Saketaraman’s music is noteworthy for its fluidity
There is a huge output of talented young musicians, and Saketaraman is surely in the forefront. His understanding of Carnatic music, its technique and idiom is nearly faultless. His recent concert for the M.A. Narasimhachar Foundation bore proof to this fact.
The concert began with a vibrant and ornate Gambheera Nattai kriti “Prabho Rakshamam” which was popularised by Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, and also sung by his disciple Yesudas on several occasions. This composition by Bangalore Nagaraj who wrote under the pen name Meenakshisuta, has an energetic tempo and is a good portrayal of the raga. Saketaraman did justice to the kriti, but it got too loud midway with the accompanists and the vocalist getting carried away by the mood of the piece.
Shahana was sketched beautifully — with restraint and calm. The lower and middle octaves got a detailed exposition with the key phrase of this poetic raga being used as landing points. He sang the Papanasam Sivan’s kriti “Chittam Irangaale” in mishra chaapu with feeling. A more meditative approach would have enhanced the appeal of “Anaathudanu”, Tyagaraja’s kriti in Jinglaa raga. Shubhapantuvarali was taken for a comprehensive exposition, and Saketaraman enriched the immense scope of the raga with his classicism. He juxtaposed short and long gamaka phrases with stage by stage exposition of the raga. Through finely nuanced passages, he gradually took the raga to the higher octaves. The kriti was rendered with conviction and the neraval at “Shree Satyanarayana” was unhurried, reflective and added to the richness of the composition. The imaginative swara prastara set to several rounds of intricate tala variations served as a good suffix to a beautiful kriti.
His rendition of the ragam tanam pallavi was noteworthy for its fluidity and spontaneity. He chose a complex tala, sankeerna jati triputa tala, and moved from Saramati, Rasikapriya, Bhairavi, Bageshri to Revati, Des, Khamaj and Madhuvanti with consummate ease. Yet, with all this perfection of technique, if there was something lacking it was contemplation. If his music gets reflective it will add to its aesthetics as well.
Guruprasanna on Khanjira and Neyveli Narayanan on mridanga were brilliant. Mysore Srikant on the violin with his improvisational expertise could have been a bit mellow.