Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram
Violin : H M Smitha
Mrudangam : Arjunkumar
01 vanajAkSirO (varNam) – kalyANi – Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Iyengar ( O, S)
02 vallabha nAyakasya – bEgaDa – Dikshitar ( O,S )
03 koluvai unnADe – bhairavi – Thyagaraja ( A,S )
04 pAlayamAm pArvatIsha – kannaDa – Dikshitar (A,N,S )
neraval @ ‘malayadhvaja pANDyarAja pUjita pankaja charaNa’
swara @ chi0ttasawa phrase
05 eDayyA gati – chalanATa – Koteeswara Iyer ( A )
06 RTP – Anandabhairavi ,sAma, SaNmukhapriya – chaturashra aTa x 2 kaLai ,2 aksharam eDuppu
pallavi line ‘SaNmukhapriya janani sAmagAna vinOdini sadAnanda bhairavi
swaras in Anandabhairavi,sAma& SaNmukhapriya with one round in bhairavi
07 nAnEke baDavanu nAnEke paradEshi – behAg – Purandara Dasa ( A )
08 alarshara paritApam – suruTTi – Swathi Thirunal
09 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja
The concert of the series – at least among the 4 I attended. It wasn’t the complicate ‘all encompassing’ pallavi that made me say that. It probably was the bhairavi…wait the neraval and outstanding swaras that was sung for kannaDa, no was it the chalanAta alapana, or should I join the rest and say the pallavi ?
He came just in time , or a minute or two late, to the venue and was on the stage immediately. As the introductions and other formalities were completed ( in less than 5 mins, which Nadasurabhi is known for), the settings and the rest of arrangements were completed. Kalyani varnam of Poochi with a few rounds of added swaras set the evening up. Crisp begaDa followed , again with few rounds of kalpana swaras.
The bhairavi that followed, we said, was the ‘piece de resistance’ of the season ( or so we thought, until we heard the next one). Beautiful alapana and some outstanding swara prasthana. It this was wow, there came kannaDa. As he was singing the alapana, leaned to his right and told Smitha that he will continue to the kriti ( which meant she will have no turn to play the alapana ). Palayamam pArvatheesha was accompanied with a grand neraval and a very very interesting and jaw dropping swaras at the ‘chittasawa passage’. So far so good. He proceeded with the next alapana, explaining some one requested that. The first 3-4 minutes of that was again real gem. Very slow, short , lower octave sangati’s made the beginning very very nice and there was no traces of the more familiar nATa anywhere. Kriti was equally impressive with fewer rounds of swaras.
After all this, a grand finale was expected. When he started the alapana in Anandabhairavi, I was delighted. For long I was wishing for a grand Anandabhairavi. It did not last long, as he glided it into sAma with some style. Sama alapana was then drifted to shanmukhapriya. Next few minutes was the three way movement in speed, octave and raga and Iam lost for words. I should still say, shanmukhapriya received maximum adulation from the singer over the other two. It was similar in the case of tAnam too. It is difficult to sing tAnam in sAma, and naturally it received the lowest ‘mindshare’. Tanam too lasted for a very long time, moving between the three ragas. Smitha, copped up with all these very well, trying her best to live up to the occasion. Pallavi, he mentioned composed and popularised by Lalgudi Jayaraman, was sung in all possible combinations making it extremely complex and complicated to follow. There was even more structurally complex swaraprasthana for each raga, each at different ending. Once, he sang swaras in bhairavi appropriately ending. The whole affair was one awesome display of skill, knowledge and impeccable execution. I have only seen TNS doing it with such control and conviction.
It is tough task for the accompanying artist to follow the main artist when he is in such form. Arjunkumar is a seasoned artist and he was at ease and was adding to the flare with his own interventions at appropriate time. His tani avartanam, in chaturashra ata to me was a tribute to the extra ordinary pallavi that was sung by Abhishek. Smitha should receive a special mention for her efforts to lift herself to match the lead artist.
Post main was disappointment to me. 3-4 minutes of behag alapana did not help the devarnama. Swathi padam was even worse. Lyrics was messed, wrong split of words, unwanted cuts and stretches, the way the padam was sung made me ‘facepalm’ a couple of times. I am sure a native Bangalorean would have felt the same for nAnEke badavanu. May be he will look into it and restrain himself while singing padams and devarnama or shorter devotional pieces. I am not letting these small issues to affect my excitement about this concert. This was one awesome concert.