Some might recognise Amritavarshini as a ragam in Carnatic music, while others might simply think of it as a rain of nectar. But the IT community in the city will immediately know that Amritavarshini is actually in fact a club of sorts where working professionals come together to share their music.
Started four years ago by a group of IT employees, the ‘club’ invites anybody who is interested and has the musical talent to play and perform. With absolutely no criteria other than a genuine interest, the group has now grown to be about a 500-strong club. Srini Prabhala, a founding member, tells us more about their journey.
“There were many of us who had professionally learnt music, taken classes and done grades in some discipline of music. However, with work, we rarely found the time or the space to indulge in our musical passion. That’s how Amritavarshini was started. We wanted to create our own forum that would give people like us space to meet and jam with fellow musicians,” begins the Infosys employee.
With training in Veena and the keys, Prabhala is just one of the many IT employees who’s been sitting on his talent, having joined the ‘working class’. But no more. “Our group has just about any discipline of music. If you’ve been trained in any way, in any form of music, this is the place for you. In four years, we’ve developed courses for basics and advanced learners, seminars and appreciative workshops that draw a comparison between Western and Indian classical music,” he explains.
The core group consists of about 35 members though all the members perform on a given night, based on availability and the context of the concert. “We choose members for particular concerts based on the complexity of the music. What we play is a mix of all the elements we have. But it varies from venue to venue. Earlier this month, we played at the TTD Bhavan. So naturally it was purely Carnatic with the mridangam, violin and other exponents. But there are times we play a mix of jazz and carnatic. Then we have bass guitar,percussions and so on. Ultimately however, the lyrics and content are Indian presented with a Western feel,” says the 40-year old.
The ensemble that includes people from companies like Deloitte, Virtusa, Wells Fargo, Microsoft and Infosys, meets on a weekly basis wherever convenient. “Some of our companies have been extremely supportive and cooperative, and have given us a place to practice on campus. We otherwise also do meet up at either someone’s place or anywhere else convenient,” Prabhala adds.
Considering that the group mushroomed from the IT sector and uses its Facebook page to communicate, it is perhaps no surprise that mostly everybody is an IT employee. “There are hardly any non-IT employees, not counting spouses who’ve joined. It isn’t a policy, but something that just happened to be,” clarifies Prabhala. Nevertheless, the group is a young lot, the average age being around 25 to 30. “I don’t think there’s anybody who is 35, maybe save for one. I am the oldest member!” chuckles the musician.
Amritavarshini conducts music appreciation courses at Hi-Tech for anybody interested. For further details, their Facebook page should be useful: https://www.facebook.com/groups/groupamritavarshini/
If you care to listen to them, Amritavarshini is set play at the Telugu University Auditorium on July 14, 6:30 pm onwards. The troupe will perform Raga Blues, which will be a mix of Carnatic and Western Jazz.