Tag Archives: Abhishek Raghuram

Abhishek Raghuram @ Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha , 20 Oct 2018

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : H N Bhaskar

Mrudangam : Patri Satishkumar

01 inta mODi ( varNam ) – sAranga – Adi – Thiruvottiyur Thyagayya

02 lOkAvana caturA – bEgaDa – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A, S )

03 vara nArada nArAyaNa – vijayashrI – Adi x 2 – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S )

neraval & swara @ ‘prakaTambuga kIrti nosagene bhAvuka tyAgarAjanuta’

04 bAlAmbikAyAm param nahirE – kAnaDa – Adi – Dikshitar ( Raga Sketch, S )

05 lakSmaNamulu gala shrIrAmanuki – shuddha sAvEri – Adi – Thyagaraja ( S )

05b  tani Avartanam

06 brhadEshvarO rakSatumAm – gAnasAmavarALi (gAnamUrti) – Roopakam – Dikshitar ( A )

07 sVamikku sari evare – kEdAragauLa – mishrachAp – Papanasam Sivan (Raga sketch, N )

neraval @ ‘pArkkaDal adanil paLLi koNDavan pAril nandagOpAlanAi pirandu, pAl tayir veNNai tiruDi uNDavan’

08 murugA murugA enrAl  – sAvEri – mishra chAp – Periyasamo Thooran ( A,v )

viruttam ( en tAyum enakkaruL tanthaiyum)

09 candracUDa shiv shankara – darbAri kAnaDa – Adi – Purandara Dasa  ( A )

10 rAmajOgi maNDu – khamAs – Adi – Bhadrachala Ramadas

11 thillAna ( tananA  dhirana ) – khamAs – Adi – Lalgudi Jayaraman

12 mangaLam – saurAStram – Adi – Thyagaraja

What a concert ! Very unusual, very ‘atypical’, very un-like Abhishek.  There was no ‘main’, no elaborate 20plus minute of alapana, no looong neraval sequence. Take a look at the list again. It looks like he was in a mood to sing all those not often heard compositions. He was in a playful mood. Singing alapana in ‘ati mandrasthayi’ and suddenly leapfrogging to ati tArasthayi phrases.  Often indulging in intrinsic laya formulations during swara prasthana with ever inspiring Patri Satishkumar. Very cerebral affair for someone who prefer a more traditional approach to concert. I am not in anyway suggesting that it was all a cerebral exercise of music.

The start of the affair was with a very unique take on begada. The Alapana itself was refreshing and engaging. For a piece immediately after the varnam, it was rather long alapana. HNB had a more traditional take in his turn. I was expecting vallabha nayakasya as is the norm. But he picked lOkavana chatura. There was an elaborate kalpana swaras for begada. With Patri, it gives him limitless freedom to express his ideas during swara singing and it was evident through out the evening.

The early phases of the slow alapana resembled varAli, but it was clear that he is singing a closely associated ragam. Vara narada, clarified the absence of dhaivatam 🙂 . There was no violin return of alapana.  He sang few rounds of neraval with HNB at prakatambuga. Interesting. Not heard a neraval for this before. A few rounds of swaras to conclude an interesting selection.  Soon another short alapana of kAnaDa. This time it was another not regularly heard Dikshitar composition. Again some nice rounds of kalpana swaras.

Lakshanamulu gala was another surprise. Well, there are compositions beyond darini telusukonti. Less than a week ago, I heard Saketharaman singing tAyE tripurasundari. Swashbuckling kalpana swaras. Exhilarating affair. So much was the energy and excitement, Abhishek pondered for a sec and requested Patri to play tani avartanam, to the surprise of the percussionist and the listeners. Which, of course, was on another level.

A ganamurti alapana, mostly done at the higher octaves were very moving. This time another rare piece of Dikshitar ( ganasamavarali as it is known ) was taken, sung beautifully.  After a short sketch of kEdAragaula, he started at shyAma sundara jagan mOhana krishna , anupallavi of Papanasam Sivan’s composition, svamikku sari evare. He repeated, as in neraval, the long line ”pArkkaDal adanil paLLi koNDavan pAril nandagOpAlanAi pirandu, pAl tayir veNNai tiruDi uNDavan’ quite a while without a violin return. Again , very impressive.

When he started the saveri alapana, we all sat back anticipating the main. He started off at some very unusual place and after few phrases, stopped with a mischievous smile and  glint in his eye, murmured ‘you can guess the ragam’ or some thing to that effect. But the ‘known’ sAveri did not hide for too long.  This time, HN Bhaskar got his chane to play the aapana again ( after the bEgaDa). Since the alapana was short and stopped all of a sudden, I was thinking a two phase alapana as in the case of a Pallavi. But he had other plans and started a viruttam.  When he started ‘muruga muruga enral’, there was still hope for a traditional main with neraval and swaras. Again, we were denied.

When he started the darbari kAnaDa alapana, the hope rekindled. It is rare to get a detailed darbari kanada alapana. I heard one of Madurai Somu and a pallavi ( must be Sanjay, but can’t be sure) before. Abhishek sang it fairly long ( 8-10 mins) followed by HNB about 5-6 mins. Liked it.

By now, it was sure that he was on a different plan for the evening and we might not have a traditional fair. He looked at the orgaisers for time and plans to wind down. Two khamas pieces, rAmajOgi manDu followed without any gap a thillana ( as though he wanted to extend it a bit) before he called it a day.

I am still getting reconciled to this concert. While experiencing it live, one couldn’t stop admiring his class. However, it did have the leftover of something missing. It wasn’t an Abhishek concert, one is used to attending.  But, looking at the list above, and the way he presented them, I think, it justify the choice of picking Abhishek over Ranganatha Sharma, who sang at my backyard.

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Posted by on October 21, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Pravin Godkhindi and Abhishek Raghuram @ Samarasa2018, PES University 23-Sep-2018

Hindustani Flute : Pt Pravin Godkhindi

Supporting Flute : Shadaj Godkhindi

Tabla : Pt Ravindra Yavagal

Carnatic Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin :  Parur M S Ananthakrishnan

Ghatam : Vazhappilli Krishnakumar

Phase 1 – Hindustani  ( Pravin Godkhindi – Shadaj Godkhindi – Pt Ravindra Yavagal )

01  Raag  madhuvanti    for 1 hr

Phase 2 – Carnatic Vocal Concert  ( Abhishek – Ananthakrishnan-Ravindra Yavagal – Krishnakumar )   – 1 hr

01 girirAja sutA tanayA – bangALA – Adi – Thyagaraja

02 inta sowkhyamAni nE – kApi – Adi – Thyagaraja ( A )

03 bhAvayAmi raghurAmam – rAgamAlika – Roopakam – Swathi Thirunal ( A – sAveri, nAtakurinji and dhanyAsi in detail, rest in a sweeping take )

Phase 3 – Jugalbandi  for 1 hr

01 dIpALi (h) / mOhanam (c)  – Alap & tarAna/tAnam

02 tani Avartanam ( Adi )

03 bhairavi (h) / sindhubhairavi (c)  – chandrashEkharA eesha

This was supposed to be a 2 hr concert of Pt Pravin Godkhindi followed by 2 hour of Abhishek’s concert. The unavailability ( unavoidable circumstances, says Abhishek) of ArjunKumar, who had to accompany Abhishek for his concert made the whole program to undergo a dramatic change. The 2+2 hr concerts have been combined ( and split into 3 phases) into a 3 hr affair. On a positive side, one could watch Pt Ravindra Yavagal, accompanying for a carnatic concert.

The first part of Pt Pravin Godkhindi was fabulous. A sedate madhuvanti ( late afternoon raga) was very impressive. His son, young Shadaj joined in brilliantly. With my near zero knowledge, I restrain myself here from further describing the concert.

Abhishek and the team  replaced the Hindustani counterparts for the next session. He was in super form, albeit a short concert. A quick Bangala kriti followed by a captivating kApi alapana and inta sowkhyamani. There was no time for a violin return. But I expected him to sing a few rounds of swaras. Probably owing to the time availability, he quickly started sAvEri alapana. He glided mesmerisingly into nAtakurinji. That opened up the hint. Ananthakrishnan had his chance now for playing a quick return. Dhanyasi was again sang in detail and moved on to Mohanam. The rest of the alapana was done in a long single take before retracting back in the same sequence to sAvEri. All the characteristics takes expected from Abhishek was performed for the kriti. Some twists, some sudden takes, move up and down the sthAyi,  laya variations at the chittasvaras , different sangatis on return to ‘bhAvayAmi’. I hope, he takes this up in a much larger scope in one of his future concerts, where his imaginations are not constrained by time.

The third phase was not very attractive. It was mostly a mutual admiration club on the stage and was largely satisfying to their own excesses. It did have its own ‘aha’ moments, but by and large, it disappointed me. There was insistence by both the lead artists to Pt Yavagal to play the percussion solo. And they duo definitely won a lot of applause with their electrifying tani avartanam. There was a quick bhairavi/sindhuharavi piece to conclude, where Abhishek part of the kriti ‘chandrashEkharA Eesha’.

Both the individual concerts were super class, despite the short duration.

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Posted by on September 24, 2018 in Uncategorized


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Abhishek Raghuram @Nadasurabhi Annual Festival , 31st Oct 2017

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam : Sai Giridhar

Morsing : M Gururaj


01 sarasUDa ninnE kOri (varNam) – sAvEri – Adi – Kottavasal Venkataramana Iyer  ( O )

02 vallabha nAyakasya – bEgaDa – rUpakam –  Dikshitar ( S )

03 mariyAda gAdayya – bhairavam – dEshAdi – Thyagaraja

04 nAkabhaya varamosagi – nAtakurinji – rUpakam – GNB  ( A,N )

neraval @ ‘rAga tALa rasabhAva rakti bhakti paripUrita ‘

05 ninnu jeppa kAraNamEmi – mandAri – Adi x 2 – Patnam Subramanya Iyer ( A,S )

06 vinatA suta vAhana shrI ramaNA – jayantasEna – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

07 RTP – dharmavati – Adi x 2 , pUrvAngam in chaturashra and uttarangam in khanda , @ samam

tAnam in dharmavati , chakravAkam(shrutibhEdam) and malayamArutam

pallavi line ‘pAlincu bangAru kAmAkSi, bhagavati guNavati dharmavati

Pallavi in dharmavati and once in hEmavati

rAgamAlika swaras in dharmavati , aThANa and sindhubhairavi

07b  tani Avartanam

08 alarshara paritApam – suruTTi – Swathi Thirunal

09 tappu nODadE bandayyA – tilang – Purandara Dasa

10 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

What a cracker from Abhishek, while the rest of the team sat clueless, helpless on stage. When the lead artist in such a form, at the peak of creativity, imagination, the voice range and control, I guess it is difficult for the rest to catch up with him. With all credit to him, I would consider this as a ‘cerebral’ type of concert. It appealed immensely to your intellect and arguably to a lesser extend to your right brain. Here is a concert when you are in awe of the musician and not of the music. But all that apart, Abhishek was fabulous last evening , a very self satisfying concert for himself, as he was visibly pleased with some of his own exploits during the alapana.

It is going to be tough to pick and discuss each of them. The onslaught started with bEgaDa swaras, outstanding stuff.  The only sedate piece in the entire evening was the leisurely sung bhairavam kriti, high on emotive content. Natakurinji alapana take of was jaw dropping-ly interesting. Brilliant alapana followed by GNBs kriti nAkabhaya varamosagi, without giving a chance for violin to play the alapana. An outstanding neraval at ‘rAgatAla rasabhava’, with some good emphasize on the lyrical beauty.

Mandari alapana was also long and elaborate. Mandari is difficult to decipher for a lay listener like us, with the similarity to pantuvarali. In all his alapanas of the evening, he was stretching his voice to all octave from anu manthrasthai to tArasthai shadjam, also some of the fast paced, longish akaara sancharas.  Vittal Ramamurthy played a decent return here. Nannu jeppa, cleared the raaga confusion.  He started the kalpana swaras in the second speed at nannu jeppa, and later switched to first speed at kAraNamEmi. This had tremendous impact with an tricky take off. The way he started “sa ri ga ma kAraNamEmi’ gave goosebumps to me.

A short alapana in jayantasena ( again without a violin return) before he started the kriti vinatA suta vAhana from the anupallavi line. Few rounds of swaras here too. Quickly he started a fantastic dharmavati alapana, elongated, trying out multiple tings, moving up and down covering 3 octaves, short slow patters to some breathtaking long sancharas.  If I was having a second thoughts on the raga, Vittal added to the confusion with an ambiguous start.  Tanam was super, with a grahabhedam to chakravakam and the shift from chakravakam to malayamarutam.  TNS’s pallavi was to present in a ‘truncated version’ ( according to Abhishek). He added his on complexities and intricacies with the uttarangam. In one of the pallavi neraval, he shifted it to hEmavati, and sang with the change of raga name. He could have continued with manavati, kalavati, saraswati etc :-). Even ragamalika was randomly at atana and sindhu bhairavi.  Percussion duo played out a decent tani avartanam, on an evening where they were clearly struggling to cope up with the exuberance of the main artist.

There wasn’t much left to do post main. Swathi padam, alarshara paritapam was sung in Abhishek style, not very appealing to me, before mangalam.

Nadasurabhi, to their usual high standard of conducting the program had a quick inauguration of the events. Brisk and to the bare essential with no unwanted speeches and long acknowledgements. Wishing them all the success for the annual festival.



Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Abhishek Raghuram @ Seshadripuram College, 09 Apr 2017

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam : Sankaranarayanan

Morsing : Pramath Kiran

List :

01 dasharatha nandana – asAvEri – Thyagaraja

02 koluvai unnAdE – bhairavi – Thyagaraja ( A,S )

03 sItApatI nA manasunA – khamAs – Thyagaraja ( A,N,S,T )

neraval & swara @prEmajUci nApai peddamanasu jEsi

04 endarO mahAnubhavulu – shrI – Thyagaraja ( A )

05 mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

What a splendid evening. This list above is not the actual indication of what happened on stage, but if I say that is all he sang in a 3 hr concert probably give you an idea. Yesterday, he was in his sublime best. No exhilaration, none of the usual vocal and physical vigour. It was all a sedate, moving affair.

A brilliant start of asaveri, impressive selection of a kriti, sang very slow kicked off the evening. An outstanding alapana of bhairavi followed. Slow mesmerising phrases to start, continued in the same tempo almost the entire alapana, extremely pleasing.  It was ‘koluvai unnade’ again, almost a repeat of his Nadasurabhi concert 5-6 months ago. But who is complaining. Khamas alapana again was in the similar lines. He has taken some extra liberty here in his usual style, with some very refreshing phrases. Predicted ‘SitApatI na manasuna’ right. Another awesome neraval at premajuci. It was at the same venue, a couple of year ago, I heard one of the best ‘sItapatI’ from NEyveli Santhanagopalan with Narmada on violin. The kalpana swaras that followed was outstanding again. Wholesome feast, was enhanced by a entertaining tani avartanam bu the percussion duo. Sankaranarayanan on his part was brilliant through out the evening.

I was expecting a pallavi to follow, but he agreed to a request from an elderly gentleman for ‘endarO mahanubhavulu’. I guess, the person requested might have been expecting a ‘gOshti gAna’ type of endaro mahanubhavulu. Abhishek had other ideas. A sumptuous shrI alapana followed. I was hoping for a short tanam at this time, which would have taken the whole affair to a different level.  Arguably, after MDR I have not heard anyone sing ‘Endaro Mahanubhavulu’ to this impact. One to cherish for a long long time. I loved some of the add on he did during the chittaswara patterns. Fabulous stuff.

and that called for the bell. He had enough for the day, quickly closed the evening with a brisk mangalam.  But what an evening.

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Posted by on April 10, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Abhishek Raghuram @ Nadasurabhi Annual Festival, 06 Nov 2016

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.

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Posted by on November 7, 2016 in Uncategorized


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