By MOHAN NADKARNI
The Economic Times, April 9, 1989
Asha Parasnis a young vocalist from Kalyan who gave a live, sprightly recital at the NCPA’s Little Theatre on March 30, struck me as an artiste who has achieved the right blend of her scholastic attainments and artistic creativity.
Apart form holding a doctorate in Hindustani music under the guidance of her mentor, Prabha Atre, the noted scholar-musician, she has set up a trust in memory of her late musician-father to work for the cause of promoting classical music by providing active encouragement to young deserving artistes.
Asha Parasnis, whom this columnist heard for the first time, struck as an artiste who could reveal both talent and skill in the variety of fare she offered at NCPA. Her khayal presentation in vilambit and drut, first in Puriya Dhanashree and then in Chhayanat, left one in no doubt that she has to be reckoned as a major artiste from the younger generation.
Singing in a sensitive but highly cultivated voice, she shaped her depictions in both the ragas into well-etched sound pictures. Her phrasing showed aesthetic sensibility. She made precise use of the sonant and consonant notes in order to establish the distinctive identity of her chosen melodies. This is an achievement, because Puriya Dhanashree and Chhayanat are paramparik ragas. Many a present day vocalist or an instrumentalist finds it difficult to render them with authenticity, owing to their resemblance to melodies like Purvi or Jaitashree on the one hand and Kamod, Kedar and Hamir on the other that is, in the case of Puriya Dhanashree and Chhyanat, respectively.
The number heard next was a thumri in Mishra Khamaj. It had in it a delicacy of word colouring in which lyrical tenderness and musical charm were happily blended.
The bhajan “Payoji Mein Ne” immortalised by saint-poetess Mirabai, had all the devoutness of temper and charm of feeling. The final presentation was in Bhairavi but rendered in a two-tier pattern and in a truly classical vein. Seldom, indeed does one find ragas like Kafi, Pilu Bhairavi and Khamaj presented as blue-blooded raga bandishes in the conventional way. In most cases, they are heard as light classical compositions like thumri and its variations. Which is why Asha’s number turned out as one more memorable item.