Three classical musicians who contributed significantly to the Carnatic tradition and provided immeasurable enjoyment to 'rasikas' were honoured at the launch of this year's edition of 'Isai Natya Nataka Vizha' hosted by Narada Gana Sabha.

Veteran mridangist Vellore G. Ramabadran was conferred the title of ‘Nadhabrahmam,' vocalist Seerkazhi R. Jayaraman given the Senior Musician Award and thavil vidwan Thirukarugavoor Dakshinamurthy Pillai honoured with the ‘Tirunelveli Subramania Iyer Award.'

Presenting the title and awards, Swami Nityananda Giri from the Gnanananda Niketan, Tapovanam, said music itself was a yoga and a siddhi.

Pointing out that music without devotion was likely to lead one astray, Swami Nityananda said music festivals such as the one got up by the sabha served to encourage innovation within the framework of classicism.

Offering felicitations, mridangist Karaikudi Mani said the enthusiasm with which the awardees still performed belied the fact they were octogenarians.

Referring to Ramabadran's entry into the scene providing percussion support to bhajans and harikatha performances, Mani said no artist who associated with such events had ever failed to touch excellence.

Mani also pointed out that several vidwans had taken stage fully confident of getting able accompaniment from the mridangist and Ramabadran had never once let them down while “journeying back and forth across the ocean of music.”

Such was his effortless handling of some of the most difficult pallavis that it was as if Ramabadran had a special relationship with the mridangam, he said.

In his acceptance speech, Ramabadran said if he was still performing at the age of 82, it was only because of the blessings of his guru and parents.

Jayaraman said his association with numerous concerts hosted by the Narada Gana Sabha through the eighties marked a golden era in his career. Performing at such a revered stage had helped the artist in him imbibe the bhakti bhava, he said.

R.Krishnamoorthy, Narada Gana Sabha president, provided bio-sketches of the awardees and R. Krishnaswami, sabha secretary, read out the citations.