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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

List:

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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Abhishek Raghuram @ Kanchi Mutt, Malleswaram, 02 Oct 2016

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Vittal Ramamurthy

Mrudangam : Thiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam

Ganjira : B S Purushotham

List:

01. valaci vaci (varNam) – rAgamAlika – Patnam Subramanya Iyer

02. dEva dEva kalayAmi – mAyAmALavagauLa – Swathi Thirunal ( S )

03. yOchana kamalA lOcana – darbAr – Thyagaraja (S )

04. shrI kAntimatim – hEmavati – Dikshitar ( Short sketch, S ,T)

05. shrI kAmakOTi pIThastHitE – sAvEri – Mysore Sadashiva Rao (A,N,S )

neraval & Swara @ ‘kdambavana nilayE kancha lOcanE bhavAni’

06. kAtyAyani mahAbhAgE – mishra bhUpALi – ?  ( O )

07.  mAyammA yaninE – Ahiri – Thyagaraja ( A )  –  started at anupallavi

08. tappunODadE bandeya – tilang  – Purandara Dasa

09. shrIrAma shrIrama manOharamA – sahAna – Thyagaraja (started at anupallavi)

10. thillAna – pUrvi – T Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar

11. mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

Not a typical Abhishek concert. Probably he made it to suit the accompaniments at his disposal. For the lovers of excitement and exhilaration there was enough to rejoice. It was a riot out there. I am not hinting it wasn’t good, but at times it sounded too loud and intruding. Abhishek did his job well in the melee, but my sympathy goes to Vittal Ramamurthy.

On his part, Abhishek gave us enough ‘aha’ moments. The outstanding kalpana swaras he sang for hemavati is the case point. He must have sang it for 20-25 mins, only swaras. Possibly, there isn’t anything left to unearth. Awesome stuff. The only real alapana came after this. He sang a very moving alapana of saveri.  The early phrases of the alapana was one of the best I’ve heard in recent times. Very good neraval followed at ‘kadambavana nilaye’ and another great rounds of swaras to add.

He started the concert with the navaragamalika varnam. Some issue with his mike and there was 15 people talking to the mike-man with various ups and downs. Abhishek decided to sing with the cord-less mike used for announcements ( it was pretty good,though) and proceeded with mayamalavagaula with this mike as in a rock/films song show. While he was willing to continue with this arrangement, good sense prevailed and another mike was provided. He remarked, “let us do one more test” and sang yet another fast paced kriti with few rounds of swaras. By now, after all the adjustments things settled to some extend. Then came the hemavati.

There was no surprise to me on the percussion part. He was as usual loud and always involved. He did play some nice takes while following the kriti, but at times a bit sober hands would have made better impact. He had a field day during tani avartanam. It was fireworks by the duo, longish. There was always many supporters for this and he too received thunderous applause. Tani avartanam came too soon. The main, saveri was much leisurely done. Alapana was exquisite as mentioned. Vittal Ramamurthy ( the only chane he got to play an alapana) did a great job in his turn. Few takes during the neraval wasn’t very appealing with some awkward ‘word-split’ but the musical impact was very good.

I expected a pallavi since the concert had only one alapana and only one neraval. Disappointed at that. But his post main pieces were very very good. The ‘mishrapahadi’ piece ( correct me if it was not that) and the nice little alapana ( only by him) before mayamma were awesome. A devarnama, an utsava sampradaya kriti in sahana and super energetic purvi thillana were all very well received. The percussion riot continued even during mangalam.

I will wait for his next visit.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Abhishek Raghuram @ IIM Bangalore for SPICMACAY Virasat 04 Oct 2015

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : H M Smitha

Mrudangam : Tumkur Ravishankar

List:

01.  taruNi ninnu ( varNam ) – kAmbOji – Fiddle Ponnuswamy

02.  annapUrNE vishAlAkSi – sAma – Dikshitar ( S )

03. mInAkSi mEmudam dEhi – gamakakriya (pUrvikalyANi) – Dikshitar ( A,N,S,T )

niraval & svaram at ‘madhurApuri nilayE maNi valayE’

04.  appaLam ittu pAru – rAgamAlika – Sri Ramana Maharshi ( A -ragamalika )

05. thillAna ( ta ta dhIm ta dhIm tana dhiraNA) – shankarAbharaNam – Ponniah Pillai ( O )

06. mangaLam – saurAStram – Thyagaraja

Short concert for one and hour, most of it was taken by the main. While it was expected to be a shorter version, I was hoping for it to continue a little more. Probably the question answer session could have been avoided. Nothing unique or interesting question or answers came out in that, except for one question on the selection of raga in a particular concert and his response. Having said that, the poorvikalyani alone will make the effort ( braving the traffic and the torrential rain on a sunday evening) worthwhile.

Abhishek is singing a series of concert during this week for Spicmacay in and around Bangalore ( 2 in Mysore, 2 in Hosur and 7 in Bangalore over one week). Few days he is singing more than one concert. I understand the stress and strain it can cause on him and a shorter version of the concert may be due to this.

Meenakshi Memudam is the only thing to talk about. Good enough alapana – heard much longer and better one from him- by both the artists followed by meenakshi memudam dehi consumed 75% of the total concert duration. Kriti and niraval was grand. Niraval, especially was superbly delivered at ‘madhurapuri nilaye’. An year or so back, he did an outstanding niraval and ‘madhumita modita’ for the rasaanveshanam concert, but yesterday was equally brilliant. Kalpana svaras were as fitting, with Smitha chipping in brilliantly.

He sang the kriti written by Ramana Maharshi, post main, singing a shortish alapana in each of the ragams starting at dvijavanti, with some smooth transition from one to the other. Not sure who had set this tune, possibly done by himself. This has been talked about much already, and those who wish to listen to this can see it here.

He was already planning to conclude and some small conversations with the organizers saw him continue with a thillana ( heard his asking ‘mangalam padalama?), in Shankarabharanam before closing and leaving it open to a few Q&A.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Abhishek Raghuram @ Ranjani Fine Arts , 3rd Annual Festival , 15th Feb 2015

Vocal : Abhishek Raghuram

Violin : Mysore Srikanth

Mrudangam : Anantha R Krishnan

List:

01  chalamElA jEse (varNam ) – nAtakurinji – Ranraswamy Nattuvanar

02  janani ninnuvina – rItigauLa – Subbaraya Shasthri  ( S )

03  lOkAvana chaturA – bEgaDa – Thyagaraja ( A,N )

neraval @ ‘sAkEtAdhipa sarasa guNApramEya ‘

04  shrIkriSNam bhaja mAnasa – thODi – Dikshitar ( A,S,T )

05  harihara ninnanu mecchisa bahudu –  sindhubhairavi – Purandara Dasa  ( A in pahADi and sindhubhairavi )

06  mangaLam – saurAshtram

He sang for slightly over two hours and only a few kritis. That was the disappointment, especially after that out of the world thodi swaras. The second concert of the evening was scheduled to start at 7:15 and that probably prompted him to stop by 6:45pm. Highlight of the day to me was that mesmerizing kalpana swaras of thodi and a sneaked in alapana of pahADi ( blame me if some one tells you it wasnt pahadi but something else).

On a day when India was living up to the history by beating Pakistan in the Worldcup, it was a tough task to get the audience to come in large numbers even for an artist like Abhishek. However the auditorium gradually filled up and the concert started 15 mins from the scheduled time. Another 5-10 mins were taken to set the amplifications up. The tanpura man hadnt arrived until after the second kriti.

Abhishek started the concert with natakurinji varnam. A pleasing janani ninnuvina came in in leisure. However, the kalpana swaras were sung at ‘ tAmasamu sEyakane brOvumu ‘ in a faster speed. Begada alapana that followed was also a sublime affair. Starting very slow and measured phrases, not those familiar ones to begin with. That created some interest in me for a special kriti in the offing. Srikanth started his turn a bit jarring and unappealing, but soon came back to the proven path. Lokavana chatura was the selected kriti, which reminded me of Voleti. Abhishek sang it decently and had a longish neraval at ‘sAkEtAdhipa’ in his typical style, with some intrinsic wordplay at ‘sarasa’ ‘guna’ and ‘aprameya’. Few  ‘zAkEtAdhipa zarasa’ was good to hear. Probably he was adjusting the time, as there was no swaras sung for begada.

Thodi alapana was what by now everyone expected from his concert. Alapana was long, multiple times he traversed the octaves at both lower and higher one, some impressive long close mouthed alapanas, loooong ‘akara phrases which usually moves the audience and all the other possibilities in thodi. Can we call this thodi++ , as in the IT parlance ??. Last weeks kalyani at gayana samaja, was indeed kalyani++. Srikanth did a much better job here in his turn, playing more orthodox thodi a far better effort than the begada he played earlier. Srikrishnam bhaja manasam was a refreshing change. I was hoping to hear this in a concert for a very very long time. He skipped neraval, and I thought he was planning to sing a pallavi, hence skipped. Well, there was no pallavi. However, the kalpana swaras that followed compensated for every thing  that was missing. This to me is THE highlight of the evening. Outstanding stuff. Anantha seems to be reading the vocalists mind. He was playing along every nuances that Abhishek sang today with tremendous anticipation. The tani avartanam, sans a support was solely managed and commendably delivered by Anantha Krishnan.

Abhishek, immediately launched himself into the next alapana, raising hopes for the pallavi. Until someone knowledgeable corrects me, I stand by pahADi. Not heard an alapana in pahadi before, and hence my judgment could be wrong. Improving the odds for the pallavi, he requested Srikanth to continue. The second turn was interesting, as he progressed from pahadi to sindhubhairavi and concluded the alapana. There was no pallavi as he begun a devarnama in sindhubhairavi. Concert concluded immediately after that with a mangalam. He chose to sing a mangalam this time – if you remember he skipped mangalam at the gayana samaja concert last week – leaving the audience for want of more. The concert today wasn’t of aggression but of more sober and sedate, I felt.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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