Ramnad Krishnan’s name brings to mind his electrifying delineations of ragas like Sahana and Begada, Keeravani and Sankarabharanam. Through his son R.K. Ramanathan’s initiative, a yearlong celebration of the legend’s music was organised at Raga Sudha Hall in Chennai, with two programmes held every month, starting in September 2017 and concluding in September 2018.

Born on 14 September 1918 in Alappuzha in Kerala, Krishnan was one of eight siblings growing up in a musical atmosphere. His brothers Lakshminarayana and Venkatachalam were violinists, Raghavan and Eswaran were mridangam players. Krishnan’s education was in Ramnad in Tamil Nadu where he learnt music from the late vidwan C.S. Sankarasivam (elder brother of mridanga vidwan C.S. Murugabhoopathy).

His bani

In Krishnan’s music, you could see a confluence of three streams—first, his guru Ramnad Sankarasivam’s music; second, the admiration he had for the GNB style and the way he incorporated it in his singing; third, the adoration for the Dhanammal school of music with its illustrious votaries like T. Brinda, T. Muktha, T. Balasaraswati and T. Viswanathan. Sankarasivam’s father Chitsabhai Servai was a scholarly musician at Ramnad and a disciple of the laya wizard Pudukottai Manpoondia Pillai, who revolutionised khanjira playing. Sankarasivam also learnt from the towering music personality Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar. Krishnan probably derived his musical genius to some degree from these unique inputs imbibed from Sankarasivam. He created a style of his own by combining the briga dexterity and brilliance of the GNB bani and the repose and vilamba kala excellence of T. Brinda. His voice, capable of executing breathtaking speed with precision, was a great asset in formulating a unique style… read more