A Powerful Partnership

Last week we saw the coming together of  Youth and Experience in a powerful partnership between  Saketharaman, a young vocalist from Chennai, the veteran Mridangist Vidwan Shri Umayalpuram Sivaraman and the exquisite Violinist Nagai Sriram at the Bahai Centre.


Saketharaman’s stand out piece for the evening that shall remain with the audience was the exposition of ‘raamanukku mannan muDi’ in Hindolam, a composition of Arunachala Kavi.

Saketharaman’s vivid flights of raga development and thrilling swara compositions left the audience aghast at the depth of his technique and prowess. Alongside Vidwan Shri Umayalpuram Sivaraman and Nagai Sriram on Violin, their sensitive handling of Saketharaman’s interpretation made for a complete experience.

A quick sahana in ‘Chitham Irangadhe Dhenaiiya’ Mishra Chapu  composition of Papanasam Sivan felt like a light breeze after which Saketharaman moved onto his main raga in Kolluvai Unnade in Ragam Bhairavi with a neraval [improvisation of a phrase] and swara sandhi in the charanam [the third paragraph] on ‘Manasu’ set to Adhi Thalam. By this time Saketharaman had well established his brigha style  and whilst he moved on to more complicated rhythmic patterns splashed with suitable exchanges with both his exponents, the limelight moved to the thani avarthanam of the Great Sivaraman.


Vidwan Sivaraman’s approach to rhythm is indeed unique   He converts the sheer mathematics of percussion rhythms to sound like music,  seducing his listener with every beat. Slow, on time, at other times unpunctual, yet at other times wild and speedy, despite which he maintains  the essential musicality in his rhythm, his style is indeed cajoling and rapturous at the same time. It was a wondrous experience to listen to the great Vidwan.

When the thani finished the concert should have ended for after that there could be nothing more to be said. However Saketharaman as a true young and eager performer launched into the Ragam Thanam Pallavi in Ragam Kafi in the famous ‘Vaa Guha Muruga Shanmugha’ set to a slow eight beat Adhi Thalam. The Ragam and thanam in kafi was once again splashed with brighas and rhythmic escapes, as I hit the snooze button, we were getting into the fourth hour of the concert, the RTP turned to Sindhu Bhairavi..

The concert finished on a high with a Bageshree thillana and a thunderous applause. Given a little distance and time, I would welcome Saketharaman, Nagai Sriram and Sivraman, the three Raman combo to Sydney again, just dont take it over the three hours please !!