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The classical music of the West has influenced our musical culture, although it may not have done so in ways and on a scale easily comprehensible to us. The four broad areas in which the Western influence manifests itself are: (1) the two systems of classical music namely, Hindustani and Carnatic, (2) film and light music (sugam sangeet), (3) commercial TV advertising and (4) music education.
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Nellai T.V. Krishnamurthy was a respected musician and teacher who served as Principal of Swati Tirunal Academy of Music, Tiruvananthapuram. Scion of Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, he was born in Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, to Muthulakshmi Ammal and Viswanatha Iyer on 24 November 1920. His is an unusual story of a boy born in Tamil Nadu going to Kerala to emerge as a Carnatic musician.
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Tanjavur Ramadas was born in a musical family and it was but natural for him to play the mridangam from a very young age. Initiated into mridangam-playing by father Ramamurthi Iyer, he was fortunate to come under the tutelage of the doyen Palghat Mani Iyer.
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‘Mangalam’ in Sanskrit means auspicious, welfare, good fortune. It is common practice in the Bharatiya tradition to wish others with “Mangalaanee bhavantu” in Sanskrit, “Mangalam undaagattum in Tamizh or “Mangalmay ho” in Hindi.
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The Tyagaraja aradhana at Tiruvaiyaru on Bahula Panchami day which usually occurs in December/January, is almost like a musical mela. Scores of musicians and rasikas from all over the world congregate at the bard’s samadhi on the banks of the river Kaveri and pay homage to him over four days.
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Manakkal Rangarajan was looked upon by fellow musicians for his pioneering approach to Carnatic music. He was a self-taught musician who trod his own path. Vocalist T.M. Krishna once addressed him as “the musicians’ musician”. Rangarajan was popular in his heydey and his concerts were sought after.
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Vidwan Neranki Vishnu Murthy, a first-generation percussionist, shaped his life and career with optimism and determination. Born on 23 February 1922 as the seventh child of Krishnayya and Parvatamma in Puttur, Karnataka, Murthy was orphaned at a very young age.
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As I entered Mela Raja Veedhi in Tanjavur, a stoic silence prevailed. I am never at a loss for words whenever I pass through the palace area reminiscing about great personalities and incidents connected with it. But that day, my heart was heavy as I was returning after paying my last respects to the great Harikatha exponent T.R. Kamala Murthy.
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The very thought of S. Rajam makes me emotional. It reminds me of his benevolence and all the time I spent with him. S. Rajam was a great human being, many of us know, but I shall confine myself in this article to an analysis of his musical style and contributions.
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Malladi Ramakrishna Sastri pointed out the path and Arudra whipped me along, with corrections, suggestions, and yes, admonitions. Many other men too, authorities in their fields, led me up to a higher storey.
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S Rajam always seemed to have a lot of time because he never wasted his time or that of others. Punctuality was a remarkable trait with him. During his spare time in All India Radio he would be reading reference books and jotting down notes in a diary—for a painting or for a musical drama he was planning to record.
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DKP 100’ is an initiative conceived by vocalist Nithyasree Mahadevan to commemorate the birth centenary of her illustrious grandmother, the iconic D.K. Pattammal. Programmes have been planned for the entire duration of this centenary year and have had very good responses from the present crop of musicians and rasikas.