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Updated: January 13, 2011 16:03 IST

Tunesmith with rare perception

S. SIVAKUMAR
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Speakers who had gathered at Ragasudha Hall to pay homage to L. Krishnan, talked in an endearing vein of his simple nature and warmth that transcended age. He possessed an unusual understanding of many music systems and the original flavour in his tunes had a grandeur of its own.

Maestro M. Balamuralikrishna mentioned that Krishnan was not merely a great composer but could divine what tune or raga was suitable to a particular song. He felt that due recognition was not given to him during his life time.

T.K. Govinda Rao acknowledged that the real musical genius behind many of the features of AIR was Krishnan’s. He had this rare ability to add that extra bit of folk or classical tint to songs to meet the ever-changing requirements. Vidushi Vedavalli called him a Karma Yogi - a rare tunesmith endowed with abundant knowledge of Carnatic music and his strength was that he could compose impromptu with clarity and depth.

Lilting tunes

Mridangam vidwan Guruvayur Durai proudly recalled how he had played for Krishnan’s marriage and said that Krishnan was the disciple of GNB. Krishnan’s strength was that he could perfectly sing on stage exactly what was running in his mind without the slightest hesitation.

Flutist Ramani said Krishnan could complete as many as 15 to 16 songs on a single day and made special mention about Arun Prakash, who has inherited this quality from his father and set some compositions to lilting tunes. Bombay Sisters Saroja and Lalitha said that Krishnan was willing to provide effective orchestra for compositions of others. Vani Jairam became emotional while observing that T.R. Balu introduced her to Krishnan and that she was moved by his hard work. The recording sessions would be free of any tension and would easily last from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It was especially so during the Anandha Lahari project which had to adhere to strict deadlines. For Bombay Jayashri, he was a role model with his punctuality, his non-judgmental and unbiased nature and his soft manner in suggesting some fine corrections that would embellish the renderings during recordings. Koothapiran and Thenkachi Swaminathan said they had an intimate relationship with Krishnan as they worked together for many years in AIR. Krishnan had special tunes for children and was gifted with a sense of humour that made him take things in an unprovoked and casual manner. On the suggestion of Krishnan, they had initiated and put into vogue the noble practice of honouring common workers who were occupying ordinary positions from AIR, on their retirement. Unnikrishnan, a member of Krishnan’s choir observed that the master had a natural flair for sangatis which could not be easily repeated by the singers. Rajkumar Bharati, after reading a tribute received from Ramana Maharishi Centre for Learning, Bangalore, said that Krishnan sir never spoke ill of anyone, either in his professional or personal life, and even while in hospital after a surgery was more concerned about adding nuances to his work than his health.

The meeting concluded with the playing of excerpts from L Krishnan’s concerts and a couple of his compositions. As the music faded and as the mind thought over the words of musicians, scholars and friends one was reminded of Rabindranath Tagore’s poetic words:

“I am here to sing thee songs. In this hall of thine I have a corner seat. I have had my invitation to this world’s festival, and thus my life has been blessed.”


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