not be successful if the percussion artistes lack knowledge or the skill to play. It all depended on the mind game. swiftness and alertness to closely follow were the key. It looks so easy for the audience to criticize and pass comments but a live concert depended on various factors. Like former chairman of Kalakshetra Gopalakrishna Gandhi had once observed, one could not be a jurist always and judge a concert without actually enjoying it. Shasank played RTP set to Tisra triputa talam in raga Jonpuri and played the swaras in ragas such as Mand, Hindolam, Behag, Bowli, Desh etc and reversed back with consummate ease. He also rendered the ever so popular Vaishnava Janoto (Behag) of Mahatma Gandhi and a Purandara Dasa kriti “Tamburi Meetidava” in Sindhu Bhairavi.

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