With emphasis on tradition, Abhishek offered an enjoyable fare. H. RAMAKRISHNAN

The young Abhishek Raghuram was in his elements at the Silver Jubilee Winter Festival of Sruthi Laya Kendra. Throughout, he kept the discerning audience merrily engaged. That indicated an expert skill and perhaps a need too. They in turn, thanked him with their prolonged and deafening applause, especially after his generous Kiravani alapana. What a range? And, what a manodharma? He innovates on the spot. And, he doesn’t seem to be ever satiated. He has an unquenchable thirst for something new.

Since the festival was dedicated to Guru Surajananda (Guru Karaikudi Mani’s spiritual master) Abhishek appropriately rendered his composition ‘Samagana Priyakaram’ (Misra Chapu). Set in the serene ambience of Asthika Samajam, the concert had a sense of purpose – musical ecstasy – and Abhishek offered it in abundance right from the Sri Raga varnam. ‘Varana Mukha’ of Koteeswara Iyer found a brand new revelation. Abhishek’s interpretation of Tyagaraja’s ‘Lokavana Chathura’ was unique. The 15-minute niraval at the anu pallavi ‘Sakethadhipa’ mainly in the mantra sthayi left the audience spellbound. After this expansive exposition, he didn’t feel the need for kalpanaswaras!

Both Mysore Srikanth (violin) and Neyveli Narayanan (mridangam) seemed to enjoy Abhishek’s youthful, yet musical exuberance.

He is here to certainly enrich our musical ecosphere with his emphasis on tradition, on a fresh note! Yet, he is casual, with no sign of strain. Little wonder, Guru Karaikudi Mani chose to accompany him at a London Concert recently.