His rich, zestful music will live on

– Samudri

TV. Sankaranarayanan, popularly and affectionately known as TVS, was one of the most sought-after and widely acclaimed Carnatic vocalists in the recent past. Hailing from a family of musical geniuses, Sankaranarayanan’s maternal grandfather, Madurai Ramasamy Iyer, was a music scholar, whose brother was the famous Madurai Pushpavanam. Born on 7 March 1945, Sankaranarayanan, at the age of five, had the ability to immediately recognise the pitches of songs. TVS then began learning music from his uncle Madurai Mani Iyer at the age of nine and very soon started teaming up with his father T.S. Vembu Iyer (Madurai Mani Iyer’s sister’s husband), an eminent musician and a disciple of Madurai Mani Iyer. Sankaranarayanan’s mother, Gomati Ammal was also a good singer.

Madurai Mani Iyer practised music daily after his pooja, and TVS would sit raptly listening to him. He went on to accompanying him, thereby imbibing the best from the maestro. While studying sixth standard at Mayavaram Municipal High School, Sankaranarayanan won several prizes in Carnatic music competitions. He also made a name for himself by acting in plays.

When TVS was in his SSLC, his voice broke, and as one who sang at a higher pitch, was unable to do so. An upset Sankaranarayanan is said to have practised intensely to fix his voice. He sat in the shed on the south side of Mani Iyer’s bungalow and practised. The uncle would listen to Sankaranarayanan’s sadhakam from his room. He would then call and sing the raga and kriti, which TVS sang, and taught him to sing with finesse. From the age of fifteen, TVS sang in concerts with his uncle without a break… read more