Music

Abhishek Raghuram’s unbridled creativity

Abhishek Raghuram with Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam and Sree Sundar Kumar

Abhishek Raghuram with Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam and Sree Sundar Kumar   | Photo Credit: S. Thantoni

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There was no unaesthetic element or repetition in Abhishek’s rendition

In every generation, there is at least one musician whose prowess is unique and whose concerts are outliers. This achievement has belonged to Abhishek Raghuram for a while now. His concert showed that some things have changed and some haven’t. His penchant for relentless multi-octave phrases in raga alapana, for instance is the same.

Mohanam and Kharaharapriya were his picks for full scale elaboration. The breathtaking rides are akin to what only an instrument can produce.

Absolute control of raga swaroopam and elegance added further layers for enjoyment.

‘Intha modi’ (Saranga varnam) declared that it was going to be an all-pace attack. ‘Ninne bhajana’ (Nattai, Tyagaraja) and ‘Sangita Gnamu’ (Dhanyasi, Tyagaraja) were good preludes to the brisk imaginative swaram segments following them.

‘Pari Pahimam’ (Swati Tirunal, Misra Chapu) in Mohanam is a rarely featured kriti and with its beautiful anupallavi, ‘Sarasija bhavanutha’ underlined Abhishek’s respect for good kriti structures. The kriti is as majestic as any that we have heard in the ragam. Abhishek’s niraval at ‘Sarasija’ had his hallmark creativity written all over it.

How he can traverse a ragam for over 20 minutes without a hint of repetition or unaesthetic element is part of Abhishek’s unbridled playbook.

Sivan’s ‘Srinivasa tava charanam’ suits his pace well and further Manodharama was unleashed in the niraval at ‘Kamalaja Manohara’. Abhishek stirred up Bhakthavatsam to provide him a good foil in the niraval.

Vittal Ramamurthy switched to a spinner role half-way through the concert, offering brief but gentle interventions in raga alapana and niravals. In the Kharaharapriya swaram, Abhishek opted to bowl from both ends, especially in the korvais.

The Pallavi was preceded by “Neevanti” (Varali, Spencer Venugopal) and Ennaga manasu (Neelambari, Tyagaraja). The concert element that has seemingly changed in Abhishek’s template is to have more kritis and time regulation. Yet, he was left with a short window to deliver a nice thanam but a rapid Pallavi in Mohana Kalyani (Misra chapu) with the words, “Ithu nalla samayam enai kaakka.” The aptness was not lost on the audience.

Tiruvarur Bhakthavatsalam ‘rattled’ away for most part of the concert. His tani was electric even though he almost forgot that he had to bring it to a close. Sree Sundar Kumar’s support was competent and more stately. Has Abhishek embraced streaks of conventionality in his concert or was this unintentional? Keep listening to know.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 1:18:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/abhishek-raghurams-unbridled-creativity/article30575821.ece

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