Carnatic vocalist Amrutha Venkatesh brings forth the emotions in Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini geethams

Amrutha Venkatesh performed at the 348th jayanthi of Narayana Tirtha organised by Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust in Chennai

Published - July 05, 2023 04:00 pm IST

Amrutha Venkatesh

Amrutha Venkatesh | Photo Credit: R. Revathi

On the occasion of the 348th jayanthi of Narayana Tirtha, Thirupoonthuruthy Sri Narayana Tirtha Swamigal Trust organised two tarangam performances — Bhavadharini Anantaraman and her disciples, who presented the first sargam (chapter) of the opera in namasankeertanam style and Amrutha Venkatesh, who rendered songs from Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini.

The concert, held recently at Narada Gana Sabha, drew a near full-house audience and showcased various geethams with Amrutha providing insightful information about the essence of each verse.

She began her performance with ‘Jaya jaya ramanaatha’ in the raga Natai, set to Khanda Chapu tala. The song was preceded by a sloka, which gave a wonderful start to the concert. The medium-paced kalpanaswaras added further depth to the rendition.

Teamwork

Next came the seventh geetham in the third tarangam, ‘Parama karunaya,’ set to Ragamalika. Interestingly, both the sloka and the geetham shared the same theme and similar verses. Amrutha and her accompanying artistes showcased their finesse when exploring different ragas.

A geetham from the second tarangam, ‘Ehi mudam dehi’ in Khamas, followed. The swift tempo perfectly matched the mood of the song that talks about how the gopikas enjoy baby Krishna’s pranks.

For an elaborate rendition, Amrutha chose ‘Bhaavaye sakhi’ from the eighth tarangam, setting it to raga Vasantha. Her lively presentation brought out the essence of the verses, which describe the gopikas’ joy in seeing Krishna’s Vishwarupa Darshanam. Accompanied by L. Ramakrishnan on the violin, who reflected Amrutha’s emotion in every phrase, the fast-paced kalpanaswaras were energetically supported by Arjun Ganesh on the mridangam.

In the Mukhari raga alapana, Amrutha and Ramakrishnan exhibited their individual skills by exploring the nuances of the raga with long, sustaining phrases and vibrant short ones. The rendition of ‘Krishnam kalaya sakhi,’ a popular tarangam that describes the qualities of Krishna, tuned by maestro M. Balamuralikrishna, was imposing.

Amrutha presented ‘Deva kuru sikshaam dehi pati bhikshaam’ from the fourth tarangam as a standalone song in the raga Amrutavarshini. She shared the context of the geetham in which serpent Kaliya’s wives pray to Krishna to punish Kaliya but not to kill him.

Hindustani touch

The concert continued with a beautiful portrayal of raga Bageshri. ‘Govindamiha’ from the seventh tarangam was rendered with neraval and swaras at ‘Sangeetha rasa rasika.’ The smooth flow with short sketches in Hindustani style added colour to the phrases. Arjun Ganesh’s delightful tani on the mridangam was enjoyable and garnered appreciation from the audience.

The concert concluded on a high note with ‘Nanda Nandana’ in the raga Yaman. Amrutha invited the audience to join in and sing along, as tarangams are traditionally sung in Namasankeertanam, fostering active participation and creating a vibrant atmosphere.

The Trust plans to present geethams from all 12 chapters of Sri Krishna Leela Tarangini as concerts by various artistes. This will help bring forth the beauty and depth of the work.

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