S.Rajam’s (Music Appreciation notes)

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Namagiripettai Krishnan

Birthdays & Anniversaries

4.4.1924 - 30.4.2001

Krishnan, born in April 1924 as the eldest of 10 children, hailed from Salem, a region not particularly fertile with reference to the nagaswara tradition. Moreover, his family had no claim to a special pedigree in music. He rose to prominence as an achiever through sincerity, perseverance and dedication, complemented by an attitude of reverence and responsibility towards tradition. He came to be lauded in his profession and lionised by his public, and yet this much decorated resident of Sendamangalam was always modest in disposition.

Krishnan was initiated into the piping art by his father Kaathasami Mudaliar, with the boy using a small-sized nagaswara with a pitch in the range of 5 to 5 1/2 kattai, and trained step by step following what is known as the Sankarachari 'padi-k-kattu' (steps). Later he was groomed for a concert career, and also trained in singing, by his grandfather Chinnappa Mudaliar. Though he had acquired, even at the age of 14, enough competence to give
concerts, his father sent him to train as a student-in-residence of Arupukotai Ganesan for four more years.

Krishnan's talent and potential for a successful career as a concert artist were seriously noticed at a large congregation of newgeneration nagaswara players convened in Chennai decades ago by film director K. Subrahmanyam. The competing youngsters were to make presentations before a galaxy of senior vidwans. Krishnan utilised the half-hour slot given to him to play an alapana in Kalyani followed by the kriti Vasudevayani with niraval and kalpana swara. His performance was acclaimed by the assembled cognoscenti and a new star had risen. His affection and respect for Kalyani, on which he lavished his imagination, stayed and lasted till the very end. His cassetterecording of this raga-kriti suite was a bestseller.

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