The evolution of an art form is measured by the work of genius, those who forge a path unseen to witnesses before, which then serves the purpose of progress in art. Given the transcendental and ubiquitous nature of art, progress can be looked upon not necessarily as a unionized movement away from some practice and towards something else; rather, progress can also be viewed as one person’s contribution in art.
In this regard, the sheer wealth of contribution made to the domain of mridangam and in effect to the world of percussion at large by Shri Palghat R. Raghu is undeniable. Shri Raghu is the paragon of modern day mridangam. To speak of modernism in a tradition which is several millennia steep is baffling, but the impact of Shri Raghu’s contribution is no less, he has the unique credit of combining the two apparent schools of mridangam- the Tanjore School, which featured his guru, the Shri Palghat Mani Iyer, and the Pudukottai School, cemented by the great Shri. Palani Subramaniam Pillai- into one style of his own, the “Raghu bani”, which, by now, manifests in the traditional definition of progress, as a cult movement endorsed by the future coming generation of mridangam players.