Vocalist R. Raghavendra, a disciple of Sanjay Subrahmanyan, wooed the audience with his erudition and adherence to patanthara.

Renowned musician Sanjay Subrahmanyan’s style of rendition was evident in R. Raghavendra’s vocal recital held under the auspices of The Palghat Fine Arts Society, Tharekkad, Palakkad. Initially trained by his parents – veteran mridangist Srimushnam Raja Rao and musician Padma Chandilyan – and presently by Sanjay, the young vocalist revealed his good ‘patanthara’ and erudition. The accompanists M. Vijay (violin), Trivandrum V. Surendran (mridangam) and Udupi Sreedhar (ghatam) played a significant role in making the concert a success.

Raghavendra began majestically with the famous varnam ‘Chalamela jesevayya’ of Srirangam Rangaswamy Pillai in Nattakurinji and followed it up with a neat rendition of ‘Sobillu Sapthaswara’ (Jaganmohini – Tyagaraja). The brief contours of Kanada and the subsequent Swati Tirunal composition ‘Kalayaami Nandana’ captured the essence of the raga. Presenting a delightful version of Natabhairavi, he rendered a popular kriti of Papanasam Sivan, ‘Sri Valli Devasenapathe’ with elegance. The niraval at ‘Maamavasdha Sivakumara’, interspersed with delectable sangathis was suffixed with an impressive string of kalpanaswaras.

The sublime beauty of ‘Sri Ramam Ravikulabdhi’ (Narayanagowla-Muthuswamy Dikshitar ) was evocatively unfolded. The vocalist, however, showed a hurried approach when he took up Kalyani. His portrayal of the raga was too brief; being a major ‘prathimadhyama’ raga, it deserved a better treatment. The short Thiruppavai song ‘Ambarame Thanneere’ was not an apt choice. ‘Sarasasaamadaana’ (Kaapinarayani – Tyagaraja) was a tidy rendition; the interesting kalpana swaras in the charanam revealed the raga bhava.

The most absorbing segment of the concert was the lucid exposition of Karaharapriya. The in-depth development of the raga, replete with subtle akaras was commendable. Raghavendra projected the lustrous shades of the raga through imaginative sancharas in all the octaves, reflecting Sanjay’s ‘bani’. The kriti chosen was Tyagaraja’s magnum opus ‘Chakkani raja margamu’. The niraval at the usual spot ‘Kandiki sundari’ had an assorted variety of pleasing sangathis. The slow and fast combinations in the swaraprastharas, particularly those focusing on ‘daivata’ created a deep impact.

The Tamil virutham in Sindhubhairavi on Muruga, followed by Tanjavur Sankara Iyer’s ‘Manathirkugandhadhu’, was infused with devotion. He rounded off the concert with a lilting thillana in Hamsanandhi, composed by Srimushnam Raja Rao. Raghavendra would do well to pay more attention to diction.

Vijay handled the violin with admirable precision. His enchanting raga essays had an air of self assurance. Surendran, a senior disciple of mridangam maestro Palghat Mani Iyer, showcased tremendous alacrity with a keen sense of anticipation. Udupi Sreedhar impressed the audience with his dexterous touches on the ghatam. The duo displayed good understanding in rendering alternate support. Their ‘thani’ in Adi tala was full of lively exchanges.