Thursday, 6 September 2012

Generation Next

Abhishek Raghuram

(Reproduced from Sruti 278, November 2007)
An original among the young vocalists in Carnatic music today is 22-year old Abhishek Raghuram, who has a strong, assertive voice and striking good looks. A grandson of Palghat Raghu, Abhishek learnt mridanga from his grandfather before embarking on a singing career. Known to be an unusually cerebral singer for one so young, Abhishek has been able to imbibe the intricacies of rhythm from an early age, thanks to his firm grounding in that aspect of music.

Abhishek has been undergoing training in vocal music from P.S. Narayanaswamy since 1994. A fixture in the concert circuit as an up-and-coming vocalist, he is also a khanjira artist who has accompanied numerous vidwans, providing upapakkavadya support along with mridanga maestros like Palghat Raghu, T.K. Murthy, and Umayalpuram Sivaraman. Abhishek is also a composer of tillana-s.

A performing vocalist since 1994, Abhishek made his debut at the age of nine under the auspices of Percussive Arts Centre, Bangalore. He went on a concert tour of the US in 1999, along with Palghat Raghu.

Abhishek has won several prizes in the competitions conducted by the Music Academy, Narada Gana Sabha, Mylapore Fine Arts Club, Tyaga Brahma Gana Sabha and others. He won his first prize, a gold medal awarded by Ananda Vikatan, at the age of seven, for his mridanga playing in the all India Mazhalai Medhai contest. He also won a first prize in the pallavi singing competition organized by the S. Balachander Trust in 1996.

A recipient of scholarships from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Manram, Bharat Kalachar and Sterling Holiday Resorts, Abhishek was declared the best junior vocalist at the annual Music Academy conference in 1999.

Best concert in the Music Academy’s Spirit of Youth series, Yuva Kala Bharati at Bharat Kalachar and the asthana vidwan title from the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham are among his other distinctions.

An unusual honour came his way in 2003 when he played the lead-role in a stage production titled Isai Vyabaram. He won a gold medal instituted by the family of R.K. Narayan for creative artistic talent. He was also the winner of the rolling shield for creative artistic talent instituted by Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan in the same year.

Abhishek Raghuram’s undoubted talent can only ripen with the increase in bhava that we can expect as he grows in maturity. His strong vocalisation rooted in his unquestionable laya pedigree should place him among the leaders of his generation as he grows mellow with greater feeling for raga and sahitya.

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