Friday, 24 August 2012

Musicians to watch

Trivandrum V Balaji

38-year-old mridanga vidwan Trivandrum Balaji hails from a musical family. His great grandfathers were both well known names: Kodivayal Venkatrama Iyer was a Harikatha and konnakol exponent, while SV Iyer was an accomplished mridanga vidwan.

Balaji’s early gurus were B. Doraiswamy, K. Krishna Iyengar  and R. Vaidyanathan, all of them of Tiruvanantapuram. He later received a national talent scholarship to study under Sangita Kalanidhi Palghat Raghu in true gurukulavasam.

With his nuanced percussion skills and empathy for the main musician, Balaji has been a popular and successful accompanist to most of the major musicians today. Many off them have appreciated his command over the instrument and his dextrous fingering.

An ‘A’ Grade artist of All India Radio, Chennai, Balaji is also a much sought-after mridangist in films, counting famous music directors like Vidyasagar, Deva, and Harris Jayaraj.

A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2009, Balaji has several awards and prizes to his credit. One distinction that gives him particular pleasure has been being appointed as asthana vidwan of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

Much travelled Balaji has been a frequent visitor to North America on concert tours. A good teacher, he has also trained a number of competent sishyas.

Sruti has been following Balaji’s progress with keen interest and expects him to achieve greater laurels in the years to come.

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