By Dr. Padmavathi Narasimhan
In memory of Parur Gopala Kishnan, Nadabrahma Sangeetha Sabha had organised Abhishek Raghuram’s vocal concert on Jan.10. He was accompanied by MSG’s disciple H.N. Bhaskar on violin, Arjun Kumar on mridanga and Ramanujam on ghata.
Abhishek is known to be an unusually cerebral singer for one so young. He has a grand name attached to him — that of his grandfather Palghat Raghu. Abhishek’s training under him and P.S. Narayanaswamy has enabled him to imbibe the intricacies of rhythm and vocal skills. His uncompromising hard work and brilliant talent have shaped him into a top ranking musician today.
Abhishek is a versatile musician. No two concerts of Abhishek are the same. This is why we always hear a totally different version of the same raga though we have heard him render the same raga in his other concerts. He always gives us a new insight into the raga. Take for example, his Hameer Kalyani, which he chose as the main piece of the evening. Singing this raga for more than fifteen minutes is not everybody’s cup of tea. Abhishek chose to sing Tyagaraja’s “Manamu leda Tanavadani abhimanamu leda’ with elaborate swara patterns for the pallavi, followed by Taniyavartanam by Arjun kumar and Ramanujam.
Abhishek also explores ragas with limited material. He expanded Tyagaraja’s ‘shobhillu saptaswara’ and offered such kalpana swaras to ‘Saptaswara’ in the pallavi that were a proof of his imaginary skills.
Even common ragas find a new dimension in the hands of Abhishek. Mohana was aesthetic with Tyagraja’s ‘Bhavanuta’ and ‘Vandanamu Raghunandana’ in Shahana was glorified with never-heard-before sangatis.
Bhaskar was faithful in reproducing all the birgas and intricacies of the vocalist and the percussionists had a full-time job throughout.
A slower tempo, bhava and clarity in Sahitya could elevate the concert to greater heights. A study of the kritis that he presents will perhaps help this brilliant musician to do more justice to the compositions.