Chaganti Kapaleswara Rao was a well-known Carnatic music aficionado.
Known by short names such as ‘Chaganti’ or ‘Kapali’, the well known art critic and musician Chaganti Kapaleswara Rao passed away last week , in his 89th year. He is survived by two daughters and a son. He has to his credit two good books — one on Harikatha and another titled Sangeetha Sikharalu,’ a compilation of profiles of musical legends. Sangeetha Sikharalu was reviewed in The Hindu Friday Review recently.
Noted Carnatic scholar and musician Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana who sowed the seeds of Carnatic music in Chaganti’s mind and trained him, recalls how he took Chaganti with him on his concert tour in the North. He also recalled the comment of Dr. Pinakapani that Kapali’s rendition of kriti was so smoothening that he compared it to Mugdha Kusumalu (blossoming flowers).
Kapali who had also given some concerts, left behind a few CDs of him rendering kirtanas. Kapali acknowledged he was passionate about Carnatic music and was greatly influenced by Nookala, Voleti’s music lessons on AIR, Vijayawada and acquiring a diploma from Andhra University in music with the encouragement given by Nedunuri Krishnamurthy.
Professionally, he served as office superintendent in Central Excise and retired in 1982. In yet another facet of this culture aficionado, Chaganti contributed to columns on culture to English and Telugu newspapers. He also wrote satirical columns in a Telugu daily for almost five decades. He encouraged many youngsters in music. He also provided a platform to some of them and organised concerts of well known musicians, converting a hall in his house into a platform for music.
Chaganti Kapaleswara Rao'’ demise leaves a void in the music circles in the State.