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Amritha Murali: At her creative best

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Amritha Murali employed new phrases in her raga delineations but never wavered from the grammar

The need to make a concert engaging within a limited time frame is undoubtedly a challenge. Amritha Murali managed it with élan, making an intelligent choice of ragas and kritis for her concert. Raga expositions and swara segments are always the deciding factors of a programme’s quality. Amritha Murali, with her voice in fine form, presented with a dedicated approach two vintage yet evergreen ragas — Dhanyasi and Kamboji — that were filled with bhava. The raga expansions and the phrases were developed steadily to highlight the melody as well as the nuances of each raga.

For her Dhanyasi exposition, Amritha focused on the raga’s high melodic quality and her lengthy karvais at the right places created a great impact. As for Kamboji, the main raga, Amritha opted to highlight its grandeur and elegance with not just the time-tested phrases, but with creative prayogas to make them sound fresh, and with exact ‘sruti’ aligned stopovers that added depth to the raga treatise.

Rich in lyrical content

The choice of kritis added lustre to the raga essays — ‘Meena lochana brova’ by Syama Sastri in Dhanyasi and ‘Kana kann kodi vendum’ by Papanasam Sivan in Kamboji. As both kritis are rich in lyrical content there is always the possibility of lethargy setting in if the tempo is stretched beyond a point. But Amritha handled it with aplomb. In ‘Meena lochana’, ‘Kama palini’ was taken up for niraval and swaras with full restraint. In Kamboji, the niraval was at ‘Manikkam vairam’ and the vocalist linked it to interesting swara matrices landing on ‘dhaivatam’ before leading on to a grand finale.

Mysore Srikanth matched Amritha’s renditions with equal poise. He played the ragas succinctly but not at the expense of the quality. His replies in raga treatises and swara passages were quite enjoyable.

A brief raga alapana to highlight the charm of Ranjani was well-suited for Tyagaraja’s ‘Durmargachara’. Amritha’s repertoire included ‘Ramanukku mannan’ in Anandabhairavi by Arunachala Kavi and ‘Saraswati manohari’ in Saraswati Manohari raga by Muthuswami Dikshitar. The last piece was a Pasuram by Kulasekara Azhwar, ‘Chediyaya val vinaigal’, in Yamunakalyani, followed by Thirumangai Azhwar’s verse ‘Kongalarnda’ in a Ragamalika. Manoj Siva made his presence conspicuous in percussion, and his tani avartanam was soft and delicate.

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