Solemn music

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CHARISMATIC Amrutha sounded the right notes
CHARISMATIC Amrutha sounded the right notes

Veteran T.S. Ramaa and youngster Amrutha Venkatesh made the week memorable with their concerts

One could get a rather comprehensive view of veteran vocalist Professor T.S. Ramaa’s versatility and competence at her performance for Sri Vidyaganapathi Seva Samithi’s 39th annual music festival.

It was solemn music throughout. She is a quiet and unassuming artiste. By itself her competence in alapana, sahitya and swara vistaras would not or could not have merited such encomiums. It is the mystery of suswara and su-laya cadence, the voluptuousness of the artiste’s voice and imagination, which lend a spur to her scholarly singing. Listening to her, one was reminded of the titan of Carnatic music — Pattammal. Without attempting it and sounding superficial, there was solid depth in her music.

Thus the very opening Begade Varna served as a powerful foreword to her ensuing concert. After saluting “Gajavadana” she delineated Mohana Kalyani raga for Muthaiah Bhagavatar’s popular krithi “Bhuvaneshwariya nene manasa”. The swaras were never loaded with complex mathematics.

I enjoyed each and every moment of the rarely-heard detailed exposition of Saveri raga for Dikshitar’s fine krithi “Karikalabha mukham” in praise of Lord Ganesha encompassing all the sthayis. The neraval at “Kaveri teera tatasthitam” and the appended swaravinyasa was classy in itself. One felt her neraval would have added more spice to it. B. Raghuram (violin), Shivu (mridanga) and Phanindra Bhaskar (ghata) imparted a highly compatible support.

*** Young vocalist Amrutha Venkatesh performed alluringly, presenting an impressive vocal recital at the Sri Venugopalakrishnaswamy Temple, Malleswaram.

The concert was part of the Krishna Jayanthi celebrations. In the most congenial listening atmosphere, she sang with effective accompaniment provided by Charulatha Ramanujam (violin), B. Dhruvaraj (mridanga) and T.N. Ramesh (ghata).

Amrutha never resorted to any type of cheap gimmickry just to placate the audience. Not only did she uphold the virtues of tradition and classicism of Carnatic music, but also exhibited her unpolluted artistry in a simple manner. It was sad that she sang to high decibel accompaniments. Thanks to her well-honed voice and talent, rasikas had a treat of pure music. She could strike a cohesive balance between artistry and aesthetics.

She sounded the right notes in the alapana of Varali raga for a majestic krithi “Seshachala Nayakam” punctuated with neraval and kalpana swaras. Thyagaraja’s “Vinarada naa manavi” (Devagandhari) in a leisurely pace, followed by a Tamil krithi in Hindola raga vouched for her expertise. A crisp “Sanatana” (Phalamanjari) kept up the lively tempo of the recital.

Nature has endowed her with a vigorous, fertile imagination, a richly nuanced voice that emits a golden, ineffable melody and a natural sense of swara and laya, which is almost uncanny. The quality of her voice does not just end there.

With breadth and power combining a velvety roundness and imposing range, Amrutha treated the grand raga Kambhoji and Thyagarja’s krithi “O Rangashay” in detail.

She seems to have put in much diligence while going through the manodharma-sallies (alapana, neraval at “Bhooloka Vaikuntha” and swaras), turning out spiralling, highly finished musical phrases. Their rapidity, in swaras in particular, was astounding. The mind-boggling laya never tampered with the absolute discreetness of the notes which looked like pure pearls glistening in a rosary.




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