Saketharaman is one another youngster who had been elevated to the senior slot in recent times. He has justified it by showing a mature and well-rounded approach to classicism. It was really gratifying to listen to Saketharaman resting on lengthy expressions and succulent parts of the raga in his alapanas taking the listener to another plane.
One could feel this aspect clearly in Mukhari and vivacious Shanmukhapriya essays. Mukhari’s poignancy was exploited further in Papanasam Sivan’s kirti ‘Sivakama Sundari.’
Shanmukhapriya was the central piece and the gamut of its finer aspects were brought out by Saketharaman diligently. His articulation was full throated and he never tried to throttle it any point by any artifice. Swati Tirunal’s ‘Mamava Karunaya’ and the extensive niraval and swaras on ‘Kamitha Dana Lola’ received regal treatment. Absence of gimmicks and exaggerated forays made for a real musical ambience. H.K. Venkatram’s support on the violin in this particular section was a mark of his musical merit.
Tyagaraja’s ‘Thanavari Thanamuleda’ in Begada had a stirring niraval on the charanam ‘Rama Rama’ with swaras. ‘Kanukontini’ in Bilahari was a filler; the swara addition here was quite tame.
It has become fashionable now to blend two ragas for an exotic Ragam, Tanam and Pallavi. If the rhythm cycle is unusual, it becomes even more intriguing. Saketharaman chose Nalinakanti and Bindumalini and set the pallavi ‘Nalinakantimathim Namamyaham, Bindumalinim Krupakarim Sada’ in tisra ata.
Well, Saketharaman with his youthful exuberance, had done a lot of homework before presenting the RTP. But many times, not all exotic dishes turn out delicious. It was good but not wholesome as it would have been in case of a single raga spread out in its entirety.
The percussion section with V.V. Ramanamurthy on the mridangam and N. Somayajulu on the ghatam, was competent with the usual lively tani avartanam.