Carnatic music lovers, watch out. There is another star in the making!
Abhishek Raghuram looks like a frail teenager, but he seems to have mesmerised a fairly large audience, and that too in the late evening slot. Two ragas (not the kritis) took up most of Abhishek’s concert time. ‘Deva Sri’ in Madhyamavati with a prelude of alapana was presented with a rather long swara spree. The streams went on and on unabatedly, from short to medium and long combinations till it touched a crescendo and, well, there was a thunderous applause.
Immediately after came the Thodi raga alapana. The opening phrases were excruciatingly slow and sedate, embellished with unexpected frills and twists but progressed extremely well. Raghuram elaborated Thodi in as many ways as possible. This exercise nearly went for about thirty minutes. But the response was amazing. He got a standing ovation. So any adverse remarks from this scribe will surely be termed blasphemy.
Now, it was time for the violinist, Mysore Srikanth, to respond. He summarized Thodi in about eleven minutes, in a traditional manner, touching all the segments. What was irking was the Tyagaraja kriti ‘Dasu Kovalana’ was restricted to just four to five minutes. Then, Abhishek switched to niraval and swaras on the charanam line ‘Sowmitri Tyagarajuni’ which dragged for 20 long minutes. This magnum opus was followed by a spirited thani avarthanam by Anantha R. Krishnan on the mridangam and K.V. Gopalakrishnan on the ganjira. By the time Abhishek settled for the Ragam Tanam Pallavi in Hamsavinodini, it was closer to 9.30 p.m.
Manodharma is a double edged sword; it can be used anyway for as long as one wants. That’s the speciality of Indian classical music. Yet, one has to follow certain ethics -- musical discipline, aesthetic proportion, logical distribution and time management -- when one performs on a prestigious platform. Even veterans try to sum up their music with their eyes on the clock, it is indeed surprising that this aspiring artist seemed to be completely oblivious to it.
Abhishek may be a prodigy and gifted with an extraordinary vision of music. But even outstanding talent demands a certain amount of discipline. Otherwise, it can impede musical progress.