S. Saketharaman's concert in Palakkad was an aural treat.
It was glorious music all the way at S. Saketharaman’s recital at Palghat Fine Arts Society auditorium, Tharekkad. His concert proved to be an amalgam of keen musical sense, technical virtuosity, pleasing aesthetics and energetic presentation.
Endowed with a sonorous voice, this disciple of violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman sustained his hold on the audience with his delightful countenance and fine stage presence. The unique Lalgudi bani was discernible in all his renditions. His judicious selections, coalesced with perfect sruthi sudha and sahitya sudha, made the concert enjoyable.
‘Arunodayame’, a beautiful varnam of Lalgudi Jayaraman in Bowli, succeeded by the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Aelanee dayaraadhu’ in Ataana were indicative of the kind of music to follow. The way he elaborated raga Hindolam – gradually ascending to Shadjam, first in the madhya sthayi and then in the thara stayi, clearly projecting the raga bhava, was remarkable.
Choosing the famous kriti of Arunachala Kavirayar ‘Ramanukku mannan’, he excelled in the long sequences of kalpana swaras at the usual spot – ‘Pattam katta aetravandi’, the prayoga ‘ma da ni sa’ making a special impact. Syama Sastri’s ‘Marivere gathi evaramma’, prefixed with a short but sweet sketch of Anadabhairavi, was evocative. ‘Paramapurusham’, Swati Tirunal’s kriti in Lalitha panchamam, was an ideal choice preceding the main raga Kalyani.
Raga Kalyani affords immense scope for in-depth delineation. Saketharaman’s expansive alapana, decorated with a variety of classical sangatis, covered the entire gamut of the raga. He showed his calibre with a sprightly presentation of the kriti ‘Unnai allal vaere gathiyillai’ of Papanasam Sivan. The engrossing niraval at ‘Neeye Meenakshi Kamakshi Neelayadakshi’, beautified with distinct sahitya and laya overtones, was a grand effort.
The ingenious permutations and combinations he wove in the swara patterns, with specific accent on nishadham, offered plenty of aural pleasure. After the tani at this stage, the racy ‘Anaathudanu’, a Tyagaraja kriti in the rare raga Jingla, adorned with a lively chittaswaram, was full of verve.
The vocalist chose the raga Desh for ragam, thanam and pallavi. Delving deep into the nuances of this charming raga, he created a delectable musical tapestry. That he could elaborate a raga like Desh in such a great detail was proof of his creativity.
The lilting thanam passages were superb. The pallavi ‘Raghuveeram Raghavam Ramam bhajami Dayaanidhim Sadha’ in Kandajaathi Triputa tala in two kalais was rendered with technical perfection. The enchanting ragamalika swaras in Saaveri, Sahana and Sindhubhairavi fully revealed the raga lakshanas. ‘Om Namo Narayana’ (Karnaranjani – Ambujam Krishna) was steeped in soulful bhava. Saketharaman concluded with an enchanting thillana of Lalgudi in Revathi.
Extending outstanding support, violinist R. Swaminathan matched the vocalist in every segment. His melodious raga versions and swara sallies showcased his mastery. J. Vaidyanathan (mridangam) was a picture of agility and zeal. Lending exceedingly supportive accompaniment, he displayed his amazing craftsmanship. He built up a good rapport with Kovai Suresh, the seasoned ghatam exponent. Together they produced a fascinating tani in Adi tala, powered by caressing strokes.