Among those that have received the title are siblings, father and son and gurus and sishyas

Among those that have received the title are siblings, father and son and gurus and sishyas

Unable to carry the much-looked- forward-to December Music pageant in 2020 and 2021, the Music Academy lately introduced three Sangita Kalanidhis — vocalist Neyveli Santhanagopalan (2020), mridangist Tiruvarur Bhaktavatsalam (2021) and violinists Lalgudi Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi (2022). After two years of pandemic lull, this determination has introduced alive as soon as once more town’s music scene, with musicians and rasikas already trying ahead to this 12 months’s Margazhi pageant.

This can also be the correct time to look again at some of the fascinating episodes related to the award. Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer was awarded the title when he was simply 38 years previous (a file). G.N. Balasubramaniam refused to just accept the honour when he was first approached by the Academy. He had mentioned that there have been different seasoned artistes who needs to be honoured earlier than him. He later accepted the title within the 12 months 1958 on the age of 48.

My guru M.L. Vasanthakumari was chosen for the honour in 1977 when she was 49. I had the great fortune of offering vocal help for her Sangita Kalanidhi live performance, which included a tough and uncommon pancha-nadai (five-gaited) pallavi, she inspired me to sing through the niraval and swaras. We additionally offered a melodious, and memorable session on Purandaradasar and different Dasakoota composers. In these days, all of the Season lec-dems and periods by the Sangita Kalanidhis had been held in the primary hall that was filled with rasikas.

Veena Dhanammal’s household holds the file for probably the most quantity of Kalanidhis – T. Brinda, T. Balasaraswathi (the one dancer to be awarded the title until date), and T. Viswanathan (flautist and vocalist). In this context, Bala, as Balasaraswathi was referred to, had skilled intensely in music earlier than she took up dance impressed by Mylapore Gowri Ammal.

Interactive periods

Papanasam Sivan being honoured by Rukmini Devi at the Music Academy on January 2, 1972

Papanasam Sivan being honoured by Rukmini Devi on the Music Academy on January 2, 1972
| Photo Credit: S_KOTHANDARAMAN

Bala’s dance was all the time interspersed by her sudden forays into singing on the stage, and interacting together with her singer, her mom, T. Jayammal. An impromptu jugalbandi of types unfolded between them, supplemented by Viswa (her brother) on the flute, and different instrumentalists following go well with. Rasikas went in droves to view and listen to this uncommon confluence of dance and music. If Jayammal took up raga Kapi for a virutham, Bala would out of the blue stroll as much as the hanging mike (positioned only for her) main it into Hindustani Piloo, prompting Viswa to provide you with his personal brisk thrives. Improvisation or manodharma dominated the stage.

When M.S. Subbulakshmi was awarded the Kalanidhi, I keep in mind the joy, the attractive ‘veldhari’, matching pure silk saris for M.S. and Radha and Vijaya (who accompanied her on stage) designed by Kanchi Muthu Chettiar, and T. Sadasivam and M.S. amma internet hosting just a few well-known folks each evening, through the annual convention, on the ‘pandal’ to scrumptious meals from Kalki Gardens (their house).

For duos

Earlier, the Academy didn’t award duo musicians. Alathur Srinivasa Iyer (of the Alathur brothers) obtained the title first, and after just a few years, his brother Subbaiyer acquired it.

T.N.Krishnan presenting the award to Sikkil sisters Kunjumani and Neela in 2003

T.N.Krishnan presenting the award to Sikkil sisters Kunjumani and Neela in 2003
| Photo Credit: T_A_HAFEEZ

In current years, flautists Sikkil sisters (Kunjumani and Neela), and vocalists Bombay sisters (C. Saroja and C. Lalitha) had been chosen for the honour with separate medals for each.

Father and son have been recipients too — Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer and his son and disciple Maharajapuram Santhanam. So additionally siblings, D.Ok. Pattammal and her brother and disciple D.Ok. Jayaraman (however in several years).

Guru and sishya have additionally been awarded the title: Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar and his disciples Ok.V. Narayanaswamy and B. Rajam Iyer; GNB and disciples MLV and Trichur Ramachandran; and Semmangudi and sishyas T.M. Thiagarajan and T.N. Krishnan.

Musicologists just like the Dikshitar specialist T.L. Venkatrama Iyer, Ananthakrishna Sarma (for his pioneering work of deciphering Annamacharya sahityas from copper plates in Tirumala) had been Sangita Kalanidhis. Composers Mysore Vasudevachar, Harikesanallur Muthiah Bagavathar and Papanasam Sivan had been additionally awarded the title. The first nagaswaram vidwan to get Sangita Kalanidhi was Tiruveezhimazhalai Subramanya Pillai in 1956.

Many vocalists and instrumentalists have been awarded through the years, however some eminent vidwans resembling nagaswara exponents T.N. Rajarathnam Pillai and his illustrious disciple, Karukurichi Arunachalam, well-known vocalists M.D. Ramanathan and Ramnad Krishnan and veena exponent S. Balachander, have missed getting it.

The author is a senior Carnatic vocalist and musicologist.

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