The vocal recital by young Abhishek Raghuram at Bangalore Gayana Samja on Friday, for the Percussive Arts Centre’s Taalavaadyotsava 2014, showed a high quality of music.
The singer confirmed his artistic maturity and conveyed his thoughts with perfectly articulated vowels and consonants.
His voice had the weight and colour of substantial refinement, yet it was also lithe. Once fully warmed up, it projected easily onto the spacious hall.
Abhishek clearly demonstrated his insight into music. Embodying passion, he sang with pure simplicity, letting the music speak through him. He left space for his colleagues.
This is an important quality, not easy for a dominating performer. It marks him not just as a great singer but also as a great artiste. His intonation, timing and phrasing contributed to the liveliness of the concert.
The supreme quality of his rendition was the variety of colour he brought out in the voice, rare among male singers. His manodharma had a rare beauty and expressive simplicity.
Opening with the Kaanada ata tala varna (Nera nammi) he showcased his vocal power and brilliance as well as his easy, carefree stage dynamics. His musical activity on the stage provided a perfect picture of classicism and tradition. The rasikas were delighted to hear him rendering the ettukadais of the varna in two kaalaas in one avarthana. It vouched for his vocal versatility and scholarship, adding an entertaining, stunning and vocally profound touch to his recital.
He captured the rasikas’ heart by singing an imposing Hamsadhwani krithi Vande ham jagatvallabham by Annamacharya. The swaras in madhyamakala were an artistic treat. Abhishek transitioned beautifully between the upper and lower registers of his voice in the detailed alapana of Sri raga.
In the upper register, his tone was brilliant and glistening. On lower register notes — typically a challenge for the male voice range—his voice remained powerful. He surveyed the raga from every corner and erected a glorious edifice of melody.
It was disappointing that the seasoned and excellent violinist Charulatha Ramanujam was not given a chance to render the alapana. The krithi Sri Varalakshmi with gopuchcha yathi (gopura) pattern in vilamba kala was enthralling. The line Srisarasapade, sarasapade, rasapade was interestingly sung. Shining as well on this piece, the vocalist displayed his spectacular ability to remain musical while following the technicalities of classicism.
The kalpanaswaras at Bhaavanaa vega chature were packed with varied rhythmic nuances.
The glory of Mohana raga was underscored in an expansive exposition. The breath control, voice culture and melodiousness of the singer made it more attractive.
The original creations became an added beauty. The birkas and phrases in three and half sthayis were splendid. This was followed by an enriching taanamalika comprising Todi, Varali, Sindhubhairavi and other ragas. The swaraakshara pallavi Sadaa pada sarojamula nammithi was rendered in the traditional way.
Accomplished accompanists Charulatha Ramanujam (violin), Arjunkumar (mridanga) and Guruprasanna (khanjira) acted as a tasteful adornment to Abhishek’s commanding and powerful presence. While in the accompaniment, their answers were without excess but with enough force to be complementary and supportive.
There was a balanced dialogue among them. The performance was marked by an exquisite ensemble work and a truly wonderful interaction among the instruments whose tones blended rewardingly together.
Kathak duo shine
Young and talented Kathak duo Ashwin J Prabhath and Rohni Prabhath, trained by the famous Kathak-couple Nirupama and Rajendra, made a convincing dancer duo.
They performed for the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy for World Music Day held at the Nayana auditorium.
They began with Krishna vandana set to Vachaspathi raga. The sargams attached to it were converted into a fine nritta packed with attractive chakkars and tattkaaraas.
In the chaduranga containing sahitya, bols, sargams and tarana the duo covered the stage in myriad patterns and stole the show. The exposition of teen tal in drut laya was marked by intricate rhythms. Panchavati by Rohini showcased her histrionic abilities. Taraana in Madhukauns raga provided a grand finale to the duet.
Young Meghana Madhavan, a disciple of a seasoned exponent of Bharatanatya KRV Pulikeshi, gave a creditable account of her talent at ADA Rangamandira recently. Accompanied suitably by Pulikeshi (nattuvanga), Nandakumar (vocal), Hemanthkumar (violin), Vivek (flute) and Harsha Samaga (mridanga), she negotiated a complex Mallari with ease. The nritta oriented number was explored well to highlight the demanding laya. The Mohana jatiswara with a variety of aduvus, charis and teermanas demonstrated Meghana’s strong grip over rhythm. Dr Balamuralikrishna’s Omkaarakaarini (Lavangi raga) was interpreted to show the various attributes of the Goddess.
The bhakti oriented-composition on Lord Vishnu, Sreesha Parama sukesha (Todi) penned by M R Sathyanarayana with a Sanskrit shloka, was given a detailed treatment by the dancer. Her nritta, nrithya and abhinaya were praiseworthy.
Sri Vadiraja, a pioneer Haridasa, has composed a pada on Lord Shiva, a rarity indeed! Dhavala Gangeya in Revati raga praises Shiva’s traits and great deeds. On the basis of this pada, Meghana drew a vivid picture of the Lord in her flawless and effective abhinaya.