In conversation with Sukanya Sankar

A first-generation performing artist, Amritha Murali, born on 16 July 1982 to Rama and G. Murali, is an established vocalist and an accomplished violinist. Amritha continued to do both comfortably until recently when she decided to concentrate on her solo performances as a vocalist and also to resolve this identity crisis of whether she is a violinist or vocalist.

Amritha enjoys a musical pedigree that includes some outstanding gurus. Hardworking and dedicated to the art, she is among the more talented Carnatic vocalists of today. Endowed with a mellifluous voice and sharp intellect, she has displayed a steady growth over the years. Amritha’s performances combine erudition and emotion. Her presentation may not be flamboyant but her holistic approach to the art and her orthodox vocalisation devoid of populist impulses have helped her gain a lot of appreciation from rasikas and critics.

An A grade artist of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Amritha has performed in many prestigious music festivals in India and abroad. She has received many awards and accolades including the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar from the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi, Kalki Krishnamurthy Memorial Award, and Kala Ratna from the Cleveland Tyagaraja Aradhana Committee. In a candid interview Amritha speaks about her musical journey and issues faced by artists today.

Tell us about your initial training.

I began learning vocal music at the age of nine from my grandmother Rajam Nagarajan. My mother soon realised that I was not taking my vocal classes with her seriously, so my formal training started with the late K.R. Kedaranathan and Meera Kedaranathan. Inspired by my cousin’s violin playing, I wanted to do the same. I started learning from violinist Vittal Ramamurthy and subsequently came under the tutelage of veteran violinist T. Rukmini… read more