A pioneer of his generation, Abhishek Raghuram seeps his performances with intellect and artistry. He comes from a widely respected lineage steeped in the rich tradition of Carnatic music. Critics have lauded him as an artist who uses form and grammar to create unprecedented techniques in roller-coaster ride of emotions.
In this concert, Raghuram performs six pieces. He begins with a Pancharatna kriti by Saint Thyagaraja (1767-1847) in Raag Gowla. It is part of a five-composition set that is performed to honour him on various occasions. ‘Duduku Gala’ which loosely translates to “the one with arrogance,” is set to Adi talam. Raghuram elaborates this kriti after introducing the raga with a brief alapana.
His second piece, also a composition of the saint, is set to Raag Sahana – a vilambha kala kriti (slower tempo composition) set to Adi talam. ‘Giripai Nelakonna,’ is a hymn dedicated to Lord Rama. While adding waves of emotions to this solemn song, Raghuram dexterously establishes its gait with the underlying intricacies of renda kalai (renda- two, kalai-time) time-cycle in Adi talam.
He follows with two more popular Thyagaraja kritis, ‘Enthamuddo entha’ in Raag Bindumalini set to Adi talam and ‘Sujana Jeevana’ in Raag Khamas set to Rupak talam. Raghuram’s spontaneity in both these numbers glow with fresh perspectives as he weaves the niravals (melodic improvisations) around the lyrics.
For the ragam tanam pallavi, he chooses Raag Shanmukhapriya. ‘Shramana Bhava Guha Ne’, is a traditional pallavi set to Tisra Triputa talam of 7-beat cycle. Also set to the renda-kalai mode, this composition opens up a wide-range of possibilities for Raghuram to deploy powerful and witty manipulation of the talam.
He concludes his recital with a thillana in Raag Pahadi. It is a composition of his grand-uncle, the legendary Lalgudi Jayaraman. Set to Misra Chapu talam, this popular thillana is uniquely aesthetic. Raghuram’s resolute laykari alongside the innovative use of phrases makes for a memorable grand finale.
Akkarai Subhalakshmi’s violin accompaniment is warm and witty. She lays out her expressions succinctly, keeps the virtues subtle and sustains the melody. The rhythmic accompaniment gets challenging with the choice of kritis by Raghuram but is deftly handled by V V Ramanamurthy (mridangam) and G Guruprasanna (ghatam). Together, they ride on Raghuram’s sophisticated handling of the laya, springing pleasant surprises quite often. The duo dazzles in the taniavarthanam following the ragam tanam pallavi and quickly blend into the evocative and soulful rendition of the thillana in the end.
Abhishek Raghuram (vocal)
Akkarai Subhalakshmi (violin)
VV Ramanamurthy (mridangam)
G Guruprasanna (khanjira)
Mithila Sarma (shruti box)
Kiruthika Balakrishnan (tanpura)
Raag Gowla in Adi Talam, Pancharatna kriti by Saint Thyagaraja
Raag Sahana in Adi Talam, kriti by Saint Thyagaraja
Raag Bindumalini in Adi talam, kriti by Saint Thyagaraja
Raag Khamas in Rupak talam, by Saint Thyagaraja
Raag Shanmukhpriya, Ragam tanam pallavi in Adi talam
Raag Pahadi, Thillana in Misra Chapu by Lalgudi Jayaraman