Palghat R. Raghu
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|Palghat R Raghu|
January 9, 1928|
|Died||June 2, 2009|
Palghat Ramaswamy Raghu was born on January 9, 1928 in Rangoon, Burma (now Myanmar) to Sri Palghat Ramaswamy Iyer and Ananthalakshmi Ammal. As a child, he was immensely talented and inducted into mridangam lessons very early in his life. His first mridangam lessons were from Tinniam Venkatarama Iyer and Trichy Raghava Iyer. Later he learnt the art from the legendary Mridangam wizard Palghat T. S. Mani Iyer. He was married to Palghat Mani Iyer's niece, Smt Swarnambal. Ever since, he had accompanied numerous artists for 60 years with distinction. He was a graduate of mathematics.
Palghat Raghu was a percussion master known for his distinctive style in playing as well as his effortless finger techniques and technical brilliance. His unique style which involves imaginative use of the Toppi (left part of Mridangam) combines melody with rhythm and lifts the concert performance to high levels. Using different techniques, he adjusted his playing style to not only different artists and instruments but also captures the bhava and sahitya of music. His distinctive style is recorded in numerous concert tapes and CDs. His tani avartanams with complex and highly mathematical Korvais bear the stamp of innovation, scholarship and majestic mastery of this complex instrument. The tani avartanams with other rhythm virtuosos such as Harishankar, Nagarajan (kanjira), Alangudi Ramachandran, T. H. "Vikku" Vinayakram, Subhash Chandran (ghatam), remain quite memorable to this day.
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1983
- Palghat Mani Iyer award (first recipient)
- Padma Shri in year 1985
- Mridangam Chakravarty award
- Kalaimamani (Tamil Nadu)
- Sangeetha Choodamani by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai (1978)
- Mridangam Nada Mani (Shankaracharya)
- Nada Brahmam - award from Narada Gana Sabha( 2000)
- Nada Nidhi (2001)
- Sangeetha Kalanidhi (2007)
Palghat Raghu has toured extensively in Europe, USA, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore. In addition to his brilliance in carnatic music, he has performed with such renowned artists such as Sitar Maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar, Flute Hariprasad Chaurasia, Santoor Shivkumar Sharma alongside the Tabla Wizard Alla Rakha in numerous concerts in India and abroad. He had also been involved in East-West fusion music. He had been visiting professor of music at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, San Diego State University and University of Berkeley. He regularly conducted advanced mridangam classes for the benefit of his students and upcoming mridangam artists.
Palghat Raghu is universally considered to be the torch-bearer of the illustrious Maha Vidwan Thanjavur Vaidyanatha Iyer's tradition of the art of mridangam playing, passed on to him by his most beloved guru Palghat Mani Iyer.
Palghat Raghu's grandson is the carnatic music prodigy Abhishek Raghuram .