Vocal Abhishek Raghuram’s concert was erratic.
The apple of audiences’ eye, that is Abhishek Raghuram for you. A breezy style that brooks no blockades, it a torrential pour of the vocal chords that leaves us breathless but not the young musician. The varnam in Sahana was just the beginning. We were taken on a roller-coaster ride for the rest of the evening as we traversed one kriti after another. The Kedaram, Rama nee pai tanaku …, gave way to Gyana mosaga raada … in Poorvikalyani and then to the lovely Yadukulakambhoji where he began with the charanam taluku chekkula muddu ( Sree Rama Raghurama Srungara Rama ), to the Saramathi Mokshamugaladha? and so on. Abhishek is an animated singer who can just about make anything he touches robust.
His neravals know no bounds; he can reel out swara patterns at a mind-boggling pace, weaving them like an expert artisan. For instance, the neraval at paripurna, nishkalanka niravadhi sukha dayaka … went on and on in various modes, at times stretching, contracting, amplifying, easing and finally emphasizing the effect of the lines which left the audience spell-bound. But what did not strike the ace musician is that the line had the scope for artistry with a Gopuccha yati (minimising each word and yet making the meaning equally potent). This is where the inexperienced stagger and the experienced win hands down. Brilliant flights of fancy can elicit applause, it is like flash light ( minakku ) but what retains one on the top is knowledge of the subject ( sarakku) . Similarly, the young artist totally lost out on the term ‘dala’ (ma-ga-maa) in tamarasa dala nayana in Kedaram in his enthusiastic sangathi reiteration. It is a minor lapse but then the meaning of the composition holds no good either!
The tight grip on the classicality of the raga and rendition are admirable though there is not much of feeling as he launches into delineation with the larger kritis which are treated extensively. For instance the line, tapamemi jeseno… was vested with artistic emotion and hence it rang well into our being. The stylistic twist at the end of a charanam seemed to be his trademark. The downpour of kalpanaswara in the Saramathi left violinist Akkarai Subbalakshmi in dismay but she managed to salvage herself. She replayed the alapana with equal skill but halfway through she lost track of the melody. The taniavarthanam between the two Ramananamurthys (VV on mridangam and PV on ghatam) was percussion at its best.
This inaugural concert by Sri Chandrasekharendra Sangeeta Educational Society was part of its five-day Thyagaraja Aradhana fest staged at Keyes High School.