Saturday, 8 September 2012

Generation Next

By KS Kalidas
Amrutha Venkatesh

(Reproduced from Sruti 288, September 2008)

This young vocalist from Bangalore has been impressing audiences everywhere. A student of science in a Bangalore college, she started performing at the age of six and has over 250 concerts to her credit.

Amrutha, who started training with M.T. Selvanarayanan of AIR-Bangalore at the age of four, continues to learn from him. Charumathi Ramachandran has also been coaching her for over nine years. Amrutha has also learnt to play the veena from Suma Sudhindra.

She won a ragam-tanam-pallavi competition at Narada Gana Sabha at the age of 11. At 13, she came to the notice of T.V. Gopalakrishnan, when she won a music competition in Bangalore. This resulted in her first December season concert in Chennai in 2001. By 2003, she had attracted the attention of the late S.V. Krishnan of Nada Inbam, who became her mentor. Under his patronage, she had numerous opportunities to perform in Nada Inbam and soon became a popular favourite, besides winning the acclaim of the leading critics of the day.
Other sabha-s in Chennai also took notice of Amrutha. She has performed at the Music Academy, Narada Gana Sabha, Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Hamsadhwani, Mylapore Fine Arts, Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha, Parthasarathy Swami Sabha, Carnatica, Bharat Kalachar, Sarvani Sangeeta Sabha, A.I.M.A., YACM, Indian Fine Arts, Mudhra, IIT, S.A.F.E., the two Asthika Samajams, and TTD, among others. She has also performed extensively, not only in Karnataka, where she is based, but also in various cities in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh, and in Mumbai.

Amrutha has won prizes in many competitions including those conducted by AIR, which has also been broadcasting her vocal and veena concerts. She won the Voleti Venkateswarlu prize in 2004, and the Emani Sankara Sastry prize in veena in 2005 besides best vocalist awards from Hamsadhwani, Spirit of Youth, and CMANA prize given by the Music Academy.

Amrutha’s voice is strong but malleable and mobile. She treats ghana and naya raga-s equally well. Flat swara-s or gamaka, long karvai or briga she has them all. Her sruti and laya sense are admirable. Her repertoire is considerable — besides the Trinity, she is equally at ease with other vaggeyakara-s. Her versatility with Tamil composers of old as well as modern composers such as Subramania Bharati has to be experienced to be believed.

Amrutha Venkatesh is poised for a quantum leap in her concert career.

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