Amirtha Kidambi is invested in the performance, investigation and exploration of creative musics, ranging from Carnatic vocal, free improvisation, experimental art rock and new music. As a bandleader with Elder Ones and as soloist, collaborator and ensemble member in groups such as, the early Renaissance inspired dark folk band Seaven Teares, the homemade analog percussion and visuals group Ashcan Orchestra, and vocal quartet Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, Amirtha has performed in a variety of venues from DIY spaces to concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Issue Project Room, Silent Barn, Whitney Museum, Le Poisson Rouge and The Kitchen. In collaboration with Charlie Looker, the band Seaven Teares released their debut album Power Ballads in 2013 on Northern Spy Records. Recent projects include Apollo’s Accidental Answer a chamber opera with the Pat Spadine’s Ashcan Orchestra, the premiere of AACM founder and legendary composer/pianist Muhal Richard Abrams’ Dialogue Social, and The Oversoul Manual by Darius Jones, premiered at Roulette followed by a Carnegie Hall debut and releasing an album on Aum Fidelity in October 2014. She recently premiered Ben Vida’s work Slipping Control for voice and electronics with Tyondai Braxton at the Borderline Festival in Athens, Greece. Amirtha is fortunate to have had the great honor of working with the late composer Robert Ashley since 2011 in That Morning Thing and premiered WWW III (Just the Highlights). Amirtha and the Varispeed ensemble also premiered his final opera CRASH in the 2014 Whitney Biennial with a Spring 2015 performance run at Roulette. Amirtha is grateful to have been one of the 2014-2015 recipients of the Roulette Emerging Artist Commission with funds from The Jerome Foundation. With support from the commission, Amirtha will record and release a forthcoming album with Elder Ones in the Spring of 2016.
Amirtha’s curatorial efforts at The Silent Barn focus on community building through fostering interaction between groups that do not typically cross paths, but share ideas both musically and philosophically. These ideas manifest in the series TONGUES: Traditional Indian and Experimental Music. The series presents traditional Indian performances both Hindustani and Carnatic alongside contemporary experimenters in free improvisation, electronics, composition and other areas. Tongues has featured Brian Chase, Robbie Lee, Rajna and Anjna Swaminathan, Dada Tapan Kanti Baidhya, Shubhangi Sakhalkar, Che Chen, Matana Roberts and Peter Evans. She is also an activist and supporter of the Black Lives Matters Movement collaborating with Matana Roberts on Public Meetings and with Peter Evans on an awareness concert and fundraiser for police brutality victim Akai Gurley in Spring 2015 at The Silent Barn. Amirtha is an avid anti-racist and these views are reflected not only through activism but also in the music and collaborations in which she chooses to participate.
Amirtha earned a B.F.A. in Voice (Western Classical) from Loyola Marymount University and an M.M. in Voice from CUNY Brooklyn College, where she served as adjunct faculty. In 2012, Amirtha joined the staff at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn as the Director of Operations.