Amrutha Venkatesh paid homage to the genius of M.D. Ramanathan by staying true to his bani and the essence of his compositions.

Legendary musician M.D. Ramanathan (MDR), apart from being an outstanding singer, was a brilliant composer too. A concert of M.D. Ramanathan’s compositions was held at Tripunithura in connection with the genius’ birth anniversary. Bangalore-based vocalist Amrutha Venkatesh presented an impressive and neat presentation of MDR’s compositions.

The highlight of her concert was her excellent rendition in the M.D. Ramanathan bani that she adhered to throughout the concert. This is the 11th year in a row that a memorial concert is being organised. This year’s concert was dedicated to Maharaja Swati Tirunal, as it is his bicentenary year. Yesteryear cine actor Mohan, a relative of M.D. Ramanathan, delivered the memorial lecture.

Amrutha opened the concert with ‘Gajavadhana....’ in Hamsadwani. Her neat rendition struck a chord with the audience. She chose a slow pace that evoked the bhava of each composition and that set the mood of the concert. The next kriti that Amrutha chose was ‘Mangalacharane…’, composed by MDR in praise of Madurai Meenakshi, in the raga Hindolam.

‘Bhavayami Raghuramam…’, a ragamalika composition by Swati Tirunal, was the next composition. Soaked in devotion, she sang it in the way MDR used to present it, narrating the important incidents in the life of Lord Rama. This song was chosen specially to commemorate the bicentenary birth anniversary of the royal composer.

‘Hariyum Haranum….’, a composition in Atana, followed. The vocalist’s commitment towards the MDR bani was evident in this rendition also. Next came the composition ‘Saketha Natham Bhaje…’ in raga Panthuvarali. Its charanam was sung with unique sancharams of swaras that delighted the listeners. The tonal quality of Amrutha’s voice and her manodharma skills were exemplary.

‘Janani Natha Palini…’ in Sankarabharanam was the main composition. With a detailed ragalapana, Amrutha unfolded all the nuances of the raga. The rendition of niraval and kalpanaswaras was praiseworthy.

Violinist Edappally Ajithkumar excellently followed the vocalist throughout the concert. Percussionists Palakkad Maheshkumar on the mridangam and Perukavu Sudheer on the ghatam presented an impressive taniavarthanam. The rapport between the percussionists and the vocalist was remarkable.

The Sindubhairavi composition, which Amrutha took up was ‘Maname Ramane Padu….’, a favourite MDR kriti that was rendered in a slow pace and resembled the rendition of the composer himself. Both percussionists modulated their instruments in certain phrases of the song to brilliantly support the vocalist.

Amrutha wound up the concert with another favourite MDR composition – ‘Ramarama…’ in Neelambari. Amrutha, who has also learned music from Aswathy Tirunal Rama Varma, acknowledged that she had imbibed from him the unique style of MDR and his compositions.