Not many performing artists or composers become legends in their own lifetime. The rare distinction belongs to Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, a leading exponent of Carnatic music for over six decades now. Balamuralikrishna hails from a family which considered music taboo. To the surprise and displeasure of his elders, Balamurali’s father Mangalampalli Pattabhiramayya took up music as his career. He was born in 1892 at Antarvedipalem, a tiny hamlet in the West Godavari district of Madras presidency, as the sixth child of a Vedic scholar, Venkataramayya. Kocharlakota Rama Raju, a composer and left-handed violinist, was his first guru. The tutelage lasted exactly six days!

Venkataramayya then became a student of one Subramania Iyer of Pakshiteertham, who lived in nearby Yelamanchili. He travelled all over Tamil Nadu with his teacher, only to find the teacher abscond one fine day. Young Pattabhiramayya had to come back home. His next stop in music learning was at Pedda Kallepalli where he became a student of Susarla Dakshinamurti Sastri, a disciple of Manambuchavadi Venkatasubbier. After the demise of Sastri, Pattabhiramayya received advanced lessons in music from Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, the prime disciple of Susarla, settling down in Vijayawada… read more