November 23, 2015

An evening of Abhishek Raghuram, Devagandhari and Devamanohari

Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan's long inaugural function was followed by a relatively short concert by Abhishek Raghuram. Accompanying him were B.U. Ganesh Prasad on the violin and Sumesh Narayanan on the mridangam. Abhishek took sometime to fix his own mic and adjusting 'sharp' and 'gain' of the sound system.A senior couple in the balcony related this process to the AIR balancing before the National programme. They might have been among the invited audience at the All India Radio!


Who said Thevarams come after the main piece in concerts? They could begin the concert too. Abhishek began with 'Vaananai madhi soodiya mainthanai' in Keeravani, which set a steady tempo for the concert. The couple again remembered this theveram they heard in the 'Isai Payirchi' programme on the radio years ago. "Was the teacher T M Thyagarajan or S Kalyanaraman?" they wondered. Abhishek has been singing this theveram for a few years now in concerts.

After a free-flowing short outline of Devagandhari raga, Abhishek took up 'Vinarada na manavi,' one of the Sriranga Pancharatna kritis of Thyagaraja. After the swift presentation, a grand alapana of Pantuvarali followed. Sprinkled with unique phrases, the raga elaboration was a treat to a serious rasika. 'Saramegani,' another Thyagaraja's composition followed. As in practice, Abhishek took the last charanam among the three charanams the kriti has, with niraval at 'Sama gana loludau.' The violin session by Ganesh Prasad was equally commendable.

Much to the surprise of many in the audience, Abhishek began another elaborate raga alapana in Devamanohari followed by a tanam and a pallavi. Yes, it was a lovely time with the lyrics 'idi manchi samayamu Devamanohari' as pallavi in Khanda Chapu in tisra nadai. He brought in Kamala Manohari raga too. Sumesh Narayanan kept up well with the nadai and kanakku that Abhishek is very good at.

The concert concluded with Swathi Thirunal's 'Bhaja bhaja manasa' in Sindhu Bhairavi.  A great beginning to a grand 'season.'
 - Revathi R

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