In the Bahulapanchami concert of Amritha Murali at the Sri Thyagaraja Seva Samiti, there were clear indications of her strong classical base in her rendering of Tyagaraja’s compositions.
Her insight into the salient shades of a raga in alapana lifted the quality of her concert.
In her recital, the Sahana vinyasa for ‘Raghupate Rama,’ was exhilarating. It was not flat and unadorned, but richly worked out, the sancharas subtly integrated with vocal articulation.
The well-spaced sancharas compelled attention where manodharma coloured the lineage of Sahana. The ensemble of raga, kriti and niraval was rooted in the emotion of rakti.
There was profundity in the simple but the glowing beauty of the song presented by her. This item particularly brought out the sparkle and substance, full of graceful and fluid movements.
Similar was her approach to ‘Neeke Dayaraaka’ (Neelambari), the rhythm in the smooth-flowing sahitya pointed to her talent.
The aesthetic vision in these two items helped Amritha look beyond just text-book adherence. She fathomed Sahana’s sensitivity and Nilambari’s gentle temper with intensity.
The other songs including ‘Sundaratara-Deham’ (Pantuvarali), ‘Yuktamugaadu’ (Sri with alapana) and ‘Vaachama Gocharame’ (Kaikavasi) were set in the present day concert mode, a style of exposition wedded meticulously to pace and punch. The contrast between the Sahana and Nilambari suites and the rest of the programme was palpable.
The main item was Thodi (‘Karuna Joodavamma’). The sheer effort she put into the alapana and kirtana has to be acknowledged as art blended with cutcheri experience. The raga was carefully guided intended more to impress than savour its grandeur. There was methodical maturity and propriety with sancharas.
The rendering of the song was marked by poise highlighting the beauty of Thodi. The piece was tastefully handled.
Amritha could pay more attention to softness in articulation of lyric and mellowness in tara sthayi. A strained undercurrent robbed her excursions beyond the tara sthayi shadja of her creative excellence.
The violin accompanist was S. P. Anantapadmanabha. He has a sound grounding in the classical aspects of Carnatic music. But in his solo versions of Sahara and Thodi, he was anxious to pack sancharas, but played in haste. Proper spacing and restraint would enhance his professional competence. A good accompanist all the same.
The mridangam player was Mannarkoil J. Balaji. With soft, gentle beats and korvais, he underlined his value to the concert.
Keywords: Amritha Murali