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Updated: June 15, 2010 14:24 IST

Adherence to patanthara

M. V. Ramakrishnan
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Amrutha Venkatesh
Amrutha Venkatesh

MUSICSCAN: After hearing Amrutha perform in the city on a couple of recent occasions, one couldn't help recalling those extraordinary words of praise.

"...Stunning .... clearly articulated lyrics....weighty sway of chittaswaram... gripping rounds of niraval.... solidity of patanthara-reinforced compositions...." Those were some of the lavish expressions used by the discerning music critic Lalithaa Krishnan to describe the performance of young vocalist Amrutha Venkatesh in February 2009. And even a couple of years earlier, when Amrutha was still only a teen-ager, Ms. Krishnan had declared: "Music that spells class.... weighty classiciam...." (www.thehindu, Friday Review, Chennai, Feb. 6, 2009 and Jan. 12, 2007).

After hearing Amrutha perform in the city on a couple of recent occasions, one couldn't help recalling those extraordinary words of praise. And after quoting them, one can hardly think of anything more significant to say, except that Amrutha now seems to be in the process of refining her skills and fine-tuning her presentation. What that involves is mainly a little moderation of certain heavy elements of her original style, which she had acquired as an earnest disciple of T.L. Selvanarayanan and Charumati Ramachandran. And in this endeavour she's guided by Prince Rama Varma, whose ongoing concern is that of a mentor rather than a guru.

The main numbers in her recent concerts at Hamsadhwani, and in the All-Trinity series organised by the Saraswati Vaggeyakara Trust at Narada Gana Sabha's mini-hall, were Dikshitar's 'Sri Subramanyaaya Namaste' in Khambodi and Syama Sastri's ‘Mayamma Nannu Brova’ in Nattakurinji respectively. These were rendered in a profound and leisurely manner.

Taken in a much lighter vein were Tyagarajs's galloping 'Vara Narada Narayana’ (Hamsadhwani) and his lilting song 'Varaleela Gaana Lola' (NGS). But in terms of sheer beauty, most likely to linger for a long time in one's memory are the songs 'Sreedhara Kesava Narayana' in Kalyana Vasantam, composed by Nadopasana Srinivasan, and Dikshitar's kriti 'Anandamritakarshni' in Amritavarshini .

What an exciting and adventurous future young Amrutha Venkatesh can look forward to, building such an impressive structure on such a solid foundation!

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