Nostalgia reigned supreme at Prapancham Balachandran’s flute concert
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Nostalgia reigned supreme at Prapancham Balachandran’s flute concert


Flautist Prapancham Balachandran with R. Ramesh (mridangam), H. Prasanna (ghatam), and M.A. Sundaresan (violin) performing at Arkay Convention Center in Chennai.

Flautist Prapancham Balachandran with R. Ramesh (mridangam), H. Prasanna (ghatam), and M.A. Sundaresan (violin) performing at Arkay Convention Center in Chennai.
| Photo Credit: Akhila Easwaran

Sri Ariyakkudi and K.V. Narayanaswamy Memorial Trust is celebrating the centenary year of the legendary Palghat K.V. Narayanaswamy by hosting a series of concerts featuring senior and young musicians. As part of the two-month long programme, Prapancham Balachandran presented a flute recital at the Arkay Convention Center. Balachandran’s perfect control over laya came through both in the raga essays and articulation of the kritis.

An ‘A-Top’ graded artiste of All India Radio, Balachandran hails from a family of illustrious musicians. He is one of the senior most disciples of maestro N. Ramani and carries forward the musical legacy of his guru.

Flautist Prapancham Balachandran performing as part of  K.V. Narayanaswamy centenary celebrations in September, 2023.

Flautist Prapancham Balachandran performing as part of K.V. Narayanaswamy centenary celebrations in September, 2023.
| Photo Credit:
Akhila Easwaran

The guru-sishya bond

Talking about guru-sishya bonding, veteran vocalist and chief guest O.S. Thyagarajan said, “While Ariyakudi is known for presenting many rare kritis of great composers in his inimitable style, K.V. Narayanaswamy is not only known for his guru bhakti but also for imbibing Ariyakudi’s music and making it his own. He also recalled KVN’s exemplary niraval suites and how they made every concert memorable.

At this concert, Balachandran rendered melodious and well-structured pieces, which showcased his musical acumen and creativity. He began with a brisk Saveri varnam, in two speeds. Raga Hamsadhwani never fails to enliven a musical evening. Balachandran’s brief raga sketch before singing G.N. Balasubramaniam’s kriti ‘Vara vallabha ramana’ did so. The kalpanaswara segment followed in quick succession, and violinist M.A. Sundaresan’s repartees added to the effect. This was followed by the Tyagaraja Pancharata kriti, ‘Endaro mahanubhavulu’ (Sri raga). Balachandran embellished the essay with quicksilver phrasings, a hallmark of flute recitals.

Enjoyable Latangi

Balachandran chose Latangi as the main raga. He presented the alapana highlighting its key phrases before singing the kriti ‘Marivere dikkevaru’, a Patnam Subramaniam Iyer masterpiece. The flautist struck a chord with the rasikas with his finely articulated kalpanaswara set to a quick-paced khanda chapu tala. Kanakku or melodic calculations reigned supreme as he and the violinist indulged in an interesting exchange, ending this creative suite with catchy korvais.

Balachandran concluded with a few well-known kritis. He delved into an exquisite raga sketch of Kapi before presenting the timeless ‘Jagadodharana’, and followed it up with a Sindhubhairavi raga essay for the kriti, ‘Karunai deivame’.

The team of seasoned accompanists — M.A. Sundaresan on the violin, R. Ramesh on the mridangam and H. Prasanna on the ghatam — lent lustre.

Sundaresan’s raga silhouettes of Latangi, Kapi and Sindubhairavi were melodious. The tani avartanam by the percussionists was creative, concise and clear. Balachandran’s Revati raga thillana further added verve.

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