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By Amritha Murali
Saturday, October 8, 2022 | 4:30 PM
Fugett Middle School Auditorium
500 Ellis Lane
West Chester, PA 19380
SRUTI is pleased to present a Grand Vocal Concert by Amritha Murali, accompanied by R K Shriramkumar on the Violin, and Arun Prakash Krishnan on the Mridangam.
Please note: No video recording / streaming is available for this in-person concert.
Amritha Murali (Vocal)
Amritha started her music career as a violinist and quickly established herself in Chennai as an accompanist. Later she found her vocal talent and won the best-vocalist award in the senior category of the Annual Music Academy.
Amritha Murali is a disciple of K.R. Kedaranathan, Meera Kedaranathan and Rama Ravi. She is currently learning under P S Narayanaswamy for vocal and trains under T. Rukmini, for violin. Amritha has performed at major concert venues in India and abroad.
Amrita is a recipient of several awards including the ‘M.L. Vasantakumari’ award from Sri Parthasarathy Swamy Sabha, the ‘M.S. Subbalakshmi’ award from Narada Gana Sabha, ‘Yuva Kalakaar Puraskar’ award from Shanmukhananda Fine Arts, Mumbai, and the ‘Outstanding senior vocalist’ award from the Music Academy. Amritha is an ‘A’ grade artist on the All India Radio. Amrita has also received awards as a violinist and has accompanied leading artistes. Musicians, rasikas and critics admire her adherence to classical values and the aesthetic appeal of her concerts.
R K Shriramkumar (Violin)
R K Shriramkumar belongs to the Rudrapatnam family of musicians from Karnataka. His grandfather was the violinist R K Venkatarama Shastri, the brother and guru of R K Srikantan. He received his initial training from Savitri Satyamurthy and from his grandfather. He also trained in Vocal Music under D K Jayaraman and presently receives guidance from V.V. Subramanyam.
Shriramkumar has accompanied some of the legends of Carnatic music like Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M S Subbalakshmi, D K Pattammal, D K Jayaraman, and K V Narayanaswamy. In a performing career spanning more than two decades, Shriramkumar has performed at festivals including Thyagaraja Aradhana, Madras Music Academy, and Shanmukhananda Sangita Sabha. A recipient of several awards, Shriramkumar has extensively traveled on concert tours in India and abroad. His solo performances, lecture-demonstrations, and outreach programs have also been greatly received and appreciated by audiences world-wide. Shriramkumar has also composed music for dance productions.
Arun Prakash Krishnan (Mridangam)
Arun Prakash is the son of the renowned music composer L. Krishnan. He began learning mridangam from M N Kandaswamy Pillai from the age of 9 and began performing in concerts by the age of 11. Since then, Arun Prakash has had the honor of accompanying legends including D K Pattammal, K V Narayanaswamy, T N Krishnan, and Lalgudi Jayaraman. He has performed at prestigious venues in India and abroad.
Arun Prakash’s style can be described as a blend of tradition and modernity with which he enhances the overall concert experience. His accompaniment, during all aspects of a concert, is musical and he weaves in unique and complex mathematical calculations without sacrificing the aesthetics of Carnatic music. Arun Prakash has won several awards including ‘Best Young Mridangist’ from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, ‘Best Mridangist’ from The Music Academy, and the ‘Kalki Krishnamurthy’ award.
Rasikas in and around Philadelphia were treated to another delightful concert in the fall of 2022. Amritha Murali on vocal, RK Shriramkumar on violin and Arunprakash on mrudangam displayed a lot of poise when they performed on the evening of October 8, 2022 for Sruti. Their concert highlighted the importance of planning and succinctness in making any performance very successful and fulfilling.
Amritha started her concert with Muthuswamy Dikshitar’s Vallaba Nayakasya in Begada, with many short phrases of kalpanaswarams. Being the first concert of their US tour for the season, this raga, with its unique madhyama and nishada swaras, enabled the artistes to settle in nicely and build the stage for what was to come for the next three hours.
Merusamana, a composition of Thyagaraja, in Mayamalavagowla was taken up next. Methodical in her approach for neraval at ‘kalamuna sobillu’, Amritha transitioned nicely to kalpanaswarams. The scale of the ragam and the ascending as well as descending phrases in the composition also provided a platform for the artistes to get comfortable in the different octaves. The brisk swara patterns and kuraippus were rendered smoothly. Having warmed up well, Amritha then presented Badalika Dheera in Reetigowla. Coming right after a ‘two-kalai Adi thalam’ kriti, and also rendered at a slow pace, Amritha knew exactly how to handle the piece with all the anuswarams beautifully packaged. This is where both Shriramkumar and Arunprakash, with their tremendous understanding of importance to sahityam, shadowed Amritha to embellish the magnificence of the composition.
After an elaborate alapana of ragam Kalyani, Amritha rendered Talli ninnu nera, a composition of Shyama Sastri. The clarity with which alapana phrases were presented showed Amritha invests a lot of time to obtain swarasthana-suddham. It was clear she applies a lot of learning and experience from also playing the violin. Shriram followed up with a nice alapana. Packaging this with nereval and kalpanaswarams with kuraippus, the artistes came together nicely to present this composition. This was followed by a Sahana composition of Muthuswamy Dikshitar, Sri Kamalambikam. Rendered with a lot of bhakthi, emotion and with tremendous clarity, it was clear the audience were moved by this presentation. Here again, Arunprakash showcased the importance of subdued playing for a composition like this.
After a brisk Saravana Bhava Guhane in Kannada, Evari Mata in Kambhoji was taken as the main piece for the evening. After an elaborate alapana and rendering the kriti, the line Sakthi gala Mahadevudu was chosen for neraval. With all the hallmarks of Kambhoji, Amritha and Shriram exchanged nicely structured kalpanaswarams. Arunprakash followed up with a crisp thani, incorporating kanta nadai phrases.
RTP in Kapi followed soon after rendering a composition of Purandaradasa, Venkataramanane Baro. Set to Kanta thrupuda thalam with pallavi line starting two notes prior to samam, the artistes were very comfortable at this stage of the concert. Amritha presented ragamalika swarams in Behag and Dwijavanthi, while Shriram reciprocated with swarams in Nilambari and Jonpuri, both drawing a lot of applause from the audience.
Amritha then presented Sharadhe Karunanidhe, a composition of Shri Chandrasekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal. A lilting piece in Hamirkalyani and set to tune by Shriramkumar, this composition demonstrated Shriramkumar also as an excellent Vaggeyakara.
After presenting an abhang, Sundara tey Dhyan, Amritha concluded the concert. Laden with bhavam, bhakthi and with emphasis on purity, this was an excellent concert overall!
Arvind L. is a violinist and an ardent supporter of SRUTI.