This clipping has been making the rounds on the internet, so I thought I would post it here:
It’s a clipping of the song Nee Dayaradha (Vasanthabhairavi ragam, Rupaka thalam, composed by Thyagaraja). This is from Abhishek Raghuram’s 2011 Music Academy concert, accompanied by Akkarai Subbhalakshmi (violin), my guru Neyveli Narayanan (mrudangam), and Guruprasanna (kanjira). In fact, you can see me sitting right behind my guru in this photo:
To my left is Delhi Rajasubramaniam, another senior student of my guru, and behind me is my friend Krishna, who also learns mrudangam from him. You can also see Trivandrum Balaji and Anantha Krishnan (Abhishek’s cousin) sitting on the opposite side. This audio clip seems to be a “thirutu recording” (stolen recording) by someone in the audience; nonetheless, I am grateful that it is there at all, since the quality of the music in this concert was so amazing and unfortunately legal, professional recordings are unavailable. Abhishek’s music reminds me of GNB or a very young TNS – the brighas at lightning speed, the creativity with ragam and layam, and the tightness of his grip on thalam. In fact my guru keeps telling me how much he enjoys playing for Abhishek for this reason! It should be mentioned at the outset here that Abhishek (and his cousin Anantha Krishnan) are the grandsons of the legendary mrudangam vidwan the late Shri Palghat R. Raghu (I had mentioned a little about him in an older post on Palghat Mani Iyer). Thus, laya, and music in general, is in their blood.
In this clip, Abhishek experiments with different theermanams (endings) and similar patterns. That is what makes this round of swarams so appealing; the variation between fast sarvalaghu swarams, a crisp ending, and judicious use of silence for contrast. Of course, this is extremely difficult to accompany (on violin or mrudangam) since you need incredibly good anticipation skills. My guru honed his skills at this by playing hundreds of concerts for T. N. Seshagopalan when he was my age (or even younger). Thinking about this really puts things in perspective about what little I have accomplished in life so far…
Recently, one of my friends was listening to this clip and claimed that he could hear me in the silence at 2:20 – one of the people saying “ah!”. I honestly don’t remember if I did that at this point.