CENTENARY FEATURE – The Sangeetha Vidyalayam

The gentle waves on the Chinna Chokkikulam kanmoy (lake) glinted in the moonlight. Waves of music wafted from its bank. A knot of youngsters walked blithely singing aloud as they were returning home.

What kind of a bhajanai group was that, belting out sarali and jantai varisai, alankaram and varnam at that hour on the road?

The tale goes back nearly six decades.

Madurai had no teacher for Carnatic music in the 1950s. The problem had started way back in the early forties after the time of one Ganesa Bhagavatar, who was probably the only paattu vadyar for several households.

Ambujam Krishna was concerned and felt the urge to do something about it. She was already an active office bearer of the Sri Sathguru Sangeetha Samajam, which had moved to a thatched shed in Chinna Chockikulam after having functioned for years at Sethupathi High School in the heart of the city. (This school proudly announces that the poet Subramania Bharati once taught Tamil there as one of its teachers.)… more